Tuesday, January 31, 2006

There she is... Miss Wilmerica...

With ratings plummeting for beauty pageants, only one man can save them.

His name? Fez.

Since "That 70's Show" star(?) Wilmer Valderrama reportedly has dated Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Mandy Moore and Eva Longoria, it's time for me to pitch the annual Miss Wilmerica Pageant to Pay-Per-View.

The concept: The country's hottest A-list and B-list starlets compete for the title of next girlfriend of Wilmer Valderrama.

The event would include an edgier take on the swimsuit competition as well as a "talent" competition that would never fly on network television. And Miss Congeniality would be awarded to the person with the nicest... personality. The finalists would be subject to rounds of questions about Maxim magazine shoots, modest album sales and VIP Room shenanigans.

I, of course, would judge the competition with Valderrama and the guy who played "Booger" in "Revenge of the Nerds." Bribes would not only be accepted but also encouraged.

How could this not be a slam-dunk? Get my agent on the phone.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Heard 'Em Say

Kanye West is complex and fascinating. Sometimes I rave about him, other times I'm annoyed with him, but the fact that I'm among the millions who care one way or the other says something about his relevance. Today, I read an excellent article by Karen Valby about West in Entertainment Weekly. In it, West blasts the director of the first music video for "Heard 'Em Say" -- also known as his weak follow-up track to "Gold Digger."

"'Heard 'Em Say' is my favorite song of all time that I did! So why couldn't I have had a good video for it? Man, I feel like I sent my gifted child to a bad school."

There's a lot going on in these 37 words.

- I respect West for his honesty. The fact that he's calling out director Michel Gondry is unusual in the respect that artists rarely criticize music video directors in public. A quote like this a coup for a journalist to hear.

- I have mixed feelings for Gondry, who just got slammed by one of the industry's hottest tickets. That can't be good for his resume. West is right in saying that the video was overcooked, cheesy and drab, but ouch. Not exactly the most professional way to go about it.

- While I applaud West for his honesty about the video itself, there's something very important that he does not appear willing to admit: "Heard 'Em Say" is a boring song. Gondry probably did the best he could with a song that only got radio play because of Kanye West's name.

- West's other hint that the video was not the problem was the fact that an alternate video was produced for the same track, featuring an animated, black-and-white saga. While the video's more engaging, the song remains the bigger problem.

Is the average, albeit enjoyable, video for "Gold Digger" what made it such a big hit? No. It's the biggest song of 2005 -- one that West correctly states is a "gimme Grammy" -- that earned radio play on its own merits. It's such a good track that it allowed for Jaime Foxx to make a few more bucks on a Ray Charles impersonation that had worn thin, long before he won the Academy Award. (And to be fair, I think Foxx is an oustanding actor; I just enjoyed his work in "Jarhead" so much more than "Ray.")

In short, the "Heard 'Em Say" song, peaking at No. 26 on the charts, was the far bigger problem than either of the videos.

Still, West is painfully reflective and "so self-conscious," as he declares on "All Falls Down." And I'll cut him slack because not only are his hits monsters, but also he's not afraid to take chances inside and outside of the industry, such as his Katrina fundraiser outburst against Bush, and his vocal efforts to stop gay-bashing. So few artists in any music genre appear willing to take such chances while still hoping to reach out to the largest audience possible.

I'll also give him props because in an EW sidebar, he proclaims the greatness that is Bill Murray:

"The best comedic actor of all time. My favorite Bill Murray movie? Oh, I really want to go back to 'Ghostbusters 1' and '2.' I refer to 'Groundhog Day' all the time, and I just got 'Broken Flowers.' That's what makes him so dope; he's still so good!"

Hmm... maybe I should give "Heard 'Em Say" one more listen.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Devil might make them do it

Major League Baseball folks are deliberating a name change for Tampa Bay's franchise, cutting it from "Devil Rays" to "Rays."

[Team president Matt] Silverman said [that] meetings with focus groups revealed a negative association with the with word "devil," the Tribune reported.

"When they liked something we did, they would refer to us as the Rays. If they were discussing a complaint or gripe, we were the Devil Rays," Silverman told the paper.

Are people so paranoid about sin that they fear the moniker of a franchise, named after a sea creature, will damn them and their hardly beloved baseball team to continued ineptitude? Last I checked, the New Jersey Devils have won three titles since the Devil Rays were founded in 1995. And Duke's Blue Devils have won three titles and are perennial powerhouses.

It's not like the Angels have been a dynasty since their 1961 inception. I'm sure all of those titles the Angels racked up in 45 years (one) have made those Tampa Bay fans crazy since the Devil Rays took the field for the first time eight years ago. You can't even say that the frustration has been passed on from generation to generation, because it hasn't been a generation.

I blame the Feng Shui of the Devil Rays' ugly stadium more than anything else.

The lesson here: The Devil Rays are awful no matter what you call them. Move them to Vegas already, name them something far less appropriate and let's move on.

UPDATE! Related. Also related.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Christina and Marianne are my friends. Flash animation is a friend to all. (Right, Homestar?)

Here are true stories about these two fine ladies, as interpreted by Scott Bateman through the aforementioned Internet-friendly medium:

Christina meets RuPaul. Marianne meets John Tesh.

Two of the four will appear in an upcoming Upright Citizens Brigade production. Go see it for just $5 at 8 p.m., Feb. 22!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Because 'WPN' didn't exactly roll off the tongue

UPN and The WB will merge to form a new network called The CW, which I presume is borrowing the first initials of joint-owners CBS Corp. and Warner Brothers.

CNN reports that both of the old networks will cease operations in September. I'll have to shed a tear, considering I watched all of one episode of one show ("Everybody Hates Chris") since they launched.

And now a list of shows we're likely to see on the new net:

"Smallville Girls"
"America's Next Top Smackdown"
"Beauty & The One Tree Hill"
"Everwood Hates Chris"
"What I Like About Conglomeration"

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cats + Stuff = Awesome

Cats In Sinks was so last year. Behold the greatness that is Stuff On My Cat.

Come for the painfully cute battles. Stay for the most blatant displays of stuff -- on cats.

Gionta Among Men

As a student at Boston College, even though I worked for three years in the Sports Media Relations office, I wasn't friends with a lot of the athletes. It's not that I didn't like them, I just tended not to hang in the same circles. Perhaps my best BC student-athlete friend was Cal Bouchard, an exceptional player on the women's basketball team. She not only won numerous academic awards, but also was drafted by the WNBA, and played for the Canadian Olympic team in Sydney. I hung out with her briefly at my five-year college reunion, and she continued to crack me up.

My favorite football acquaintances were a defensive lineman named Pat Kneib, who was as brilliant as he was funny in one of my freshman philosophy classes; and tight end Rob Ellis, who snagged touchdowns and sang beautifully with the college's all-male a cappella group.

Some of the athletes with whom I attended BC have gone onto high-profile success. There were the Hasselbeck brothers, who were Boston College quarterbacks and, I was told by classmates, were very nice guys. One of them's on a Super Bowl-bound team, while the other is the backup QB for my beloved New York Giants. A former BC softball player who roomed with my friend's sister -- and married the younger H-beck brother -- was a sweetheart in her college days, from what I've heard, too. And before Chris Hovan played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings, he would swing by the Communication Department offices, where I worked my senior year, to talk with a professor. (And no, he wasn't wearing face-paint at the time.)

But then there was one guy on the hockey team, Brian Gionta, who always was nice to me, even though he hardly knew me. The guy was a legend on campus, and reminded more than a few people of Doug Flutie in the respect that both were short, talented BC athletes who commanded respect. I had one or two communications classes with him -- one of them was a public speaking class -- but he'd sometimes delve into pleasant small talk with me before or after class.

In the years I was at BC, the Eagles were much like their Major League Baseball counterparts: the painfully close also-rans. I remember in 2000, when they were on the cusp of winning it all, they lost the title game to North Dakota, 4-2. Watching the game on TV, I remember seeing a devastated Gionta skate around the ice. The next day, I was still reeling from the loss -- and I had only watched the game -- when Gionta walked into the same Vanderslice Hall elevator. He pleasantly said hello and carried himself as if nothing had happened. It's then that I realized, "Hey, if he isn't that upset, I shouldn't be either." Just a cool guy.

Of course, the year after I graduated, Gionta and his teammates claimed the NCAA trophy that had eluded them for years. Gionta was unceremoniously picked 84th overall by the New Jersey Devils the following off-season. But after a few relatively quiet seasons in the NHL, he has scored 28 goals in his first 46 games this season. And even though I'm a New York Rangers fan, I had to grin when I saw him hoist the Stanley Cup in 2003. Oh, and he's representing the U.S. in the Torino Olympics.

It's just nice seeing nice things happen to nice people -- who are nice to me.

Friday, January 20, 2006

This Headline Is Bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

As a reporter, I'm often confounded by what editors perceive to be headlines that are both accurate and engaging. Take this recent headline from CNN:

'Spider-Man 3' makes room for Gwen

Any Spider-Man fan with any pop culture knowledge still must first associate that name with Gwen Stefani, considering how relevant she is right now.

There aren't exactly a lot of Gwens out there. In Hollywood, I'd say there's about... one.

Turns out, the headline is referring to the comic book character named Gwen who, in the comics, was Peter Parker's crush in high school. (The first Spidey movie took some liberties and made Mary Jane Watson his high school flame).

Is the headline misleading? Yes. But despite the fact that Peter Parker won't be rockin' out to "Hollaback Girl" at any point in "Spidey 3," I'm happy that the third point of the pending Peter Parker love triangle will be played by Bryce Dallas Howard. I've been a fan of hers since her underrated performance as the blind woman in "The Village" -- which, dammit, I liked a lot!

UPDATE! I just realized that Bryce Dallas Howard's JLo-like nickname would be "BryDal Ho," which sounds like the name of a character from "Wedding Crashers."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Golden Slumbers... I mean, Globes

Because I fell asleep at 7 p.m. last night, I won't say anything negative about the broadcast of last night's Golden Globes, which I usually prefer to the Oscars, because the winners are sometimes drunk and only cool awards are distributed, rather than "Best Gaffer in a Melodrama" and "Best CPA Tandem Making An Arbitrary Appearance In Yet Another Award Show." But this year's Golden Globe winners were ho-hum. Maybe because most of the GG nominees were lame in the first place.

"Brokeback Mountain" won four awards, justified or otherwise, in what might be the worst movie season in decades. I'm not judging the film; it's probably great. I'm merely saying there wasn't much legit competition this year.

"Walk The Line" was a mediocre movie with outstanding actors (Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, who both won Globes), but it won in the maddening "Musical or Comedy" category. That award is as much of a copout as giving a trophy to "Best Food, Vegetable or Dessert." I'm guessing the people who run the awards process feared that they wouldn't have enough legitimate contenders for each category. But the movies shouldn't have to suffer because of it.

And let's look at those other Musical or Comedy movie nominees: "Mrs. Henderson Presents" (snorefest), "Pride & Prejudice" (a laugh riot), "The Producers" (remake) and "The Squid and the Whale" (huh?). I challenge you to find me one person, critic or otherwise, who didn't like "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" better than all of those.

At least Steve Carell won for "The Office." That was probably the one correct pick of the night, albeit in the category of "Best Actor [in a TV] Musical or Comedy." Let's not forget all those weekly TV musicals. What was the last one? "Cop Rock"?

"Lost" won. Great, wonderful, yawn. It's too late for me to catch up with the plots and twists, so have fun without me, guys. And to pick that over "Rome" seems a bit silly.

"Desperate Housewives" won for best comedy, but the show's four lead actresses split votes to allow Mary-Louise Parker to win for "Weeds." At least I can blame not seeing "Weeds" on the fact that I don't subscribe to Showtime. I assure you I've laughed harder at promos for the other four nominees -- "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Entourage," "Everybody Hates Chris" and "My Name is Earl" -- than I would at any "Desperate" episode.

Hugh Laurie won for "House," which is a runaway hit that absolutely no one I know watches. Doesn't the plot always seem the same? "Tonight on FOX: The doctor has a patient with a disease that no one can figure out. Can he convince the patient's relatives he can cure the patient through unorthodox procedures and nonstop yelling? Find out Tuesday at 9, after a far less predictable show: 'American Idol.'" And I like "American Idol"!

Speaking of "Idol," Ryan Seacrest and his E! team of dress evaluators were unwatchable. I never thought I'd say this, but E! needs to shell out whatever they've saved since Howard Stern's departure to re-sign Joan and Melissa Rivers for the red carpet. The Riverseseses would be smart to take the offer, too, because I don't even know how to find the TV Guide channel. And, yes, I'm straight.

I guess I'm disappointed because there were no good surprises as far as results were concerned. In other words, the shows, movies and actors I wanted to win didn't win.

And most of my favorites, like Bill Murray in "Broken Flowers," weren't even nominated! Bill Murray should win every award, including three Oscars ("Ghostbusters," "Lost In Translation" and "Broken Flowers"), a Grammy (for that SNL "Star Wars" lounge singer song), an honorary college doctorate, a perfect attendance certificate and a pie-eating contest blue ribbon.

Quick follow-up about "Brokeback Mountain": ESPN columnist LZ Granderson wrote a short-but-sweet column about the hypocrisy of those who criticize NBA players for homophobic remarks but render no judgment on Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller for pulling "Brokeback" from his chain of movie theaters. Nice job, LZ.

Monday, January 16, 2006

'Square One TV' Hall-of-Fame

Back when I prided myself on my multiplication tables, I was obsessed with a PBS kids' show by the name of "Square One TV." If they had iTunes back in those days, I'd have been downloading the videos for Angle Dance and Tessellations.

Most people might remember Square One for its final segment, a crime parody of "Dragnet" called "Mathnet," featuring Joe Howard as George Frankly and Beverly Leetch as Sgt. Kate Monday. One of the Mathnet plots even featured James Earl Jones and a very young Yeardley Smith, also known as the voice of Lisa Simpson. But the weirdest turn of events was when I, as a 9-year-old, saw Beverly Leetch play another law enforcement character on a very different show during or shortly after her run on "Mathnet." In 1987, she played a psycho, oversexed officer who seduced the title character of "Sledge Hammer!" If she wanted to prevent type-casting, she did a good job. She also achieved her goal of weirding out a 9-year-old.

I also enjoyed the first part of "Square One," the one that featured seven legendary actors, all of whom I can recite by name without help: Reg E. Cathey, Larry Cedar, Cynthia Darlow, Cristobal Franco, Arthur Howard, Luisa Leschin and Beverly Mickins. They did Saturday Night Live-like skits, songs and parodies that were really clever, genuinely amusing, and -- God forbid -- educational.

After the show ended in 1992, one of my favorite games was finding the cast members of the show in other shows, preferably ones that didn't end my childhood innocence prematurely. I don't remember seeing Franco, Howard or Leschin again, but I did pick out Darlow on an episode of "The Sopranos." IMDb.com says Mickins has made more than a few appearances on the Lifetime network.

But the two most distinguished alums have to be Cathey and Cedar. Cathey's made the most appearances in relevant movies, including "S.W.A.T.", "Head of State," "Pootie Tang," "American Psycho," "Se7en" "Tank Girl," "Airheads" (my choice for all-time worst movie with the best cast), "Clear and Present Danger," "The Mask," "What About Bob?" and "Born on the Fourth of July." He's an excellent actor, but I can't help but remember him singing a country-western song about the multiplicative properties of the No. 9 every time I see him in other works. "Nine, nine, nine/Fantastic number nine/It's perfectly consistent/And it works out every time..."

Last but not least, let's also give props to Larry Cedar. He's rejuvenated his career on one of my favorite shows right now: "Deadwood." Looking back, he was probably the favorite to launch the greatest career: he could sing, act, be funny and carry an otherwise-dead skit. But after a bit part as an announcer in the awful "The Babe," he worked predominantly in voice-overs before HBO snagged him for "Deadwood." It's great hearing the same guy who sang about The Mathematics of Love, now spewing heinous, politically incorrect monologues on HBO. And now that I'm 18 years older than I was when I saw "Sledge Hammer!" the two worlds mesh with much more comforting results.

More nerdy Square One TV links here, here and here.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

'New Jersey: Most of Our Elected Officials Have Not Been Indicted.'

This post title was an actual submission for a New Jersey slogan contest. The winning entry, "New Jersey: Come See For Yourself," while more appropriate, doesn't quite have the pinache of another actual nominee: "New Jersey: You Got a Problem With That?"

Here are five more I would have submitted:

5. "New Jersey: New York, But Not Quite."
4. "New Jersey: We're Bon Jovial!"
3. "New Jersey: Eating Pennsylvania, Pac-Man Style, Since 1787."
2. "New Jersey: LOOK OUT!!!!!"
1. "New Jersey: We Know What That Smell Is."

Kidding. Lots of sweet people I know are from Jersey, including my girlfriend. But she does know what that smell is: Usually, it's me.


Courtesy of Sports Guy Intern's links, here's an awesome idea whose execution doesn't live up to its potential. I'm sure Soda Popinski is spinning in his grave, assuming he's a real person and dead. As mentioned here in June, this live-action Nintendo reenactment is much funnier.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It ain't exactly Nas and Jay-Z, but...

I'm sitting in a pizza joint Saturday, watching one of those cable TV music-only channels -- you know, the ones that display pictures of the artist that's playing, and facts about their careers -- and while listening to a random Hanson song, I glance up at the band info.

I was shocked to read that Gregg Alexander, the lead singer for the defunct New Radicals, cowrote a song called "Lost Without Each Other" for Hanson's 2004 album.

What?! This actually happened? When did they mend fences?

Let us not forget what transpired five years earlier, when the chart-climbing New Radicals single, "You Get What You Give," slammed Hanson and other musicians:

Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson
Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson
You're all fakes run to your mansions
Come around we'll kick your ass in

As catchy as that single is, I've always felt those lyrics were obnoxious and unfounded. Beck emerged as one of this generation's seminal performers. Marilyn Manson is a calculated, brilliant mastermind who thrives on controversy and knows how to manipulate the media and his audience. (Admittedly, making fun of Courtney Love is always a good decision, albeit an easy target.) But the lamest part of these attacks is that New Radicals were arguably less successful and influential than any of their targets.

Wikipedia, which has been known to make mistakes from time to time, offers what appears to be a reliable account of what transpired thereafter:

When asked about it in an interview, Marilyn Manson replied he was "not mad that he said he'd kick my ass, I just don't want to be used in the same sentence with Courtney Love" and would "crack his skull open if I see him." Beck reported that "I was in a grocery store and he [Alexander] came running up to me, so apologetic, and saying, ‘I hope you weren’t offended. It wasn’t supposed to be personal.’ I was kind of pleased, because he’s a big guy." Alexander later explained that the line, along with the lines directly before it ("Health insurance rip off lying/FDA big bankers buying/Fake computer crashes dining/Cloning while they're multiplying") was an experiment to see if the media would focus on the real issues, or on the celebrity dissing. Hanson never commented on the song directly, however they co-wrote the song "Lost Without Each Other" on their 2004 album Underneath with Alexander. Zac Hanson commented that "It was cool working with Gregg... [he]'s definitely a character but he's a cool guy."

Subsequent thoughts:

- I only like a couple of Marilyn Manson songs, but I love Marilyn Manson the person. And I remember when he said the aforementioned comeback to someone from MTV News, I cracked up. I don't think there's any doubt he loved the extra attention and notoriety the New Radicals song brought him, and he probably capitalized most on it.

- If Beck's account of Alexander's apology is accurate, I don't buy Alexander's sincerity. How are lines like "You're all fakes" and "We'll kick your ass in" not personal? Those seem to be the very definition of personal. Someone should explain to the guy that "I don't like your songs" is not a personal attack, but "You're all fakes" is.

- Beck's response solidifies his place in the Pantheon of Coolest Men Alive.

- I don't buy, for one second, Alexander's explanation that his collective diss was a media experiment. His song was strong enough to get airplay and attention; he didn't need the gimmick. Lame.

- Later in the Wikipedia article, Joni Mitchell is credited with celebrating the song. "It was a big hit, and I said, 'Where did they go?'" Mitchell supposedly said in a 2004 Rolling Stone interview. "It turns out the guy [Gregg Alexander] quit. I thought, 'Good for him.' "

And good for the rest of us.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Hey now!

Howard Stern made his Sirius satellite radio debut today. Other than Stern complaining about the new equipment for the first 20 minutes, the show was absolutely awesome. I didn't realize just how much I missed it until I was forced to wake up to David Lee Roth's boring rants. And then, at exactly 9 a.m. EST (when the show reruns on channel 101), I turned the car ignition and was serenaded by the theme from 2001, with each note reinforced by flatulence. Classy.

Other highlights:

- The first words spoken by Stern show favorite George "Sulu" Takei, who's agreed to be the show's announcer for the week and tape subsequent intros. Nice.

- Howard confirming, dismissing, confirming, then dismissing one last time that he was married in Mexico while he was on winter vacation. (In other words, he's not married. Or that's what we're supposed to believe.) His girlfriend of almost six years, Beth Ostrosky, has been sporting new ring-finger bling in recent weeks.

- After weeks of hype, the Stern show finally announcing 11 "revelations" about all of its cast members, including one cast member who claims to have cheated on his wife and got caught in the act. The stories will be paired with their owners on air a week from today.

- ESPN SportsCenter alum Keith Olbermann ripping into deejay and fellow MSNBC colleague Don Imus during Howard's press conference, further adding to Olbermann's credibility and awesomeness.

- The entire Howard 100 channel, which not only reruns shows but also has show breakdowns, an awesome and surprisingly credible news department, and fan call-in shows. And my S50 has the ability to record all this content. Brilliant, brilliant stuff.

- Stern announcing today that he believes that Sirius will stream his show online in the near future.

I'm psyched about what's to come, so to speak. Long live the King of all Media!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Go, Nameless Warriors of the Gridiron!

This morning, Dell e-mailed me about plasma TV offers. Next to the ad text, "Get Ready For The Big Game!" is a photo, featuring the anticipated matchup of America's favorite teams: the Anonymous Redhelmets and the Boring Greenjerseys.

A major pet peeve of mine has always been ads for products that don't have permission from teams or sports leagues. Lame uniform attempts are the more visceral example of lameitude.

It happens a ton with baseball ads. Mike Piazza, back in his days with the Dodgers, was in an TV ad for Pert Plus. In the commercial, he wore this pathetic attempt of a jersey whose only commonality with the actual uni were the words "Los Angeles," but the style of script and colors of the jersey were nowhere close to the famous white or gray uniform with Dodger blue lettering. Derek Jeter's ads for Skippy are a little better; at least he got to wear a pinstriped uniform that had some semblance to the Yankees' home uni, albeit without the interlocking N-Y. And let us never forget "Major League Super Star Fred McGriff", his big puffy baseball cap and his ringing endorsement for Tom Emanski's "Defensive Drills" video.

Subtler knock-offs involve words. It's bad enough that advertisers can't refer specifically to the "Super Bowl" without permission from (read: payment to) the National Football League. So often, even during the Super Bowl, you'll see commercials for products and services relating to the "Championship" and the "Big Game," and it's just embarrassing for everyone involved. The NFL should continue to promote the official soft drink (Diet Pepsi), telecommunications sponsor (Sprint) and credit card (Visa), but not stop other groups from referencing the name of the freaking game.

Otherwise, I'll just have to wear a generic blue jersey the next few Sundays and root for "That playoff team that plays in East Rutherford." And obviously, that doesn't mean the Jets.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

David Lee Rough

I just want to declare all these nice things about former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth first: While I love Van Hagar, too, the Diamond Dave era was the best of the three Van Halen manifestations. I respect Roth for his volunteer work as an emergency medical technician -- one of my high school acquaintances actually helped train him and said he was the most down-to-earth guy. And Roth made a very cool "Sopranos" cameo, to boot. He's a good guy.

All that having been said, his new talk-radio morning show struggles.

Now, I admit to being a voracious Howard Stern consumer. And Stern and his crew have almost always been nice to Roth, and they understand that he's not the enemy in their move to Sirius satellite radio. I even understand the decision by Infinity Broadcasting (now known as CBS Radio) to replace the greatest radio legend of all-time with someone who's never been a consistent radio host before; that way there's no pressure to outperform Stern.

But Roth's show, in its first two days, has been unlistenable. Roth seems to jump from topic to topic without fluidity. His crew, from the parts I heard, was never formally introduced, so for the first couple of hours, it was Roth ranting about his own odd World Trade Center plans and a couple of random interjections from people unknown. Also, I like laughing in the morning; it helps me wake up. No laughs to be found. I genuinely wanted to give Roth a chance (at least until Jan. 9, when Howard goes live on Sirius), but I found myself hitting snooze. Repeatedly.

Since I like Diamond Dave the person, I refrained from using my original blog post title idea: "Might As Well Jump (Off A Bridge)."

Yes, Tuesday and Wednesday were only his first two shows and he'll probably improve in time. But I can't help thinking that Adam Corolla would have been a better choice for the NYC market. Although he's been tabbed as CBS Radio's West Coast solution to the Howard Stern absence, Corolla is funnier and more unpredictable.

Additional frustrating news: the home radio adaptor component to my Sirius S50 portable radio (installed in my car) won't be shipped until Jan. 20, meaning I'm missing about two weeks of Howard's full radio shows. Although the S50 is portable, it's got no built-in satellite receiver; the antenna it comes with is attached to the car. And I don't have the willpower or gasoline to wake up and sit in my car for four hours to listen to the broadcast, so until that part arrives, I'll just be listening to about 40 minutes' worth as I drive to and from work. Meh.

Note: I won't bore you with explanations about my three-week blogging vacation. I was busy and I also didn't want to force the issue with subpar postings. My apologies to all four of you who read this.