Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Today is Varsity Basketweaving's first birthday! (Awww, it's so cute at this age!)

Months after reading and commenting on other people's blogs, especially those composed by NYC sketch comedians Elephant Larry and ESPN senior writer Buster Olney, I figured I'd jump on the blogwagon myself.

In my first post, I wondered if I'd acknowledge this blog past six months, then a mysterious blogger named Nate said that most blogs "don't make it past two" and that only the "strong survive." Darwinism took hold.

After a New York Times reporter discovered my blog complaints involving the lack of Sonic Drive-In franchises in the New York metropolitan area, VB was featured in the "Paper of Record" on Aug. 28. Little did I know then that my quote about focusing on "the ridiculous and the mundane" would be a rallying cry for Basketweavers everywhere.

In Varsity Basketweaving's first year, there were 230 posts and countless links to CNN news stories that are now busted. (You'd think that my time as a TimeWarner intern would have prevented such a thing, but noooooo....) I documented personal and vicarious encounters with baseball broadcasters, comedians, actors, a singer and Bam Margera. I commented on music, sports, pop culture, news, politics and gameshows. I lost an unknown number of blog posts due to computer crashes, quintupling my expletives.

I launched a Web counter just last month, then wondered why it took me so long. Since it launched April 26, there have been 898 unique visits -- with averages of 22 visits a day and 3 minutes and 19 seconds per visit -- and 1,604 page views in total, an average of 37 a day.

And through it all, here I am, surviving in reasonably fit fashion, despite all the references to (and trips for) fast food.

In celebration of all this metaphorical weaving, here are 20 of my favorite commentary posts, in chronological order:

1. Bachelor's burden (June 21, 2005)
2. My SNL Dream Cast (June 22, 2005)
3. News Reporter Pose 101 (July 1, 2005)
4. MC Masterpiece (Aug. 18, 2005)
5. Sonic Bust (Aug. 22, 2005)
6. Belt Bling (Aug. 25, 2005)
7. Live Free Or Die (Sept. 5, 2005)
8. It ain't exactly Nas and Jay-Z, but... (Jan. 10, 2006)
9. 'New Jersey: Most of Our Elected Officials Have Not Been Indicted' (Jan. 12, 2006)
10. There she is... Miss Wilmerica... (Jan. 31, 2006)
11. 'I'm a little teacup, short and AAAAAAAAGH!!!' (Feb. 1, 2006)
12. You can't spell FlamBey without L-A-M-E* (March 16, 2006)
13. Things A Blogger Might Say (March 24, 2006)
14. Let's Go Crazy (April 4, 2006)
15. Do Not Pass Golden Gate Bridge, Do Not Collect $200 (April 24, 2006)
16. Making 'Meet The Mets' seem charming and relevant (April 29, 2006)
17. Curtis Armstrong, American Hero (May 4, 2006)
18. You know it's been a long day when... (May 8, 2006)
19. Top 10 inevitable 'Deal Or No Deal' knock-offs (May 12, 2006)
20. Stuff and Things, Part II (May 28, 2006)

*The comments for this one make it my Varsity Basketweaving fave.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Kids today and their rock and roll

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California" is a hit. OK, I like a lot of your music, Peppers, but we get it. You love California, hence your last album name, recent single, affinity for the Lakers and about half of your material. Can't wait for your next single, "Under The Gerald Desmond Bridge."

2. The chorus of Hawthorne Heights' hit single "Saying Sorry" would rhyme better if the lead singer were Canadian:

"Saying goodbye this time, the same old story.
Seeing you cry, makes me feel like saying sorry."

Somewhere, Nickelback and Alanis Morisette are kicking themselves for not writing that song. "I'm sore-ree, Moose."

3. Bananarama has new album coming out called "Drama." I'm guessing the rejected names were "BananaDrama," "Drama Mamas," "Dramarama," "Diarama" and "20 Years of Cruel Summers."

Monday, May 29, 2006

Day of the day

Memorial Day. (Also acceptable: Monday.)

(Fake) headline of the day

"MLB Fines Russ Springer Negative $50,000 for Throwing at Bonds," courtesy of America's Finest News Source.

Picture of the day

Nice, but once Robin returns to terra firma, can we get the man some pants, please?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Stuff and Things, Part II

Sports Guy has Ramblings. I have Stuff and Things. Again.

- Dear Sony, Please stop shoving Macy Gray down our throats. No one other than Kevin Federline has been less worthy of a music career extension. "I Try" was harmless enough for a novelty one-hit-wonder, but between your crowbarring her into "Spider-Man's" only unwatchable clip and those commercials for your useless digital music player, it's over. Thank you. Sincerely, Everyone.

- Embarrassing commercial error du jour: I can't find a clip for it anywhere, but please alert me (and the advertising authorities) if you find footage of a Just For Men hair coloring ad, in which a man consoles a boy in front of a baseball scoreboard that has HOME where VISITOR should be and vice-versa. They should rename their product "Just For Men Who Happen Not To Know Anything About Sports. With Gray Hair."

- The theme of the last two items? Gray and annoying.

- Another commercial issue: A Musinex commercial in which the snotty green bad-guy (not Mr. Belvedere On Ice) proclaims, "The more, the miserable!" Obviously, the writers just wanted to match the syllables and assonance of "merrier," rather than the type of adjective, thus rendering the new version nonsensical. Why couldn't the Mucus Man just say, "The more, the scarier?" That's at least four ways better: a pun, a half-rhyme, a grammatically superior statement and a phrase with the same number of syllables. Oh, and did I mention that Mr. Mucus Man leads a conga line for his snotty friends? Using a scale of 1 to 10, I give this commercial a Bite Me.

- My favorite protest/road sign in one: "END ROAD WORK." Amen, sister. Bonus points for the more polite version, which I've never seen while driving.

- Why must I wait a full minute after I've heard a cell phone voice mail message to actually leave a message?

"To leave a message, please wait for the tone, or press 1 for more options. To leave a call-back number, press 5. To order a pizza, call a pizza place. To pull your hair out clump by clump, continue doing what you're doing."
Sometimes, I'll get impatient and press pound, thinking I'll get the beep right away, only to be asked for my password, forcing me to hang up, redial and wait for the beep again. Life's too short for this.

- Just a friendly reminder that Van Morrison and Richard Dawson are still alive. I have to check every now and then, because at one point about five years ago, I thought both were dead.

- It doesn't really hurt, but when subway doors close on any part of your body, you'll yelp like a school kid out of sheer surprise. The funnier part is that no one flinches on either side of the glass when it happens.

- There are awesomely bad songs, just plain-old clunkers, and then there's what I seriously consider to be the worst song of all time: LFO's "Summer Girls." If the blatant rip-off of Extreme's "More Than Words" chord progression isn't enough to convince you, then consider the inane song lyrics or the faux rap stylings of white-frat-boys-trying-to-be-tough. Opening stanza:

"New Kids On The Block had a bunch of hits.

Chinese food makes me sick.

And I think it's fly when girls stop by for the summer.

For the summer.”

If this is stream of consciousness, it pours right into the sewer. Some songs you laugh with, but this is my favorite to laugh at.

- I'm still accepting nominees for worst songs of the 21st century, but my frontrunners remain Eamon's "**** it," which sounds like it's sung and written by a fourth-grader and Amanda Perez's "Angel" which sounds like it's sung and written by a tone-deaf fourth-grader. (I deliberately omitted a link for the lyrics to Eamon's expletive-laced, not-suitable-for-work song. Be creative and find them using Google.)

- Not all songs suck! I'm a little late on this one, but Gnarles Barkley's "Crazy" is the best song I've heard in months, with the bridge-less track topping out at just under 3 minutes long. The textured, passionate vocals of Cee-Lo Green and funky beats of DJ Danger Mouse (of "The Gray Album" fame) thread beautifully over a sticky bass line and perfectly blended and resolved chords of "ooh" on the verses. Gorgeous.

- Number of Stuff and Things, Part II passages with unique references to "Gray": 3.

- On the drive back from Virginia Beach this month, I finally visited a Sonic Drive-In and not only enjoyed their outstanding cheeseburgers but also crowned my new favorite fast-food chain dessert: the Chocolate Cream Pie Shake. The crumbled-up pie pieces are just about the greatest garnish ever.

- 42nd Street between 7th and 8th avenues remains my least-favorite pedestrian block in New York City. Especially when it's at least 80 degrees outside. Oh, the humanity!

- Heard on the train this weekend: Senior citizens complaining loudly about incontinence and gynocological appointments. While I'm eating a cheeseburger. Double ick. Thank you, iPod, for drowning out the evil voices outside my head, for a change.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Apparent plot arc for 'Deadwood's' fourth season: Everyone dies.

That's because it's all but settled that there won't be a fourth season, according to Los Angeles Times reporter Scott Collins.

By far, this is the worst TV cancellation news since "Press Your Luck" went off the air. Putting my editorial spin on Collins' facts, HBO is dumping too much money into the great-but-not-a-fraction-as-awesome "Rome," and "Deadwood's" ratings aren't approaching "Sopranos" levels.

As the Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan wisely states: "Sure, HBO might feel the need to pinch pennies these days, but let’s not forget -- in 2005, the channel had earnings of $1 billion on revenues of more than $3 billion. One billion dollars in profits, and there’s not enough money for a fourth season of “Deadwood”? HBO is being penny-wise and pound-foolish, in my opinion."

Because of the modest ratings, it probably hasn't helped that it hasn't won too many trophies from the Golden Globes or Emmys, either. And with the actors allowed to pursue other projects, you might has well bury the show next to Wild Bill Hickok. It appears that it will sadly remain the best-kept secret on television when it fades to black this year.

Why am I so upset? It's the best show on television. Maybe because "Deadwood" has the best combination of writing and ensemble cast on TV since "Seinfeld," and is almost as funny. Without hyperbole, I can say that every main character and supporting actor on the show is brilliant and that there's never been a bad episode. And as Al Swearengen, Ian McShane is as phenomenal, if not better, than James Gandolfini in making the viewer relate to and like someone who, superficially, is a dispicable character.

And Al's just one of the great characters: Bullock, Calamity Jane, Charlie Utter, Doc, Merrick, Wu, and Leon (That Guy from Square One TV!) steal scenes like they're Kristen Bell's grifter character in season one. (You might recognize Bell better as "Veronica Mars," which she started a year later.)

I wasn't asking for 10 seasons; just wanted one or two more to tie up any loose ends with some real closure. While creator/writer David Milch said HBO offered him a six-episode season, he said he didn't like how that worked when he was supervising "Hill Street Blues." I'm not sure I agree with Milch's decision, but it probably means that "Deadwood's" as good as dead.

There's a side of me that hopes otherwise. I think Collins was brilliant in closing his article by quoting the end one of Swearengen's all-time best speeches:

"The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man -- and give some back."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Taylor or Katherine?

I like 'em both, but my vote goes to Elliott. What's not to like about this guy?

Honorable mention to Chris, too.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

FUSE is nifty.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mr. BelveDEAR GOD!

Jason Bateman and Alyssa Milano watch Mr. Belvedere and Super Mario Bros. -- on ice!

No, I'm not kidding.

Much like the Best Week Ever blog, which brought this video to my rapt attention, I am rendered nearly speechless. Nearly.

Talking points:

• This video likely marks the beginning of Bateman and Milano's transition into obscurity, only to come back years later stronger than ever. I'll call this phenomenon Charmed Arrested Development. And you can call me punnoying.

• I think Bateman is a great actor (seriously!) and nothing conveys this better than the way he is cheesily thrilled to find a "Nintendohhhh!" game system, as if he just found his lost doggie. Bonus points for gushing, "I'd love to play!" while gripping a controller. And the Emmy goes to....

• Christopher Hewitt as Lynn Belvedere as King Koopa. (Applause.) In blotchy green face make-up, no less.

• Princess Peach's voice is far less regal than I would have anticipated. Unless she's a Long Island Princess. Then it's totally accurate.

• Music! Laughter! Music and Laughter!

• My absolute favorite part: At the video's 4:30 mark, after Luigi has vaporized various enemies, check out the Hammer's half-hearted approach to vanquish the green-clothèd plumber. Just sad. With sad meaning hilarious.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Useless TV commentary

For a show that's going off the air in 10 more episodes, I can't help but feel that very little has happened in "The Sopranos" over the previous 10. That's not to say the show hasn't been entertaining. Pauly Walnuts is back to his great one-liners, the Vito subplot has had its moments and the Gandolfini-Falco connection makes the show a must-watch. But, among other reasons, I still have a tough time forgiving the show for basically casting off one of the show's best characters (Uncle Junior). Season rating, compared to previous seasons: B. Season rating, compared to everything else on TV: A-.

Days until season three of "Deadwood" begins: 21. Over/under on the number of hilarious curses in episode one: 30.

Shows that maintain my interest on the opposite end of the Quality Programming Food Chain now include "Deal Or No Deal," "Parental Control," "Date My Mom" and "Maury Povich," which at this point might as well be retitled "The Paternity Test Show with Some Guy Named Maury." The common theme in all these shows? The art of choosing whom to root for and against, which often runs counter to popular opinion.

I (only) caught the last three hours of "Grey's Anatomy" while on vacation this week. After some initial resistance on behalf of my masculinity, I have to admit it's a great show. But why is seemingly every show's season finale this year two hours? "Desperate Housewives" and "24" are doing the same thing, although I'll be spending those hours doing anything else. It could be argued that "Grey's" had a THREE-HOUR(?!) season finale, with the first hour last Sunday and the next two on Monday night. Sweeps, shmeeps. Where's the editing, people?

In other medical drama news, I'll give some props to Hugh Laurie for "House," too. I know I ragged on the show's limited premise before, but while the writing isn't as good as "Grey's," Laurie keeps the show entertaining.

"American Idol," anyone? I'm probably rooting for Taylor Hicks over Katherine McPhee, because even though McPhee is more versatile, more marketable and far prettier in a dress, no one has had more fun in the history of the show than the Soul Patrol. Still, I'm angry that the same judges who have turned on McPhee in the last six weeks basically condoned Kellie Pickler's tiresome act -- and I emphasize "act" -- for however long she overstayed her welcome. If his show contract allows him to, Chris Daughtry should take the Fuel gig now. He'd be joining a credible band and wouldn't have to worry about sounding credible as a solo rock artist under other management. Last, let's all take a moment to pour out our 40's in the name of Elliott Yamin. In addition to his solid vocals, adorable mom and genuinely humble nature, that guy was my favorite underdog in show history. Let's retroactively declare him the winner of season three over Fantasia Barino.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Back with more commentary next week. In the meantime, keep Weaving! (Applause. Roll credits. Fade to black. Start infomercial.)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Top 10 inevitable 'Deal Or No Deal' knock-offs

10. "Seal Or No Seal" (Target network: Bravo) - Heidi Klum gets the reality-TV tables turned on her, deciding whether or not to dump her husband in favor of other pop favorites from the 1990's, including Right Said Fred, Dino and Gerardo.

9. "Teal Or No Teal" (Target network: ESPN) - Contestants compete to redesign the Florida Marlins' uniform.

8. "Neil Or No Neil" (Target network: VH1) - Neil Sedaka judges singing hopefuls, who hope to earn the title of "ear delicious."

7. "Reel Or No Reel" (Target network: Outdoor Life Network) - Host Larry The Cable Guy pits fly fishers against hand fishers. Get'r done.

6. "Heel Or No Heel" (Target network: ESPN) - Cameras follow around a heavily recruited high school basketball player, who must decide if he wants to play for North Carolina or Duke.

5. "Feel Or No Feel" (Target network: Playboy) - Um, yeah.

4. "Wheel Or No Wheel" (Target network: Travel Channel) - Contestants have to get from Point A to Point B without wheeled transportation. The winner of the first challenge earns immunity and a pogo stick.

3. "Biel Or No Biel" (Network: The WB/CW) - Already been done under the pseudonym "7th Heaven."

2. "Veal Or No Veal" (Target network: Food) - Hungry PETA members and vegetarians compete to see who can go the longest without eating caged calves, their only option. The show's winner is the last person to cave in or die.

1. "Kneel Or No Kneel" (Target network: EWTN) - Cameras follow young adults who decide if they want to part from their faith while subjecting them to sinful situations, including the new hit TV show, "Feel Or No Feel."

Beyond awesome

I'm going to be on vacation next week, so it'll likely be a small break from blogging. Miss me!

While I'm medicating my inevitable sunburn on Virginia Beach, Kid Beyond is going to be performing at 8 p.m. May 12 at New York City's Living Room. I highly recommend going to see his free-but-tips-encouraged 50-minute set that Tuesday night. I caught Kid cohosting the 2004 Harmony Sweepstakes a cappella competetion and he's one of the best live acts I've ever seen, a cappella or otherwise.

If you skip the technical jargon between the 3- and 4-minute marks, this video gives you an idea of his awesomeness:

Check out more info and clips on Kid's Web page and MySpace page, which launches an infectious reinterpretation of Portishead's "Wandering Star."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Go the distance

Jocks and artsy types tend to clash. While I consider myself a big sports fan, I often was picked dead-last for sports in elementary school, so I tend to side with the artsy folk when it's one versus the other.

But in Philadelphia, where there's a debate about where to mount a statue of the title character from "Rocky," I have to side with the jocks.

Anyone with any appreciation for pop culture knowledge revels in that image of Rock triumphantly running up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Sly Stallone, who donated the statue, favors "a prominent location" like the museum, but officials from the museum and the city's art commission are among the most vocal critics because they're worried about the statue's commercial nature and artistic worth, according to ESPN.

"If a film about Donald Duck in Philadelphia comes out, do we put a Donald Duck statue in our park system?" whined the city's park commissioner, clearly missing the point. "Rocky is fine. But other films have relevance, too. Where do we stop?"

We stop at Rocky, of course. Duh.

Does any movie better define the grit and determination of the people of Philadephia? (Well, this movie does that too, but in much more depressing fashion.) The character of Rocky embodies achievement in the face of great adversity, in ways that a cartoon duck has yet to experience. Few non-superhero characters, set in any city, better emblemize this spirit than Rocky.

In addition, whether Philly residents like it or not, when outsiders think of their city, they think of cheesesteaks, "Rocky," recently cursed sports franchises, and Boyz II Men -- probably in that order. And since no one outside of Geno's would want to mount a sculpture of a giant hoagie next to the Ben Franklin Museum (mmm... hoagies), I'm all for the statue that would launch 1 million "Adrieeeeen" imitations from frat boys, grandmothers and toddlers alike.

I'll admit I don't even like boxing or the movie that much. But I know how much of a transformative, motivational power it has on people who live in, and nowhere near, the City of Brotherly Love.

I also admit I have a tough time arguing for the artistic merit of either the statue or boxing. But I think the great irony lost on the artsy folk arguing against the statue is that 1976's Best Picture is art that inspires emotion, passion and adrenaline for Philadelphia Museum of Art visitors, who might otherwise not race to climb the 99 steps and wonder what to do after they catch their breath.

Should we really discourage museum visitors who know more about Mr. T than Toulouse-Lautrec, who fear El Greco more than Ivan Drago? The city must permanently install the statue of Rocky atop the museum steps. There's no better embassador for both art and sport.

Then again, "Rocky VI" hasn't been released yet.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Because dinosaurs weren't smart enough to defy extinction or prove their existence to Carl Everett, it's easy to call them dumb. After all, we can taunt them all we want because they can't eat us -- unless some scientist manages to go all Jurassic Park on some dino DNA. (Crikey, Crichton!)

But here's a dinosaur that's really dumb. Especially because he plays for the Detroit Tigers.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

That's some bad mayo

Conan O'Brien surfs around the dial and takes us to the Jar Barf channel, complete with earnest theme music. Although I'll never look at cranberry sauce the same way ever again, I promise that this clip is far more funny than gross. Warning: Immediate Sound.

What does it say about my comic sensibilities that I watched this video about seven times in a row? And who at "Late Night" must I award a hearty handshake for coming up with such a bizarre, hilarious concept?

Today's VB poll! Which is funnier: The audio or the video? I'm saying audio, but it's close.

Monday, May 08, 2006

You know it's been a long day when

... you reload your own blog to see if there's any new content on it.

'Suspicious Package'

... would be a great name for a new Spinal Tap album, especially in this day and age.

It's like, how much more suspicious could this be? And the answer is none. None more suspicious.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Savage Steve Holland, Another American Hero

Savage Steve Holland not only directed Curtis "Booger" Armstrong in "Better Off Dead," but also animated the Whammies on "Press Your Luck."

I knew there was a connection between my last two blog posts!

Reason No. 229 why I should be a (bigger) celebrity

Because I would absolutely dominate the B-through-D-list competition on "Gameshow Marathon," whose first of seven episodes might make its debut on CBS on May 31. What an appropriate blog-worthy present for what will be the first anniversary of Varsity Basketweaving!

The celebrities on "Gameshow Marathon" will compete in part or all of the games from "The Price Is Right," "Let's Make a Deal," "Beat The Clock," "Press Your Luck," "Card Sharks," "Match Game" and "Family Feud." If I had my way, I'd also want them to face off in "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" and "Jeopardy!" Oh, wait.

Still, I'm particularly excited for much-needed revivals of "Press Your Luck" (only the greatest gameshow ever, as these pictures prove) and "Match Game," which, according to Wikipedia, "will feature Betty White, George Foreman, Kathy Griffin, Bruce Vilanch, Adam Carolla, and Adrianne Curry as panelists." Not bad, but the latter would be 1,000 times better if Charles Nelson Reilly and Richard Dawson were available. Let's face it: the world is always a better place when CNR and Dick Dawson are mugging for the camera.

Ricki Lake(?!) has agreed to host the show. Huh? If you're going to go with the host of a trashy talk-show, the obvious choice would be Jenny Jones, who actually won $18,706 on "Press Your Luck." Come on, people!

Leslie Nielsen, Tim Meadows, Lance Bass, Kathy Najimy, Paige Davis and Brande Roderick appear to be this season's "Gameshow Marathon" contestants.

Reason No. 230 why I should be a (bigger) celebrity: Because I'm already a bigger celebrity than Paige Davis and Brande Roderick.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Curtis Armstrong, American Hero

I've sometimes used this blog space to tell stories of personal interactions with celebrities in the last year, and I've also used it to proclaim the greatness of actor Curtis Armstrong, who probably is most famous for his work as Booger in "Revenge of the Nerds." But never before have I written about an interaction with Mr. Armstrong.

Until today.

Granted, it was an interaction between Armstrong and one of my best friends, Jeff. But Jeff has given me credit for inspiring the exchange.

A little background: Armstrong, who also made quality cameos in "Risky Business" and "Ray," has always been one of those people I would celebrate with my college friends Jeff, Mark and Nate. You see, "Nerds" has a special place in our hearts, perhaps due to themes to which we can relate a little too much. At one point about five years ago, Mark and I were half-joking, half-serious about writing a movie screenplay, and if it were picked up, strong-arming the studio into casting Armstrong in a prominent role. Anything else, we figured, would be a dealbreaker.

On May 1, CNN picked up on a Hollywood Reporter story that progress had been made on a "Nerds" remake, slated for release next year. Disappointed by the news, I forwarded the CNN link the next day to Mark, Jeff and Nate. In the e-mails that followed, we expressed pessimism:

Jeff: "It will undoubtedly be weak. That said, I credit [the Hollywood Reporter writer] for being the first person, present company excluded, who I have ever heard describe 'Nerds' as 'seminal.' Somebody else understands, boys."

Mark: "Wait a minute. I've got a bad feeling about this... wait... this sucks...."

Nate: "They should just re-release the original in the theater like the 'Star Wars' special edition. It cannot be remade; the casting was too perfect."

Scattered among these comments were "Nerds" quotes that reference Omega Mu's presentation, poker terminology and Booger's etymology.

As much fun as this was, Jeff wanted a more authoritative ruling. So, yesterday, he went a step or nine further, reaching out to the only person who could set the record straight on whether remaking this American classic would be cool. My edits in red are for the sake of clarity, but according to Jeff, "The discussion below is absolutely, 100% real. You can all bow before me. I think this makes my decade."


From: Chamberlin, Jeffrey D.
Sent: Wednesday, May 03, 2006 12:22 PM
Curtis Armstrong
Subject: New Nerds?

Hi Curtis,

Thanks for all of the great work you've done over the years -- I am a huge fan!!

As one who regards "Revenge of the Nerds" as one of the seminal works of the 1980s, I was a bit dismayed to here that they are remaking "Nerds" in 2007. Seems to me that the magic of the original "Nerds" is truly irreplaceable. How do you feel about this?

Also, I've always been curious to ask you if Charles Demar
[Armstrong's character in "Better Off Dead"] was an offshoot of Dudley "Booger"
Dawson -- the two characters are obviously quite similar. What elements of Booger did you conciously bring to the Charles Demar character, and which elements of Booger do you regard as unique only to Booger?

Many thanks,
Jeff Chamberlin


Sent: Wednesday, May 03, 2006 3:28 PM
To: Chamberlin, Jeffrey D.
Subject: Re: New Nerds?


Thanks for your note. I guess I have to with hold judgement on the new Nerds. I honestly don't have passionate feelings about it one way or the other, it having been so long ago.

Charles De Mar was sort of an offshoot of Booger.
["Better Off Dead" director]
Savage Steve Holland was a great fan of both Nerds and Risky Business, so De Mar was like a bastard son of Booger and Miles Dalby [Armstrong's character in "Risky Business"], if such a thing were possible.

Best wishes,

Curtis Armstrong

Now this, my friends, deserves quite a bit of commentary.

1. For the e-mail to inform Mark, Nate and me of this life-changing, earth-shattering exchange, Jeff simply titled the message "CURTIS ARMSTRONG." In his next e-mail to me, Jeff said, "[It] was the discussion that you initiated that inspired me to revisit the Curtis fan webpage" and send the e-mail to Armstrong. (Note that Jeff said "revisit." 'Nuff said.)

2. Note how Jeff cleverly integrates "seminal" into his e-mail to Armstrong. Seamless.


4. Armstrong's turn-around time to reply to Jeff's e-mail? Three hours and six minutes. I'm guessing this a combination of fan loyalty, genuine generosity and general availabilty.

5. In expressing polite indifference about the "Nerds" remake, Armstrong seems to strike the ideal balance between appreciation for his contribution to fine cinema and moving on from a milestone that happened 22 years ago.

6. I like that Armstrong corrected Jeff on the construction of Charles De Mar's last name, but didn't make an issue of it in his response. Between this and his explanation of character development, Armstrong shows pride in his characters and exhibits extreme dedication to detail.


8. I love that for Internet Movie Database's biography of Savage Steve Holland, there are only two pieces of information. One's about Holland's junior high school. Then there's this nugget.

9. More commentary from Jeff: "I love the Booger/Demar analysis. Classic. I'm considering asking him some more Nerds questions without [ticking] him off. This is a gold mine -- I could ask him if Ted McGinley is really a jerk in real life, if he ad-libbed the poker conversation with Takashi ... . I mean, the bounds are limitless. I reiterate: I now have email contact with Curtis Armstrong."


So, although he certainly didn't ask Jeff or me for it, I'm going to give Armstrong a few plugs for his gracious reply and his overall awesomeness. Check him out in theaters in the critically acclaimed "Akeelah and the Bee," and on television as recurring characters on "American Dad!" and "Grey's Anatomy."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

ABC to broadcast event where childhoods go to die

The National Spelling Bee is moving to prime-time network television.

"We like to think of ourselves as the original reality television programming," said a spelling bee official who probably never saw "The Real World" on MTV -- or anything on MTV.

Spelling Bee broadcasts on ESPN began in 1994, according to the CNN link above. "The Real World" started in 1992, according to

It's pretty easy to spell "denial" without the language of origin.

National Hookey League

TV markets lost after the first round of the National Hockey League's Eastern Conference playoffs: New York (No. 1 market overall), Detroit (a.k.a. Hockeytown), Montreal (Most successful franchise in hockey history) and Philadelphia (Major market hungry for first pro title in any sport since 1983).

Eastern Conference TV markets remaining: New Jersey, Buffalo, Carolina and Ottawa.

Not exactly the high-profile ratings splash the NHL wanted to make after a year-long strike. That's basically an 0-for-4 in terms of reaching casual fans in cities with the best combination of huge potential audiences and devout hockey fans.

Can we get a Round One do-over? And an amen?

Monday, May 01, 2006

It could be argued that SUV drivers are always stealing gas, but...

CNN headline: "SUV drivers steal $8,100 in gas."

So that's, what, half a tank?

Why not go for the full tank, which would be roughly the cost of ... an SUV?

The best solution for chapped lips

Carry a tube of Blistex, ChapStick, or any other kind of lip medication. You don't even have to apply the product directly to your lips. Its patented Placebo Action works directly from your pocket or purse.

Want to get chapped lips? Forget or lose your tube. Works every time.