Friday, June 30, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
ESPN baseball god Peter Gammons suffered a brain aneurysm yesterday, and the news hit me much harder than I anticipated.
I believe every real baseball fan considers Gammons to be an honorary uncle or brother. As a young teen, I had been told about this phenomenal baseball writer, and quickly found out for myself how great he was upon seeing him regularly on ESPN's "Baseball Tonight." It's nearly impossible to argue that anyone has a more relevant baseball perspective.
For the last couple of years, I've had an ever-changing Top 10 list of people I want to meet. Gammons has always been a part of that list, which currently includes Bill Murray, Chris Rock, Bono, Artie Lange, Al Pacino, Sting, Kate Bosworth, Amy Poehler and Don Mattingly. (All, obviously, for very different reasons.)
Equally brilliant, witty and self-effacing, Gammons has offered balanced insight that pleases both Yankees and Red Sox fans -- no small feat! -- while giving Royals and Pirates fans hope for prospects he'd seen over the last year. He not only can discuss the merits of Papelbon and Pearl Jam, I have no doubt he could seamlessly incorporate the two in a brilliant metaphor. And if you want to read one of the greatest Hall of Fame speeches of all time, you'll serve yourself well reading this.
ESPN reported that Pete's in "good condition" as of this morning. There are so few things baseball fans can agree on, but two of them are the deepest reverence for Gammons and hopes for the speediest full recovery.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Thirty-three-year-old Kevin Richardson announced he was leaving the Backstreet Boys to "move on with the next chapter of my life."
I'm sure his new friends at the nursing home will welcome him with a few raucous rounds of bingo. (Get it? He's old! He's a Backstreet Senior Citizen! Is this thing on?)
Why don't they just converge with another '90s group needing a career resurgence to form Backstreet Boyz II Men?
Their opening act could be Another Bad Aaron Carter Creation... at the playground, you know? Play-grouuuuuund!
Renée Zellweger and Kenny Chesney Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
In using Nelly Furtado's hit song "Promiscuous" to promote Verizon, the company's commercial totally bails on alluding to anything remotely sexual -- including the name of the song!
Check out how this commercial splices together the dullest lyrics (in red below), no matter how far apart they are from one another in the actual song. Who needs artistic integrity, anyway?
The feeling that you gave me really drives me crazy
You don't have a player on your trunk
I was at a loss of words
First time that we spoke
If ya lookin' for a girl that’ll treat you right
If you lookin’ for her in the day time in the light
You might be the type if I play my cards right
I'll find out by the end of the night
You expect me to just let you hit it
But will you still respect me if you get it?
All I can do is try, gimme one chance
What’s the problem? I don’t see no ring on your hand
I be the first to admit it, I’m curious about you
You seem so innocent
You wanna get in my world, get lost in it
Boy I’m tired of running, let's walk for a minute
Wherever you are
I’m all alone
And it's you that I want
You already know
That I’m all yours
What you waiting for?
You're teasing me
You know what I want
And I got what you need
Let's get to the point
Cause we're on a roll
Roses are red
Some diamonds are blue
Chivalry is dead
But you're still kinda cute
Hey! I can't keep my mind off you
Where you at, do you mind if I come through
I’m out of this world come with me to my planet
Get you on my level do you think that you can handle it?
I guess this was in an effort to appease people who strongly believe in asexuality. Because everyone watching this commercial, of course, was created through mitosis.
The irony is that, despite all of Verizon's efforts to de-sexify the song, someone in the commercial is clearly downloading another Nelly Furtado song called "Loose."
I honestly had no desire to see this movie prior to watching the trailer, but "Talladega Nights" definitely has the "Anchorman"/"The 40 Year Old Virgin" vibe going for it, which is always a good feeling.
Monday, June 19, 2006
By now, many of you Top 40 music enthusiasts have probably heard the bizarre collaboration between rapper DMC (of RUN DMC fame) and songstress Sarah McLachlan (of Lilith Fair fame) for a cover of Harry Chapin's AM Gold classic "Cat's In The Cradle" (of Ugly Kid Joe infamy). The song's fine, I guess. The only real disappointment is that they didn't call themselves DMc-Lachlan for the single.
But how'd they get together? Secret Santa drawing?
Or did they invent the coolest new way to brainstorm collaborations just a few months before I did?
1. Go to your iTunes library (or comparable music program), click the shuffle button, then press play.
2. List the first two artists, who will become the collaborators, then the third artist and that artist's third song, which will become the covered song. No cheating allowed, but you can skip an artist if you've used that artist in an earlier example. If the song you land already involves a collaboration, count them as one artist and find another to pair them with.
Here's an example, using the aforementioned song as inspiration:
DMC & Sarah McLachlan cover Harry Chapin's "Cat's In The Cradle"
3. When you're done, pick the song you'd most and least want to hear as well as the one you think would be the funniest.
Here we go!
1. Cherry Poppin' Daddies & Jars Of Clay cover R.E.M.'s "South Central Rain"
2. Lenny Kravitz & Abba cover Sting and Eric Clapton's "It's Probably Me"
3. The Muppets & No Doubt cover The Crystal Method's "Cherry Twist"
4. Randy Newman & Frank Sinatra cover La Bouche's "Be My Lover"
5. Stone Temple Pilots & Propellerheads cover Radiohead's "High And Dry"
6. Boston College Acoustics & Brian Setzer Orchestra cover Richard Wagner's "Flight Of The Valkeries"
7. The Beatles & Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach cover Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall"
8. Linkin Park and Jay-Z & Wesley Willis cover Foo Fighters' "My Hero"
9. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers & Smash Mouth cover Train's "Ramble On" (already a cover of the Led Zeppelin song)
10. Boston & Dave Matthews Band cover Fiona Apple's "Shadowboxer"
Song I'd most want to hear: I think the STP/Propellerheads version of "High And Dry" would be genuinely awesome.
Song I'd least want to hear: Lenny Kravitz and Abba singing "It's Probably Me." Because they'd be right. (Honorable mention goes to Cherry Poppin' Daddies and Jars Of Clay, which might be polar opposites on the sexual repression spectrum.)
Funniest song: Although the idea of Linkin Park, Jay-Z and Wesley Willis singing the Foo song would be phenomenal ("There goes my hero, you [bleepin'] jerk!"); and because the idea of The Muppets and No Doubt working together seems just a little too likely to happen; I'll have to choose the comedic gold of That Guy from "Toy Story" and Ol' Blue Eyes singing "Be My Lover." Can't you just picture Sinatra lilting the "Ya-dah-dah-dee-da-DAH-dah-dah" part?
OK, your turn. Curious to see what you got.
Although I knew this ESPN advertisement was referencing a pun on the soccer call "Gooooooal!", for a good five seconds, I was still trying to figure out why it was referencing "Goo." Yuck.
Then I realized it was a pun involving the word "Go."
To this ad, I respond with "Boooooo!" (And no, I'm not yelling for a guy named Bo.)
Today's unintentional Varsity Basketweaving theme: Graphic design.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Good news for Mets fans: Your team currently has the best record in the National League.
Bad news for Mets fans: Your team, throughout the season, has had the worst theme song in any league.
I'm not sure I can take full credit for this, but I am confident I wrote about how gawd-awful this song was more than a month before the New York Post and ESPN's Page 2 decided to report similar complaints.
Thanks to my friend Valentina, who not only brought Tim Keown's later-but-admittedly-awesome Page 2 story to my attention, but also begged the question, "Did you start this?"
Entertainment Weekly lists the 10 funniest movie dads of all time. Maybe, due to the grades handed out, it should have offered a Top 5:
Jim's Dad (Eugene Levy), "American Pie" - EW Grade: B
Henry Jones Sr. (Sean Connery), "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" - EW Grade: A
Armand & Albert Goldman (Robin Williams, Nathan Lane), "The Birdcage" - EW Grade: A-
Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), "National Lampoon's Vacation" - EW Grade: C
Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler), "Big Daddy" - EW Grade: B-
Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman), "The Royal Tenenbaums" - EW Grade: A
Sheldon Kornpett & Vince Ricardo (Alan Arkin, Peter Falk), "The In-Laws" - EW Grade: N/A
Gil Buckman (Steve Martin), "Parenthood" - EW Grade: A-
Old Man Dunphy (Alec Baldwin), "Outside Providence" - EW Grade: C-
Bernie Focker (Dustin Hoffman), "Meet the Fockers" - EW Grade: B-
Three questions to ask:
1. How did "National Lampoon's Vacation" get an underwhelming C?
2. How did "Meet The Fockers" get an overwhelming B-?
3. How did the original "The In-Laws," evidently worthy of making this list, not merit an EW grade? (And I don't wanna hear, "Oh, Entertainment Weekly wasn't around back in 1979." It wasn't around for "National Lampoon's Vacation," either, and that classic somehow got a ridiculous C rating.)
Thursday, June 15, 2006
OK, you're someone from Major League Baseball's front office and you have to suspend one of the following players for five games:
- Player from TEAM A, who hurtles a 90+ mph fastball into the back of player from TEAM B, which happens to be coasting with a lead.
- Player from TEAM B, who pitches inside -- but does not hit -- a player from TEAM A in "retalliation" and would be thrown out of that game.
Which player would you pick?
Well, the knuckleheads at MLB suspended the player from TEAM B (Randy Johnson of the New York Yankees), which I might actually understand if he actually hit the guy on TEAM A (The Cleveland Indians). But he didn't -- and he already served a suitable punishment because he was thrown out of that game.
Annoying postscript: Derek Jeter was hit with yet another pitch in today's game. I am almost positive no suspension will follow.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
1. It's not a fourth season, but a couple of two-hour movies will at least offer some closure for the best drama on TV.
2. The first episode of Season Three was better than anything on "The Sopranos" this year.
3. Now I can play poker against Al Swearengen himself!
Sunday, June 11, 2006
I'm rooting for the Mavs in the finals, but add this clip to the list of reasons why Shaquille O'Neal might be the coolest basketball player of all time.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Interesting that the most culturally relevant "Star Wars" moment* since 1983's "Return of the Jedi" involves Gnarls Barkley performing at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards. Bonus points for Borat's introducion.
*Excluding Triumph The Insult Comic Dog at the New York premiere of "Attack of the Clones"
“Would you go to a Dixie Chicks’ concert?”
The choices for this Internet poll are merely “Yes” and “No.” Where are the options for “Yes, but only if I got free tickets because I’m not much of a country music fan” or “No, but they are talented” or “No, but not because of their political stance” or "No, my great-grandfather just died, how could you even think of asking such an insensitive question at a time like this?"
Anyway, as of about 1:30 p.m. EST, about 55 percent of those who answered voted "No," but probably only because my alternate responses were not included. I abstained because of the inability to vote with a three-paragraph essay attached.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
In light of nerds everywhere mocking Nintendo for naming its new console the Wii (pronounced "We"), here are some of the brand names that were rejected* for the game system:
• Thee Collectivee
*Assuming they were ever considered.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Lauren: "Did you ever see that episode of, like, 'Seinfeld,' where that bald guy's fiancée, like, died because she licked all those envelopes?"
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Which pair of celebrity parents would you rather have? Britney Spears and Kevin Federline or Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise?
According to a Best Week Ever poll directed at pop culture nerds like me, more people would rather listen to daddy talk about Body Thetans than sit as a newborn in the front seat with mommy driving.
This is one of those moments when someone would tell me, "YOU HAVE TO PICK!" and I'd reply with, "No, and give me back my Blankie!" But if Blankie's safety were compromised, I'd probably opt for my own "Mission Impossible IV."
Monday, June 05, 2006
The Silver Lining video game trilogy's first chapter is slated for release later this year. And I have to say that the designers' early vision of Connor, one of the four characters I voiced, makes me proud of my dreamy alter-ego -- complete with skirt-pant awesomeness and a handsome mullet inspired by The WB's prime-time lineup:
This sketch is courtesy of The Silver Lining's brand-new site, which you should definitely visit.
Friday, June 02, 2006
I don't know how I had never seen this life-changing game show clip before, but check out William Shatner as he melts down in 1977 after disqualifying a contestant from the grand prize on "The $20,000 Pyramid." (Grainy footage, but still amazing.)
Late last night was another moment in my life that reminded me of a spoken line from Beck's first and greatest hit: "Things are gonna change, I can feel it."
Then again, that song is called "Loser."
Perhaps I should reach out to less perplexing sources of optimism. Where's that KC And The Sunshine Band tape I never owned?