Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Forget the Final Four. It's all about the Frozen Four.

Boston College has made it into the semifinals of the NCAA hockey championship. Their first-round opponent? None other than fierce non-conference rival North Dakota.

The last time these two faced off in a Frozen Four final, this happened to clinch the championship:

Maybe it's just because BC fields (ices?) a better men's hockey team year-to-year than any other revenue-generating sport at the university, but I really enjoy watching great college hockey if BC's playing. The sport feels faster and more exciting than the National Hockey League, especially because every game in the national college tournament is win-or-go-home (versus a best-of-five or best-of-seven series in the NHL).

Here's hoping for more BC glory, starting April 5.

Monday, March 26, 2007

March 26: The mood remains 'HAPPI,' the year remains 'NEW'

We're about to enter April, and spring is officially here, but the people at this Yonkers Friendly's branch continue to enjoy the pursuit of "HAPPI"ness and the newness of 2007.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Five things I can't believe were said during last night's episode of "Pros vs. Joes"

I don't think these "Pros vs. Joes" competitors really meant to say these things:

"I'm going to bust that 170-pound, dripping wet a**." ~Andre Reed, referring -- I hope -- to a light-weight contestant's ENTIRE body weight if it were soaking wet. Otherwise, gross.

"How many people can say they got a ball in the face from Darryl Strawberry?" ~University of Wisconsin student/mascot who was bloodied after a pop-up cut his chin.

During "Pros Vs. Joes" commercial breaks, I was astounded at how lazy advertising copy has become:

"... must-own DVDs. Now on DVD." Yeah, those episodes of "Batman Beyond" and "Justice League Unlimited" were so awesome when they were on DVD. But "now" that they're on DVD, that's even better.

"... an all-new season of Ultimate Fighter 5." It's an amazing coincidence that the first four seasons were also called "Ultimate Fighter 5."

"... on the next all-new episode of 'Bullrun'! Encore next." Everything new is old again.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

We'll miss you, Bud

Calvert DeForest, a.k.a. Larry "Bud" Melman from the Letterman shows on NBC and CBS, died Monday.

Saddest fact in this CNN story: "There will be no funeral service for DeForest, who left no survivors."

A quick story on the significance of DeForest in my humble life: When I was a high-schooler, I caught my first episode of "Late Night with David Letterman." All I can recall was a segment in which DeForest was chasing after a cheesecake that was dangling in front of him on a wire. As he crept across the stage, he kept repeating the phrase "Dave, I want the cheesecake!" and my friend Chris Tormey and I couldn't stop laughing at what we saw. I've been a Letterman fan ever since.

Remind me to pour out a 40 today in Bud's honor. Seemed like a nice man.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New Heroes, new Web site

In celebration of the three new members of my New York City vocal band, we've revamped Unsung Heroes' Web site. And there was much rejoicing.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Justin Timberlake's heart 'bleeded,' a sequel was born

Chubby Checker had "The Twist" and "Let's Twist Again." Metallica had "Unforgiven" and "Unforgiven II." Now, Justin Timberlake has "Cry Me A River" and "What Goes Around/Comes Around."

Basically these two JT songs have the same feel (you can sing the chorus of "Cry Me A River" along to the chorus of "What Goes Around..." without it clashing) and message (You cheated, you're sorry, tough crap, I've moved on), except the latter has a sitar riff, a transition that tacks on a few more minutes and the word "bleeded (sic)."


For "bleeded" alone, I want to give the earlier song the edge, but right now, I can't stop listening to the newer of the two. It's that addictive.

I'm not going to lie; I'm somewhat embarrassed about my appreciation for Justin Timberlake's music. But the guy's talented. He sings some killer songs. And he's probably the closest thing to an uncreepy Michael Jackson the music world has these days.

Oh, and he might have tagged Scarlett Jo.

If you want some circumstantial evidence of this and have 10 minutes to burn, enjoy the following (There are some curse words in here, young'ns. So by clicking play you swear that you're of suitable age, blah blah blah):

Bleeded! Bleeded! Bleeded!

I like this commercial. Also, it reminds me that I have to get back to the gym.

It's easy to dump on bad commercials (read: most of them). But I find this low-key one endearing:

Maybe it's the fact that Derek Jeter's in it. That helps, but it's primarily because I love how charming the woman is.

This commercial works on every level: product name recognition and purpose, protagonist, music, message and realism. Nice job, Propel.

Looking out for his fellow nerds

Without giving too much away (just in case you haven't heard by now), I think the "Jeopardy!" returning champion, Scott Weiss, could have done something more to prevent this from happening, but wanted to let at least one of his competitors walk away with some cash:

And of course, I use the term "nerds" in only the most complimentary sense. I only wish I could be so smart, having to settle for the term "nerdy" at best.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I'm exhausted and I can't get up

Long week this week, hence the lack of posting on VB. If you want to see what I spent the majority of my work-related time on these last three days, check out partial transcripts of my most recent Remote Access interviews with Fox 5 anchor Ernie Anastos, Fox 5 weatherman Nick Gregory and Fox 5 and My9 Vice President/General Manager Lew Leone, and this front-page Journal News story.

In the meantime, I'm going back in time and investing in one of these bad boys, just in case my exhaustion overtakes me on the bathroom floor:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

When 'Fox 5 News at 10' turns 40, I have to ask Ernie Anastos if he likes 'Anchorman'

Turns out he does. I did not ask Anastos, however, for the translation of "San Diego." Ron Burgundy got into enough trouble when he tried.

For Remote Access and print editions of my newspaper, I had telephone interviews this afternoon with "Fox 5 News at 10" anchor Ernie Anastos; meteorologist Nick Gregory; and station vice president/general manager Lew Leone. The broadcast is celebrating its 40th anniversary this week. Here's a quick preview of the lighter fare that will be appearing on Remote Access:

• Leone joked that he would reveal where Anastos gets his nails done if it meant expanded coverage.
• Anastos likes "Anchorman," Gregory loves "The Simpsons"
• When I announced what time it was, all of them knew where their children were. And it wasn't even 10 p.m., yet.

Although more formal articles will appear in March 22 editions of our weekly newspapers, responses to some of my goofier questions will run on Remote Access this Wednesday for Leone; this Thursday for Anastos; and this Friday for Gregory.

Monday, March 12, 2007

OK, I'll admit that Boston's better than New York City on at least a couple of levels

1. Boston College: Cooler than any New York City university. (Of course.)

2. Boston Celtics Dancers (versus the Knicks City Dancers) based on visual evidence.

UPDATE: Fun fact about Boston Celtics Dancer Bridget:

Q. Anything interesting you would like Celtics fans to know about you?

[There's no answer after this question.]

'Campaign for Real Beauty' brought to you by the makers of SlimFast and that body spray that allegedly attracts supermodels

In this column, the always-brilliant Seth Stevenson of Slate's Ad Report Card informs us of two other products manufactured by Unilever, whose advertising strategy for Dove skin care products -- the "Campaign for Real Beauty" -- features and targets women of every shape and size.

- Axe Body Spray for men, whose commercials often feature skinny, scantily clad models.

- SlimFast.

Campaign for Real Suckers, more like.

Don't get me wrong; if you like Dove because of its actual skin care qualities, great. But it's probably not the best idea to buy it for its "message," even if said message is right on its own.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Should there be an unfortunate sequel to 'Money Train,' I wonder if I could jump over subway tracks with a running start in case a stuntman is needed

We're talking the 10-foot width of one subway car (not two), with a running start the width of a platform (say, 20 feet).

Terms: I'd have to clear the platform. This means I wouldn't have to land on my feet (bonus points for that), but grabbing the top of it and climbing out wouldn't count.

This picture offers a glance, which makes the gap a bit more ominous than it might be. I picture a Pitfall scorpion in there to make it interesting.

Things to consider:
- Low ceiling
- Even though I'm in decent shape, I was an awful high school athlete
- How cool I'd look doing it successfully; how awful I'd look otherwise

Place your bets, in case Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson come calling.

Friday, March 09, 2007

It might be 31º in Mount Kisco, but it sure is 'Hot' in Scranton

If this video doesn't make you want to watch every episode of NBC's "The Office" back to back, well... you're not like me. Pay close attention to the lyrics while you watch:

The attention to detail is astounding, no?

Nelly should just throw out his old video for "Hot In Herre" and replace it with this masterpiece. Just epic stuff.

If we could talk to the animals

Forget about trying to tackle global warming, extinction, disease or other environmental issues with whatever dialogue would follow. I'd just want to see a dog, horse and dolphin on "Jeopardy!" to see which is smartest.

Of course, such a dog could be the Ken Jennings of the canine circuit and any given dolphin could have been caught in too many tuna nets, so I wouldn't necessarily wager on Flipper. Whose first name, we'd learn, is Frank.

No, I'm not high right now.

The animals might even perform better than their human celebrity counterparts.

Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek: "Welcome back to 'Celebrity Jeopardy.' Before we begin the Double Jeopardy round, I'd like to ask our contestants once again to please refrain from using ethnic slurs."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Who's speaking?

This has bothered me for some time: When someone asks for you on the phone and you respond with a half-declarative/half-interrogative "Speaking," are you saying:

1. "Yes, I'm the one speaking."


2. "Yes, with whom am I speaking?"

It's probably the former, but the latter makes sense because people always identify themselves after you say "Speaking."

Monday, March 05, 2007

Yet another frickin' blog!

Today marks the launch of my second(!) personal blog, the more niche-oriented Headline Punchline.

Simple concept, endless possibilities: Take a real headline, make a stab at a punchline. Also, the format begs for reader input, so comment away with your own punchlines! Check it out and bookmark it, won't you? (And hell, click on an ad or two while you're at it.)

I suppose this is what happens when you surround yourself with "Saturday Night Live's" Weekend Update, The Onion, "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" for so many years (some more than others).

Happi New Old Year

On Friday, I took this admittedly awful cell phone picture of a Friendly's Restaurant marquee near the Yonkers entrance to the Sprain Brook Parkway. If you can't make it out, it reads "HAPPI NEW YEAR."

I'm willing to forgive the misspelling -- after all, vowels are "sometimes Y" for a reason -- but there's no excuse having that message still up there on March 5. I mean, even CHINESE New Year was 18 days ago.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Note to AP: If you announce that you're ignoring Paris Hilton, you're kind of defeating the purpose

Despite the irony, I appreciate the effort.

Full transcript of my interview with Isaac Mizrahi

(Photo by Lia Chang/Lia Chang Photography)

If you want to know how the fashion icon feels about Scarlett Johansson, Cate Blanchett, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Mr. Blackwell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tim Gunn, Ralph Lauren, Rosie O'Donnell, Donald Trump, Joan Rivers, Ryan Seacrest, Martha Stewart, Howard Stern, my style and/or himself, click here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

What's your preference: A concussion or mono?

As an actor, which would you prefer to do take after take after take during filming?

- Allow someone to remove a pillow while your head is on it, sending your head slamming into a wall and risking brain damage.

- Allow someone to spit a pretzel into your hand, potentially passing along a communicable malady.

Need help deciding? Consider the following Continental Airlines ad:

I'd probably opt for the wet snack in my hand (at the 24-second mark), but I'd bring a vat of Purel with me to the set. The only problem with this decision: The guy whose head hits the wall (at the 17-second mark) gets a better angle on camera.