Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Stix and Stones will break attendance records

At the risk of getting too cheesetastic, I just want to thank the Boston College Acoustics and Bostonians for allowing Unsung Heroes to open a phenomenal, squeezing-room-only show on campus on Saturday night. Definitely one of the highlights of my performance career, thanks to the generosity of both groups. You rule!

Additional props to the Harvard LowKeys for opening up real estate and the middle of their set list for a 45-minute set that afternoon. Huzzah!

And, perhaps most of all, thanks to old and new friends who packed each house with raucous energy for both shows. The whole experience was unforgettable.

Now, back to my usual distant commentary....

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Night Court: The Crime-Solving Court*

Hooray for my favorite awful syndicated sitcom of the '80s, NBC's "Night Court." Reruns ran nonstop on the local Fox station when I was young, so I often mimicked the "Ewwoookay" of Bull, the frightened squeals of Dan, and the "very special" breakdown of Mac while he shouted "Am I Blue?!" at a karaoke bar -- not unlike Jesse Spano's I'm so excited/I'm so scared!" ditty on "Saved By The Bell." Warning: Immediate Sound.

I think as a preteen, I wanted to be Judge Harold T. Stone. There was something appealing about the idea of being a clowny sort of authority figure, while playfully sparring with and lusting over a pretty, goofy blonde attorney. To this day, I'll follow obvious diatribes with the phrase "What's your point?" and stick up for crooner Mel Tormé (R.I.P.) for little to no reason.

One punchline sticks in my memory for some reason. It involved an exchange between Harry and Buddy (John Astin) while they were exchanging arbitrary code phrases. The one Harry begrudgingly uttered in response to Buddy's was "The chocolate mousse is not in season." Solid. And then the audience at home was treated to ... that laugh.

Actually, "that laugh" sticks in my head more than any story content from the show. I'm not sure if anyone else remembers this, but with "Night Court" -- and only that show -- you could hear this one guy in the studio audience with a deep, hearty guffaw: "HYUH! Hyuh! Hyuh. hyuh." And you could hear him over everyone else in the crowd. I'm guessing he was a producer or director, because I remember hearing him in every episode. Perhaps he's the infamous Reinhold Weege? Maybe this nerdy/awesome site's got the answers.

TV Land's got the "Night Court" reruns these days, complete with the theme song's bouncing base line and sinewy saxophone. Warning: Immediate Sound. I recently saw Michael Richards play a Kramer clone in an episode in which he thinks he's invisible. Then, at the end, he's convinced that the reason everyone can see him is because he's wearing clothes. The judicial gang strolls into the courtroom to find a naked Richards. "HYUH! Hyuh! Hyuh. hyuh." Freeze-frame. Credits. Applause. Fade.

*This title actually is a reference to an episode of "The Simpsons," when Homer's way into "Knight Boat: The Crime-Solving Boat." Sorry, Roz.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

King of Shameless

One of the strangest, most overproduced and obnoxiously brilliant shows on TV right now plays out on a stage that looks like a rejected American Gladiators set: SpikeTV's King of Vegas. Brief synopsis: With a single $1 million prize at stake, professional and amateur gamblers compete in a series of casino games that result in one of them getting kicked off each week.

Some of the participants are familiar. Mike "The Mouth" Matusow's a two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner. David Williams was the runner-up in the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event. And cohost Max Kellerman is a Fox Sports analyst, whose brash delivery and well-groomed goatee make him a natural for any show having to do with Vegas. Then there are the rest of the competitors, who, to the untrained eye, appear to be the Sexy Redhead, the Old Guy, the Geek, the Cocky Pseudogoth, the Lady Assassin and the Bully. In yesterday's episode, the Lovable Fat Guy lost. I'm sure these people have real depth outside the show, but whatever.

But one person on the show sticks out like a sore thumb: cohost Wayne Allen Root (pictured above), who's already won the 2006 Federline Award for prompting the question, "Who The Frig IS This Guy?"

Just how pompous is he? Go to KingOfVegas.com, and his Web site is displayed, not the show's. Then when you actually go to the show's Web site, take a look at the first line of his show bio. Emphasis, for a change, is his, not mine:

"Wayne Allen Root is simply THE brand name is sports gambling and handicapping."

Root is constantly posing, mugging and preening for the camera, taking away from the action at the tables and provoking viewers to throw more than a few crumpled napkins at the TV set. Listening to his cliché, scripted commentary and painful attempts at humor each week is by far the most uncomfortable part of the show, especially when he sets arbitrary odds on the competitors' chances before they play -- and since the show is taped, he probably knows the outcomes before setting odds to either "enhance drama" or look like the genius he makes himself out to be. I'm guessing he's one of those television producers who convinced SpikeTV that "If I'm not cohosting this show, I'm shopping it elsewhere," which would be fine if he had one scintilla of on-air charisma.

The author of "Millionaire Republican" also feels comfortable enough in his bio to declare himself a "TV celebrity," which is not something he has the right to call himself. Usually that title requires fame.

So, I love to hate (to love?) you, Wayne Allen Root. Thanks for assembling one of the fastest hours on television, only to be slowed down by your vapid, useless presence on air.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Inanimate snowball fight!

New York got a lot of snow this weekend, so instead of digging out my car this morning, I opted to take the train to work.

While walking underneath the overpass that straddles the tracks, I felt something from above punch the back of my head and splatter all over me. Rubbing my noggin, I realized that what had exploded on the back of my coat was not my brains, but rather an icy bowling-ball sized chunk of snow that had fallen from the overhang, about two stories up. The accumulation of snow could not be contained by the edge of the overpass, which jettisoned it onto my well-coiffed melon.

I do have a conspiracy theory that a gremlin was hiding on the top of the structure, catapulting ice rockets onto unsuspecting journalists with some Gizmo.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Britney Spears says 'I made a mistake'

Sadly, she's not referring to anyone named Kevin.

Other than Federline's extended family -- or perhaps Christina Aguilera and the panelists of "Best Week Ever" -- is anyone rooting for this marriage to work out?

As long as they're together, there's no hope for a relevant, hot Britney to return to the spotlight. World peace depends on their breakup.

Britney: Sometimes I run. Sometimes I hide. Sometimes I'm scared of you.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

No Rachel McAdams but(t)...

... the Vanity Fair cover with Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley is "not too shabby," as Adam Sandler might say. Still, as MSN Entertainment reported in December, McAdams was slated to be in the three-way instead of some random Ari Gold lookalike. I guess she changed her mind again.

I would have been perfectly happy with Kristen Bell as an understudy. Instead, we're left with everybody's favorite slacker from "PCU."

Rachel, this clearly violates the terms our previous agreement. I demand compensation*!

*Or not.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Special Valentines Unit

Nothing speaks the language of love quite like a refreshing Ice-T declaring his intentions for your tail.

I really would have purchased these cards for my girlfriend, as "Law & Order: SVU" is one of her favorite shows. But evidently there are as many requests for these things as there are witty retorts by Munch.

I think the only way to present these cards to someone in person would be with the official "L&O" transitional sound effect. You know, the echoey gavel sound that resonates while the following scene is described on a black screen?

"Honey, you mean the world to me. After this romantic dinner, let's head down to the precinct for some steamy interrogation under a hot, fluorescent light." KUNGKUNG!

The SVU Valentine link is courtesy of the ultra-mysterious K, who first made herself known to the Varsity Basketweaving community by reaffirming the greatness that is Bill Murray in a comment on my rambling Golden Globes post.


Borderline credibility

I'll admit that I was rooting for the Seahawks yesterday, because of my distant Boston College connection to Matt Hasselbeck and my respect for the affable Mike Holmgren. But I was nearly as angry at last night's Super Bowl as I was when my beloved Giants lost Super Bowl XXXV against the Ravens. At every crucial juncture that appeared to favor the Seahawks, the refs threw what might as well have been Terrible Towels on the field, as Sports Guy observes.

As if the revocation of the first Seattle touchdown weren't enough, the initial call that favored the Ben Roethlisberger "touchdown" (above) and subsequent review might have been the worst calls in an NFL playoff game since the Giants were stiffed by the refs against the 49ers a few years ago.

I'm not saying the Seahawks would have won; it's not like they were playing outstanding football. But I just like seeing teams win well-played and well-officiated games. This game was lackluster from the start of Aaron Neville's national anthem "interpretation." (This columnist must have bugged my commentary from last night, as I made the exact same "American Idol" comment during "The Star Spangled Banner.")

At least the commercials were OK. Oh, wait. Those were awful, too.

UPDATES! ESPN's Michael Smith provides the best analysis of why the refs ruined everything. Apparently, lots of sports fans agree with us.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Boston University has cooties

Boston College supporters always have believed this to be true, but in a few years, it will be scientific fact.

In short, BU "won" the right to build a lab that "would handle some of the world's most dangerous and exotic germs," according to CNN.

I'm all for scientific advancements, even if it comes through my alma mater's biggest hockey rival, but tell me this doesn't this sound like the opening of a bad outbreak movie:

[The lab] will be part of a national group of facilities that will study infectious diseases such as ebola and the West Nile virus.

Still not scared? Read on.

[In 2004], three workers at another BU lab became sick after they were exposed to a highly infectious strain of tularemia, or rabbit fever.

Had Boston College lab technicians been involved, this incompetence would have been avoided.

By 2008, when the lab is scheduled to be completed, I'll be sure to pack my hazmat suit for subsequent Boston visits.

'The Sizzler' awaits

I realize that my previous Varsity Basketweaving post about Lindsay Lohan is my unintentional homage to "Best Week Ever." They already have a Chris Jericho (although that is a stage name), but I am challenging him to a witty-banter-off, perhaps during a Nassau Coliseum ladder match, for BWE supremecy. Prepare yourself to bask in my snark in front of a rechargable yellow background!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

'I'm a little teacup, short and AAAAAAAAGH!!!'

I'm never really rooting against Lindsay Lohan (unless she's singing), but this CNN story has a comic quality to it for no fewer than five reasons:

- It's front-page news today that L-Lo basically fell down and went boom. Last week.

- Quote No. 1 from mommy Dina Lohan, emphasis mine:

"She and her friends were preparing breakfast, with eggs and everything, and Lindsay was going up the stairs, carrying a ceramic teacup."

Breakfast with eggs and everything? Wow, Lindsay's really livin' the high life. So to speak.

- Quote No. 2 from D-Lo, emphasis mine:

"She had just come out of the shower so she was still wet and had some lotion on, and she completely flipped on the stairs since it was slippery. The teacup went flying, it was shattered, and one of the pieces cut Lindsay in her shin."

Is her mom describing some late night Lindsay footage on Cinemax that the public doesn't know about? It's like her mom is trying to say, "My daughter is still uncommonly sexy, even when she's bleeding profusely."

- Quote No. 3 from Mommy Loohah, no emphasis needed:

"It was an accident."

So, Dina goes through this detailed, lurid story about lotion and eggs and friends... then follows it up with the redundant "It was an accident"? I wasn't doubting the story before, but now I'm picturing some nasty LiLo catfight that likely didn't happen. Thanks for planting the seed of doubt, Ms. Lo!

- CNN calls the younger Lohan an "actress-singer."

That's like calling me a "journalist-dietician." I eat, but not well.