Saturday, December 29, 2007

WGBH is here to frighten you clear out of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood

The original version of the old-timey PBS station identification for WGBH-Boston is scary enough to small children...

...but baaaad things happen to all ages when one slows down the so-called Flash of Doom:

I'm not positive, but I think that's the song Sarah Connor hears when she's dreaming about the apocalypse in "Terminator 2." Regardless, it's definitely the soundtrack to the apocalypse.

As creepy as that is, this slo-mo version might just line up with "Dark Side of the Moon." Either way, drugs are probably required to best appreciate its nuances.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Top 10 Top 10 Numbers of 2007

Counting down the numbers that prefaced year-end Top 10 lists nationwide!

10. No one really cares about the 9th-best anything. It's like finishing 4th in the Olympics.

9. Slightly better or more recognizable than the 9th-best anything.

8. Even more like finishing 4th in the Olympics.

7. Always good for an ironic or lame joke of an entry.

6. The just-missed, honorable mention entry. Looking for No. 7? You won't find it on this list! Ha ha ha! (Groan.)

5. You know things get good once you get down to the Top 5 anything. You can pretty much ditch the rest of any list once you get to this point.

Same reason as No. 5, except, you know, Top 3.

3. Without a good introductory item to a list, no one's going to read the rest of it. So, in a way, No. 10 is as important as No. 1. In a not-really sort of way.

2. This is usually the spot reserved for the obvious choice of something, but listmakers feel obligated to drop it to No. 2 just to cause controversy and hype their list. Or in Letterman's case, because the CBS Orchestra is about to drown out laughs that ensue immediately after No. 1. See also: Any list that ranks the Rolling Stones over The Beatles; Hacky bloggers; This list.

1. I don't really believe this. But I have to follow the rule I just set for No. 1.

UPDATE: Apiary'd!
Best Week Ever'd!

UPDATE: One reader reminded me that Letterman once did a "Top Ten Numbers Of One To Ten." Although I, too, realized that point after posting this list, it warrants mentioning that Letterman's list merely lists the 10 numbers out of order without explanation (admittedly, that's funnier than what I wrote above). In my version, I make a legitimate attempt to justify the ranking of 10 numbers, which supplants the number 11 for number 7 and lists them in a different order. Cool? Cool.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Philosophical profundities of 'Beavis and Butthead' summed up in a single quote

Quoth the Butthead: "They shouldn't give anyone a chance to suck."

I can't remember all the details of the context, but I do recall Butthead was -- big surprise -- annoyed at someone's suckitude in a music video.

Butthead's musings resulted in one of my favorite quotes of all time. And not in an ironic sense. In a totally legitimate one.

The moment had greater philosophical implications. In short: Sucking sucks. For you and everyone else. So don't do it.

Categorical imperative, my a**!

My junior-year college roommates and I had a quote board to which we'd add nuggets like these on a regular basis. Usually, it was reserved for things said by any one of us, but this one was so good, it had to make the board. It still resonates with me more than eight years later.

Follow the bouncing bass

I think my favorite bass line of all time is the one that loops in Dr. Dre's "Let Me Ride."

Drippin' with funk while rollin' in my '64.

Or my '03. Either one.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thoughts on 3 songs spanning 50 years

1957 - Frank Sinatra releases "Jingle Bells." Enjoying this during my morning commute, I reminded myself of why Sinatra's voice is so amazing. While he's routinely commended for making melodies sound "effortless," there's also a legitimate sense that he's mailing songs like this one in. It's actually a surprisingly sweet track for a ubiquitous song, but I couldn't help but think of Phil Hartman on "Saturday Night Live," booting "Duets" costars out of the recording booth within seconds of their arrival just so he could get the album done.

1991 - Naughty By Nature releases "O.P.P." I've enjoyed this song for 16 years, but only this month did I realize that the three-letter title is a play on the very song it samples -- "ABC" by the Jackson 5. The initials even rhyme. And to think I just enjoyed the song for its lyrical creativity, including one of my favorite lines of all time: "Arm me with harmony."

2007 - Finger Eleven releases "Paralyzer." For a ditty that iTunes declared 2007's top rock song, I liked it much better the first time when it was called "Take Me Out" and performed by Franz Ferdinand.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The greatest move in the history of wheelbarrow races

Not that it's a long list, but thanks to GorillaMask's keen research skills, we definitely have a winner.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Something witty to say when the holiday season gets you down


Friday, November 30, 2007

Quotes from a 105-year-old woman I interviewed today

Q: How are you?

A: "I'm still alive!"

Q: How can a person live to 105?

A: "You just go on living and tell yourself, 'I'll never say I can't do it.'"

Q: Will the 106th birthday party be even bigger?

A: "I live by the day. I don't plan anything ahead, because I'm here but maybe the Lord will take me away all of a sudden. So I don't plan for any other birthday. But I am happy that I can do what I do now. If I can continue for a while, I'm thankful."

Here's the whole story, but if you ask me, you just read everything you need to know.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Why Amy Adams is Hollywood's next It girl

You want recent success? She's in the No. 1 movie at the box office.

You want funny? She's not only Ricky Bobby's clumsy inspiration in "Talledega Nights" but also the title character of "Hot Girl" in a Season 1 episode of "The Office."

You want quality? She's an Academy Award nominee. Really!

You want a hot redhead? Since Lindsay Lohan's gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, what's stopping Adams and Isla Fisher from taking over?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ebony and Irony

What's next? A Sports Illustrated cover story about the WWF?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Al Roker gets his Scrant-on

For once in my life, I wish I were in Scranton, Penn.

Al Roker's day in ‘The Office’
Al Roker's day in ‘The Office’

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I still favor Joe Girardi for the Yankees' managerial position, but he'll never make a poster as cool as this

If Don Mattingly gets the job and commits as much to it as he did for this poster and his cameo on "The Simpsons," the Yanks will win 10 consecutive World Series.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Just when I thought I was too old for Halloween costumes

My friend Eugene alerted me to this video of costumes that are so uncool they're phenomenal. They are, of course, more than meets the eye:

Of course, I'm also dying to see how these guys "transform" when they're drunk. That's a good way to bust an axle.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Some WireImage photos just make me smile

And this is one of them:
I'm not sure what Samuel L. and McLovin had to say to one another, but at the very least I hope it involved a common interest in superfluous cursing.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Only the Power Glove ages worse than this 'Legend of Zelda' rap

I remember this Nintendo commercial being awful WHEN I WAS 7 YEARS OLD. It's much, much worse now:

Three subtle things to listen for:

1. The way spiky-haired boy neglects to separate lines into distinct sentences, opting for a flat reading of both in one breath. "Nice graphicside like to get my hands on that game."
2. "Wiki wiki wig!"
3. "Your parents help you hook it up, (stupid)."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

No comment

In a failed attempt to re-install peek-a-boo comments on this blog, I somehow deleted your ability TO comment on this blog. Ugh.

Hopefully I can fix this before the end of the weekend. Thanks for your patience.

In the meantime, if you're frustrated, leave a... oh, wait, you can't.

UPDATE: Fixed! Hopefully, I'll have peek-a-boo comments soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Welcome to a landmark you never intended to visit

Why does the massive sign "Welcome to the Throgs Neck Bridge" exist at its tolls?

Almost no one ever considers a bridge a destination, unless he or she plans to either a) fish or b) jump off it.

Did wildlife and game and euthanasia lobbyists unite to pressure the MTA into this display? What tourism board thinks this is a bright idea? Are postcards available? I need to know these things.

Theories welcome. I'm genuinely stumped.

Hi. I do blog sometimes.

If you think it's been a while since I've blogged with consistency on THIS blog, just imagine if you're a poor fan of Headline Punchline. (Remember that blog? Evidently neither did I until today.)

Anyway, sorry about that. To upgrade the mood to a more celebratory one, I just realized the previous post was No. 500 in VB's history. I'm happy that it involves such relevant, thought-provoking footage in a turbulent time such as this.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Kittens do cute things

Like attempt to eat corn on the cob, for example:

UPDATE: This is Varsity Basketweaving's 500th post! Huzzah!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Paul Shaffer, Movie Monster

This undoctored footage from this season of "The Sopranos" gets funnier with every view. I present to you "Paul Shaffer, Movie Monster."

Whoever uploaded it also wrote a brilliant caption: "Paul Shaffer laughs at your heartache."

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Now it's time to play 'Should I Eat This?' (applause)

Things to consider:

1. This single Peep is still soft and sealed in its original cellophane packaging.

2. I probably received it in late March or early April.

3. I'm hungry.


'1979' + 28

So a few minutes after my alarm goes off this morning, I hear a song that sounds like a cross between Queens of the Stone Age, the Darkness and Smashing Pumpkins.

Then I realize: Wow, not only is that Smashing Pumpkins' new song "Tarantula," but also it's so good that I don't have to pretend to like the band just because so many of my high school friends liked them at the time. (OK, so sometimes I was insecure in high school. Like you weren't?)

I actually never outright disliked Smashing Pumpkins; they have a few really good songs, especially "Zero," "Tonight, Tonight" and "1979." I just didn't think in 1994 that they were as great as everyone said they were. But even I appreciated Billy Corgan's first interaction with Homer Simpson, as the rocker's introduction left Homer "Smiling Politely."

Weirder still, earlier this morning, I randomly was thinking about forgotten Sesame Street character Grungetta, whose name was derived from the word Grunge. Did my subconscious will the Pumpkins onto my radio? Can I also summon hot girls my way if I just think about them?

(Thinking. Really, really thinking.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Red BlackBerry Pearl? Pick a color and go with it!

I have an idea for a new product! Let's name it after three completely different colors and annoy the crap out of Chris!

Is it red? Is it blackberry? Or is it pearl?

Oh, it's all three, you say? Not maddening at all!

At least have the decency to come up with a brand name that has no potential for contradiction based on the actual color of the product.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The funniest 5-second video on the Web

I don't care if this is old news by now. I'm posting it anyway:

You're welcome.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I'm having the Best Week Ever; rather, the Best Week Ever is having me

I've been so swamped the last few days, I just realized that on Friday linked to my Remote Access live-blog of Bob Barker's final episode hosting "The Price is Right."

Hooray! I heart BWE.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I didn't realize I was on the 'Maury' show

This morning on the phone, a kind woman I don't believe I know personally wished me a happy Father's Day, which was a nice -- but somewhat misguided -- gesture.

Unless she was trying to tell me something she knew that I didn't.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

In defense of the Police (not that they need defending)

Michael Shilling offers excellent, informed commentary on why the Police are one of the most underrated bands in history.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


When seen on a microwave, 1:56 could be viewed as either the time of day or the amount of time remaining on savory Hot Pockets.

Once I realized the bulb was off and neither the turntable nor clock was moving, I realized it was indeed the time.

Skipping lunch probably influenced my judgment.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Tetris pieces: Metaphors for the seven kinds of people at your college party

O-Block: The football star. Pros: Although not terribly complex, he's often a welcome sight. If unleashed at the right time, he can take out two lingering lines of stragglers loitering at your door. Cons: Stubborn; impossible to change. Makes a scene when there's not a big enough seat for him. Can be a headache if too many of his teammates show up when the party's unstable.

I-Block: The gorgeous cheerleader. Pros: The most sought-after invitee inspires everyone to clear a path for her arrival. Can bring as many cheerleading friends as she wants without a single complaint from you. Four rows of guys want nothing more than to leave with her, and she might just oblige. Cons: Plays hard-to-get; doesn't appear at your parties nearly enough. God help you if she's drunk and stumbles into an awkward crowd in the middle of everyone; she'll cause such a fuss, she'll distract you from the rest of the party.

T-Block: The life of the party. Pros: Fits in with every crowd, and rarely makes things worse. Selfless wingman, happy to try to clear your path for a date with the cheerleader. Willing to do any small chore for the rest of the party. "Clean up that puke in that hard-to-reach corner under the bed? No problem!" Cons: Wants to be introduced to everyone, so you're often spinning him around until he fits perfectly with the rest of the crowd. Can't eliminate the big problems all at once.

L-Block: The lovebird. Pros: Reliable and faithful. Fits perfectly with his/her companion. Always willing to give a hug to the awkward freshman girl (see below) when her friends aren't around. On rare occasions, is up for a threesome. Cons: Clashes with annoying freshman guys (see below). Not nearly as bold as the cheerleaders or football players; makes you wish something more exciting would happen to you and your party.

J-Block: The recently single sophomore. Pros: Quick to hook up with one another. Bonds with the annoying freshman guy in a way that makes him less of a burden to you. Also totally game for a rare threesome. Cons: Can't truly connect with the lovebirds, despite similar appearances. Encounters with awkward freshman girls end badly.

The awkward freshman girl. Pros: Although the same age as the annoying freshman guy, she seems easier to deal with and more mature somehow. Cons: If not cooperating, can be just as intolerable as the annoying freshman guy. Likes pretentious foreign films without subtitles.

The annoying freshman guy. Pros: Even if you're not the most popular host, he's almost guaranteed to show up, whether or not you're expecting him. Cons: Only really connects with his peers, and even that connection is awkward for everyone. Too many of his friends show up when the party's already crowded. No matter how many times you tries to clear him and his friends out, their pile-up pretty much guarantees that the party's over.

UPDATE: GorillaMask'd!

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Two years ago today, I had a dream. I don't remember what it was about, but it probably involved a cliff, some clowns, a pretty girl and Herve Villechaize.

Anyway, after I woke up that morning, I decided to launch this blog and write this post. Little did I know that it would lead to bigger and better things, particularly in its second year.

Between the first VB anniversary and November 2006, things were pretty typical in my blogosphere. In those six months, I wrote some things and some of them were allegedly amusing.

Then on Nov. 15, I decided to make a commitment to this wacky thing and buy the domain name Because, y'know, so many people were spilling blood to try to get it.

Exactly one week later, I analyzed an old music video that appeared on PBS' "Reading Rainbow." VB attracted an unprecedented number of visitors -- 6,000-plus in a day, 12,000-plus in nine days -- after high-profile Web sites GorillaMask and Cracked linked to the post.

Less than a week after that, because of Varsity Basketweaving, I was invited to write the first of many posts for Suburbarazzi, my newspaper's blog about celebrities with a connection to New York's Lower Hudson Valley. Within weeks, Suburbarazzi enabled me to interview one of the first stand-up comedians I ever liked (Kevin Meaney).

Two days after singer/songwriter John Mayer returned to the Comedy Cellar Jan. 5 to perform stand-up, I gave a 10-point synopsis of his unannounced show and published an exclusive photo on Varsity Basketweaving. Comedy Central, Gawker, Gothamist, Brooklyn Vegan, The Apiary and Stereogum all linked to the item, and there was much rejoicing.

The next week, I began writing for The Journal News' TV blog, Remote Access, primarily to cover "American Idol." One week after my first Remote Access post, I became a WVOX-Radio guest on a weekly basis to discuss entertainment on Phil Reisman's "High Noon" broadcast. (Thanks again, Phil!)

Because of all three of these blogs, I also attended NBC's first annual Blogger Summit in New York City.

The last week of February was all about sprucing up VB. Within a one-week span, Varsity Basketweaving joined the BlogBurst network, had a new logo, incorporated Google Ads (which don't look half-bad!), installed RSS feeds of Suburbarazzi and Remote Access, and showcased perhaps my favorite widget: the lovely Label Cloud upgrade that's simultaneously color-coded and size-dependent to indicate blog topic frequency.

In March, the two Journal News entertainment blogs allowed me to conduct exclusive interviews with fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi and Fox 5 anchorman Ernie Anastos. And on March 5, I launched my Headline Punchline blog that features "actual headlines, marginal punchlines." It's been on hiatus since April 8, but I hope to get back to it soon.

This month, I began appearing regularly on RNN-TV as an on-air correspondent for Suburbarazzi, which might never have happened if I hadn't first made my mark with Varsity Basketweaving.

In truth, these last couple of months have featured fewer Varsity Basketweaving posts than the previous 10. That's due to a few factors, including a few changes in my work schedule and beat, as well as more frequent postings to both Journal News blogs -- especially as "American Idol" wrapped up. But I hope to pick up the pace and continue to post interesting content on here for years to come.

Thanks for reading and commenting these last 24 months! Here's to more 'Weaving!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bob Barker reveals the 'dirtiest trick anyone ever pulled on me'

I'm a game show connoisseur, but even I've never seen this clip from "The Price is Right." Bob Barker is at his absolute finest here:

We'll miss you, Bob-boo.

Monday, May 28, 2007

When Charles Nelson Reilly dies, I feel like ______.

Charles Nelson Reilly died yesterday. I'm sure his last will and testament is full of zig-zag lines and flourishes.

The good news is he can be reunited at that big "Match Game" in the sky with Gene Rayburn and Richard Dawson.

Oh, wait. Richard Dawson's still alive.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Shut up. Blake Lewis is awesome.

Exhibit A, featuring Doug E. Fresh on last night's "American Idol" finale:

Marginally more commentary here.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Finally, justice for Jill's text-messaging BFF

I was going to blog about how obnoxious the girl in this commercial is, but someone already created the video equivalent of what I wanted to say.

I give you a video I like to call "TISNNF! (This is so not NOT fair!)":

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Spider-Man's at his most evil when he's depriving me of free Burger King num-nums

Yes, the black suit brings out the awful qualities in Spider-Man on the silver screen (and in the screenwriting, evidently), but the worst impact it has is on my chances of winning free food from Burger King this weekend.

BK has a promotion involving scratch-off tickets, forcing customers to choose either the web next to the red Spider-Man mask or the black Spider-Man mask. I've always had a problem with this premise, because winners should win based on merely buying the food (or in wussier fashion, claiming a free game ticket by pulling that boring no-purchase-necessary crap) and not because they happened to beat the 50/50 odds.

Understanding that, theoretically, I should beat those odds by picking one color across the board on the three tickets that came with my King-sized meal, I scratched off the black Spider-Man web all three times. I failed to win the Croissan'Wich, Whopper and fries that were concealed behind the three red Spider-Man webs.

I looked worse than Peter Parker blubbering when Mary Jane Watson dumped him in "Spidey 3."

Still, maybe I've got this all wrong. Perhaps the black Spider-Man is really the good one, serving as dietitian and saving me from perilous heart attacks down the road.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Unsollicited praise of Eliot Morris' single 'Fault Line'

I am unable to merge two things I love, so I'm a-bloggin' about both.

1. My Project Playlist, which I post on my MySpace profile:

2. A brilliant, earthy Eliot Morris song called "Faultline," which I first heard on Sirius satellite radio's Coffee House channel.

The Project Playlist format searches for sites that host specific mp3 files, but none seems to carry "Fault Line." It's such a good song, however, that I want to introduce it to the 100 or so people who click on this site per day. I'm neither being paid for this service, nor do I have any personal connection to Mr. Morris. But this song is addictive, and makes me want to learn acoustic guitar (again).

My only complaint: The "oooh-ooh-ooh" refrain is perhaps the catchiest part of the song, so why is there only one of them at the coda, instead of two? If that's done to leave the audience wanting more, mission accomplished.

OK, enough words. More Morris:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Missing the War (in the Symphony Hall balcony)

Ben Folds was a guest of the Boston Pops for the orchestra's opening night at Boston Symphony Hall last night, when a fist-fight broke out in the balcony.

Maybe the fight was a front so that Keith Lockhart could maintain his street cred. Next stop: the Source Awards.

But if it's legit, what's wrong with kids today? I mean, Salieri and Mozart knew how to really throw down back in the day: dueling operas. Ain't no dis track like a Mozart dis track, 'cuz a "Dies Irae" don't stop!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

TV: Where I'm encouraged to discuss Spider-Man, 'The Dukes of Hazzard' and Howard Stern

Start the clock: After six-and-a-half more of these RNN-TV clips, my 15 minutes of fame will be officially up. In the meantime, enjoy my appearance as a Suburbarazzi correspondent!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Lazy stapler

How dare you not fasten the 26 pages of an adopted school district budget proposal? In no way is it the fault of my palm strength or judgment of just how many sheets can endure the lame-itude of your nonfastening ways.

Also, how dare you not write my corresponding story for me!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ronald McDonald is so gangsta

At first, I was confounded by one of Timbaland's disses of rival producer Scott Storch on "Give It To Me."

I mean, why would he be proud to earn a Happy Meal over the "couple grand" Storch allegedly earns for his beats?

Then I realized, Tim's saying "half a mil," and not referring to the well-packaged, high-fat meal featured at McDonald's.

"I get a [Happy Meal/half a mil'] for my beats, you get a couple grand."

I dunno... those Happy Meal toys are pretty awesome.

Also, for those of you who noticed the delay in posting, I'm not dead yet.

Monday, April 16, 2007


This mash-up is not as good as The Office/Nelly, but is anything? Nonetheless, anytime Steve Carell's riding a bear, I'm on board:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I hate you

No, not you, the loyal VB reader. The guy behind me right now at Panera in Yorktown, the loudest sandwich chewer on the face of the earth. Gross.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Barney's film had heart, but 'Football in the Groin' had a football in the groin

Sports bloopers work on so many levels!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Max Martin uses 'U + Ur Hand' to rip off... himself?

Now, I generally appreciate Pink and her grrrl-power ways, but something about her most recent hit single had been bothering me for months. I knew "U + Ur Hand" sounded waaay too much like another recent song.

Then, while listening to it in my car on the way home today, it hit me: It's a carbon copy of the Veronicas' "4Ever."

I mean, it's blatant, right down to the title's substitution of single-letter representations of full words. Here's audio proof, courtesy of some brilliant cat named Shard. (One or two curses in here. You've been warned.)

Via Google, I just learned through The Ink Blog's Jason Chatfield that Max Martin -- the pop god himself -- wrote both songs. As Chatfield puts it, "unless he sues himself, there’s no big deal about it."

Jason's A/V proof, with commentary:

A different YouTube version of the same mash-up:

The only difference? The Veronicas' version practically begs the object of their affection to go home with them, while Pink just wants him to go home.

To add insult to injury, Pink's spoken "I know you're talking s***, but you're going home alone, arent'cha?" is also reminiscent of the unimpressed quips of Shania Twain's "That Don't Impress Me Much" (i.e. "OK, so you're Brad Pitt.").

Sunday, April 08, 2007

MySpace: Forcing bulletin readers to reply or kill

Ever read a MySpace bulletin? When you're done, just beneath the text sit two buttons:

• Reply To Poster
• Delete From Friends

True, you could always keep scrolling down, or scroll back up, to click links that would give you alternate options. But I like the idea that your friends' seemingly benign words, displayed in bulletin form, potentially could terminate your (online) friendship.

After all, if said (written?) words have merit on any level, why wouldn't you want to reply with a "Yes, I'd love to see your band!" or a "Wow, that sux about ur bf"? (Perhaps even with full words! Spelled correctly!)

And, subliminally, perhaps MySpace is encouraging posters to think wisely about what they post -- lest an angry/sleep-deprived/bored "Friend" decide that their musings are not just unimportant, but so awful that the only logical action is to completely remove them from HisSpace/HerSpace.

Mr. Darwin, I believe you and MySpace have been acquainted. The Top Friends function already exudes "survival of the fittest."

Monday, April 02, 2007

Janie's got a gun... WHAT is the DEAL with THAT?

Didja ever notice how the opening bass riff to Aerosmith's "Janie's Got A Gun" has the same synthetic bassline as the opening to "Seinfeld"?

"Janie's got a gun? Janie's got a gun? Now HOW did JANIE, exactly... get that gun? Did she cut school to get a license first? Did she then hold up the truancy officer with it so that she could get away with both crimes? I mean, if Janie's got a gun, that changes everything. That chemistry teacher's bumping up Janie's grade now. Suddenly, that covalent bond definition looks good enough."

No, thank you

Seen on my MySpace bulletin board, as posted by someone else:

"Please read. This is awful."

No, thank you.

Other bulletin board headings I'd be slow to read:

"You are a jerk."
"Survey of why Varsity Basketweaving is bad."
"Sad puppies"

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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bob Woodruff is the man

I couldn't tear myself away from the TV last night as I watched footage of ABC News reporter Bob Woodruff make his impressive 13-month recovery from a bomb injury that ripped off part of his skull while he was covering the Iraq war.

What makes the entire special so moving is that only part of it focuses on Woodruff's amazing recovery. The second half of the special is dedicated to America's treatment of injured soldiers — some of whom weren't as fortunate as Woodruff — and the widening gaps between the opinions of the Defense Department and the injured.

Example: The Department of Defense reports about 23,000 nonfatal battlefield casualties among about 1.5 million soldiers who have reported to Iraq and Afghanistan, but according to Woodruff, an internal document states that over 200,000 of these soldiers have sought medical care.

When Woodruff approached Veterans Affairs Secretary James Nicholson with these figures -- including some 73,000 reports of mental disorders and about 61,000 nervous system diseases -- Nicholson began his response with “A lot of them come in for dental problems."

Think Progress has video of that awkward exchange here.

Last I checked, the worst root canal isn't quite comparable to Traumatic Brain Injury.

Anyway, the show is gripping. If you have 40 minutes, I highly recommend watching the entire ABC News special here.

Blogging: For love and money


I won't ask this often, but you'll also notice that I've added some Google Ads to this blog. (I know, I know. I finally caved.) But the ad layouts are pretty seamless and it's pretty simple for you to help on your end. Click on the ads and I'll find yet even more incentive to blog about the ridiculous and the mundane. Clicking on the sponsored ads that are generated by the Google Search box in the right margin should also send me a few pennies in the process.

If you love something I just wrote or wrote long ago, or hated something I just wrote or wrote long ago, click on an ad when you visit. Make a habit of it, if you'd like.

Blogging can be lucrative, but I'll start small.

I can see clearly now, the Cloud ... is here

As you frequent Basketweavers might notice, I've modified the lower-right of the sidebar to include a beautiful new Label Cloud to showcase this blog's topic archive.

It's superior to the old version for many reasons. Not only is it alphabetized, but it's simultaneously color-coded and size-dependent to indicate blog topic frequency. In other words, the more aquamarine and larger a topic is, the more frequently it's appeared on this blog; less frequent topics appear smaller and more off-white.

And because the Label Cloud takes up less space than the default Blogger version, I've cut back on the number of blog posts per page from 75 to 30 -- and still every topic title fits. So I'm passing the (time) savings (it takes to view the blog) onto you, loyal reader.

Thanks to Phydeaux for creating such a user-friendly Label Cloud widget. You rule.

(And yes, I've blogged a lot about blogging this last week. My apologies. I'll return to discussing the universalities and transcendentalism of "Ghostbusters" in the weeks to come.)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sorority wannabes shocked -- SHOCKED -- that looks matter to shallow people

I'm not saying what happened here is right -- it's not -- but it's not national news that some young women are not welcome in certain sorority chapters because they don't fit a certain look. Yet CNN and ABC News are all over the story as if this were a recent or unusual trend. Did we learn nothing from all those '80s and '90s teen movies, people?

That's like my complaining that I was picked dead last in gym classes because people thought I looked like a poor athlete at the time. (I mean, I was, but that's besides the point.) The key difference: I didn't demand an apology from those people, and if I did, it wouldn't mean much in the end.

This just in: Lots of people are mean and superficial.

Paging Friedrich Nietzsche: If God is dead, would it make sense that His alleged remains would be confirmed by a mistake-prone film director?

I'm not really saying James Cameron is right or wrong (well, I'm leaning toward one) -- and I admire his quest for truth -- but I think it's funny that so much credibility is being bestowed on a man whose most famous movie is jam-packed with historical inaccuracies.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Isaac Mizrahi tells me he feared death when his car crashed, takes 'the fifth' on Ryan Seacrest, and thinks I'm 'cute'

I had a blast talking with fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi this weekend for Suburbarazzi. I also got a lot of interesting exclusive material from him in our 10-minute sit-down interview, including what might be the first published account of a car crash that shattered his hip and led him to say, "I thought we were finished."

Here's part one of four of my interview for Suburbarazzi. Coming up later this week, I'll reveal his answers to the following questions:

•Why didn't you do the Oscar red-carpet analysis this year?
•Who's your favorite fashion icon in Hollywood now?
•Does the umbrella go with Britney Spears' bald head?
•You've been on both shows, but gun to your head: Is “Ugly Betty” or “Sex And The City” better?
•What’s wrong and what's right with my style?
•What do you think of the following celebrities: Tim Gunn, Ralph Lauren, Rosie O’Donnell, Donald Trump, Joan Rivers, Ryan Seacrest, Martha Stewart, Howard Stern and Isaac Mizrahi?
•If you happen to like the outfit of anyone who comes up to you on line today, will they get the Johansson Treatment?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Blogging about blogging is so meta

A few days ago, I published a post to mention that Varsity Basketweaving was becoming a member of the BlogBurst network, which -- if I must be honest -- was only because the verification process for inclusion required me to embed the BlogBurst link in a way the network could recognize it. I'm not usually in the business of promoting, so if it seemed a little weird, it was.

But in truth, it is a nifty little network that drops Varsity Basketweaving onto the Web site of news publications and other high-profile subscribers. And when I filled out my profile for BlogBurst, it asked for a blog logo. While I didn't have one at the time, I thought it would be a fun project to attempt on my imitation PhotoShop software.

So, after a few drafts, here's what I came up with:

Constructive criticism is welcome.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Support Our Troops: The Show-Don't-Tell version

No matter what your stance on the Iraq war -- or any war -- this is a short, powerful ABC News video that features a lot of selfless people, including veteran Bert Brady. (I promise it's more moving than depressing.)

Regardless of your personal timeline for American troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, let's hope all of them get home safely.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

BlogBurst-ing with flavor

Varsity Basketweaving is about to become a part of the BlogBurst network of awesomeness. Ooh, Fancy!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Yet another danger to drunks everywhere

While sober (I promise), I realized while traveling on a New Jersey Transit train this weekend that northbound drunkards lacking tickets might have a tough time telling ticket collectors which stop they're going to.

"Tickets. Tickets, please, sir."
Drunkard: "Uhhhh?"
TT: "What stop are you going to, sir?"
D: "Nworrrk, Penn Station."
TT: "I'm sorry, do you mean Newark Penn Station? Or New York Penn Station?"
D: "I said — hic! — NOOWYERK PENN STATION!"
TT: (shrugs, looks both ways) "That'll be $150."
D: (handing him wallet) "Here you go, mom."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Don't Stand So Close To Me

Good news: I just bought tickets to see my favorite band of all time, The Police, reunited, at Madison Square Garden.

Bad news: I'm sitting in the last section, diagonally behind the stage. While I've never really had great seats to any show I've seen, that's always been the place I've said "Well, at least I'm not sitting there."

Hopefully it won't matter too much in the grand scheme of things. Quite frankly, I'm just happy I got in the door.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Yes, it is just me

Is it just me, or is anyone else worried that when they bite into a Dove bar, that they're biting into soap with a similarly scripted logo and "one-quarter moisturizing cream"?

Or, like, a bird?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Standing up (or in my case, slouching) for the theory of evolution

Say what you will about this CNN story, covering the Kansas Board of Education's return to teaching the theory of evolution. (Trust me, there's a lot to say.)

Despite the fact that the article mentions a retired biology teacher who criticized the board for "discrediting parents who reject materialism and the ethics and morals it fosters," the most disturbing part of it for me was realizing that the second-most-upright stick figure in the accompanying graphic best represents my posture.

As many of my friends will tell you, I still haven't quite evolved. (Or for those objecting to the Kansas School Board and its heathen supporters, I still haven't quite been Intelligently Designed.)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Just when you thought the people from 'Laguna Beach' and 'The Hills' couldn't get any phonier

There's this virtual environment, where I'm sure the devil himself (herself?) wears Prada, owns a penthouse apartment, frequents V.I.P. and grabs salads with Heidi.

I'm in favor of opening up the borders to allow "World of Warcraft" characters to unleash hell in virtual Orange County.

Foo Fighter poses as reporter, asks best question at Police reunion press conference

As much as I enjoyed ?uestlove's proclamation of The Police as "one of the greatest bands ever," the highlight of this MTV News article about a Police reunion press conference had to be the very end, which documents Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins posing as a reporter for the nonexistent Topanga Canyon Tribune.

"So you got three months before the tour starts," Hawkins began. "Do you think there's time for the mullets to return?"

"Finally a serious question," guitarist (Andy) Summers replied.

What my final two bars would be if VH1's 'The (White) Rapper Show' forced contestants to diss host MC Serch

You oughta know your place
Before you talk smack, son
Why stop at 3rd Bass
When you can hit a home run?


Three thoughts on the addictive show:

1. $hamrock is all but guaranteed the hundred G's at this point. Jus Rhyme is too goody-goody and no one seems to like John Brown, who's just good enough to spare himself from elimination week after week.

2. Although one could make the argument that he sounds too much like Eminem, I'm still upset Dasit was eliminated in the first round. I still think he was the best of the 10 and had every right to be upset when MC Serch got loud with him. Which leads me to my last point...

3. MC Serch is a nice enough guy, but he seems awfully cocky for a One Hit Wonder. He slams Vanilla Ice repeatedly, but Ice might have had more mainstream hits than 3rd Bass. And when Serch shouts "STEP OFF!" to eliminated contestants, I can't help but wonder if the Beastie Boys used the same line on him. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, read the third paragraph of the Career section of this Wikipedia entry).

Monday, February 12, 2007

Wanted: Two tickets to see The Police at MSG without sacrificing kidney

Tickets to the epic Police tour are now on sale to members of Best Buy's rewards program. For those of us who don't suck, tickets go on sale next Tuesday.

I'm starting to play the game "How much would I pay to see this show?" The answer's not pretty. I don't want to give eBayers an unfair advantage, but I'll say this much: I'll never be willing to pay more for other concert tickets. Never.

Who needs all of his/her vital organs, anyway?

By the way, I love how the band decided to replace Stewart Copeland with Jerry Springer. (Just kidding. Copeland's my favorite drummer ever. I can't think of another band's drummer that frequently makes me say, "Wow, those drums are awesome.")

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cats are cute. You got a problem with that?

OK, this is amusing and perfectly executed. And also adorable:

To compensate, I'm going to go lift weights and watch the NFL Draft now. Who cares if it's not on today? I'll watch last year's again. Grrr!

(Link courtesy of the extremely masculine Cute Overload.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Boston Globe wonders if my ridiculous friend Chris Fitzgerald looks like Keanu Reeves

Does he or doesn't he?

Does it matter? This cracks me up to no end.

Other than reportedly coaching the Dallas Cowboys next year, another good reason to root against Wade Phillips

When Wade Phillips was Buffalo Bills head coach in 2000 and readying for the first-round playoff game against the Tennessee Titans, he chose backup quarterback Rob Johnson -- who started only the last game of that season -- over starting quarterback/cereal pitchman/Boston College miracle worker Doug Flutie.

Flutie, famous for his Hail Mary pass that propelled BC to a last-second win over national champ Miami in 1984, had been the feel-good comeback story of the year, winning 10 of 15 regular-season games for the Bills. I wasn't the only one upset about Phillips' pick; Bills fans were ticked.

Watching the game, I was disappointed that Phillips didn't change his mind at any point, marooning Flutie on the sidelines. So the karma was obvious for Phillips when the Titans pulled off the famous Music City Miracle -- as time expired. I can't help but wonder if Flutie would have been on the right side of another last-second victory if he had started or finished the game.

Needless, to say, I'm happy Phillips is not coaching the Seattle Seahawks, for whom BC alum Matt Hasselback is the quarterback, or the New York Giants, from whom fellow alum Tim Hasselback is back-up to Eli Manning. Also, I'm happy Phillips is not coaching the Giants because I want them to win.

(And yes, I'm terribly thrilled that both Giants quarterbacks are inferior to their older brothers.)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Random Moment of Feeling Old, Part II

When I'm too lazy to install the satellite radio component in my car, I have to break out my walker and Depend undergarments upon hearing Z-100 announce a "vintage cut" by the Notorious B.I.G.

Screw you, Z. Just because "Big Poppa" came out 13 years ago (are you kidding me?!), that doesn't make Biggie vintage.

(OK, maybe it does.)

Random Moment of Feeling Old, Part I

I want to punch a wall whenever I see kids skating around on those sneakers with those wheels embedded in the heels.

Partially because I find them — and the children's inattentive parents — obnoxious.

Partially because I wish I had those shoes myself.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Prince reaffirms Purple Reign at Super Bowl

One word for the 12-minute halftime show of the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince: Wow.

It was easily the best halftime musical performance since U2’s in 2002—maybe even better. (And, for the record, U2’s one of my all-time favorites.) If you missed it or want to relive it, check it out:

Here's a second-by-second breakdown of the whole show:

[0:07] Possibly the worst part of the performance, an infantile version of “We Will Rock You,” with superfluous pyrotechnics, a chorus of whiny children and awful canned crowd noise. The good news is that the pervasive canned applause won’t have to be used again, as Prince improbably wins over the crowd of football-first fans.

[0:40] “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to get through this thing called life!” The first of many goosebump moments. Yes, Mr. Nelson, I am accepting your invitation to become mentally unstable.

[0:58] With a fog in the sky caused by the fireworks and rain, the charging throng of fans look like they’re fleeing from Godzilla.

[1:26] Prince’s primary back-up singer, wearing a white cape and a matching hat brim that makes it look like there’s a frisbee ring on her head, gets her first halftime face time—perhaps to distract us from the fact that Prince is wearing a turquoise suit and salmon button-down. (I suppose that color combo is Miami-appropriate, but wow.)

[1:33] Prince launches into the first of many fantastic guitar solos. I know the guy is famous for everything from his constant name-changes to his eclectic fashion sense, but everyone forgets just how amazing of a musician he is.

[1:52] He gets so into the solo that he’s late in resuming his vocals, missing the “Are we gonna let (the)” before returning to the mic with “elevator bring us down.” He plays it cool. No harm, no foul.

[2:06] Prince starts getting the crowd into it with some call-and-response singing. Considering the bulk of the crowd had been more concerned with the score and mustard packets prior to halftime, Prince starts to win them over, based on the volume of response.

[2:23] We’re reminded that it’s pouring outside as the camera lens is covered with translucent hexagonal raindrops. I’m expecting the NFL to fine Mother Nature $8 million and promise more global warming.

[2:49] Prince taunts the crowd by singing a call-and-response falsetto riff that only dogs could hear and/or sing back to him: “HOOO-ooo-OOO-ooo-EEEEE!” Hilarious.

[3:21] It wouldn’t be a Super Bowl halftime show without an appearance from a superfluous marching band, which plays the opening riff of “1999.” But Prince then quickly and seamlessly shifts into the vocals of “Baby I’m A Star.”

[3:42] We see our first glimpse of the marching band uniforms’ glow-in-the-dark lining, which makes them look like they’re guest-starring in the movie “Tron.” It really is the ‘80s all over again.

[3:44] Prince utters the pick-up line all journalists should use: “Hey, I ain’t got no money/But honey I’m rich on personality.”

[4:22] Another seamless segue, this time into “Proud Mary,” which sounds particularly cool with his caped crusader back-up singer and all the marching band brass behind him.

[4:39] Tron-believable!

[5:06] Tron-tastic!

[5:08] Obligatory Guitar Switch No. 1.

[5:21] Prince switches it up yet again, playing a few guitar riffs of a different song before revealing the first words of “All Along The Watchtower,” channeling Jimi Hendrix through his fingertips. More goosebumps.

[6:04] The biggest surprise: Prince pays homage to the Foo Fighters with his bluesy, moody take on “Best Of You.” As a huge Foo Fighters fan, I think Dave Grohl should be really proud; Prince stays true to the song without ripping it off.

[6:32] It’s amazing that Prince can find two dancers who are shorter than he is. Geena Davis need not apply.

[7:19] Continuing the musical seance that he began with Hendrix, Prince channels the late James Brown on a wail that would make almost anyone “get on up.”

[7:21] He starts a raucous, raw best guitar solo that’s his best of the night.

[8:21] In the middle of a downpour, the opening riff of “Purple Rain” resonates through the stadium. No, that’s not just the hypothermia that’s causing your goosebumps. Also, Obligatory Guitar Switch No. 2.

[8:41] Obligatory Crowd-Holding-Up-Lights-Because-They’re-Instructed-To-Do-So Moment

[9:00] Oh, and you thought Tron had disappeared, didn’t you?

[9:40] Prince is made taller—perhaps by default—by projecting his shadow onto a giant billowing bedsheet. The shape of his guitar next to his hips makes for some interesting shadows, ones that might have made a few censors a little nervous about the FCC’s reaction in the aftermath of Janet Jackson’s halftime show years ago.

[10:50] Mechanical doves hover over the stage. Search lights permeate the night. Prince continues to reign.

[10:57] Improbably, when the band cuts out, a majority of the football-jersey-wearing fans joins Prince in echoing the falsetto ending of “Purple Rain.” Amazing.

[11:28] Enough pyrotechnics are set off to make the Fourth of July jealous.

[11:52] After a well-deserved ovation for Prince, the YouTube clip mercifully cuts off before some producer nobody cares about takes credit for the epic show for which Prince is primarily responsible.

This post was originally published here. Hooray!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Arrested man allegedly utters phrase, 'You can't tell this wookie what to do'


The real Chewbacca must be tired of all these impersonators sullying his good name.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

10 things I wanted to do, but didn’t, while visiting the real 30 Rock last night

Read all about it here.

OK, so I'm double-posting. (As a Mr. Can't-Stand-Ya might say, "It's like putting your whole mouth... IN the dip!")

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Forget those other sports reporters; Bill Simmons tells us all we need to know about Super Bowl XLI's Media Day

ESPN Page 2's Bill Simmons (a.k.a. Sports Guy) is at his best as he captions photos he took at Super Bowl XLI's Media Day.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Suddenly, the Grammys are relevant again

Reunited and it feels so good.

Friday, January 26, 2007

2,700 UNC applicants find out they might not be as important as Michael Jordan, after all

Have you ever asked out a person, and that person said yes, then after you celebrated your upcoming date, the person told you, "Hey, let me think about it and get back to you in a month, mmkay?"

Of course not. That would be cruel to mess with someone's heart that way.

Enter the University of North Carolina, which e-mailed "Congratulations again on your admission to the University" to 2,700 prospective freshmen, then basically said, "Wait, do over!"

OK, public relations experts: Which of the following "solutions" do you propose?

1. Accept all of them and construct a giant, 1,350-unit dorm and name it the "University of North Carolina House of Possibly Unworthy Candidates Who Will Lower Our Barron's Ranking." In the process, annoy all sophomores, juniors, seniors, grad students, alumni, and Chapel Hill non-students -- all of whom would feel superior by comparison.

2. Accept some of them, ensuring that any of the accepted-then-rejected freshmen who go on to lead companies will never hire a UNC grad.

3. Accept none of them and, out of sheer embarrassment, fold the school to the delight of Dukies everywhere.

I'd go with option 1. But that's because I went to Boston College and would find this to be the funniest situation to watch from the outside.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Not karaoke. Movieoke.

This looks absolutely epic. I might have to make a group outing out of this on a Wednesday night in New York City.

My potential Movieoke scenes could be from "Ghostbusters," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Anchorman" ... my list is seemingly infinite.

What movie scenes would you re-enact?

UPDATE! Movieoke, at least in this format, is no more. Boooo!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How far would you go to meet Mike Piazza?

Here's proof of how easy it is to impersonate a reporter. (Want more proof? I impersonate a reporter every day.)

I like both sides of this story; Ryan Leli genuinely didn't appear to mean any harm, and the law and the team asked for a fair punishment. The actual sentence was too light, but a good start.

Next time, though, I'm demanding life without parole.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

'D' as in 'dumb'

Sometimes at work, I'm forced to verbally spell out my e-mail address for the sake of clarity. Despite the fact I use words for a living, I find myself increasingly dumb and panicky when it comes to brainstorming clear and simple words to correspond with the letters in the e-mail address.

Inevitably, it winds up sounding more and more ridiculous as it goes along.

"Yes, that's 'C' as in 'cat,' 'S' as in ... uh ... uh ... 'satchel,' 'E' as in ... ummm ... hmmm ... 'endoplasmic reticulum' ...."

Monday, January 22, 2007

The terrorists have won


Downer courtesy of CNN.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Random prediction of the week(end)

Adam Vinatieri will kick a game-winning field goal as time expires this Sunday to give the Colts a 30-28 win over the Patriots.

And I will do a dance.

Update: 38-34! Doing a Peyton Manning dance instead!

"Cut that meat! Cut that meat!"

'30 Rock' didn't win the Golden Globe for best TV comedy, but....

... it's won a coveted spot on my Favorite Television shows list on MySpace. (Applause. In keeping with the Golden Globes theme, Justin Timberlake accepts on behalf of Prince, for some reason.)

As they say in those shouty MTV cellphone ringtone commercials, "WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!" (I'm adopted?)

You're probably asking, "How does a show actually make it onto that pixelated and easily modified list?" Good question to allow for a totally smooth segue!

One or more of the following reasons should apply:

1. It's, like, a good show and stuff.
2. If the season is new, I actually have to make a point to watch it at least once a week.
3. If it's no longer actively on air, I have to still appreciate reruns on some level.
4. I devote a Varsity Basketweaving post to it on Jan. 19.

Also, with "30 Rock," I always laugh out loud at least five times per episode, with Alec Baldwin claiming at least two of them. And all Chris Parnell cameos as Dr. Spaceman (pronounced "Spa-CHEH-min") are always welcome.

So many great things about Thursday night's show. From the implied "KATIE COURIC SUCKS" vandalism being wiped off the supposed green room wall of Brian Williams to The Head putting "the 'fun' in 'funky'" while playing a recorder, it was such a fulfilling episode. (Plus, "Moonvest" was a fantastic gag.) Also, not gonna lie, Tina Fey looked foxy in the pre-credits conclusion.

Only one drawback (other than the occasional "D'oh, I saw that joke coming" sitch): not enough Rachel Dratch. Definitely one of the most underrated SNLers of all time, she needs more spotlight time. "Lovah!"

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Shameless self-promotion

I'll be on WVOX at 12:45 p.m. today, promoting The Journal News entertainment blogs I contribute to: Suburbarazzi and Remote Access.

Listen in, 'Weavers! Perhaps I'll give a shout-out to Varsity Basketweaving as well.

Update: The Journal News'd!

Tell him about the Twinkie... if by Twinkie I mean GHOSTBUSTERS VIDEO GAME?!

I swore I'd never buy a video game system for fear of addiction/lack of productivity.

And then I saw this footage of a Ghostbusters video game that may or may not be in production:

Whoa, mercy, mercy, me.

(Via Game Gaiden)