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)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I'm not the only one critiquing commercials

If you want to read another guy's clever take on the ads we see, love and hate on TV, check out Seth Stevenson's "Ad Report Card" on Slate's Web site. Here's a good column to start with, if you're new to it.

(And, yes, I e-mailed him about the Toyota ads. And, no, I'm not plugging him just because I want him to write about them. But, yes, it couldn't hurt.)

Three excuses for avoiding the gym

1. My iPod died and I had to upload all my songs all over again onto a new one. (True.)
2. I had a stomach virus this week. (True.)
3. I have other excuses not to go today. (False.)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Toyota: Continuing to make itself look stupid in commercials

Last week, I warned you about the idiocy of a Toyota Camry ad that's on the telly these days. This week, Toyota takes the already excruciating world of car commercials and pulls another doozy:

Now, upon a single viewing, one might even consider this a good ad for a truck. Nice special effects, good concept to show a truck's toughness, blah blah.

But upon further review, notice how the narrator refers to what's going on behind him. He points his thumb over his shoulder in the direction of the truck and says "this expedition."

You know what, Increasingly Stupid Toyota Ad People? Despite the fact that your commercial is supposedly selling a Toyota Tacoma, if you had done your homework, you would have realized that there's a RIVAL TRUCK CALLED THE FORD EXPEDITION. Inattentive viewers might think, "Wow, that Ford Expedition's one tough truck" -- especially since the narrator says neither "Toyota" nor "Tacoma."

Your slogan's "Moving forward," Toyota, but your ads are bass-ackward.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Oh, no! Not another blog!

Yes, it's true. In keeping with today's theme of not-writing-any-original-material-for-Varsity-Basketweaving, I present to you my first contribution to Remote Access, the second Journal News blog to which I will contribute.

I'll be chronicling "American Idol" for Remote Access, which covers TV shows. (Get it? Remote? Is this thing on?)

Serico out.

In reality, I'd suck at reality TV

As much as I love reality TV and would like to think I would fare better than most contestants, the reality is I'd fare poorly in most of these contests. And because I often side with Marcel on "Top Chef," I can't help but wonder if I'd be the "villain" on some of them.

So I did some soul-searching and came up with this list. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Thoughts about Hall of Fame voting that does not involve Gary Cherone

Tony Gwynn should have received more votes than Cal Ripken, whose greatest contribution to the game was a glorified "perfect attendance" certificate that elementary school students receive with juice and cookies.

I wouldn't say Cal isn't a Hall of Famer, but Goose Gossage had a more impressive career. Goose is better than Bruce Sutter, but baseball writers don't seem to be getting the message. I want automatic Hall of Fame induction for any player with a water fowl-related nickname.

And Don Mattingly got less than 10 percent of the vote. If Mattingly had played for the Minnesota Twins, he'd get 80 percent of the vote, because of the same Midwest Morneau Mentality and anti-Yankee sentiment that cost Derek Jeter the title of MVP this year.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Making Terrell Owens look good ... by default

ESPN and the Associated Press are reporting that Terrell Owens has fired publicist Kim Etheredge, who's famous for uttering, "Terrell has 25 million reasons why he should be alive" — referring to his $25 million contract — amid speculation that T.O. tried to kill himself via drug overdose.

With P.R. like that, who needs enemies?

Toyota Camry's target consumers: Clueless women and castrated men

Many women complain that their gender is unfairly characterized in commercials. But who's getting angry over the dumb, foolish men in these commercials? I am.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present the extremely damning Exhibit A:
Here we see a man driving a shiny red Toyota Camry and activating the navigation system that features a female's voice. With Bluetooth technology, he then calls his wife/girlfriend, who flips out upon hearing the voice of the "woman in the car" and the prospect of his heading to a hotel.

The proper ending to this commercial? The man shakes his head, then mutters, "That chick's crazy."

The actual ending? The man uses Bluetooth to call the local florist, presumably to apologize to Crazy Lady for... wait, why the hell should he be apologizing?

Hey, Jack! Grow a spine! All you had to do is explain that it was a voice navigation system. Now that you're buying flowers, you're not only apologizing for no reason and making all men look lame in the process, but also making yourself look guilty of what the stupid woman was alleging! Good work, buddy! Now you're going to be in even more trouble. Abort! Abort!

On top of this, Toyota renders the whole concept moot by issuing a disclaimer that says that the navigation system mutes itself during Bluetooth phone calls.

So let's review, in chronological order, who looks stupid in this commercial:

  • Women
  • Toyota
  • Men
Good work, ad agency!

Who needs a national title when a slow-clap can guide you to victory?

After entering the search term "slow clap" in a vain quest to find an old "Saturday Night Live" skit on YouTube, I stumbled upon this fun football clip, which chronicles a Boston College double-OT win over BYU:

Don't you wish the slow-clap could always reverse negative fates? Explain your answer.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I've called it GUNG-GUNG, but evidently it's CHUNG-CHUNG

In this world full of Elmo and Baby Bear overload, you, like I, might wonder if "Sesame Street" has lost its fastball. Just ask my sister, who forwarded me the following "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" parody, complete with superfluous echoey gavel:

Yes, my sister does have a baby, but she'd be watching "Sessie" anyway.

How dead-on is Munch?! And how cute is that cow?! Now I just need to find the Muppet version of Ice-T, which I'm told exists.

Cleveland rocks

Remember my breakdown of who should be in this year's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class, in order of most worthy to least worthy? Well, green means they're in, red means they're not.

-Van Halen (as long as Gary Cherone is not inducted)

-Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (I'd say yes, but it is a ROCK hall of fame, after all)
-The Ronettes
-The Stooges

-Patti Smith
-Dave Clark Five
-Joe Tex

Why read actual news stories that omit Gary Cherone when you can get all your useless info on Varsity Basketweaving?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

10 things John Mayer did during his Jan. 5 stand-up set at the Comedy Cellar

1. Crashed the announced 11:30 p.m. lineup that included heavyweights and Comedy Cellar regulars Godfrey (who delivered possibly the funniest set I've ever seen in person), Dave Attell, Jim Norton and Sherrod Small.

2. Wore standard stand-up fare: dark sweater and jeans.

3. Admitted "Yeah, I'm the 'Daughters' guy," then proceeded to sing amusing alternate lyrics to the song with that distinctive Mayer lilt.

4. Worked very "blue." Asked men in the audience if they too had ever stayed home from school just to self-indulge, tallying three climaxes before the "Showcase Showdown."

5. Claimed to have quit using pot.

6. Leaned a lot on the backlit stained-glass Comedy Cellar sign on the stage wall.

7. Vaguely referenced his use of a derivative of the N-word -- which he reportedly dropped at the end of his Comedy Cellar set in June -- but did not utter any form of the word again, perhaps because Michael Richards' use of it Nov. 17 was less than well received. (Small, who watched the end of Mayer's set before taking the stage, last year defended Mayer's use of the word, saying Mayer was referencing Dave Chappelle's reaction to the guitarist's "Chappelle's Show" cameo.)

8. Avoided any mention of Jessica Simpson. (Draw your own conclusions.)

9. Checked his Blackberry to see if he forgot any jokes. Made fun of himself for doing so.

10. Made the audience laugh consistently during his set of about 10 minutes.

Conclusion: The dude's naturally funny. Although arguably the weakest performer of the 11:30 set list by comparison, he kept the polite audience's attention and prompted more than a few belly laughs. He was no worse than any novice stand-up and better than quite a few professionals I've seen at the Cellar. Should he continue making a living as a talented musician and songwriter? Sure. But his performance was solid enough that I wouldn't object to another set. Anyone who can associate bodily functions with "The Price Is Right" is OK in my book.

Update: Apiary'd!

Double Update:

Triple Update:

Quadruple Update:

Quintuple Update:
Comedy Central'd!

Sexy Sextuple Update:
Brooklyn Vegan'd!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Do do do do it!

Don't get me wrong: Sting is one of my all-time favorites, but when the guy who once sang the boldest rhyme to "runt" in "Rehumanize Yourself" resorts to 16th-century lute songs for his latest album, it's time to get back to basics.

And what better way to do that than with a Police reunion and tour, which are rumored to be in the works! Show me and Andy Summers some love, Gordon!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sadly, R. Kelly isn't on the 'Rocky Balboa' soundtrack

Let's review:

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Maybe Adrien should be worried about the punches Rocky's pulling outside the ring

Oh, it's not just an amusing photo I took on my lunch break. Tune in tomorrow for my Journal News story about the aftermath.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Frankly, I give a damn

As a child of the '80s, I was willingly fed a steady PBS diet of "Sesame Street," "Reading Rainbow" and "3-2-1 Contact." (What can I say? We didn't have cable most of those years. And I was a nerd. And still am.)

But my favorite PBS show of that era was "Square One TV," which featured not only the math-flavored "Saturday Night Live" skits for kids to open the show, but also the mathtastic "Dragnet" spoof "Mathnet," featuring Joe Howard as Officer George Frankly.

Well, 12 years after "Mathnet" went off the air, I found out through Internet Movie Database that Joe Howard was born in Yonkers, which is well within Suburbarazzi's coverage area. After some investigative work, I managed to track down Howard, who agreed to a Dec. 29 interview. He was very patient and thoughtful and offered comprehensive answers to my questions during the 36-minute, 38-second interview. What else would you expect from the man who wore a calculator holster?

Anywho, here are some interview highlights. Squaaaaaaaare ONE!

In a related story, John Lennon didn't get his big break on 'Date My Mom'

One of MTV's guiltiest pleasures is "Parental Control," a "reality" TV show that features parents picking out alternatives to their offspring's significant other with unintentionally hilarious results.

A week or so ago, I caught an edition featuring Willie Gault, who won a Super Bowl as a wide receiver with the Chicago Bears in the 1985-86 season. Thankfully, the 46-year-old wasn't the one doing the dating; his daughter was.

At first, I found myself enjoying the episode. Willie, his wife and daughter are all charming, attractive people. All of the guys under consideration seemed pretty cool. I even enjoyed the staged argument between Willie and his daughter's alleged boyfriend after it was revealed the latter "borrowed" Willie's Super Bowl ring.

But then there were clues that the show was just a glorified ad for Willie Gault's daughter's singing career. She's seen:

  • In a recording studio
  • Telling a prospective boyfriend that her then-boyfriend didn't support her singing career
  • Singing a song on the spot when she was prompted to by her date and/or the show's producers
Admittedly, her voice is no worse than your Simpson sister of choice, but any illusion of dating-show credibility (is there such a thing?) was obliterated when at the end, she rejected all three boys, as if to say, "I'm far more marketable as a singer if I'm a single girl."

She is now an eligible receiver.