Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Chronicles of Narnia Rap

From Slate.com which I found via Fark.com

I don't watch SNL at all any longer. I catch an occassional Tivo because of an actor/actress/band on a wishlist, but other than that I miss the cultural memes that fly from that hackneyed show. While I know that it will never be like it was with the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Players, it at least gained more traction during the Eddie Murphy/Joe Piscapo/Phil Hartman. Today I see it in an endless death spiral over the drain. It makes money and spawns off things that make some more money and that's what's important. In any case, I did find this latest sketch very warming and a good homage to the origins of Hip Hop culture.

Parns and Samberg.
Click image to expand.

Parns and Samberg

If you haven't seen Saturday Night Live's Chronicles of Narnia rap, then you don't have any friends. Or at least any friends with Internet access. The two-minute video, which debuted on SNL last Saturday before resurfacing as a much-forwarded "digital short," has accomplished what seemed impossible a week ago—making Saturday Night Live a cultural touchstone for the first time since Christopher Walken pleaded for "more cowbell." The popularity of the Narnia rap might augur a reawakening at SNL—in fact, there are already T-shirts that parrot the song's catchphrases. It's more significant, though, for what it says about the state of rap.


Friday, December 23, 2005

A Christmas Story in 30 seconds

A Christmas Story in 30 seconds
For everyone out there that considers this the best holiday movie ever made like us), a very funny animation that captures all of Ralphie's greatest moments...

A Christmas Story acted out in 30 seconds by Bunnies!


Thanks to the fabulous site AllThingsChristie for the tip!


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

Indie band Spiraling does an unbelievable version of "Do You Hear What I Hear" combined with "Baba O'Riley." Stream it here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Portable Yule Log!

yes, the WPIX yule log is now portable to be carried with you on your video ipod. This week can be very helpful since you can at least use it to warm yourself up and get cheery while walking like a zombie all the way to work due to the MTA Strike.

Maybe even Jason may get one one.
Now watch the Yule Log on your video iPod!

Traveling this holiday season? Bring a little hi-tech warmth with you wherever you go!

Click here to download!
Not sure how to get the video into your iPod? Follow these simple instructions:

1. Click here to download and save file on your computer.

2. Open up iTunes program.

3. Go to File >> Add File To Library.

4. Sync your video iPod to iTunes.


Santa Is Scary!

A repeat of one of our favorite sites from last year, and it's loaded with new photos spanning the decades!... the Scared of Santa photo gallery



(Link via ThighsWideShut)


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Is this really necessary?

I'm all for the Xmas cover songs, but really, 15 versions of Last Christmas?

And are any of them going to beat the cover version we did over the weekend at our Christmas party?

I think not.

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's a conspiracy, bitches!

My officemate, who is a NUT for conspiracy theories, sent me this - and even HE thinks it's completely bogus.

Post your favorite part from (drum roll please...) THE CHAPPELLE THEORY.

My personal favorite is the part about Oprah broadcasting just to his house, but the part about Al Sharpton being near his kids' beds is a close second.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Scopitones, The Original Old School MTV

I come across this every so often and am always amazed at just how much this technology was ahead of it's time. I do recall in the 80's some videodisc jukebox but it was super cost prohibitive to watch videos, if Dragon's Lair was $.50, this was like $2.00 a song.

Complete WORKING Scopitone Machine

Scopitone001bComplete WORKING Scopitone Machine on eBay
Buy it now for $1,200.00

This is a re-list because the high bidder from the original auction failed to complete the sale.

This Scopitone is complete and DOES work. This machine plays the film GREAT! They look great too! My camera just couldn't capture the sharpness of the film because of the motion, but it DOES have a shape picture! The sound is wonderful. I was surprised to hear such a great sound from ONE speaker and a REALLY old amp, but it DOES sound great! Everything Does work on the machine and you'll LOVE watching the old films.

but it does need a little something to be perfect. You have to press the selector buttons a few times to get it to start the film and when it does, the machine makes noise while the turret rotates, It's one of the relays clicking like crazy. I just don't know which one! There's 10 or 12 relays in there and they're all right together. I can't see it happening, but if you put your hand on the relays, you can feel that one is switching back and forth, but which one???

I have a manual that goes with the machine, but I'm not an elecrician, so I have no way of troubleshooting the problem. I'd bet that once the bad relay is replaced, there won't BE a problem.

There is 58 films that go with the machine. 36 are installed, the rest are all on spools and ready to install. I also have 100' of 16mm film leader that goes with this.

PLEASE measure your doors before you bid! The machine looks great, I just don't have room to keep it! It's 6 feet, 9 inches tall, 39inches deep and 31 1/2 inches wide!! YEAH!! It's big and heavy, but it's on casters and moves across carpet surprisingly well. The machine has a coin acceptor and will work on quarters. I currently have it set on "Free Play" but ther coin acceptor DOES work fine.

The films are in good condition, I was surprised to see films from the mid 60s that looked SO clear! The american series films are all very colorful, but the french series films all are red cast and not very good looking, but they do sound great! I've been looking for Scopitone films for a couple years now and NO ONE has goos french films from what I can tell."


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tis the season for Helping

While I'm not planning on volunteering at any soup kitchens again this year, Dori and I do have to get cracking on our Non-Profit Organization we're trying to get off the ground to help get books into kids hands. We'd like to be similar to FirstBook.org, which for $2.50 you can get a book into a kids hands. Our goal is to get schools adopted by groups to help sponsor bookfairs to get kids excited about books and reading. We'd be working with Synergia, an organization that helps promote and foster reading and education in very poor schools in the Philippines.

If you can do any volunteering that's great. MUG has a whole list for you to select. You can even go to Volunteermatch.org if you don't see anything you like. At the very least you can click on the following buttons, and if you can find any presents there some of your purchase gets donated to the various causes, gifts and donations together!

books hungry mammogram
healthcare rainforest animals

My holiday gift

I've sent this to most people I know via e-mail, but if for some reason you didn't get it, here it is. I recorded a version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" over the weekend, using my old-skool Korg, Tascam USB interface, Mac and GarageBand. Maybe one day I'll get to record it live on a grand, but until then, this'll have to do.

Jason Hare - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.mp3

(right click to save)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Plagiarist Links

Just a few for today.

For starters, this is pretty cool, albeit a touch dizzying.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Found here.

Just what we need, another game for Z to get hyper-competitive about: Clickwars . Hey Z, for 5 seconds, I got 56.

Snopes: Idaho Passes A Resolution Commending Creators of Napolean Dynamite


I mean, funny, and lots of credit to them for having senses of humor, but *shudder*

Examples of artwork from someone with late onset schizophrenia. It's fascinating to see how his illness affects his artwork in the later stages of his life.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What no pr0n?

Really? I can think of dozens more that are more inspiring or incredible than these... Spark has obviously not heard the Avenue Q song to know what the internet is truly for...

Spark's top 10 Web moments

These are Spark's picks as the top 10 moments in the World Wide Web's short but impressive life. Vote for the one you think is the most significant:

10. WiFi hotspots -- wireless Internet connectivity appears in airports, hotels and even McDonald's.

9. Webcams and photo sharing -- communication becomes visual, and inboxes fill with baby photos.

8. Skype -- telephony turns upside down with free long-distance calls, Ebay snaps it up in September 2005 for $2.6 billion.

7. Live 8 on AOL -- five million people watch poverty awareness concerts online in July 2005, setting a new Net record.

6. Napster goes offline -- Regulators close the pioneering music swap site in July 2001 and file-sharing goes offshore.

5. Lewinsky scandal -- Matt Drudge breaks the Clinton/Lewinsky sex scandal in 1998. The blog is born.

4. Tsunami and 9/11 -- two tragic events set the Web alight with opinion and amateur video.

3. Boom and bust -- trillions of dollars were made and lost as the dotcom bubble ballooned and burst between 1995 and 2001.

2. Hotmail -- went from having zero users in 1995 to 30 million subscribers 30 months later. It now has 215 million users.

1. Google -- redefined search. Invented a new advertising model and commands a vast business empire.


"staring at the bee"

What a cool picture of a cat.

TODAY, I stumbled upon some very beautiful photographs expertly shot by a talented lady : Sophie Thouvenin.

Here is my favorite (I'm sure she won't mind beeing linked from here) ; it is called "staring at the bee" :

Staring at the bee - Sophie Thouvenin


Monday, December 12, 2005

Cats and Christmas Trees

Tree Decorating 101

Your Instructors on how to assemble and decorate a Christmas tree are Iris and Fern - 2 fluffy tailed kitty sisters!

Iris & Fern in the box


3 days of excavating the storage room in search
of the various Christmas boxes has
definitely created a mess.

Finally all have been found. Including a few boxes
we didn't even know existed!

Now a quick sorting thru of the branches,
and we are ready to begin.


Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Electric Kazoo (and other Festive gifts)

Well, I think I need to get an electric kazoo, it must be awesome because it's you know electric and I can turn it up on the amp up to 11. And that Flying V Pink Ukelele is just something that Burke needs to be rocking out.

Riyaz Professional

Each week Tom Whitwell of Music Thing highlights the best of the
new music gear that’s coming out, as well as noteworthy vintage equipment:

Buying presents for music geeks is almost impossibly hard. If you’re determined, there are a few simple ground rules: 1) Anything made by Moog, Oberheim or Sequential Circuits will make anyone happy. 2) Built-in loudspeakers are not a mark of quality. 4) A “Karaoke Function” is not always necessary. 4) Knobs good, buttons bad, wooden end panels excellent. 5) Dusty musical toys from thrift stores are surprisingly welcome, but don’t be surprised if they’re in pieces by New Year’s Eve. If that sounds too complicated, here are a few highlights from the Music Thing Christmas Gift Guide.


Electric Kazoo: Just $17.95, the Kazooka Electric Kazoo (Handmade in the USA) sounds like a distorted guitar or an analog synth when it’s plugged into an amplifier.

Pink Flying V Ukulele: Four strings, $59, perfect for the rocker who’s secure in his own masculinity.

Fernandes ZO-3 Travel Guitars: They’re tiny little guitars with built-in amps, painted in tribute to Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. Unfortunately Japan only, costing around ¥40,000.

Riyaz Master Tabla Machine (pictured top): This is a self-contained, battery powered drum machine for Indian music, basically a tabla player in a little white box. They cost around $190 from Asian music shops.

Future Retro Revolution: It’s a beautiful little boutique synth, with a built in sequencer for making bleepy acid house noises. At $699, it’s still cheaper than a vintage TB-303 bassline synth.


Friday, December 09, 2005

2005's Best Web Tards!

This is the last day to vote in Gorilla Mask's 2005 Web Tard Competition! If you don’t know what a "web tard" is, here's the perfect introduction to a HYSTERICAL internet phenomenon. And if you know and love Webtard videos, check out this fantastic collection of the best of 2005!


Two of our favorites...
Sex You Up
Too Hypnotizing


More On The Superstar Bat Mitzvah

Last week I posted about the disugsting NYC Bat Mitzvah featuring 50 Cent, Joe Walsh, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Kenny G, Tom Petty and Aerosmith. My officemate just sent me a link to some photos from the event, taken by one of the attendees. You gotta check these out.

Thinking about the event more, I guess I can't fault Don Henley et al for doing the event. They probably figured it was easy money, and a chance for a bunch of 'em to get together and play tunes they know by heart anyway.

That is, except for Stevie Nicks. Check out this picture. That's a Teleprompter on the right, and from the lyrics there ("Go Home"), I imagine she's singing "Gold Dust Woman." Some thoughts on this:

1) She's singing a song called "Gold Dust Woman." At a rich girl's Bat Mitzvah.
2) The song is about cocaine.
3) She has sung this song at just about every concert she's ever performed. And she needs a Teleprompter. This is pathetic.

But anyway, what really gets me is when these artists get on their high horses and pretend like they're not whores, and aren't willing to turn a trick for a quick buck.

Okay, enough of my bitching. I'm not sure how long that link is going to last, so I saved some pictures that I thought were especially interesting:

Steven Tyler is a Botoxed mess.

Pajama Party with AEROSMITH! except only one of these guys is from Aerosmith.

Tom Petty spreads 'em in The Red Room where it seems, from the other pictures I've seen, all the guests changed into red outfits. Sheesh.

Hey look, everybody, it's Joe Walsh! "Who?" asks the crowd.

Stevie and Don have a little dance to the tune of "We're In The Money"

Shortly after this picture, the photographer was shot and killed by 50's bodyguard.

Everybody smile and say "Sense of entitlement!"

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Photo from JamesWagner.com

Yes.... Yes... Yes... Yes..

Worst Job Ever


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Could Tom Cruise Sue "South Park" For Suggesting He is Gay? And Even If He Could, Should He?

ummm... I guess. I got really lost in the legalese, can someone who is in the legal profession give more insight?

Could Tom Cruise Sue "South Park" For Suggesting He is Gay? And Even If He Could, Should He?
Tuesday, Dec. 06, 2005

A recent episode of the television animated comedy "South Park" mocked Tom Cruise -- suggesting that he is homosexual, and lying to hide that fact. Could Cruise bring a defamation suit against the show?

In the past, Cruise has sued those who have made the very same claim. Indeed, when Cruise was married to Nicole Kidman, the couple made a point of doing so: In 1997, Kidman told Ladies' Home Journal that when reports claimed their marriage was a sham, "[W]e are going to sue over it. It gets to a point where you have to protect your children." Now that Cruise is set to marry Katie Holmes, who's pregnant with his child, it seems unlikely that he will take a different view.

Could Cruise successfully sue "South Park"? And more broadly, should he continue his campaign of directly combating the claim that he's homosexual, or rethink the ethics of bringing such lawsuits?

The South Park Episode: Treading the Boundary of Parody and Satire

The relevant "South Park" episode -- entitled "Trapped in the Closet" -- self-consciously skirts the outermost edges of the First Amendment's protection for parody. A court would probably deem it constitutionally protected, but only barely.

Defamation requires a "statement of fact" -- and for this reason, most parody, because of its fictional nature, falls outside defamation law by definition. But this is the rare parody that, fairly read, does make a statement of fact.

In the episode, the animated version of Cruise literally goes into a closet, and won't come out. Other characters beg him to "come out of the closet," including the animated version of his ex-wife, Nicole Kidman. The Kidman character promises Cruise that if he comes out of the closet, neither she nor "Katie" will judge him. But the Cruise character claims he isn't "in the closet," even though he plainly is.

No one could miss that the episode's creators are taking a stance and making a statement -- that the real Cruise is gay and hiding it. The use of the euphemism "in the closet" -- used to refer to someone who is homosexual but who has not admitted his or her homosexuality to friends, family, or the public -- is transparent.

Interestingly, the episode itself indicates that its creators know well that they may be defaming Cruise, and they know of his litigious history. The joke disclaimer preceding the episode announces that "All characters and events on this show -- even those based on real persons -- are entirely fictional." At the end of the episode, the Cruise character threatens to bring a suit (not on the gay issue, but in defense of Scientology) "in England" -- which lacks a formal equivalent of the First Amendment. And all the credits at the end use the pseudonyms "John Smith" and "Jane Smith."

Since the episode does indeed make a "statement of fact," the parody exception to defamation law won't save "South Park." Thus, the creators' only weapon against a possible suit by Cruise is a First Amendment defense. Fortunately for them, the Supreme Court has interpreted the defense very broadly.

The Broad First Amendment Protection for Parody and Satire

In Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music Inc., Justice Souter, writing for a unanimous Supreme Court, found that a 2 Live Crew song counted as parody. In so doing, Justice Souter quoted then-U.S. District Judge Pierre Leval as follows: "First Amendment protections do not apply only to those who speak clearly, whose jokes are funny, and whose parodies succeed."

On this logic, the First Amendment gives breathing room to creative works even when they fail in their goals. Thus, here, the "South Park" episode is protected even if its literalization of the "in the closet" metaphor won't make a single viewer chuckle.

The point is that it was at least trying to make people laugh. And probably, the very silliness of the literalization -- the fact that it was the least creative thing the creators possibly could have done -- did indeed amuse some viewers. "South Park's" appeal, after all, isn't its subtlety.

But does it make a different that Cruise's would be a defamation case? Judge Leval originally stated this principle in the trademark context. And when Justice Souter applied this principle in the Campbell case, he did so in the copyright context

Courts, I believe, would probably invoke the same rule in the defamation context, too, for in the end the principle is about creating a healthy margin of error for First Amendment-protected speakers and writers, and that concern is present in all these different areas of law. This is consistent with the principle the Supreme Court has frequently espoused that the First Amendment is in a "preferred position" in the legal hierarchy -- meaning that laws or government actions that infringe on free speech not likely to be upheld.

In the defamation context, though, the rule's application -- though correct, as a matter of constitutional law -- may be especially unfortunate for the plaintiff.

It's one thing to co-opt part of a song, or use a trademark, in a parody: Without using part of the original, the parody won't work at all; no one will know what its target is.

But it's another thing to embed what would otherwise be a defamatory statement in a work of fiction: This is defamation in satire's clothing, and it's only in order to protect true satire that that the Constitution has been held to also protect this lesser creature.

Generally, courts don't want to get into the business of picking out nuggets of fact from an otherwise fictional account.

The upshot, though -- and courts know this, and accept this cost in the service of free speech -- is that parody and satire inevitably may become a refuge for rogues who seek to defame without liability. That seems to me to be just what's happening with respect to the "South Park" episode.

Should Plaintiffs Argue that Simply Being Considered Gay Is Defamatory?

In sum, a Cruise-versus-"South Park" suit would almost certainly be dismissed on First Amendment grounds. Moreover, such a suit -- depending on the way it was framed -- might arguably be as ethically problematic, as it is legally problematic, at least for those who believe that bias against homosexuals is wrong.

Cruise has chosen, in the past, not only to challenge allegations that he cheated or lied to cover up his alleged homosexuality, but also to directly challenge allegations that he is gay. In 2001, Cruise's attorney Bert Fields was quoted saying to E! Online, that "[Cruise] is a great respecter of homosexual rights, but he's not gay, and he's ready to prove this in court. Tom is tired of it and it hurts his children. It's something that will be there forever. And damn it, he's going to stop it." (Emphasis added).

If Cruise is truly a great respecter of homosexual rights, then to comport with his own ethical beliefs, he should have been more careful in crafting his past suit.

Cruise already had a strong suit based on suggestions that he was an adulterer and a liar -- cheating on his wife and misrepresenting the character of their marriage to the public. Did he need to also directly take aim at the statement that he was gay?

Imagine a white person in the Jim Crow South suing to counter rumors that he was hiding African-American ancestry, and the problem with such a claim becomes plain: The purpose of the claim is to restore the plaintiff to a prior, undeserved position of societal privilege, so he can avoid the maltreatment, racism -- and if he is a racist himself, the shame -- that he would otherwise suffer. The claim itself, then, rests on a malicious societal hierarchy.

The same is arguably true of a claim by a straight person that he has been falsely labeled as gay: Such a claim takes advantage of the courts so that one person can escape bias that others unfairly suffer.

It also caters to societal bias by saying, in effect, "Stop thinking less of me; I'm not really gay." But imagine, again, the parallel claim: "Stop thinking less of me, I'm not really African-American."

Should Courts Stop Deeming Claims of Homosexuality Defamatory?

Of course, not all the responsibility can be put on plaintiffs who choose to sue to combat claims that they are gay. Some must also lie on courts that continue to deem allegations of homosexuality defamatory.

Currently, polling shows that a large percentage of the country favors gay civil unions -- as opposed to "gay marriage -- which would grant gay couples many of the same rights as married couples. Meanwhile, highly popular television shows feature positive gay themes -- such as "Will and Grace," "Dawson's Creek," "Sex and the City," and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." In this day and age, then, it's worth considering whether labeling people as gay really defames them, such that their reputations are truly damaged.

Perhaps a straight person's being falsely considered gay should remain an eye-opener, and cease to be a tort. (Employment discrimination based on perceived sexual orientation, whether the perception is false or true, is -- and should be -- separately illegal in some jurisdictions.)

In my view, a "straight-person's privilege" isn't the kind the courts should be protecting. Indeed, a friend of mine who's a practicing First Amendment lawyer believes this so strongly, he won't, as a matter of professional ethics, argue a case for libel-by-claim-of-homosexuality in court. He'd rather be on the right side of history, and decline.

While Tom Cruise won't be able to successfully sue South Park for its satire, he may have the option to sue others who claim he is gay in the future. When he does have this opportunity, he may want to think twice -- and, at a minimum, rephrase his suit to focus on false claims that he is a liar, not false claims that he is gay.


The Richest Fictional 15

So we have nothing else to talk about, no other notable lists to generate or make, but now we have to be in awe of fictionaly characters and their wealth... wonderful. Now people will keep up with the fake Joneses.

Forbes Richest Fictional 15

Monday, December 05, 2005

Doo Doooooooo Bedoodoo

No matter how bad a mood you may be in, no matter how life has got you down. Clicking this link will make everything better.


Impossibly catchy song (get the mp3 here), fluffy pink alien cows (apparently called "snowths"), dirty hipster scat-singing muppets, cameos by Kermit and godfathers of snark Statler and Waldorf. Two and a half minutes well-spent.

I have always loved this goofy little song. So much so that back in our Plastic days Jason and I sought out the song's origins. Does the fact that "Mah Na Mah Na" was originally composed as part of the score to 1970's swedish art-house porn (link is perfectly work safe) diminish from its brilliance? I say no. I enjoy the fact that Henson was well aware of the song's origins when he decided to use it.

More Google goodness, a page tracking the history of the Mahna Mahna character (yes that's apparently the hipster vocalist's name) as part of a larger treatise on the Hipsters v. Squares war played out on the Muppet Show and Sesame Street.

Coming Soon, My in-depth history of "Yakety Sax" aka the Benny Hill "chase the naughty ladies around in double time" Music

The Nightmate Before Christmas

I didn't see this when it was first released and the technology surrounding it is amazing. I didn't look too closely at the rendering of the people but it is a bit creepy.

The nightmare before Christmas

I watched the scariest shit this weekend.


That's how my face was during the entire duration of . . .


It wasn't the many instances of peril that the characters faced that had me so ill-at-ease . .





. . . it was the characters' actual faces. I mean, look at them:






When The Polar Express was released last year, a lot of the reviews focused on this very point. With good reason! It's hard to pay attention to anything else when you're startled every two minutes by some matte humanoid's creepily realistic expressions. The movie is, at best, gorgeous torture, right down to the closing credits, over which a Josh Groban song plays. Ed Gonazlez's review contains the best summary the action sequences that I've read: "at turns suggests an Olympic-style luge event or a trip through an especially crowded FAO Schwartz."

Anyway, back to the ugly:



As though time hasn't been cruel enough to Tom Hanks!


I can't believe he signed off on that!



Not even Santa could escape the ugly stick.


Seriously, Billy Bob Thornton has nothing on him.

The elves are scary . . .


. . . the snowman's scary . .


. . . and just when you think it can't get any scarier, Steven Tyler shows up as an elf:




As you can tell from the Hanks and Tyler characters, the movie's characters were rendered using detailed scans of human models. Clearly, the technology has yet to be perfected. Some $165 million was put into this movie. Director Robert
Zemeckis was ripped off.

Watching these unlikeable characters interact is like watching cosmetically corrected corpses interact.



They waaaaannnntttt your soooooouuuuulllllllllll.

If only the script were as subversive as the flawed character design. It's not. The moral is something like: if you have faith in Jesus (for what is Santa Claus but Jesus with training wheels
on?), your presents will work properly. Merry Gift Day!

One more dash of ugly:


I really hope Hanks, Zemeckis and everyone else involved got smacked upside the head with a bag of coal last Christmas. If not, I'll be happy to do the job this time around.



Friday, December 02, 2005

Plagiarist Picks: What To Watch, Holiday Edition

In addition to all the advertisements, 'tis the season for the various networks to put forth various holiday-related dreck. And 'tis the season for me to be a sucka and watch as much of it as possible. So here's what I'll be watching this month - so far, anyway.

Regardless of whether you have TiVo, I'm using the Tivo Central Online links as a good way to find out when the program is playing.

Note: Yes, most of these are primarily Christmas-related, mainly because I have yet to see a good Hanukkah or Kwanzaa special.

The Christmas Special Christmas Special - Trio It doesn't get more meta than this. I watched this program last year and was fascinated. This special covers the numerous specials - the good, the bad and the ugly, from Charlie Brown to Pee Wee to South Park - how they came into existence, the controversies behind them, and why some became instant classics. There's some great dirt in there about Judy Garland being her typical drunk self, screwing up other specials and barely making it in time for her own. Highly recommended.

Great Things About The Holidays - Bravo This is likely to be a pretty fluffy 60 minute special (including commercials), but just like the VH-1 shows, I can't get enough.

A Charlie Brown Christmas - ABC Really? I have to explain why? No, I don't.

Denis Leary's Merry F**ing Christmas Special - Comedy Central Michele, this is for you, since you're probably not in the holiday mood yet and are upset that I've betrayed you by going to the dark side. I watched this one the other night. It has some high points: a really good Bush impersonator, a Charlie Brown parody that I imagine they're going to get sued for, and a catchy theme song, and some low points: Charlie Murphy, who isn't funny without Dave Chappelle, Barenaked Ladies, whose talents were completely wasted in this show, and a few of the Leary rants. Hey Denis, it's your special: memorize all your bits, because it's painfully obvious when you're reading from the Teleprompter, and just adding a few "Okay?"s after each sentence doesn't hide it. The memorized ones, however, are hysterical.

Celebrate! Christmas With Maya Angelou - Hallmark No, I'm not really going to watch this. But ASHFORD AND SIMPSON, people!! Come ON! SOLID!

The Secret Life Of Christmas - Food Network This seems right up DWS's alley: interesting facts and the origins of holiday food and traditions.

20 Merriest Christmas Videos - CMT Also up Mike's alley: country videos.

Various HGTV Specials - HGTV (These aren't all listed on TiVo yet, so links point to HGTV.com.) I just found out that HGTV has TONS of really ridiculous Christmas programming. Like All Out Christmas, which focuses on wackos like the guy in my last post who did that unbelievable light show. And Warm Weather, White Christmas, which focuses on Christmas decorations in warm locations. Really, everything on HGTV is for obsessives only.

More to come as I hear about it.

Famous Last Words

Billy Joel has a new box set out, entitled My Lives. Naturally, to promote the box, he's doing a number of appearances (Ellen last week and Conan last night), touring the country, and popping up in a series of articles. The most interesting one I've read so far is from Slate and entitled "Billy Joel: Oh, The Squandered Genius!"

The article begins as a review of My Lives, but really serves as a reflection of Billy's career, not only limited to the box set. The writer makes a number of astute points about Billy Joel's career and the scope of the music he's released over his 30 years in the business. But I find that the crux of the article - that Billy Joel's downfall is that he's spent his life trying to establish credibility as a serious artist and has run away from his ability to create excellent schmaltz - to be faulty. Anywhere from the mid 70s through the 1980s, this would have been a valid point. (Indeed, to support his argument, the author uses songs and instances from the late 70s and early 80s, save for "We Didn't Start The Fire.")

But the fact of the matter is that Billy Joel hasn't given a shit about any of this stuff since 1993, when he released River Of Dreams. It's why he hasn't put out another album since then, save for his classical works. And it's why, in interviews, he's said he just has no interest in creating a hit single or fighting for radio airplay. I don't even think he's put on the self-serious airs purported by the writer during his tours with Elton John.

Hell, he even wrote it out plainly in the last song on River Of Dreams, "Famous Last Words:" "These are the last words I have to say/It's always hard to say goodbye/But now it's time to put this book away/Ain't that the story of my life."

Billy Joel may have been a musician fighting for something greater than his reputation, but I think he's now at peace with letting that go, and as such, I don't care if he ever makes another pop album again.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Whores! Whores, all!

So a few sources (Stereogum, Tabloid Baby, Daily News, Felber's Frolics) have covered the basic story (which I'll plagiarize from Stereogum, who plagiarized from the Daily News):
For his daughter's coming-of-age celebration last weekend, multimillionaire Long Island defense contractor David H. Brooks booked two floors of the Rainbow Room, hauled in concert-ready equipment, built a stage, installed special carpeting, outfitted the space with Jumbotrons and arranged command performances by everyone from 50 Cent to Tom Petty to Aerosmith. ... Also on the bill were The Eagles' Don Henley and Joe Walsh performing with Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks; DJ AM (Nicole Richie's fiance); rap diva Ciara and, sadly perhaps (except that he received an estimated $250,000 for the job), Kenny G blowing on his soprano sax as more than 300 guests strolled and chatted into their pre-dinner cocktails.
I don't know which is sadder: someone's need to spend this much for a Bat Mitzvah; the sense of entitlement this kid's going to grow up with; or the fact that if you have enough money, even the artists who make them out to be the most moral of citizens (Henley and Petty, I'm looking in your general direction) will spread eagle for you.


How much would it cost Brooks to get Walsh, Nicks and Fiddy in a gangbang? Just asking.

Girl: I don't know who you are, but who did your face lift? Looks great!

Christmas Links Start....now!

It's December 1st. Let the Christmas links begin.

Best Christmas Lights Ever - I found this link a few weeks ago - by now, I'm sure many of you have seen it. I could have sworn it was fake, but according to Snopes, it's not. It's extremely cool but I get a headache just thinking about the work that goes into something like this. Still, I've watched it about five times and still find it extremely cool. The song is called "Wizards in Winter" and, unsurprisingly, is by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. By the way, if you want to see something ridiculous like this around NYC, here's a good starting point.

As if you haven't figured it out already, the holidays are all over the television. Same as radio, in my opinion - once Thanksgiving hits, it's fair game. (And I'm cool with holiday commercials on Thanksgiving, being Black Friday Eve and all that.) Newsday has a ridiculously extensive listing of holiday specials on television this year. (but why couldn't they make it printable, or even better, in a form I could put into Outlook?)

TiVo is going to be a big help with the holidays this year. Nevermind that 4 hours of Yule Log is still saved from last December 25th, but the benefits of Tivo Central Online has already helped me schedule tons of stuff from the 'net.

I'll be posting a "What To Watch" list in the coming days.