Saturday, September 17, 2005

First Impressions - Threshold

For some reason I feel like recommending Sin CityNext up on the knock off tour of the fall season is Threshold. It was being hyped as being the best sci-fi show since the X-Files. Of course this begs the question, has there been any good sci-fi show’s since the ? But anyways. The show follows Dr. Molly Caffery, play by Carla Gugino last seen naked in , who specializes in on worst cases scenario. Wow, a government official that specializes in solving worst case scenarios, what a novel idea. That may be the biggest science fiction part of the whole show, a government that is actually prepared for disaster. But I digress. One of Caffery’s scenario plays out when something strange happens on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean that essentially prove the existence of extraterrestrials or ET for short.

The horny midget, or, um, dwarf, I'm not sureSo the government enlists Caffery to round up a team of experts to examine the ship who really don’t have a choice on whether they want to join or not. The other alterative seem to be some Guatanamo Bay type resort if they don’t help. I do like this and would not have any problem if our own government would do the same thing in extreme situations. The experts in question include Nigel Fenway, who apparently a big thing to Trekkies but us normal people hasn’t a clue who he is. Fenway is forensic microbiologists brought in to study the effects of the aliens have on what they come in contact with. He also seems jaded with the whole thing, but goes along nonetheless. Lucas Pegg is an astronautical engineer who is the only team member who seems happy to be there. But the highlight of the team is Arthur Ramsey, who is the best mathematician in the nation and a well versed linguist. Oh yeah, and he’s a very horny midget (or dwarf, I always get those two confused). The best part of the whole show was when he was caught holding Caffery’s underwear. Tough guy Cavennaugh closes out the team as the muscle. What’s Cavennaugh’s last name? And seriously, what’s with the extra “N”? Well your guess is good as mine. But since he’s black ops, the government may have brainwashed him to forget it like in . And the whole team reports to the Deputy National Security Advisor played by Roc himself, Charles S Dutton.

I can't believe they left Roc off of I Love the 90'sSo once the team is assembled they head onto the ship to find only one survivor who happened to be Ethan Rom, who has suddenly become the go-to creepy dude. Something is seriously wrong with the dude who is shot multiple times, jumps into the ocean then somehow makes to Caffery’s house later that night, then disappears into thin air. Then throughout the whole show, there is a pattern that looked exactly like the image that was in the hot chick’s eye on . But hear in lies the problem of the show for me, it was hyped as an X-Files type of show, yet the show feels like a singular X-Files episode that they turned into a whole series. And that didn’t fair too well when tried to do the exact same thing. Plus, if Mulder and Scully were on this case, they would have the case solved already.

Verdict: I’d like to think I have better things to do on a Friday night than watch this show. Granted I don’t, but I’d like to thing it anyway. Might give it another try because when all the people showed up like it was the night of the living dead intrigued me.

Friday, September 16, 2005

First Impressions – Survivor Guatemala

This year's cast

I have been a fan of Survivor since its conception. It is the ultimate competition that challenges both physical and mental abilities and because of that I come back week after week, season after season. But much like the daddy of all reality shows, The Real World, Survivor in recent season has routinely cast beauty over personality. This led me to stop watching religiously The Real World around the Chicago season. Ironically I still love the Real World/Road Rules Challenges. I have yet to reach my breaking point with Survivor because even with the recent lack of quality character, there still is the element that keeps me intrigued.

After a month without a bath, I'd still hit thisFor this season’s cast, it seems to be younger than ever with only four contestants over the age of 35. Well make that three because the oldest person there was already voted off. We even have first celebrity in Survivor history, and by celebrity I mean some one who is so obscure, he couldn’t even make it on The Surreal Life. The “celebrity” in question is former NFL quarterback, Gary Hogeboom. The best part of the whole episode was when Gary explained that he changed his last name so no one else would recognize it. Seriously Gary, 90% of the other contestants were not even born when you were playing. Now Dan Marino, Joe Montana, or Bernie Kosar may have to change their names but not Gary Hogeboom. Not too mention, if he was so worried, why not change the first name too?

The first advertised big surprise happened last night with the return of Stephanie and Bobby Jon from last season’s Palau cast. Much like I hated when they brought back players that were already voted during the Pearl Island season, I really dislike this move. The already lost, it’s time to give two other people a chance. It’s not like either are likely to boost ratings as Survivor has had contestant rating no matter who was in the cast. If I were part of their tribe, they would be public enemy #1 for me.

As for the setting, Guatemala should make for a quality environment. Jungle setting always seems to make the shows better much like the Amazon. One thing that creeps me out is that one tribe will be living in Mayan ruins. That really can’t be a good idea, look what happened to the dudes that went into King Tut’s tomb. And I’m not sure it’s a coincidence that the guy, a.k.a. the warriors of the tribe, which won the chance to live in the ruins, got sick. Had I been in one of the tribes, I would have thrown the challenge because I have no desire to be cursed by some ancient Mayan curse. I would not be at all surprised if the Nakum tribe doesn’t win anything this season because of this.

Bobby Jon finally goes Lord of the Flies next episodeNow for some prediction and other observations:

Most interesting day job: Magician’s Assistant
Will be most hated: Judd
Will be most loved: Margaret
Most likely to quit: Jamie
Most likely to hook up: Brianna & Jamie
Second big surprise: Winner of the loved one competition will join the game
Girl whom I still have dirty, dirty sex with even if she hadn’t showered for a month: Morgan
Next to be voted off: Blake
Winner: Cindy

Verdict: As much as I’ve complained about the last couple seasons of Survivor, I will still be watching this every Thursday at 8:00 as I tape Smallville and Everyone Hates Chris and will most likely rent this season’s Alias on DVD.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Lyrics Quiz - Name Droppers

A couple weeks ago I reviewed Tommy Lee’s new album (I’d Rather Play You on My TV) which included the cheesy lyric, “Tommy got tired of Pamela, Ed got tired of Salma, Puffy got tired of J-Lo and Ben did too.” From that I thought that compiling a bunch of other songs that have blatant name dropping would be fun. As always, leave your guesses, artist and title, in the comment section and if you are correct I will un-bold the lyric and give you credit. As an added bonus, for lyrics that only contain a person’s first or last name, you will get an extra point if you guess their full name (i.e. in the lyric above, had you said Tommy Lee, Pamela Anderson, Ed Norton, Salma Hayek and Ben Affleck, you would had gotten five bonus points). If the person who guesses such a lyrics correctly but doesn’t get the bonus, you can steal their bonus after, and only after the lyric is guessed. The person with the most points will be added to the winners list on my sidebar.

1. Hi Mr. O’Reilly, hope all is well; kiss the plaintiff and the wife-y. (#! Spot - Ludacris; Bonus Bill O'Reilly both guessed by Dane Bramage)
2. Kate Moss can’t find a job. (Intuition - Jewel guessed by Captain Platypus)
3. I met Ali, he said I’m the greatest. (Gettin Jiggy Wit It - Will Smith; bonus - Muhammed Ali both guessed by Daria)
4. Hey Andy are you goofing on Elvis baby. (Man on the Moon - R.E.M.; bonus Andy Kaufman & Elvis Pressley both guessed by Daria)
5. I’m just trying to say the way school needs teachers, like the way Kathy Lee needed Regis. (Jesus Walks - Kanye West; bonus - Kathy Lee Gifford and Regis Philbin both guessed by Solace)
6. Now I’m knocking on heaven’s door, like Bob Dylan. (Gone Till November (Video Version) - Wyclef Jean guessed by Dane Bramage)
7. Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant to be a straight up racist. (Fight the Power - Public Enemy guessed by Brad; bonus - Elvis Presley guessed by Dane Bramage)
8. Tin soldiers and Nixon’s coming. (Ohio - Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young guessed by Captain Platypus); bonus - Richard Nixon guessed by Daria)

9. Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television. (We Didn't Start the Fire - Billy Joel guessed by Daria)
10. Bo knows this, and Bo knows that, but Bo don’t know jack cause Bo can’t rap. (Scenario - A Tribe Called Quest; bonus - Bo Jackson guessed by Daria)
11. Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? (Mrs. Robinson - Simon and Garfunkel guessed by Dane Bramage)
12. I screamed out, “Who killed the Kennedys?” when after all it was you and me. (Sympathy for the Devil – Rolling Stones; bonus - Robert and John Kennedy both guessed by Dane Bramage)
13. His home was Natchez Mississippi, did it like Miles and Dizzy. (Bridging the Gap - Nas and Olu Dara; bonus - Miles Davis & Dizzy Gilespie both guessed by Solace)
14. I heard Neil Young talk about her. Heard ol’ Neil put her down. (Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd guessed by Dane Bramage)
15. (Expletive deleted) Bush, until they bring our troops home, c'mon. (Mosh - Eminem; bonus - George Bush both guessed by Solace)
16. She swears that she’s artsy, but you could distinguish Miles from Coltrane. (Comfortable - John Mayer; bonus - Miles Davis and John Coltrane both guessed by Dane Bramage)
17. If it ain’t Chuck D. Jam Master J, know what? They’re losing. (Musicology - Prince guessed by Captain Platypus)
18. Just like the old man in that book by Nabakov. (Don't Stand So Close to Me - The Police; bonus - Vladimir Nabakov both guessed by Dane Bramage)
19. Stevie Wonder sees crack babies. (Fu-Gee-La - The Fugees guessed by Pure Mood)
20. I wanna be Bob Dylan. (Mr. Jones - Counting Crows guessed by Dane Bramage)
21. It’s not Michael Jackson and this is not Thriller. (King of Rock - Run-DMC guessed by Solace)
22. She said “dad’s the one I love the most, but Stipe’s not too far behind.” (Let Her Cry - Hootie and the Blowfish; bonus - Michael Stipe guessed by Daria)
23. I’ve got more hits than Sadaharu Oh. (Hey Ladies - Beastie Boys guessed by Pure Mood)
24. My homey Dr. Dre came through with a gang of Tanqueray. (Gin and Juice - Snoop Doggy Dogg; Dr. Dre nee Andre Young guessed by Pure Mood)
25. A terminator, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Try’n to play me out as if my name was Sega. (Jump Around - House of Pain guessed by Captain Platypus)

Congratulations to Dane Bramage who won this month’s Lyrics Quiz with a total 14 points, be sure you stop by October 15th for the next quiz.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

First Impressions – Bones/Supernatural


The cast of Bones with, well, bonesAny show that starts off with a hot chick flashing has got my attention, now the only question is if Bones can keep me at attention after that. The show, itself focuses around Dr. Temperance Brennen, a forensic anthologist, and her team as they help the FBI solve mysteries that involve, ironically enough, bones. On the surface, it looks like CSI: Washington D.C., but Bones has humanity to it, delving into the lives of the characters then he 52 shows of the CBS series.

The shows stars Emily Deschanel, best know for being Zooey sister, who in turn is best known for being random girl #5 in a couple of movies that have shown up on Comedy Central every once in a while, as the Dr. and David Boreanaz, who will be known as for the rest of his life. Boreanaz has been fortunate playing Angel as he was surrounded by great actor that hid his wooden demeanor although his dry wit that he displayed as a vampire comes through in this role. But the breakout stars of the cast are the supporting characters including the uber-smart young dude, the conspiracy theorist who could be an illegitimate child of one of , and the toke hot computer chick, who was the previously mentioned flasher.

The first episode was well contrasted with our fair Dr. being stopped at the airport by homeland security, but it only turns out to be a plot by Angel, who just wants to bring in the Dr., who he affectionately calls Bones because who wants to say Temperance, to help him out on a case. I like how the two have had history and we are brought in after their last case didn’t go too well and how the Dr. dislikes her little nickname, which I can relate to as I’ve been stuck with one I’m not too fond of. But since Bones is the best in the business, Angel has to cave into her request for full disclosure in the case and even asks “Do you want to be Mulder or Scully.” But this leads Bones into some trouble as she is not aware of protocol and breaks a few laws along the way while solving the case at hand, the discovery of an intern who has been missing for a couple years.

Also during the show, for some inexplicably reason, during a montage of Bones putting pieces together, they played Howie Day’s Collide over it. I didn’t realize that this turned into WB show, but then again what else could they play, Alice in Chain’s Them Bones. Or here’s a novel idea, write enough story that you don’t get stuck throwing in a filler montage because you have to fill in enough scenes to air. It’s never a good sign when they throw in filler this early in a series.

Verdict: I’m not the biggest fan of crime dramas, but the first episode was well written and I’ll get the show a couple more viewings as there is nothing much on Tuesdays at 8:00. Plus I’d like to hear the conspiracy try to top his “Monica Lewinski was a sex robot created by the KGB” theory.


Lana's evil boyfriend and some other dudeSupernatural is the first of many new sci-fi shows that that have flooded the networks this fall after the success of . What seems to set this show apart from the rest is that it seems to go more in the direction of horror while the others look more like a pure Lost knock off of suspenseful sci-fi. There were plenty of “jump out of your seats” moments in the first episode like with the opening and closing scenes. But I’m not really sold on the whole, being scared every week thing. I prefer my horror fix on my own terms, watching a scary movie when I’m in the mood for one, not on a weekly basis.

In between the two scary scenes we are introduced two brothers, one who has taken up the family business of hunting things that go bump in the night, and the other, who is about to go into law school at Stamford. When daddy hunter goes missing, company son recruits college boy to go find him. Apparently daddy was hunting a spirit that has a pension killing cheating men. Oh, and if the man isn’t a cheater, she’ll quickly turn him into one because, even as a spirit, she’s extremely hot. But once the case is solved, and the spirit is eradicated, daddy is still missing, but left a clue to his whereabouts. This is where I got weary because I see no reason why college boy would give up his dreams for a family he really doesn’t care much about. But the closing scene changed everything and was well conceived as a reason college boy would hit the road with the deadbeat brother looking for a deadbeat dad.

The cast is solely made up as with the two brothers. The elder, family business brother is played by the dude last seen as Lana’s evil boyfriend. I can’t express how much I hate the character. The younger college boy apparently is most known for being on Gilmore Girls, not that I would know that by watching it (hey, I’m a guy). Evil Lana boyfriend does a good job as the cocky older brother, but I’m not sold on the younger brother, which could be a problem when there is only one other person in the cast.

There was even a Mulder and Scully reference in the episode, much like in Bones. That can’t really be a good sign and I’m sure all the other Lost wannabes are scrambling to take out their references as you read this. But what really irked me most about the show is that it ran over five minutes making me miss the season finale of , making me instead have to record the late showing.

Verdict – The ending alone gives it another viewing, but I bet I’ll be watching My Name Is Earl and The Office at 9:00 on Tuesdays. Supernatural could make for a good DVD rental when you need a good scare.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Bucketful of Babylon

Life in Slow Motion - David Gray

David Gray has been one of my favorite new artists of the new decade. Many people tried before him to mix folk with electronic music and failed miserably, but with the release of White Ladder, Gray seamlessly mixed the two together effortlessly. Gray continued with the equally great A New Day at Midnight. Now he’s back with his latest release, Life in Slow Motion.

The album starts off earnest enough with the lush sounding Alibi with the piano taking center stage while background strings slowly build to accompany the piece. It’s a downer of a song and maybe not the best way to start the album off. Thing get more upbeat with the next song, The One I Love. The song doesn’t quite stand up to his pervious love songs like Be Mine or This Years Love, but it is good nonetheless.

Vocally, Gray show more range on this album such as on From Here You Can Almost See the Sea, he reaches into his falsetto as if he was fronting Coldplay. Musically, Gray has veered away from the techno infused beats focusing more this album on the piano and strings then on drums. Ain’t No Love even starts with some synthesizer that makes you think you’re listening to a song by The Killers.

David Gray is as lyrically as strong as in the past and this album the highlight there is Hospital Food. Another look at the agonizing wait many people have while a loved one is in the hospital, “Tell me something I don’t already know.” In the end, if you are a fan of David Gray’s, you will love this album too. If you are not already a fan, you may want to start with White Ladder and work you’re way up to Life in Slow Motion.

Song to Download – Hospital Food

Life in Slow Motion gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my
Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, September 12, 2005

First Impressions – The War at Home

Yawn, try not to fall asleep during The War at HomeWhat better time to debut a new sitcom entitled The War at Home then on the fourth anniversary of 9/11? I’m sure I don’t have to name what network would do such a thing since they have brought us such quality shows as The Littlest Groom and Who’s Your Daddy. If you ask the people at Fox, the show is reminiscent of . Umm, okay. Although calling it but without anything funny would be a little more accurate.

So what we get is yet another dad who is having troubles raising his kids with a wife who also works. The daughter is your token slutty girl except that she’s, as she puts it, technically a virgin. I guess we have Bill Clinton to tanks for that type of clarification. But anyways. Then there is the middle brother who is ambiguously gay. Granted this idea of “is or isn’t he” was a whole lot funnier when it was in a form of a cartoon. Lastly is the youngest boy who… well I’m not entirely sure exactly what he brings to the show.

The casting is fairly uninspiring. Of course it can’t be good when you’re show is headlined by
most notably from the Popcopy commercial. And that’s pretty much it; can anyone name anything else he’s been in that’s good? His page read like a who’s who of movies that no one has seen. The rest of the cast is filled with actors who probably won’t work after this show is canceled, and that may come sooner than later.

The pilot of The War at Home centers on the slutty daughter not being allowed to date a college boy so she pretends to date a black dude named Taye, short for Boo-taye, to get back at her parents. And hilarity doesn’t ensue. The only time I actually laughed during the episode involved a flashback featuring Cherry Pie. To make things worse, there are little vinaigrettes of the characters talking to the camera as if they were on a reality show. Here we are told early on by the sexually ambiguous son that he is, in fact, not gay thus ruining his whole plotline for the rest of the show.

Verdict: I think we have a lead candidate for the first show to be canceled.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

George Bush Hates Midgets

BonoThere were a lot of telethons over the weekend to help the victims of Katrina. First was the major one, Shelter From the Storm, that was on all the broadcast networks and a bunch of cable outlets too much like A Tribute to Heroes that was staged right after 9/11 except this was only an hour long and we weren’t subjected to a Canadian singing God Bless America. Unfortunately I was unable to talk to Mandy Moore when I called in, but at least all of the performances were great and poignant. Performances that stuck out for me included Mary J. Blige joining U2 for One and the heavy Creedence Clearwater Revival presences as the Foo Fighters covered Born on the Bayou and Garth Brooks added his rendition of Who’ll Stop the Rain? Ironically no one performed CCR’s ode to President Bush, Fortunate Son. Speaking of whom, the highlight of the whole evening was when Chris Rock, before going into his prepared speech, quickly threw in, “George Bush hates midgets.” Apparently Rock later went on the BET telethon, S.O.S., and added “George Bush hate albinos.” At least that what heard as I didn’t watch it myself because, much like my president, I don’t care about black people. As for the originator of that quote, I wonder if it was an accident that Kanye West's mike didn’t work to start of Jesus Walks, of which he was backed by a live choir and strings section.

John MellencampThen last night saw the four hour concert, ReAct Now: Music and Relief, put on by the various music channels many of the acts a repeat of the night before, but each performing a different song than the night before. Some interesting new hair styles were sported on the telecast with John Mayer going with an Anikin in Episode III look, Trent Reznor’s new buzz cut that left him looking like Leonard Nimoy, and Melissa Etheridge, last seen completely bald at the Grammys is now starting to grow hers back after beating cancer. Musically the highlights included Reznor alone by a piano sing his song Hurt but sounding more like Johnny Cash’s version than his orginal, Maroon 5 doing the Beatles Don’t Let Me Down, Fiona Apple climbing out of obscurity to perform a new song, Extraordinary Machine, and Mötley Crüe being joined by the non-rapping dude from Linkin Park, a string section, a choir, and the dude from Tommy Lee Goes to College on the drums, to sing Home Sweet Home. Surprisingly good were the unknown artist from New Orleans such as Buckwheat Zydeco, Chris Thomas King, The Radiators, and Marc Broussard who all gave impassioned performances and hopefully MTV and VH1 put these artist in rotation because they deserve it. On the flip side, I was a little disappointed Chris Rock didn’t continue his “Bush hates…” routine.

For those that missed either show, they are being brought to you on demand through broadband channels, sorry dial-upers. For Shelter From the Storm, is being brought to you by AOL while ReAct Now is on both MTV and VH1. MTV and VH1 even are airing a couple of performances that were not aired. If you are a music fan, or even if you’re not, you can buy some of the performances from the ReAct concert at Connect. About half of the performances are up now including two unaired songs by Beck and Rob Thomas. The proceeds from the sales will be split up between the Red Cross, America’s Second Harvest and The Salvation Army. According to the site, there will be more up in the following days which I can assumes is because of legal issues. Way to go Music Industry for crewing up once again by dragging your feet on this. No word on when or if you can get your hands on songs from Shelter From the Storm. Personally, I'd love to have Mary J & U2's duet.

And the donations keep on pouring in from the celebrities. Michael Jackson says he is recording a song considering the one he did for 9/11 did so well. You remember the one that was produce by a porn star right? Also joining the “I have better thing to give than money bandwagon” is Terrell Owens who is putting up his NFC championship ring up for auction will all proceeds from the sale going to charity. Wow, he’s giving up a ring he didn’t even earn. Great PR move TO. Now how about a check you two? If you what to donate your money, click the Red Cross button in my sidebar.