Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Best Week Ever

I still think The Soup is much funnier than The Best Week Ever while getting a fraction of the attention, but I will say that TBWE has the always-hilarious Paul F. Tompkins.

Unfortunately, it also has the never-hilarious Frangela.

A Few Idol Thoughts

Ordinarily I think the folks who mobilize to vote for the worst Idol contestant are pretty funny, but I gotta say, I don't know what they're thinking. Now that Kevin's off, they've thrown their ridicule behind Kellie, of all people. I don't think she's a joke candidate of all. I think Bucky or Paris or Taylor would be a much better bad choice. But, hey, to each his own.

Also, I had no idea there was a post-show-show, called American Idol Extra. It's on DirecTV and Fox Reality about a thousand times during the week, including in HD. Although cohost Mikalah Gordon is a Ghost of Idol Past I'd hoped would stay buried, the show is still a great fix for Idol fans. This week there were post-show interviews with, among others, Kevin and his family, Carrie Underwood, Barry Manilow, and a very genial-but-frank Simon.

And, finally, what's Idol without mini-scandal? This time it's that four of the contestants are not exactly amateurs (though since no one has a recording contract, everyone is technically eligible).

No one asked me, as usual, but IMHO, there is a huge difference between Ace and Lisa, and Mandisa and Paris.

Ace appeared as a day player on an episode of a UPN sitcom, and Lisa was in the L.A. company of The Lion King. Neither of those seems to me like it should matter in the world of Idol.

On the other hand, Mandisa has either opened for or sang backup with -- I'm not clear which -- Shania Twain, Charlie Daniels, Faith Hill, and Trisha Yearwood. And Paris has opened for Bow Wow. Those seem too "pro" to me. But the rules are the rules, and if they're eligible that's that.

I Know It's Old, But It's So Damn Funny

First Google Mapped the Earth... Google Mars.

Resistance is futile.

A Personal Commercial Memory

A visit to the website of my friend, former Duckman writer and adman extraordinaire Howard Margulies, got me to remembering the first commercial I ever appeared in. I was so excited to get cast and to get paid for acting for the first time.

It was an ad for Jewel, a supermarket chain in Chicago. I played the doting son preparing a turkey dinner for my sweet, grey-haired old mum. I tenderly seasoned and garnished the bird, placed it in the oven, took it out, put booties on it, then served it to her with pride. She pinched my cheeks, and I smiled bashfully.

It took eight or ten hours to shoot. The food stylist kept smearing the turkey with motor oil to make it glisten. By the end of the day it was rancid and smelled awful, as did I. For days. And it never aired.

But I was in show business, dammit!

Separated at Birth?

Sound Pet iPod Teddy and Duckman's Fluffy & Uranus

"I'd Buy That For a Dollar!"

In the great tradition of the Tit Lobster, the Furry Lobster, the Giant Lobster, and the Plush Lobster, comes RoboLobster. Though nowhere do I see any assurances that it's 3 Laws Safe.

Random Commercial Thoughts

As much as I hate the Volkswagen "my fast" ads, that's how much I love the Peter Stormare "V-Dub" ads.

My friend Russ noticed this awful Century 21 ad first, and now I can't escape it. It's nauseating.

And finally, can't you just see the KFC client meeting? "We need an ad that stresses that KFC is half the price of casual dining restaurants" "No problem!"

Leading to this hideous no-humans-talk-this-way commercial:

Mom: You spent eight dollars on a meal from a casual dining place?

Daughter: Mo-mm! It's four dollars at KFC!

Announcer: KFC is half the price of casual dining, blah blah blah...

Mom: So if you save so much money, how come you haven't moved out?

Daughter: Mo-mm!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Photo of the Day

Toshio was sure if he could just make his homemade Love Tester register above 45, Kiku would come back to him.

If You Eat a Lot of Chicken... have Robert Baker to thank for it. Mr. Baker, who passed away this month at the age of 84, invented more than 50 chicken products, including chicken hot dogs, chicken bologna, and chicken nuggets. Read more about him, as well as an interview with his son, at

As the article puts it, "He never shared in the profits generated by his culinary creations. Yet in nearly seven decades as a food scientist, he was fundamental to the transformation of the poultry industry, developing products that forever changed the nature of American consumption during a time—the 1950s—when society was largely fixated on beef."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Lows Every Day

Okay, so previously in our Evil Iraq Profiteering Hall of Shame, Halliburton was paid to purify the drinking water for our troops at Camp Junction City, but didn't do the actual bacteria-killing part of the job.

The money-collecting? That they did. The water-purifying? Not so much. And our troops that they claim to love so much got sick.

Now, on to the newly reconstituted AT&T, which has the exclusive contract for the payphones in our PX's in Iraq. They have blocked 800 numbers, so the troops can't use their calling cards that their families sent them from home. So the soldiers have to use AT&T long distance. At 21 cents a minute.

Of course, AT&T feels they're welcome to use off-base pay phones. If they can find a non-bombed pay phone. And they don't mind standing on a street corner in Iraq and chatting while in a U.S. Armed Forces uniform.

America's Next Top Model (SPOILERS)

Okay, first of all, is it me or did Jared Gold and his dorky fashions and the losers in his "Style Council" all have a kind of Otho from Beetlejuice feel?

And second of all, was not the choice of elimination the most unfair choice ever? I mean, as seriously as it is possible to take a competition like this, that was completely ridiculous. There are at least five girls who should go before the one who was eliminated.

I am outraged. And ashamed to be this upset about this show.

The Media Goes Positive

"The good news out of Iraq: We've opened up a lot of new hospitals and boy are the Iraqis ever using them!"

-- Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, 3/22/06

Snakes on a Plane

The other day I was trying to reach something on the back of the top shelf in my storeroom. It was just past my fingertips. I was straining to get it, and I said, to no one in particular, "I want these motherfucking snakes off the motherfucking plane!"

And I snagged it.

(Hey, you say a lot of dumb things when you're alone.)

The point is, that is a catchphrase that's been flying around the Net of late, inspired by the movie with the greatest title ever, Snakes on a Plane. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, thanks to this intense fan interest, they've done some reshoots for the movie and added, among other things, Sam Jackson saying that awesome line.

I love it.

The 20 Most Important Tools

Forbes (via Lifehacker) has a list of the 20 Most Important Tools Of All Time. Somehow they left out the remote control.

Cheney's Tour Rider

The Smoking Gun has obtained a copy of Dick Cheney's tour rider. Before the Prince of Darkness arrives at a hotel suite: "All Televisions tuned to FOX News"

Once more: "All Televisions tuned to FOX News"

Lest his soulless eyes come to rest upon a view of the world that differs from his and he bursts into flames.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

V For Vendetta

I admit I haven't seen V For Vendetta yet, but if the jackbooted thugs really want to find this guy, I suggest they check with Toulon, the Puppetmaster.

"Clown Tie" vs. "Extreme Combover"

Video Dog has a winning new feature: "Fire Your Publicist." The first entry is this
Factor face-off between two aptly-named pundits. Who will win? Just like the hot-blooded: check it and see.

His Other Mistake

A couple of weeks ago in Florida, a 25-year-old man was sentenced to five years in prison for lewd and lascivious battery on a minor.

He had pleaded no contest to having sex with a 13-year-old girl. The judge showed some mercy because of his remorse, and because without his cooperation and confession conviction would have been very difficult.

Still, though he is described by his family as a good person and a hard worker who made a mistake, he will be deported back to Mexico once he has served his sentence.

And of course, prison being what it is, it will not be easy for him, given what he was convicted of.

Yesterday, in Florida, a 25-year-old woman, Debra Lafave, had the Marion County charges dropped against her for having sex with a 14-year-old boy. She had previously been sentenced in Hillsborough County to 3 years of house arrest.

In her house.

She's been taking an online course in journalism. She wants to be a reporter. She smiled with excitement yesterday at her press conference talking about it.

While the other man is still being raped in prison, she will probably be a guest on The View.

His first mistake was having sex with a minor. His other mistake was not being born a woman.

How To Steal, Then Ruin a Great Commercial

Adrants has the skinny on how Chicken of the Sea took a great commercial and "fixed" it to make it "better"... with disastrous results. Then a commenter provides a link to show it's all stolen from a Thai commercial anyway. It's a tragically hilarious slice of corporate life.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Bucky Stops Here

On Idol tonight, Bucky was so awful that he should be packing his bandana-on-a-stick now.

In a just world, Taylor, Lisa, and Ace would be going, too. I can't even hate Kevin as much as I hated Ace. Ace must have sounded really different in the studio, because on TV he sounded like the suck.

Chris and Katharine were, I thought, awesome. And Barry Manilow so improved Elliott in one short lesson it was miraculous. It's easy to see why Barry got the big musical director bucks.

Paris still gives me the creeps. She looks like someone left a human being in the dryer too long.

And, waiter, I'll have what Paula was having.

"Don't Copy That Floppy"

Play this vintage anti-piracy video and you'll learn that either attention spans have gotten shorter, or this is a fifteen-second message stretched beyond its kill-me-now point. Also, if you roll up to a stop light and start hoppin' hydros with this song blasting, you get some funny stares. Take it from me.

Are Any of Us As Dumb as George W. Bush Thinks We Are?

"First, just if I might correct a misperception. I don't think we ever said -- at least I know
I didn't say that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein... I don't want to be argumentative, but I was very careful never to say that Saddam Hussein ordered the attacks on America."
-- George W. Bush, speaking in Cleveland, 3/20/06

"Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue to take all appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;"
--the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of U.S. Armed Forces Against Iraq, 10/2/02

"We realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I'm never going to forget it. And I'm never going to forget the vow I made to the American people that we will do everything in our power to protect our people. Part of that meant to make sure that we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that's why I went into Iraq."
-- George W. Bush, White House Press Conference, 3/21/06

Monday, March 20, 2006

An Easter They'll Never Forget

I'm sure Williams-Sonoma meant well when they offered a Bunny Cake Pan for making bunny-shaped cakes for Easter. And I admit I don't know much about kids.

But I can only imagine the screams and nightmares that might result from seeing a knife being plunged again and again into Peter Frostingtail here.

Perhaps a plain white sheet cake might be best.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Good News From Fox For a Change

Not only has The Simpsons been renewed for its 18th and 19th seasons, but the unjustly ignored King of the Hill, which had shut down production over a year ago, has been unexpectedly renewed for an 11th season.


For years, Chowhound has been the best place to find and share great places to eat, with a snobbery factor of zero. Whether it's got valet parking or it's in a strip mall, if the food's good, you'll find it at Chowhound.

Now the site's been bought by CNET, which means the hopelessly fugly interface will finally get a much-needed update. Meanwhile, squint and bear it, and head to for great tips on places to eat, and some of the nicest people online.