Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
Oops, forgot one...
Jeers to traffic (and the taxi fare hike). After cruising most of the way to JFK, traffic suddenly stalled about 5 miles from the airport, and it took just under an hour to move 2 miles thanks to a 3-car pile-up. My sister and I still made our flight, but the ride cost a whopping $75 (plus tip). Guess we should've taken the AirTrain...
Posted by Brian at 6:36 PM
Rolling Stone magazine unveiled its list of the 500 greatest rock & roll songs of all time. Not to be outdone, this weekend radio station Q104.3 played its list of the 1,043 classic rock & roll songs of all time. The only song that appears in both top 10? "Hey Jude." Both lists have their problems: RS is hugely biased towards Motown and lacks respect of current music (only 3 songs from this decade, 2 of which are by Eminem), while 104's list seems more interested in killer guitar licks than quality lyrics or impact on society. Still, it's interesting to see the gap between "experts" (who voted for RS's list) and "fans" (who voted for 104's list).
Posted by Brian at 2:02 PM
I'm back from spending 5 (semi-)relaxing nights with my parents in South Florida... and, much like last year, there was much to be thankful for... and much not to be. So here's my second-annual Thanksgiving Cheers and Jeers:
Cheers to my grandma, the queen of unintentional comedy. This year's winner for best line of the trip came when we were discussing the fact that she can't drink beer because she's on a diet. When I suggested she drink lite beer, she waved her hand dismissively and said, "Lite beer... that's like drinking make-believe!"
Cheers to my mom, who is fast becoming my grandma when it comes to crazy lines. Her best was, "Speaking of people not wearing purple shirts..." (even though nobody was talking about people wearing purple shirts... or not wearing purple shirts... or even purple shirts at all)
Jeers to my jinxing ability. On the Sunday before I left, I ran into Andy, the Apprentice 2 contestant who went to my high school. I made my best effort not to talk about the show, as I'm sure he's sick of it, but wished him luck with the rest of it. Of course, Trump fired him on the next show. Sorry, Andy!
Jeers to South Florida DJ's. One of them said, "Lots of people say it's Beyonce, but I think Amy Lee has the best voice in music." Hey, I'm a bigger Evanescence fan than I should be, and I like her voice, but there's no way Amy Lee has the best in music. Another DJ said he had some "sad holiday news" about a man who died when he fell of his roof trying to string up holiday lights, then went on a riff about how that sounds like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation. Little tact?
Jeers to bad timing. My flight home on Tuesday coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Doug Flutie UM/BC game, one of the most exciting in the history of college football. I'd never actually seen the final hail-mary pass, so I was excited to find that JetBlue had ESPN Classic on its DirecTV service, allowing me to watch the game in the air. Sadly, we landed less than 2 minutes before the game ended, and the TV shut off as we pulled into the gate. I've still never seen the play.
Cheers to perseverance. At the West Palm Beach airport security line, a man got into an argument with security, who said that his bag was too big to bring as a carry-on. The man stuffed the bag into the dimension display, showing arguing that it did in fact fit. When rebuffed, the guy started screaming at the security guard that he wanted to see her boss. She said that she had no boss, so the guy yelled, "Oh, so you're the king of the airport?" When she continued to refuse him, he yelled to everyone else on line, "Does anyone see any reason why I can't bring this bag on-board?" Of course he received no response. Eventually the security guard relented. And while I don't really endorse making such a scene at an airport, I was impressed by his, shall we say, moxie.
(On a side note, as the guy then went to retrieve his bag from the dimension display, he found it wedged in so tightly that it was stuck... as I passed through the metal detector, he was still struggling to free it)
Anyway, back to the daily grind now...
Posted by Brian at 11:11 AM
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Last Stop: This Town will be on temporary hiatus as I head to Florida for the weekend... back on Monday.
Happy Thanksgiving, readers!
Posted by Brian at 2:51 PM
Here are some words that VJ's or guests have recently introduced to America...
tift: (noun) a petty quarrel (see tiff, rift)
conversate: (verb) to talk (see converse)
chastle: (noun) a cup or goblet (see chalice)
Posted by Brian at 2:36 PM
Monday, November 22, 2004
Today is the 7-year anniversary of the death of Michael Hutchence. I was set to see INXS play at the Electric Factory in Philly two weeks before he died, but at the last minute didn't (in all honesty, the girl I was gonna go with backed out). I happened to be in NY the day he died, and was eating dinner with my sister at Times Square Brewery (which was then located above the 42nd St. subway station in the south median between B'way and 7th) when I saw the news of his death go by on the news ticker. To this day I'm pissed off at that girl for making me miss that concert. Now, I'm more pissed at the fact that INXS is starring in a reality show to find a new singer. The band died with Michael... let's keep it that way.
Posted by Brian at 6:35 PM
Things I Learned This Weekend Watching the First DVD of Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Vol. 1
- The opening credit sequence has to be the longest in television history: 2:29 every show. The theme song also contains some of the most bizarrely-amazing lyrics ever. And it's sung by Cyndi Lauper!
- The show was a breeding ground of talent: Larry Fishburne, Phil Hartman, and 8-year-olds Shaun Weiss (the fat kid from The Mighty Ducks trilogy and Freaks & Geeks) and Natasha Lyonne.
- Even given Paul Reubens' questionable history, for some reason it still doesn't seem strange when Cowboy Carl says to Pee-Wee, "I showed you mine, now you show me yours." (FYI: that line refers to dance moves)
- The recurring food segment rarely made sense... on salad day, he said "It's easy. First, head over to your salad bar"... I guess every house was supposed to have a counter set-up with lettuce, onions, beets, mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes, and 3 types of beans. And teaching how to make ice-cream soup? Even kids know what happens when ice-cream melts...
- Considering that Miss Yvonne was supposedly the "most beautiful girl in Cartoonland," she's really not that good-looking.
- I'm positive that he breakdancing noise Conky makes when he powers up was used in a song, and it's driving me nuts that I can't think of what it is. Little help?
- My roommate Dave (32 years old) and my friend Sean (31) are both too old to have watched the show from a child's perspective and are too young to have watched it from a kitschy, retro-perspective... and the show has not been re-run since it was taken off the air in 1991... but they both remember it surprisingly well.
- I can't get the following out of my head: "You all remember what to do whenever anybody says the secret word right? Scream! That's right. For the rest of the day, whenever anybody says the secret word, SCREAM REAL LOUD! Ready? Let's try it. "
- I wish it was 1987 again so I could watch these shows for the first time all over again. Damn Peter-Pan Syndrome...
Posted by Brian at 1:54 PM
This morning I was flipping through the radio and caught the last half of the new, Band Aid 20 version of "Do They Know It's Christmas." I assumed it would suck... but I was wrong. Because suck isn't nearly a strong-enough word. I don't think there is a word to describe this monstrosity. After the song ended, the DJ's took phone calls from listeners to get people's reactions, and the first few were bad. They took a few more... still all bad. "Somebody had to like it!" the DJ exclaimed... after a dozen calls, he realized he was mistaken: everyone hated it. I didn't realize that American radio audiences actually had taste anymore, but they universally panned the song. Good for them!
If you want to hear it for yourself (or see the awful video), go here... but I don't recommend it.
Posted by Brian at 11:08 AM
Friday, November 19, 2004
TRL Moments of the Week (Good Charlotte edition)
Good Charlotte stopped by the show on Wednesday to give away props from their video, "Predictable."
1) As the segment producer prepped the band on their interview, one of the members of the band (dunno which one... they're all the same to me) asked the producer not to use the word "cynical," because "our fans probably won't know what that means."
2) A female Good Charlotte fan (who couldn't have been more than 17) stood on the sidewalk outside our studio holding this sign:
Posted by Brian at 2:39 PM
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Entertainment Weekly is running a poll for album and musician of the year... and in a very surprising (and pleasant) development, as of right now "SMiLE" is the leading vote-getter for album by a wide margin (26% to Usher's "Confessions" with 16%). You can (and should) vote for Brian Wilson here.
Posted by Brian at 1:19 PM
Okay, I have huge news... everyone, take a deep breath... the one and only Joe Piscopo will be at the Times Square Toys 'R' Us tomorrow (Thursday) from 4-7 to introduce Trivial Pursuit SNL Edition. THE Joe Piscopo, in person! You'll be able to ask him about all his awesome movies like... um...
Posted by Brian at 9:57 AM
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
The Cereal Life
Sunday's New York Times contained a hard-hitting expose on... cereal. Fascinating, really. Apparently people like to eat it. But in the article, there was something of interest... UPenn, my alma mater, is building a restaurant called Cereality, which serves nothing but bowls of cereal. 30 types of cereal, 34 toppings, 3 types of milk... and a whopping $4 a bowl (basically the same price supermarkets charge for a box), all served by pajama-clad "cereologists." A visit to their website shows that the store looks like a Jamba Juice. How this possibly fits in the center of West Philly, competing against trucks serving $3 cheesesteaks, is beyond me. But hey, if Philadelphians can pay $100 for a kobe-beef-and-foie-gras cheesesteak, I guess they can spend $4 on a single bowl of cereal.
Posted by Brian at 10:27 AM
Monday, November 15, 2004
With all the millions of different fortunes stuck in cookies in Chinese restaurants around the world, how did my friend and I manage to get the same exact one last night, and have it be the lamest fortune I have ever read?
Your winsome smile will be your sure protection.
Posted by Brian at 1:15 PM
Friday, November 12, 2004
A Thriller No More
In 2001, on the day Michael Jackson released the ill-fated Invincible album, fans standing in Times Square raced across the street, climbing over moving cars, to catch a glimpse of him. Yesterday, Jacko protests against Eminem in the middle of Times Square and only 20 people show up. Incredible how much his popularity has sagged. TRL had at least 50 people standing out in the cold rain for Ludacris today. For Ludacris! However, maybe it's for the best that so few people showed up... I've never seen him look creepier.
Posted by Brian at 6:21 PM
It was bad enough dealing with the rain this morning, which always causes havoc on the subway (delays, soaking-wet people, funky mildew smell), but while exiting at Times Square, I ran into about a dozen Agent Smiths Cinemax had planted to hand out scratch-off games promoting this weekend's presentation of the Matrix trilogy. How could they possibly think this is a wise scheduling move? Did their programmers see the 2nd and 3rd movies? I think I'd rather watch the MVP: Most Valuable Primate trilogy...
Posted by Brian at 11:37 AM
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
TRL has introduced 44 1/2, the world's largest high-definition screen, which hangs over Times Square right outside our studio (and is so named because "it stretches practically all the way from 44th to 45th St."). The screen itself is pretty cool and has unbelievable clarity (and would be awesome to watch the Super Bowl on, as some of the TRL gang is discussing), but it's fairly embarrassing to see such a big projection of myself displayed to tourists during rehearsals. The world definitely does not need to see me wearing a headset, holding cue-cards, and desperately trying to get the VJ's to focus on what they're doing. I say bring back the Jockey billboard featuring the half-naked woman... that's a much better visual.
Posted by Brian at 10:36 AM
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Last night my sister and I went to see the Off-Broadway show Eat the Taste. The show had been getting almost universal good reviews, and the premise is actually pretty funny: with Bush's presidency coming to a close (it's set in the future), John Ashcroft decides that he wants to star in a one-man Broadway musical about his life... so he enlists the help of the creative team behind Urinetown to help him. Although "enlists" actually means "holds captive at gunpoint by government agents in a cheap hotel room."
Set-up aside, the play is awful. It's basically a one-joke show stretched out to 65 minutes. Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann, the actual lyricist and composer of Urinetown, appear as themselves and prove that they most certainly are not actors. Yet they are almost better than the real actors, particularly the lone female, Eva van Dok. Kotis and Hollmann may be the ones "eating the taste," but she is so busy chewing the scenery and overacting that she doesn't have time to do anything else. One highpoint comes near the end when Hollmann demonstrates a brilliantly-clever new song written for Ashcroft's show called "Shaking Off the Chains." But one good bellylaugh in an hour does not a good show make.
Posted by Brian at 1:53 PM
Monday, November 08, 2004
After watching DiG! on Sundance Channel this weekend, I'm glad that Brian Jonestown Massacre offers all of its music for free on their website... because even though I like their music, I'll be damned if I ever spend a dollar buying one of their CDs or paying for one of their concert ticket to give money to that arrogant asshole Anton Newcombe. Although I loved the movie, Newcombe's constant whining and immaturity became almost unbearable. I can't recall the last time I've seen so much talent wasted on a musician I hope will never succeed (actually, Joel Gein bothered me much more, but that's tempered by the fact that he doesn't seem to have any talent, unless making stupid faces while shaking a tambourine and making snide comments counts as a talent). Fortunately, I don't have to worry much, since Newcombe continually sabotages himself (and yes, feel free to bring on the argument that he doesn't want success... that bullshit line just doesn't fly, and anyone who says it, including Newcombe, knows deep down that it's bullshit).
Posted by Brian at 11:37 AM
Friday, November 05, 2004
Happy Birthday To Me
This blog turns 1-year-old today. Unbelievable how fast time flies. It also amazes me, when I look back at some of my original posts... I once had actual opinions and thoughtful things to say, as opposed to my current hodge-podge of links and lame jokes. My friend Jared, one of Last Stop's original readers, used to complain that my ranting posts made me come off as very angry. I don't think I've mellowed out much over the past year... getting lazy is a much better explanation for the change.
Anyway, this year has been fun, and I hope I can keep this site alive for another year.
Posted by Brian at 4:06 PM
TRL Moment of the Week
Tuesday's Choose or Lose Edition of TRL (which was handled entirely by MTV News, so I can receive no blame) featured a segment in which Damien walked into the Downtown (a.k.a. small) studio to find P. Diddy and his Vote or Die! entourage manning a phone bank. I still don't know who exactly was supposedly calling and for what purpose, but it was blatently obvious these people weren't actually talking to any callers... they all picked up the phone, waited silently for a few seconds without saying anything, then hung up. Rachel Bilson, the only one in the room not wearing a Vote or Die! shirt (I guess she actually has fashion sense) didn't even pick up her phone... she simply sat there with a confused look on her face, giggled periodically, then disappeared the next time the show cut back to the room. At one point P. Diddy started talking to Trick Daddy*, who was "on the phone" at the time, and Trick Daddy managed to do an entire 60-second interview while holding the receiver to his ear without disrupting his conversation with the "caller." Amazing television.
* Note: P. Diddy mentioned during his interview that Trick Daddy, a convicted felon, is ineligible to vote. At least that gave him an excuse not to, unlike the revelation that many other celebrities in Diddy's Vote or Die! campaign (Paris Hilton, 50 Cent) not only didn't vote, but weren't even registered.
Posted by Brian at 10:58 AM
Thursday, November 04, 2004
In his most recent Page 2 post, Hunter Thompson guaranteed a Kerry victory on Tuesday. I gotta say, for a gambling man, Thompson is terrible when it comes to predictions. I recently read his book Generation of Swine, which included the following forecasts made in 1986:
- "[Herschel Walker will] be lucky to gain 500 yards." (Walker rushed for 737 yards along with 837 receiving yards in that, his rookie season)
- "The odds on George Bush being our next president will be about 33-1." (Bush destroyed Dukakis by 315 electoral votes in one of the most one-sided elections in history)
- "The Patriots won't make the playoffs again for 25 years" (The Pats lost in the AFC Championship game the next year, made it all the way to the Super Bowl in 1997, and have won it 2 of the past 3 years)
Posted by Brian at 10:27 AM
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
I'm so sick of hearing that awful song, "1985." I don't understand why people think it's funny or clever. And the selection of artists doesn't even make sense for a song about a girl living in the musical past... Springsteen, Madonna, U2, and even Blondie (to some extent) are all still relevant (and of those, U2 and Blondie didn't even have hit singles that year). Why didn't they use artists that are no longer recording? Good choices from that year include John Parr, a-ha, Simple Minds, Mr. Mister, Wham!, Billy Ocean, Animotion... seriously, Bowling for Soup, do your research!
Posted by Brian at 1:32 PM
When I posted yesterday that things could not get worse for Florida, I was wrong... very wrong. They voted for Bush. Now things will not only be worse for Florida, but they will be worse for the entire country (and probably the whole world). It's very troubling to be a Floridian today.
Also troubling is that last night I found out one of my best friends from college is being shipped out to Iraq in January. He's always been impulsive... when he graduated from Penn he had no idea what to do for a career, so he moved to Thailand for 2 years to teach English, and when he returned he enlisted in the Army. He did a fantastic job in basic training and seems ready and willing to go overseas to fight for his country and support his president... and even though I don't support the war, I have to support his decision. But I'm terrified for him. He'll be a sniper in Iraq, which I'm hoping will keep him far enough away from immediate danger, but it's still a very frightening development, especially given the re-election of Bush, who is to stupid and stubborn to even contemplate removing troops in the immediate future. I'll have my fingers crossed the entire time he's there.
Posted by Brian at 11:31 AM
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Rough weekend for Florida sports. All three college football teams (UM, FSU, and UF) lost on Saturday, the Jags lost to the Texans on Sunday, the Dolphins were utterly demolished by the Jets last night, Shaq's hamstring may cause him to miss tomorrow night's NBA opener for the Heat, and the Marlins' closer Armando Benitez filed for free agency. Here's hoping the teams can turn things around quickly... although I don't see how they can get much worse.
Posted by Brian at 2:26 PM
Monday, November 01, 2004
I Knew I Should've Dressed Up as a Porn Star
Met up with some friends at a Halloween party on Saturday night. One of the girls was dressed as a flapper, yet when I asked her what she was, she drunkenly replied "a fluffer." Bet she would've won the costume contest hands (or knees) down...
Posted by Brian at 2:24 PM