Saturday, December 30, 2006

When my friend sent me this link to (what appears to be) actual footage of Saddam Hussein's hanging taken on a cellphone, I hesitated before watching it. Then I hesitated again before linking to it. But, as you can tell, I decided to do both. I don't feel great about either decision. It's not particularly entertaining to watch. In fact, it's unsettling, and even a little grotesque. So now it's your decision. Watch it if you like. Or don't watch it. You can even chastise me for posting it. I leave it in your hands.
(update: the original site seems to be clogged, and Drudge Report, which was the original linker, is now directing people to watch it on Google Video here).

I will say that I'm glad the world is rid of Saddam.

And on that note, this will be my final post of 2006. But I'll be back at the start of the new year. Hope everyone has a fun and safe celebration tomorrow night. I'll be working at MTV Goes Gold: New Year's Eve 2007. Feel free to tune in... Lady Sovereign is performing.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Clearing Up the Land of Confusion
The buzz around the 2007 Genesis reunion tour hasn't been so great as of yet, because
1) They've only announced European dates so far, and
2) Peter Gabriel is not involved.

However, I have it from a VERY good source (who I will not reveal) that
1) They will be playing Madison Square Garden in July, which means that U.S. dates are forthcoming, and
2) Peter Gabriel will be joining Genesis on several European dates.

You heard it here first, whether you care or not.

And while we're on the subject of Phil Collins, VH1 Classic has been airing an amazing show called Classic Albums, which takes you inside the making of, well, classic albums such as Dark Side of the Moon, Who's Next, Nevermind, Rumours, Bat Out of Hell, and Hysteria. The show is exciting because they have artists and producers sit at soundboards and break down songs into individual tracks, singling out backing vocals, random instruments, etc. Great stuff. But imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when I see they are focusing an episode on Phil Collins's Face Value. Sure, that has a classic song in "In the Air Tonight." But to call that a classic album? Hardly.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I still haven't seen a bunch of movies released at the end of the year (The Good Sheppard, The Pursuit of Happyness, Rocky Balboa, Dreamgirls, Pan's Labyrinth, The Queen, Volver, Notes on a Scandal, The Good German, The Painted Veil, Bobby), and I missed a bunch of movies that were well-reviewed (Wordplay, The Devil Wears Prada, Half Nelson, The Last King of Scotland, Little Children, The History Boys, The Illusionist, The Science of Sleep). But based on what I have seen, here are my 10 favorite movies of 2006 (in alphabetical order):
Casino Royale
Children of Men
The Departed
An Incovenient Truth
Inside Man
Jackass: Number Two
Little Miss Sunshine
Mission Impossible III
Thank You For Smoking
United 93

And my five least-favorite movies (also in alphabetical order):
Basic Instinct II
Clerks II
For Your Consideration (just because it was SUCH a disappointment)
Grandma's Boy*
Nacho Libre

* Even though they're listed alphabetically, this is unquestionably the worst movie I have seen this year, if not this century.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Bah, humbug!" No, that's too strong
'Cause it is my favorite holiday
But all this year's been a busy blur
Don't think I have the energy
To add to my already mad rush
Just 'cause it 'tis the season.
The perfect gift for me would be
Completions and connections left from

Last year, ski shop
Encounter, most interesting.
Had her number but never the time
Most of '06 passed along those lines.
So deck those halls, trim those trees
Raise up cups of Christmas cheer
I just need to catch my breath
Christmas by myself this year.

Calendar picture, frozen landscape
Chilled this room for twenty-four days
Evergreens, sparkling snow
Get this winter over with!
Flashback to springtime, saw her again
Would've been good to go for lunch
Couldn't agree when we were both free
We tried, we said we'd keep in touch.

Didn't, of course, 'til summertime,
Out to the beach to her boat could I join her?
No, this time it was me
Sunburn in the third degree.
Now the calendar's just one page
And, of course, I am excited
Tonight's the night, I've set my mind
Not to do too much about it.

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.

Party dashing through the snow
Of course I bundled up too tight
Last minute have-to-do's
A few cards a few calls'
Cause it's R-S-V-P
No thanks, no party lights
It's Christmas Eve, guttery laugh
Turned down all of my advice.

Last fall I had a night to myself,
Same gal called, halloween party
Waited all night for her to show
This time her car wouldn't go
Forget it, it's cold, it's getting late
Trudge on home to celebrate
In a quiet way, unwind
Doing Christmas right this time.

A&P has provided me
With the world's smallest turkey
Already in the oven, nice and hot
Oh damn! Guess what I forgot?
So on with the boots, back out in the snow
To the only all-night grocery,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
In the line is that gal I've been chasing all year!

"I'm spending this one alone," she said.
"Need a break; this year's been crazy."
I said, "Me too, but why are you?
You mean you forgot cranberries too?"
Then suddenly we laughed and laughed
Caught on to what was happening
That Christmas magic's brought this tale
To a very happy ending! "

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Couldn't miss this one this year!

Friday, December 22, 2006

TRL Moment of the Week
Well, I'm now That Guy on the staff. We had our holiday dinner on Wednesday night, and at the end of the meal (after many drinks had already been consumed), I came to an agreement with the producer that if I did 5 shots of whiskey, I could be in the "hot seat" (a.k.a. be the producer) for the 2nd half of Thursday's show. The shots arrived, and they were closer to double-shots (or at least 1 1/2). And even with no time limit, I downed them all in about 65 seconds.
There are a lot of gaps the rest of the night, but at least I didn't get sick or make a total ass of myself. I did at one point exclaim very loudly, "I'm really excited to meet (Evanescence lead singer) Amy Lee. It's not that I think she's that pretty or anything... I just want to meet her." Um...
The next morning when my alarm went off at 8am, I got up to go to take a piss and immediately had to get back to bed. I called my boss and promised I'd come in, but he'd have to give me some time.
At 9:30 I got up to brush my teeth, but then had to go back to bed.
Took a shower at 11:00, then had to go back to bed.
But in my contact at noon, then had to go back to bed.
Finally I rolled into work around 1:30. For the rest of the day I was treated like an animal at the zoo, with my bosses bringing various execs to my office to show off how horrible I looked, and had to deal with everyone berating me for not having "pulled the trigger" to get the alcohol out of my system. There is also video footage of me doing the shots being e-mailed through the staff, which I'm not crazy about.
But sure enough, I sat in the hot seat at the end of the show. And in retrospect, I don't think it was worth it.

Honorable Mention
Michelle Trachtenberg came on yesterday to promote her new movie, Black Christmas. We were discussing if she'd been naughty or nice this year, and when we inquired about the naughtiest thing she'd done all year, she said, "Oh, I don't think I can say that. Let's keep it behind the bedroom door." Ah Michelle, you dirty slut...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A few years ago (it may have been more like 10), I had a Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey daily calendar (I'm a big fan of the daily calendar... much more so than wall calendars). It's the best calendar I've ever had. Ever December since then I look to see if they're putting out a new edition, but they haven't. I just looked again for a 2007 calendar, and sadly, no dice. But at least I did come across this article that Jack Handey wrote for the New Yorker a few months ago. Good stuff!

By the way, if anyone has any ideas for a good daily calendar, please let me know. No Onion, no Sudoku, no Bushisms, no Simpsons trivia, and nothing with animals please. Thanks in advance.

This video is the PSA equivalent of the Final Destination movies. Who knew that insurance salesman could be so entertaining?
(Special thumbs-up to the lawnmower accident)

Oh, and the company responsible for making it still exists.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Even the Losers Get Unlucky Sometimes
Went to another Losers Lounge show on Saturday night. This one was a tribute to Elton John. The show was entertaining, although it lacked the spark of both the Queen and Stevie Wonder shows I'd been to. I think they do a better job with artists whose music is almost universally upbeat and energetic. They had Elton's kitsch factor down, but the slow songs, while sounding good, dragged and sucked the lifeforce out of the room.
That being said, cheers to Victoria Liedtke for a rousing "Philadelphia Freedom," Mike Fornatale for "Take Me To the Pilot," back-up singer Connie Petruk who stepped into the spotlight for "Country Comfort," and Mark Rozzo for a beautiful "Levon." And as always, the Kustard Kings killed it all the music. Jeers to Joe Hurley for butchering "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters"... he sounded like a mix between Tom Waits and the lead singer of Crash Test Dummies doped up on Valium.
And here's hoping they take my suggestion and pay tribute to The Police at their next show.

Monday, December 18, 2006

With Friends Like This, Who Needs Enemies?
My friend over at The Sticking Point recently asked his friends and readers to write parodies of his entries, as he thinks he needs the piss taken out of him. Today he posted the first one, which happens to be written by yours truly. I think I did a pretty good job (if you're not familiar with his site, this post was my biggest inspiration). Check it out if you've got the time... it's better than anything I'll post on my own site today, I'm sure.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Nighttrain Is Entering the Station
Straight from Axl's mouth: "Chinese Democracy" is (tentatively) hitting stores March 6th!!!

It's a Hanukkah miracle!!!

(Why am I setting myself up for disappointment again???)

Update: I forwarded the article to my bosses, and after 3 years of my pestering them, they finally pitched to the music department to have GnR perform on TRL during February's Spankin' New Music Week. Of course, that would only work if the album actually does come out March 6th. And Axl would have to say yes. The chances are virtually nil. But I'm already dreaming of that show which kicks off with Axl screaming "You know where you are?!?" from the roof of the MTV building before tearing into "Welcome to the Jungle."

TRL Moment of the Week
On Monday we had a webcam interview with Michael Chiklis and Julian McMahon, who are currently in Vancouver shooting Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. They were in position, with excellent audio and video quality. But we needed to make sure they could speak to and hear our VJ. So our producer asked VJSusie, who would be conducting the interview, to speak into the mic. VJSusie, however, thought it was a simple mic check for our own audio department, and so, with an energy and playfulness that the staff has never seen before, she yelled into the mic "Yo, yo, yo, (VJ)Susie in the hooooooooouse!" Chiklis and McMahon gave each other a confused "What the fuck have we gotten ourselves into?" look and burst out laughing.
And once again, TRL distinguished itself as the show for sophisticated journalistic interviews.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Couple quick notes about the Golden Globe nominations:
- Bobby? What the fuck?
- Where's United 93? And Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson (which I haven't seen, but I heard that he's unbelievable)?
- I would've given some nod to Children of Men, but not sure what... maybe director...
- No love for The Wire? Or Friday Night Lights? Or South Park? Or 24's Gregory Itzin or Jean Smart?
- Big Love? What the fuck?

Also, after reading this article about how Mark McGwire currently spends his days, I got to wondering: If he's elected to the Hall of Fame, will he enter as an Oakland Athletic or a St. Louis Cardinal? I think he has to go in as an A (he spent most of his career there, racked up the majority of his stats there, earned Rookie of the Year there, and won a World Series title there. But my officemate and one of my friends both say he'd go in as a Card, since that's where he set the HR record and that's what he's most remembered for (even though the record has already been broken and that's where his image first became tainted with the Andreo discovery).

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Last weekend, the New York Times Magazine put out its annual Year in Ideas issue. It covers everything from floors that harvest energy from walking pedestrians to that stupid beer bladder for people too cheap to buy beer at sporting events. A lot of these ideas are ingenious... it makes me a little sad that I'm wasting my brain power coming up with stunts to do with Nelly Furtado (for the record, today we're having her create a Grammy acceptance speech, Mad-Libs style).
Also, of all the world-altering ideas, why was this one my favorite? (Since some of you have trouble logging onto the NYT site, I'll cut and paste the article)

N.C.A.A. Psyop
By Joel Lovell
In March, the
University of California at Berkeley men's basketball team played its final home game against the University of Southern California, whose team was led by its star guard, Gabe Pruitt. Pruitt was in the midst of a terrific year for U.S.C., averaging about 17 points a game, and for Cal, as the U.C. Berkeley team is known, the game was a must-win if it was to get a bid to the N.C.A.A. tournament. Cal needed to figure out a way to keep Pruitt from having another monster outing.
The solution to how to neutralize Pruitt came not from a game plan of X's and O's but from military-style psychological operations. In the week leading up to the game, members of Cal's Rally Committee, who earlier obtained Pruitt's Instant Messenger screen name, created an I.M. account for a fictional U.C.L.A. coed named Victoria. "Victoria" began flirting with Pruitt, sending him photos of herself (pictures of a very attractive woman that the Cal students had taken off the Internet) and telling him that she and her friends wanted to party with him and his teammates back in L.A. after the game against Cal. Pruitt responded in kind, writing, "You look like you have a very fit body" and "Now I want to c u so bad," and eventually giving her his phone number and agreeing to get together when he returned from the game.
On game day, when Pruitt went to the foul line for the first time, Cal students began chanting: "Victoria! Victoria!" and reciting Pruitt's phone number. Pruitt, a 79 percent free-throw shooter on the season, missed both shots and had one of his worst games of the year, shooting 3 for 13 from the field. Cal won the game by 11 points and went on to the N.C.A.A. tournament.
After the loss, Pruitt said of the Psyop tactic: "I've never seen anything like that, that big. It's up there." He then added, "My dad got a kick out of it, but he kind of told me to be careful."

Brilliant. Utterly, diabolically brilliant.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Don't Be Cruel
The new issue of New York magazine (the Best/Worst of 2006 edition, no less) included an ad for Jelvis, the Jewish Elvis. Curious, I visited its website today, where I discovered that Jelvis is actually "funnyman" Willard Morgan, and that Jelvis is nothing but an offensive, obnoxious stereotype of Jews that happens to (somewhat) look and sing like Elvis Presley. Turns out, however, that Morgan hasn't merely set his sights on Jews... he has other characters to offend homosexuals, Asians, French, and more. And none of them seem funny.
Fortunately, he doesn't seem to be very popular... the only listed Jelvis sighting happened way back in February 2001, and he has no upcoming appearances listed. Let's keep it that way.

Monday, December 11, 2006

After the Dolphins' dominating shutout victory over the Patriots yesterday, I need to revise my theory of why they win. It doesn't happen only when I watch games at the Village Pourhouse… it happens when I watch the Fins on TV, period. They won their first game in Week 3, when I joined a friend from Pittsburgh to watch the Steelers play the Bengals at a Steelers bar on the UWS (Blondie's), while the Dolphins vs. Titans played on a tiny screen in the corner. Not another win until I watched them again Week 9, when they disrupted Chicago's unbeaten season. That was the first of 3 straight games (and wins) I watched at the Pourhouse, followed by a victory on Thanksgiving Day that I watched at home in Florida. I missed the following week, when they lost to Jacksonville, but yesterday's game was nationally televised, so I watched them destroy the Pats from the comfort of my couch. I'm sure I'll have to go to a bar in order to see them play the Bills next week, but fortunately I think I can skip the Pourhouse. At least if this new hypothesis holds up.

And speaking of football, the end of this high school football game is amazing, both for Plano East's insane comeback, the way they then blew it, and the crazy announcers.

Friday, December 08, 2006

TRL Moment of the Week
This story was relayed to me by the other writer, so I may get some of the specifics wrong.
Gwen Stefani was here to tape a performance of "Wind It Up." We also had her tape a cold open, with the following copy:

Gwen looked over the copy and was ready to go. But just as the cameras were about to roll, Gwen's handler stepped in and said she would have to go over the copy with Gwen. She took the cue card from the writer, held it up for Gwen, and literally explained it line by line.
"So here you say 'Hi, I'm Gwen Stefani,' because you want to introduce yourself. Then say you've got presents for today's audience, because you're going to be giving out the gifts. And of course you have to read that you're gonna 'rock the stage with a performance.' And this 'get ready to wind it up,' that's because it's the name of your song. And if you feel like it, end with 'TRL starts now.'"
What would Gwen do without this woman?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I know I've been very lax about posting lately... but life at work has been very hectic, life outside of work has been very hectic... time just seems to be slipping by. But tonight is the MTV Networks holiday party, so hopefully I'll let off some steam and be ready to post tomorrow.

In the meantime, my pervert readers can enjoy the best nude scenes of the year.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

If you don't feel like doing any work today, here are two major timewasters:
- This thing is so oddly hypnotic. And radio stations sure are playing a lot of Christmas music these days.
- The 50 greatest commercials of the 80's? Where's the 'Noid? Where's Little Caesar's "Pizza Pizza"? Where's the Fruity Pebbles ad where Barney pretends to be a rapper to get Fred's cereal? Where's the Circuit City commercial where the kid from The Last Action Hero brings the walkman in and says "Yesterday I bought this, and today I saw this... just opened the paper and there it was" and the cashier pays him the difference and the kid says "That's it?" and the cashier says "That's it" and the kid says "Cool"? Just wondering...

Monday, December 04, 2006

For almost as long as I've been working at TRL, I've wanted to start the show with a cold open in which a robot (I'm picturing Paulie's robot from Rocky IV) does something and then, in its cool robot voice, says "TRL... starts... now..." There is no rhyme or reason for this obsession, but I've pitched it countless times, and it always gets rejected. Now it's basically a running joke throughout the staff.
I'm only telling you this because it probably explains why I like this robot version of Pulp Fiction so much.

Two thoughts on this weekend's sports developments:

1) The BCS should take the C out of its abbreviation, because the system is nothing but bullshit. How could they put UF into the title game instead of Michigan? True, UF had a tougher schedule. But they lost by 10 to Auburn, and barely eeked out wins against Tennessee and unranked South Carolina. In fact, 5 of their wins came by a touchdown or less, with 4 of those against unranked teams. Michigan's only loss came against the #1 team in the country, on the road, by a mere 3 points. Their average margin of victory was 17.3 points, and their closest victory was by 7 (yes, UF's margin of victory was 17.5, but that includes blowout shutouts against 4-8 UCF and 2-9 West Carolina that gives them a big cushion). The argument against a rematch is stupid too (nice job by Gene Wojciechowski pointing out that Ali-Frazer II and III were pretty exciting… I might add that the 84-85 NBA Finals rematch of Lakers vs. Celtics was damn good too). Michigan is clearly a better team… and they got screwed.

2) I apologize to the Miami Dolphins for not watching the game at the Village Pourhouse this weekend. They basically had to win out to have a chance at the playoffs, so this loss to the Jaguars basically puts a fork in their season. I did have a good excuse for not being there: I was taking care of my sister, who is recovering from surgery (I don't want to get into specifics, but let's just say that she'll be fine, minus half her thyroid). Still, it's tough to know that another Fins season is a bust.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The TRL Graveyard Returns
Ashanti came by on Tuesday with the new Tupac video, which she appears in. I pitched this cold open, which got shot down not because it was deemed insensitive, but because our viewers "wouldn't get it." Whatever.








Also shot down was a stunt with Josh Duhamel, here on Tuesday to promote Touristas (a movie about Americans in Brazil having their organs removed and sold on the black market), in which we get various animal organs from butchers (kidney, liver, tongue) and have Josh identify them. Instead the prepped and pitched another of my ideas, Fergie or Fergie, in which we give a fact (this Fergie's middle name is Ann) and he would have to say if it's his girlfriend Stacy Ferguson or Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. No surprise, his publicist shot that down before he even showed up. But that doesn't belong in the Graveyard... more like the TRL Burn Unit.