Wednesday, June 30, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Larry King says goodbye, Eminem sold way more records than you thought he would and Robin Williams as The Riddler?

This song came on this morning while I was out for a run. Haven't heard it in years, and it was an absolute delight to hear it again after so long. Once saw them on a three-band bill at an outdoor amphitheater. They opened the show. Vertical Horizon was second. And Third Eye Blind was third. I lost about 75 dude points after admitting that, I understand. Too bad these guys went away, actually. They were a little different than the other lame-rock groups. The slower song was the bigger hit, but this tune has a bit of a tounge-in-cheek feel to it that's fabulous. Anyways, welcome to Wednesday, or as some may say, the last day of June. NBA free agency begins at 12:01 tonight, and where will all of those young superstars land? It shall be interesting to see how it plays out. Early thought: If LeBron goes to Miami to play with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade, he will be a five letter word that I am not allowed to type on a blog that has such young eyes. In any case, before any of that drama comes to fruition, take a look at a few of these links to get you firmly over the hump that Wednesday always provides.

Eminem sold 741,000 copies of Recovery in its first week. That’s awfully, awfully impressive in today’s fickle music world. Can’t imagine another record will top that this year. (Rolling Stone)

Oh, wow. Blogger writes about how good it is to hear about a story regarding heterosexual molestation from a priest as opposed to homosexual molestation. Outrage ensues. (D Magazine)

The media industry really is in trouble. Playboy cuts jobs to save $3 million a year. (Chicago Business)

A vote for Jurgen Klinsmann to become the next United States National Men’s Soccer Team coach. (Fox Sports)

It’s true. Verizon will carry the iPhone in 2011. AT&T stores around the world are immediately put up for sale. (Christian Science Monitor)

Robin Williams wants to play The Riddler in the next “Batman.” Good luck. (Showbiz Spy)

Erin Andrews is going to stay at ESPN. College coaches rejoice. (USA Today)

Larry King’s show is finally coming to an end. Here’s a look at some of the man’s worst moments. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Five dollar movies are way better than five dollar footlongs

One of the three biggest reasons I was able to dive head-first into movies and film around two years ago was the now-infamous $5 bin at my local Wal-Mart. Having owned a grand total of two movies until that point, the discounted prices helped me become more acquainted with films I was told I “should” or “will” like. Besides, it’s five dollars. If you enjoy the movie even a little, it’s well worth the hit to your pocketbook.

That said, Wal-Mart isn’t the only place that sells discounted movies. Some months back, I found myself with a few friends at a dollar store knock-off of a dollar store (and though I will not reveal the name, I will hint that it has something to do with temperature). Yesterday, I found myself in the vicinity of the same kind of knock-off store, and after remembering that someone I was with purchased the wonderfully long “Casino” for five bucks there before, I thought I’d take a gander.

Sure, I didn’t find “Casino,” but I didn’t need to. Why? That’s because I ended up with gold instead. After making my way to the movie shelf, I noticed that two movies I love – one of which was in my top five of ever for a little while – were available. Those movies? “Doubt” and “No Country For Old Men.” Imagine my excitement. It felt like 2007 and 2008 all over again! I snatched up the movies, and moved to the cash register, practically skipping my way over. The five dollar bin to the rescue again.

Driving home, I began thinking about what movies should be included in some five dollar bin somewhere - movies I have in the back of my mind each time I run into these discounts, knowing these titles could feasibly be justified if I were to indeed ever find them at such a price. I thought I’d share my findings with you, the fantastically pretty-eyed reader. Your opinions, as always, are welcome.

Citizen Kane
Come on, now. The experts say this is the greatest movie ever made. Why not make it available for an easy low price so all movie lovers could acquire it?

Love Actually

It’s the best romantic comedy ever. Like, ever.

Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI
Because the first two have been taking up space in every discounted section throughout the world. And each installment is worth it in its own little way.

Ocean’s Thirteen
Much like the “Saws,” the first two installments of this trilogy can be found for five dollars anywhere. Plus, this offering is way better than “Ocean’s Twelve.”

Any Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Chuck Norris movie
Oh, wait…that’s already been done.

The Godfather Parts 1 & 2

That’s a bargain: You’re only paying a dime for each hour!

This Is Spinal Tap

Because I can’t find it anywhere. Like, anywhere. And it has to be one of the funniest movies ever, right? Has to be.

And finally…

Cool Runnings
Honestly, though. Why isn’t this anywhere in sight? You always see “The Sandlot” or “Rookie Of The Year.” What’s wrong with putting this movie right beside it on the shelf. It’s a classic. Feel the rhythm…

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

...For The Ride Home: We had this Steve Carell story months ago (dangit!), NBA free agents do meet and the death of concerts is imminent

...And there's the video of the Chris Brown incident we alluded to yesterday. It's now time to make your own call. We still stand firmly in our position that it was a bit put-on. I'm not sayin' but I'm just sayin.' Hello, hello. Happy Tuesday to you pretty faces. June is almost gone and as my roommate said this morning, "I'm still stuck on June 1." Me too, actually. It's a bit sickening to know the Fourth of July is right around the corner. It seems like just yesterday it was cold and rainy. But alas, here are we, nearly ready for the MLB All-Star game while hearing rumblings about how college football season is only a couple months away. Where does the time go, friends? Where does it go? As you ponder that particular question, take some time to click a few links, and inexplicably be excited for this new Harry Potter movie that has all the Harry Potter fans excited. Be good, and remember to stop at crosswalks for pedestrians.

Oh contraire. The NBA free agent summit indeed did occur. Remember: Thursday’s the day. (ESPN)

This is something that deserves its own post, and possibly even more. This summer’s concert season is slowly becoming the most disastrous within the last decade. More and more acts cancel/postpone dates and sometimes entire tours (citing various untrue reasons, mind you). Today’s victim? Rihanna as she cancels her tour opener in Washington. (Pollstar)

Get ready for special editions of GQ, Vogue, Glamour and The New Yorker. (New York Observer)

At least he knows it: The “Sh!t My Dad Says” guy recognizes that he is the luckiest guy in the world. Him and Ringo Starr, that is. (I Want Media)

The stereotypical “soccer will still never catch on in America” column. This time from Jay Mariotti. (Fanhouse)

OK. Hold on a second. We had this Steve Carell leaving “The Office” story literally in April. Why are people only finding out about this now? (San Francisco Chronicle via The Associated Press)

Wait. Jay-Z and Eminem are going to do an album together? (All Hip-Hop)

Love Kelly Ripa. No. Really, I do. She’s funny, pretty and seemingly smart. And she looks absolutely fabulous for nearly 40. Hell. She’d look absolutely fabulous if she was nearly 29, too. (People)

Yes, I love Harry Potter. Yes, I'm a grown up.

Nerd alert for you all: I am a Harry Potter fan. Yeah, I said it – a Harry Potter fan. But not like a Harry Potter book fan, because those people are the real nerds, right? (kidding!) Regardless, I’ll stick with the movies; they haven’t failed me yet.

Anyways, you can only imagine my excitement when I heard the “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” trailer was finally out. My wife and I saw “The Half Blood Prince” the day it came out (half because we’re fans, half because we just wanted to see a movie and it happened to be playing that evening), and ever since then I’ve been looking forward to the final installments (the last book is two movies, if you didn't know).

Let me get deep on the HP story for a minute here.

The themes of this series have been interpreted and reinterpreted dozens of times – at its core the tale is one of life and death, good versus evil. But then we see the way Hermione is treated by the “elite” students and it becomes a commentary on prejudice and a faulty class system. We see the way Lord Voldemort thirsts for power and immortality and it becomes an observation on tyranny and totalitarianism. The possibilities go on and on and on. At some point you have to think when all is said and done, this series will have made many people – young and old – more well-rounded individuals.

Deep part over… did I mention that my wife and I dressed up as Harry Potter characters last Halloween? Before you judge me, keep in mind that we were on a tight costume budget and visited the costume store on, like, Oct. 29.

One thing I love is the fact that the movies have gotten increasingly darker as the series progresses. Harry, once an innocent, at times annoying little kid, has become a troubled, at times brooding young man who is learning his place in the world as well as the power he has to shape it. At times he’s the confident prodigy that he’s grown into, while other times he exhibits the naivety and trepidation of a fawn (baby deer, duh).

And in that respect, Daniel Radcliffe is seriously underrated… I’m not saying he should win an Oscar necessarily, but would a Golden Globe nomination at some point be out of the question? According to, the guy has had 20 nominations for various awards, five of which were for Saturn Awards by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA – woohoo. I think Danny deserves better for the complex character most of us have come to love and fear on some level. And no, I’m not talking about an MTV Moon Man for Best Kiss.

If any fellow semi-nerds (what the heck, even full on nerds) are still reading this, do me a favor and humor me. I can’t be the only 28-year-old Potter fan. Here's the trailer for your viewing pleasure (2:32 I think). Let's dicuss afterward if you like - no spoilers though!

Oh, and just for those of you want a little chuckle, check out the video below. It's a song called "HP is HC" (hardcore) by a band called International Superheroes of Hardcore, which is made up of members of the band New Found Glory. I don't think there's any real foul language, but it is a screamy hardcore song. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to come get your Ride Home links at 4 p.m. Until then – Expecto Patronum! Look it up on Wikipedia. ☺

Monday, June 28, 2010

...For The Ride Home: A weekend filled with festivals, Chris Brown cries and Katie Couric to CNN?

It garnered a 13 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. IMDB gave it a 4 out of 10. Me? Of course I liked it! Going in with absolutely no expectations, this movie was way better than simply OK. Hugh Grant makes me laugh. It's his delivery. I suppose he's probably a "love him or hate him" kind of guy, but the more movies I see with him in it, the more I fall to the former rather than the latter. OK. So maybe I'm sucker for romantic comedies, and maybe the movie is a bit predictable, and, at times, not all that good. But hey, when you go in thinking you are about to waste the next two hours of your life, and come away having laughed out loud a few times, you feel pretty good about it. Still not sold on Sarah Jessica Parker, though. No way. Anyways, welcome to week 14! Word on the street is that we have a new reader or two around these parts these days, so we'd like to take this time to extend our sincerest hello to you lovely individuals. And hello's can go a long way, you know. We celebrated our three month anniversary over the weekend by staying away from all computers at all times. Or, well, at least I did. It's nice to be back in the saddle, though, and as we find our way through the final week of June, we ask that you click a few links, take some time to reminisce on America's faltering World Cup, and eat healthy food. It does your body good, you know.

I am going to take the following position on this: Chris Brown didn’t seem sincere. It seemed a little too much like a perfect storm for him to go on and on the way he did. It’s OK if you want to cry, but if it completely takes away your ability to sing the actual song, something’s up. Maybe I’m in the minority. (MTV)

Photographer snaps photo of two lightning bolts hitting a building at the same time. It’s a neat photo. (NPR)

Agreed: Don’t rid the Internet of anonymous commenters. They make things interesting. (Boston Globe)

Sad. Jennifer Capriati overdosed on drugs over the weekend. She’s recovering. (CBS News)

Katie Couric may be interested in going to CNN. Interesting. (Los Angeles Times)

Just because it’s not in America doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Glastonbury, a music festival that was around before music festivals were hip, took place this weekend. And naturally, Stevie Wonder stole the show. (NME)

Another music festival you should care about? Eric Clapton’s "Crossroads." That was this weekend as well. And Bill Murray was there. “Broken Flowers” is a fabulous movie. (Popeater)

Oh no! Kobayashi may not compete at this year’s Fourth of July hot dog eating contest. (Deadspin)

The United States bows out of World Cup. Sources say tournament will continue.

The United States' dreams of hoisting the World Cup trophy for the first time in the country's history came to an abrupt end Saturday when the Americans lost 2-1 to Ghana, a team ranked lower than them in the Fifa world standings, and a team that sent the U.S. packing four years ago by the same score.

When Michael Bradley got loose late in the second half and couldn't convert, I said to myself there was no way America could pull it out. His chance was simply too golden and his effort was a bit too rushed. The sequence itself was indicative of how the United States' World Cup went - a ton of great chances wasted by players who were either unlucky or un-skilled.

Those chances notwithstanding, the biggest amount of blame should be shouldered by coach Bob Bradley (even though the first Ghana goal showcased super-keeper Tim Howard's fault more than anyone else on the field). His insistence on staying in the 4-4-2 formation was ultimately what did the U.S. in. Flash back to the match against Slovenia to see how successful the Americans were in a 4-5-1 during the second half, and you need no more argument. The decision to sit Maurice Edu in favor of Ricardo Clark coupled with the under-use of Benny Feilhaber didn't make things any better, either.

Even with all of those things said, the most alarming problem the United States faced was acting as though they had won the entire tournament after that incredible Landon Donovan goal against Algeria. In a rare moment of intelligence, Alexi Lalas described that instance as more of a moment than a goal. He was right. It was up to the Americans to take the win and advancement in stride, rather than shed tears over advancing...out of group play. The fact that the squad was unable to bounce back efficiently was a direct result of the manager. He should have leveled his players' heads out. He should have added perspective in the locker room. And most importantly, he should have led a charge that forced his players to act as though they have been there before.

He didn't do any of that, and now it may be an idea to look elsewhere when it comes to Brazil in 2014. The Americans should have gone further than they did here, and the readiness to accept mediocrity as success is more troublesome than anything. This team got the country interested in the sport again, if only for a minute or two. But this team also succumbed to a lack of talent, and, ironically enough for a team that came back so many times, a lack of heart in the end (we're looking at you, Jozy Altidore).

Where does this leave us? That's hard to say. Getting further into the knockout stages needs to become common practice rather than a barely-obtainable goal. And hopefully within the next four years, someone tells Mr. Bradley that. That is, if he's still around, of course.

In the meantime, this gives us an opportunity to show the video of one of my favorite moments in sports history... gets better every time.

Friday, June 25, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Tilda Swinton is fab, Kinks bassist dies, Tweedy covers Beyonce, and a year ago today, two icons died

Well, they say you can't go home. Or at least Bon Jovi does. But I am. And what better way to end this exhausting 13th week than to post Jay-Z's "On To The Next One" video? Remember when he premiered it on New Year's Eve? A night with grandma. Dancing with my brother and sister. Watching my dear friend throw up around midnight in front of his brand new girlfriend. Ahh, yes. Probably the best New Year's Eve, like, ever. Do not forget to have your television tuned to your local ABC outlet at around 2:30 tomorrow afternoon to take in the monumental United States knockout match. If we win, I might just run around my hometown naked. That's true, too. Hopefully you enjoyed this week. We offered up another installment of our Blogspot Banter series. We saw an end come to our Signs of Summer series both here and here. We broke some breaking news that "Entourage" will be done after the next season. And we had a wonderful discussion on birds. Was it as fun for you as it was for us? Good, that's what we thought. Before you run and enjoy for first official weekend of summer, though, take a glance at few links, buy some red, white and blue face paint and don't forget to tip your bartenders this weekend. Do not forget, friends. Love, you, miss you.

John Wall went No. 1 overall last night, and here’s a look at how Bill Simmons’ day went. More importantly: The Hawks wound up with Jordan Crawford, just like I had hoped. Love his upside. (ESPN)

Pete Quaife, the original bassist for The Kinks, died. Favorite song of mine: “A Well Respected Man.” (Rolling Stone)

Washington Post
hires blogger thinking he’s a conservative. Turns out, he’s a liberal. And now he’s fired. (Politico)

According to this link, professors tend to believe journalists aren’t smart enough to handle certain stories. Thanks, college. (The Atlantic)

An interview with Tilda Swinton. “Michael Clayton” will forever be in my top 10 movies, ever. And until recently, I could confidently say it was in the top 5. And my God, she’s absolutely fabulous in it. (Popmatters)

Like we said up top: 2:30 tomorrow. U.S. vs. Ghana. Get your mind right people. This tournament is only a success if we get to the semis. (Philadelphia Daily News)

A year ago today, Michael Jackson died. So much could be said and linked, but we opt for this interview with the phenomenal guitarist that showed up in “This Is It,” Orianthi. (MTV)

That said, Farrah Fawcett also died a year ago today. Man, she was beautiful. (The Money Times)

Wilco’s frontman covers “Single Ladies.” It doesn’t get better for that band than Sky Blue Sky. I’m not sayin’ but I’m just sayin.’ (Pitchfork)

Blogspot Banter: Serendipitous

In this month's Blogspot Banter, we feature Chris H.'s "Seren-dipitous," a blogspot blog that is approaching its five year anniversary, and — it should be noted — has over 2,000 followers. Yes. 2,000 followers. That just seems like so much, doesn't it?

Based in northern New England, the blog features her photos from the often beautiful landscape those northeastern parts of the United States have been known to offer. Though she is an adjunct professor, and, as you will find below, she considers her blog something she likes to "play" with, "Serendipitous" has clearly amassed quite the following in the often fickle blog-filled universe. It was linked on blogspot's homepage, and the constant flow of comments and commenters that appear on her blog is something tiny little blogs like us can only dream of.

She was kind enough to take some time out of her obviously busy schedule to answer a few questions about blogging, photography and, of course, the complicated world of the Inter Webs. Oh, and to say serendipity wasn't in play when we found out what her favorite movie was, well, you'll see. So without anymore blah, blah, blah-ing from us, take some time to get acquainted with "Serendipitous" (which you can visit here, by the way), and spend a few minutes on getting to know the individual behind the blog. Enjoy...

Q: You’ve had your blog since 2006. That’s almost five years you have been running now. What gave you the idea to begin a blog based around pictures you have taken that predominantly feature items from nature (flowers, trees, insects, etc.)? Did you come across any bit of inspiration for this particular blog?

A: A few summers back, I finally broke down and bought the DSL camera I'd been lusting over for too long. I shot a summers-worth of pictures, but then when fall (and school) came, I just stopped. I started blogging later that fall to make myself take the time to shoot at least one thoughtful photograph a day. I love the outdoors, love to take note of small, seemingly insignificant things so that's what I photograph. But serendipitous is not just about nature — it's about the daily things that impress me — for whatever reason.

 Q: Your blog has over 2,000 followers, and your profile says it has been viewed over 6,000 times. Those are pretty good numbers. What advice would you give to a blogger starting out in regards to how to gain readership? Were there any struggles you had to begin with, and how did you overcome them?

A: I didn't start out looking for an audience. I started blogging for myself. I'd done webpages before but blogging was an easier way to get information online. In the beginning I knew family and a few friends read serendipitous (from my email signature file and stat counter!) but, even now, with so many readers, a lot of what I write is still just for me. I see it, I think it, wonder about it, sometimes even feel it, then take the photograph, write about it, and post. The fact that anyone but me finds any interest in it is astounding to me, even now. 

Q: It also states in your profile that you an adjunct university professor and ICT specialist. How do you find time to blog around your professional career? Would you like to make a career around your blog and/or blogging?

A: I love my jobs, but they're pretty intense and I work long hours. Blogging has become a bit like playing — I search for a picture all day and snap it when I see it. I mull over the posting as I go about my day, writing down words and phrases and emailing them to myself or sticking them on a Post-it in my pocket. By the time I get home, the skeletal post is pretty much ready to post to Blogger. I sit and tweak it, then re-tweak in the morning with coffee. It's great fun - but no, I'd never make it a career. Wouldn't want to take the chance that it might not be fun anymore! 

Q: How important is the comments section/re-adership numbers to you? Is this blog up and running for fun, and your own personal enjoyment, or is this something that you only find gratification in when you know other people are reading? That said, have you become discouraged and have you ever considered giving up your blog because you thought no one cared/read? If so, how did you overcome those feelings?

A: I do love to get comments and so appreciate them. I would love to be able to repsond to all of them, although I'm not even sure that's expected, and I feel a bit guilty that I don't. But even when I didn't get any comments I still loved to blog. No, never considered giving up - not on this blog, anyway! ;-)
Q: How did you come about the name “Serendipitous?” Is there a more personal meaning, or was it designed to draw readers in? How important do you think a name can be when beginning one’s own blog?

A: If the name of the blog is the first thing a reader sees - in someone's blogroll, in a web page or email link - it should be intriguing enough that the reader would want to click and find out more. "Serendipitous" was the name of a dear friend's get-away retreat in northern Maine, a beautiful spot on the coast that she just happened upon and subsequently bought. I always liked the word and the concept behind it. That's how most of my photos and ramblings are - not planned, I just find or notice or wonder about them as life goes on. 

Q: What’s your favorite movie?    
A: The Usual Suspects. Yeah, really. 
Q: Favorite food?          
A: V8 Juice
Q: Favorite television show?        
A: LOST - Now that it's over, I may go into LOST withdrawal and not watch TV ever.
Q: When you are not working or blogging, what do you enjoy doing the most?
A: I'm a huge fan of sleep, I really like to read and study and learn new things - and I love hanging out with my grandgirl.
Q: What’s your favorite blog?      
A: A vlog, actually - The Vlogbrothers, by Hank & John Green. It's funny, clever, unpredictable, and it always makes me laugh and often makes me think. 

For more, check out

Double Feature: Grown Ups & Knight And Day

Each Friday, we will offer up two movies that are scheduled to be released within the accompanying weekend. We know, we know. It’s hard to come across blogs who ever actually get movie talk right. That’s why we won’t say much. A trailer. A paragraph. And boom – all you need to know about what new movies you can take your beautiful object of affection to see this weekend. It's like going to the drive-in movie theater. Remember those? So much fun. Thank us later, not now.

Grown Ups

Every single time I see Kevin James hold on to the rope, slam into the tree and fall through branches and bushes head over feet, I just can't help but laugh. This can't be good, right? Way too many people that have done way too many entertaining things in their respective careers for this to work out. I've never seen a thing that Rob Schneider has been in that I've enjoyed. Couldn't they replace him with someone like Ted Danson? Now that would have been funny. In any case, this is the only real wide release this week that comes out Friday because for reasons that are above my pay grade, movies are now being released on Wednesdays, too (see below). Nobody wants to be in a theater during the first official weekend of the summer, so it's hard to think anyone will pick this over a second viewing of "Toy Story 3," but hey — "Funny People" did pretty well last summer, didn't it?

Knight And Day

Oh, snap! Muse is playing during the trailer! Yeah. What's up with these action romantic comedies? And even more so, what's up with Cameron Diaz not making good movies anymore? Tom Cruise gets a lifetime pass for the brilliant "Tropic Thunder," but I can't imagine this movie being anything worth seeing. And as I pointed out up top, why is this the first of many movies that are due out on a Wednesday this summer? Is this standard practice during June, July and August? I mean, goodness. I'm writing about it, and you've already had two days to see it (reviews go in the comments section, thank you). The most redeeming quality of this film? There's a Peter Sarsgard sighting! That's two exclamation points in one post. Still haven't seen "An Education?" How about "Shattered Glass?" Piece of advice. Save that money you'd be spending from making a trip to the theater this weekend for a summer vacation and rent one of those two movies. Promise either one will be better than this. Pinky-promise.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Lollapalooza after-shows, beat reporters have no spine and don't forget about tonight's NBA Draft

Imagine my happiness when I realized this record finally came in the mail yesterday. Shuffling it into my CD player in my car on the way to work, I arrived with a smile on my face, thus proclaiming to everybody at work that there was a smile on my face and the reasoning behind a smile being on my face. I said this then, and I shall repeat myself now: If you can't smile after listening to this record, you don't know what music is. I cannot begin to put into words, or a blog post, or a column, or, well, yeah, you get it, how much I root for these guys. There was never, ever a time when you heard a bad story about any of them. ANY OF THEM. Nobody ever accused them of doing anything wrong, ever (aside from writing tunes that ended up being the absolute biggest songs in the world, and yes, I'm sure you were annoyed). They are all now married. All now grown up. And all now still making music as a band together. Nobody thought they were bigger than the others. Nobody spoke out about "other interests." Nobody was caught coming out of a club stumbling drunk at 15-years-old. Nobody was rumored to have an affair with some type of mistress. None of that. They were once the biggest act in the world and then they went away. And that's it. Now they've released the official album of the summer of 2010. Goodness, you have to love that. OK. I'll get off my soapbox now and offer a few links for you wonderfully pretty readers. Hopefully, you enjoyed our breaking news in today's earlier post, and hopefully, you will enjoy our second installment of "Blogspot Banter" tomorrow. Until then, enjoy your Thursday, have a banana and spend time with your elders. They know more than you.

Forget the actual Lollapalooza festival. Check out the after-shows featuring Minus The Bear, The National, Devo, MGMT and The New Pornographers. (Alternative Press)

Italy, the defending World Cup champions, were knocked out of the tournament this morning. Great headline: Italian loafers. (Fox Sports)

Boy, this magazine really stumbled upon a gold mine with this Ed Rendell story. Yesterday, he addresses affair rumors, today he talks about meeting up with a prostitute. (The Philly Post)

Interesting. A vote for the notion that a beat reporter would have never used the McChrystal quotes in fear of “burning bridges.” (Press Think)

Five reasons not to buy the latest iPhone. Not listed? Reason number six – Because cell phones are the death of us. (Yahoo)

Jen Anniston has been told to stay away from Branjoilina. Oh, come on. But she’s so cute! (Showbiz Spy)

Don’t forget: The NBA Draft is tonight. The Cleveland Cavaliers, who have no picks going into it, are trying to maneuver their way into tonight’s festivities. (ESPN)

Kim Kardashian is dating Miles Austin. Does this mean the Cowboys will win this year’s Super Bowl? (New York Daily News)

Whoa. Had the highest of hopes that once the divorce news broke, nobody would find much wrong, and we could all just live with the fact that a separation happened amicably. That’s clearly not happening. Al Gore accused of sexual assault. (People)

Piven says 'Entourage' has a timeline, Turtle immediately begins looking for work

Though my better half couldn’t make it today, thus forcing you, the lovely reader, to have a pretty me-heavy week’s work of writing, I will spare you a World Cup post…until Monday. As for now, I present you with the first Thursday without a sign of summer since 1996.

Hey, “Entourage” kicks off its new season Sunday. Are you interested? Didn’t think so.

But Jeremy Piven was on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" last night. Did you catch it? Knew he was on, but didn’t give it much thought (Still can’t get over the fact that he wears a toupee). Knowing my love for Ari Gold, my roommate turned it on and suggested I come see. Begrudgingly, I sat through the final segment. And I only say begrudgingly because Jay Leno annoys me. A lot. Like, a lot, a lot.

Anyways, buried in all of this was a nugget of news I was unaware of. Season eight of “Entourage” will be the series’ last. I was…stunned.

Yes, the plot is irrelevant and predictable, and yes, many fans jumped the shark years ago. But what makes this ominous to me is the fact that the show has been able to gain a core audience of viewers that simply like the show for what it is. Maybe some people have run away, but it’s surprising to find the amount of people who haven’t completely given up on the show, admitting to rely on its odd sense of charm to get them through the last few seasons.

Even more interesting? Piven also flippantly mentioned the notion of a possible “Entourage” movie once it’s all said and done. And….boom goes the dynamite.

“Sex And The City” became a massive hit in theaters. In fact, some may argue the show held more of a grip on popular culture after it was cancelled, thrown into syndication and subsequently made a movie out of. Hey, fabulous ladies. What do you think a counterpart to a show like “Sex And The City” would be for men? That’s right, friends: The bro-happy story of five dudes doing dude things in Hollywood. Add that to the fact that the show is already in syndication (on the most dude-happy network of them all, “Spike), and what you have is a recipe for a possible saturation of all things “Entourage” within the next few years.

Does the show have the legs to pull something like that off? Really, really doubt it. But does the show still hold a substantial crowd’s interest even though most people have already dismissed it seasons ago? Yes. What does that add up to? I’m not really sure, though I’m awfully curious to find out.

In the meantime, check out the trailer for this upcoming season….

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Lady Gaga falls, a newspaper with no ads and America advances (party this weekend!)

Yes, I know I've been guilty of using quite of a bit of hyperbole in my day. And yes, sometimes (meaning, well, all the time) I get caught up in moments and make grand statements that people dismiss easily. But the above goal is probably my favorite sports moment of all time, right next to Michael Jordan's series-clinching shot over the Utah Jazz. Sat through 90 minutes of a match, and just like millions of other Americans, went from being the completely down-and-out guy who thought we were going to be gone from the tournament, to having my roommate hold me up for nearly a minute after I jumped into his arms, yelling "Oh My God" over and over again. Must go home this weekend for the first time in a long time, so those who know where my mother lives: Round-of-16 party, my mom's, 2:30, be there or never speak with me again. Wow. Still can't get over that. So, anyways, how did you like the bird discussion? Wanted to switch it up a bit. I think a few birds read it themselves, and when I went to do the same thing today, I found a bird perched on my front porch, staring me in the eyes, waiting to chill out. Weird. It's Wednesday, and man, it's hot. As you get over the hump for the week, take some time out to click a few links, be good to your neighbors, and get as drunk as a rat tonight as you celebrate the United States winning its group in the World Cup.

Have to lead with this: U.S. 1. Algeria 0. Bill Clinton is happy. (The Original Winger)

Lady Gaga falls. This is only news because this is an anti-Gaga zone. (TMZ)

This shall be interesting to see how it plays out: Eliot Spitzer is going to host a show on CNN. Here’s hoping the topic of sex appears somewhere. (New York Times)

A non-profit Web-based news agency released its first print edition. What makes it different? There are no advertisements within any of its pages. (The Bay Citizen)

Been waiting a few weeks for this. James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem frontman, sits down with former Ride topic, Terry Gross, on “Fresh Air.” (NPR)

Didn’t catch wind of this story until last night, but after hearing it, this only worsens my mood toward Chris Paul. Five ways the point guard leaves New Orleans. (Bleacher Report)

Interested in this, only because Rolling Stone essentialy broke the story, causing the fall out. McChrystal is now gone. Petraeus takes over top commander position. Who knew a music magazine could cause such a stir amongst the politicals? (Los Angeles Times)

Katy Perry got a ton of stitches in her leg after partying. When is it going to become cool again for a woman entertainer to simply act normal, dress normal, hold herself with grace and do nothing more than be good at what she does? (USA Today)

The Birds.

I was sitting on my porch the other day, tired and sweaty, having just gotten back from a run in 1,000-degree weather, when I noticed a bird walking back and forth in front of me. The thing was sort of pretty. That’d be nice to be a bird, I thought. Just chillin’ out, here and there. You can fly anywhere at anytime and you don’t have to pay those stupid carry-on-bag fees. You get can get your boys and form these crazy formations in the air, creating some weird type of animal art that people tend to gush over. And your poop is white. White poop is neat.

I came inside to run the idea past one of my roommates, who responded with a notion about birds I had never thought of. “They are just like humans,” he said. “They look all unassuming and passive, but they aren’t, really. It’s just a ploy to lure other birds in to mate. They look all pretty with their colors and they secretly flaunt what they offer with the songs they sing, but they are just like us. It’s all a ploy.”

He’s right, I thought. My mind then wandered to its human counterpart, and I quickly came away with the analogy that birds are much like the shy quiet dude in the corner who wears a tight shirt to show off his muscles. It’s a ploy. He knows you’re looking, but he wants to act humble because showcasing humility is always attractive. But in reality, it’s all planned. It’s all designed to get him to appear more interesting than he probably is, much like this bird had me thinking the same things about it.

Birds kind of freak me out, actually. Never, ever, ever got into science throughout any of high school or college, and I really don’t understand the appeal they have to those who seem to love this kind of stuff. They seem nice enough, and there are a few birds I dig (Larry, Lady, Big and Andrew, to name a few), but when you take one look at this…

…you can’t help but shutter at the thought of a bird turning against you.

I concluded I don’t like birds, in spite of the color, or purpose they apparently serve (eating bugs). Then I thought the following: I don’t really know anybody who likes birds, either. Do you like birds? Do you know anybody who likes birds? Do you have any other feeling towards birds other than indifference? You should, but if you don’t watch out, you could fall victim to something like this…

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Messi really, really likes Oasis, Harry Potter's thoughts on Bieber and remember Bush?

All my day's plans have been canceled and I now find myself with a second-straight Tuesday to stick around my house. It's odd, actually. Was up for an early, early lunch and, after figuring out that I would not be doing what I thought I'd be doing, took a quick power nap. Woke up in a sadder-than-normal state and tried to cure that with a run. Still a little bummed. Don't quite know what to do about it, either. In any case, we welcome you to Tuesday with Matchbox Twenty's "I'll Believe You When." Yes, you think Rob Thomas is a tool. Get over it. He's always said he wants to be Tom Petty and this song is the closest he's ever come in his career. And it's even a live version to boot. As of this writing, we are exactly 1-for-2 in our World Cup picks. Hey, who would have thought France simply just wouldn't show up this year? Uruguay didn't let us down though. With any luck (which, it seems, is something that comes few and far between these days), the Americans will clinch things tomorrow morning (set your alarm. Be patriotic). Before all of that, though, enjoy the following links as you wander through a warm summer night.

Begin this Tuesday’s ride correct: A video for Peter Gabriel’s cover of Tom Waits’ “In The Neighborhood.” (Rolling Stone)

Wow. Journalism school nixes entrance exam to try and up the enrollment numbers. (The Rebel Yell)

Lionel Messi, the world’s best soccer player, offers to pay Oasis any amount they desire to reform for a celebration concert should Argentina win the World Cup. Side: “Don’t Look Back In Anger” is the best Oasis song. (NME)

Heather Mills is going to compete in the 2014 Winter Paralympics. Stop. (The Arizona Republic)

Six degrees of John Mayer’s manhood. (GQ)

Bush is reuniting. Gavin needed to figure something out while his wife blew up like that. (Pollstar)

28.2 million people watched the final game of the NBA season this year. Eat that, hockey. (ESPN)

Ha! Harry Potter thought Justin Bieber was a woman. Ha! (MTV)

Signs of Summer: Summer records (Part 2)

We end this ridiculously long "Signs of Summer" series with music, and we wouldn't have it any other way. If you missed the better half of this blog's summer albums, by all means check them out and comment accordingly. Below are MY five albums (in no particular order) to work into your summer playlists. Any and all suggestions are welcome in the comments section, or you could even e-mail us at Enjoy summer, visit us daily and stay away from shellfish if you're pregnant or expecting.

1. EverclearSparkle and Fade

Maybe it’s the time in my life when I got into this album, maybe it’s the “July she lied” line in the opening track ("Electra Made Me Blind") or maybe it’s Art Alexakis’ innate ability to coalesce angst-ridden alternative rock with a beachy, pop vibe… Whatever it is, this is one record that owns the summertime in my book. I’ve always considered myself to be a melody-first, lyrics-second kind of dude, but not with Everclear, especially on Sparkle and Fade. If one looks beyond the innumerable references to drug abuse, the themes of the album are perseverance and escapism – the latter of which, like flip flops and cargo shorts, is totally summer-appropriate. “Let’s just leave this place, And go to Summerland, Just a name on the map, Sounds like Heaven to me”

2. Tom Petty – Wildflowers

Truth be told, I would put Petty’s Greatest Hits on this list before anything else, but there are those who would argue that a collection album such as that “shouldn’t count.” So with that in mind, I move to Wildflowers. This record gives us a rollercoaster of summer sensations, from the carefree vibe of the title track to the driving rocker “You Wreck Me” to the obvious karaoke jam “You Don’t Know How it Feels” (“But let me get to the point, Let’s roll another joint, And turn the radio loud, I’m too alone to be proud”). Oh, and if "Honey Bee" doesn’t make you want to get down and dirty with your girl/boy thing, you may not have the parts to necessitate “getting down.”

3. Jack’s Mannequin –
Everything in Transit

Andrew McMahon is California summer through and through, and that notion is brilliantly displayed on this record. The album is biting but breezy, nostalgic but contemplative. “The Mixed Tape” is an awesome summer anthem for the Warped Tour crowd who followed McMahon from Something Corporate, while “Holiday from Real” (“We’d waste our weeks beneath the sun, We’d fry our brains and say it’s so much fun”), “Bruised” (“We stood like statues at the gate, Vacation’s come and gone too late”) and “Mfeo Pt 1 Made For Each Other” are tracks that evoke the feelings of driving down a desert highway, only without the other cars and risk of running out of gas.

4. Jay Z – The Black Album

Like my partner in crime said yesterday, you need hip hop to have a successful summer, and this is without a doubt the first record I turn to when I need to get my hip hop fix on in the 90 degree heat. Of course you’ve got the practically iconic “99 Problems” and forever-club hit “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” (which every dude loves because he can actually dance to it after three or nine drinks or so), but don’t forget the chill, yet up-tempo vibe of “Change Clothes” and the swagger of “Encore” – yes, I just used “swagger” in the written word for the first time in my life.

5. Operation Ivy – Energy

There’s always an oddball in every list, and this one probably has most people doing a double take… but go listen to the record with your windows down on a hot day and I HOPE you hear what I hear. It’s old-school ska/punk before it was cool (then uncool and then sort of trying to become cool again). The quality is awful, the musicianship is dreadful (although Matt “McCall” Freeman kills it on bass) and the vocals are painful at times – but the band still manage to convey the urgency and, ahem, energy of the DIY California punk scene. If “Sound System,” “Take Warning,” “Bombshell” and “Unity” haven’t found their way into your summer essentials playlist, consider this your call to arms. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, a couple of these dudes (Tim Armstrong and Freeman) formed Rancid later on, and even non-punk rock music fans get down with them.

Love you all, give some feedback, and as always, come back for The Ride at 4 p.m. EST.

Monday, June 21, 2010

...For The Ride Home: World Cup official is gone, the official video for Ron Artest's new single and The National

Found time to watch this over the weekend, as if this didn't give it away. Wasn't so sure about Mo'Nique winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, but when the last 15 minutes of the movie comes around, she pretty much seals it up. My heart is still with Anna Kendrick, though. The movie was...good. I had heard it wasn't as good as expected, so going in with low expectations helped. Any movie with Lenny Kravitz has to be gold, though, right? Anyways, hello, hello. We begin week number lucky 13 with some links and, more importantly, the first day of summer. We kicked off our final Signs of Summer post today when I suggested a few records to spin throughout the coming months. It will officially conclude tomorrow when my better half mans the helm for his picks. Remember, any and all suggestions for additions to the list are welcome. Before you take a look back at that, though, use a few minutes out of the day to check out a couple links. Summer is officially here, so you wouldn't want to not start the season out correctly, right?

The NBA draft is in a few days and it’s becoming more and more interesting to see what happens to Evan Turner. Here are scenarios regarding what the 76ers would do with AI, should they draft Turner. (The Big Lead)

A look at the people behind, a site for those who haven’t give in to the A.D.D.-type reading world. Or, um, readers who enjoy long stories. (New York Observer)

Numbers are down for people who visit portal Web sites. Like, way down. (The Wrap)

Because I know these guys seem to be everybody’s darlings: A long, introspective interview with the drummer from The National. (Popmatters)

Hey, hey, hey. That referee that completely screwed the United States out of a goal was not asked to ref any more games this World Cup. Now, if we just win Wednesday, justice will be served. (Yahoo)

Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr are engaged to get married. She’s pretty. (People)

Idol reporters continue to work through the off-season. According to Slezak, the minimum age to get in the contest will now be 15. Seems a bit young, don’t you think? (Entertainment Weekly)

Remember that crazy victory speech Ron Artest gave last week? Here’s the video for that first single he was talking about. (All Hip-Hop)

Signs of Summer: Summer records (Part 1)

We end our Signs of Summer 5,027-part series with a bang by bringing you a two-day extravaganza, wrapping the entire thing up with our picks for five favorite summer records. Today, I will offer my thoughts on those essential, must-have releases that become imperative whenever warm weather and sunshine come around, and tomorrow, your normal summer correspondent will put a bow on the series he began decades ago. After tackling television, vacations, ice cream, grills and countless other aspects of quite possibly your favorite season, we thought culminating with music would be the best way to go simply because, well, we love music. And, let’s be honest: You can’t have a great summer if you don’t have a great soundtrack. So without any further ado, below are five suggestions (in no particular order) to work into your rotation as the summer sizzles upon us. Any and all suggestions are welcome in the comments section, or you could even e-mail us at Now friends, it is time to release the cracken...

1. O.A.R. – Any Time Now

It’s a double disc, but it’s recorded at the 9:30 Club, which should already earn it points above the band’s other discs. Taken from a time in which the group wasn’t a bad Goo Goo Dolls cover band yet, this set is all anyone really needs of the band. Plus, it showcases a bit of a homecoming, and the banter in between songs ranges from fun to sentimental to happy to sad. The impromptu version of “Stir It Up” is both delicious and appropriate and “Conquering Fools” puts the band in its most inspired light ever. The album is such a good all-around collection of performances that it even makes this song likable again…

2. Zebrahead – Waste Of Mind

This is more sentimental for me than anything because it was the only record I listened to during what will forever be remembered as the best summer of my life. And my God, that was decades ago. If you can only manage to tune out the rapper, and concentrate more on then-lead singer Justin Mauriello’s happy-sounding off-key vocals, you can come away with nothing but pleasantness. “Feel This Way” is a romantic groovy gem, “Jag Off” is a Zebrahead classic that features a funky guitar line and come on, now. If a song is titled “Bootylicious Vinyl,” it has to be involved with any and everything “summer.” Doesn't it?

3. Jay-Z – The Blueprint

Why? Because you need hip-hop to have a successful summer, and what better way to do it than to consider the greatest hip-hop album ever made? “Girls, Girls, Girls.” “Izzo (H.O.V.A.).” “Hola Hovito.” “Heart Of The City.” That’s what’s up. Get the window down, the sun shining, music blasting and an open road in front of you, and I’m not so sure there would a better summertime feeling. Hell. Even if you’re angry, you can turn the dial to this, and listen to how Mr. Carter murders pretty much everyone in the game…

4. Dave Matthew Band – Big Whiskey & The GrooGrux King

Yes, I know it’s a bit early to put this on such a list (the record has been out for only a little over a year), and I understand that if you’re going to put a Dave Matthews record on a list like this, it ought to be Crash or Under The Table & Dreaming. But there’s just something about this album that screams summer to me. Maybe it’s sitting on the top of my roof while having it blare through the windows. Maybe it’s because the horns are way more colorful here than they have ever been on any Matthews record. Or maybe the good vibes of the band’s live shows translates more on this set than any other studio release the guys have offered. Whatever it is, the way he repeats the words “love you” on “Seven” makes me want to take a walk and fall in love with a woman instantly on a hot summer day. And goodness, it’s funky.

5. Sublime – 40 OZ. To Freedom

My father always tells me that whenever you’re down, all you really need to do is put in a reggae album, and you’ll feel better. “It’s impossible to not be happy when you listen to this kind of music,” he’ll say. He’s right. We’ve already had something from O.A.R., so it’s only right that we finish off this list with some more reggae. Probably the most Jamaican Sublime has ever been, the first five tracks of this record are legendary in my eyes. Hopped on the train when the self-titled record came out, wanted to explore the band, and when I found this record, and those first five tracks, I never wanted to listen to “Wrong Way” again. Besides, this was my favorite song in the history of songs for a very, very long time…

Honorable mentions: 311’s From Chaos or Music. Elvis Costello’s Get Happy or Secret, Profane & Sugarcane. Ben Harper’s Diamonds On The Inside. Joss Stone’s Introducing… The “50 First Dates” soundtrack. Bob Marley’s Legend. Lit’s A Place In The Sun. Incubus’ Make Yourself. Kanye West’s Late Registration. Saves The Day’s Through Being Cool. The Urge’s Too Much Stereo. Thursday’s Full Collapse. Brand New’s Your Favorite Weapon. Jay-Z’s The Black Album. Eve 6’s It’s All In Your Head. Bill Withers’ Live From Carnegie Hall. Eminem’s The Eminem Show. Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits. Hot Hot Heat’s Make Up The Breakdown or Happiness Ltd. Jill Scott’s Experience Jill Scott 826+. Kermit Ruffins' Livin' A Treme Life.

Friday, June 18, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Ms. Paramore is angry at journalists, student newspaper is censored by principal and America Ferrera is engaged

Best. Victory. Speech. Ever. Didn't want the Lakers to win, and rushed home to catch the final seven minutes, but count me in the small group of people who root for Ron Artest. Yeah, he's nuts, but aren't we all? If my friends decided to hate me forever when I displayed a fit of nuts-ness, I'd be friendless. "I want to thank my psychiatrist, and my new single is coming out soon." How fabulous is that? That's a rhetorical question. Played to a draw this morning, and man that was scary. Need to see how the result of the England game turns out (best case scenario is a draw. Worst case, England wins), but Wednesday should be awfully interesting. Can't understand why we can't get out of the gate early, but it's killed us (Side: I'd give you a complete post on these things, but you've made it clear you could care less about soccer). The game kind of reminded me of this performance, actually. The switch to the 4-5-1 in the second half clearly made the difference, and while many of you will point fingers at the ref (yes, we did get robbed of a goal), the Americans' play in the first half was why the U.S. didn't win. Just keep those fingers crossed that England doesn't get a result today, and we should be OK. Week 12 went by quick, but that doesn't mean we don't still love your pretty faces. Looking to work, work, work after work on a Friday night and through Saturday (pretty much what every other 26-year-old does on a Friday night in June, right?), so alas my points on the nerd-o-meter are skyrocketing, but that doesn't mean you can't have a lovely late spring evening. Before you do that, though, check out a few links, grab a bottle of wine, and get ready for the last weekend before the beginning of summer. Yes, friends. Love you, miss you.

"Maybe I really am just bored with giving music journalists the benefit of the doubt. Like they're really gonna let people know what we would want to tell them. Yet still, I want to have faith in people. And anyways, what WOULD we want to tell people if we had that much space to write about ourselves? It would probably end up just the same. Does it ever bug you guys? Do you ever feel like some people are just missing it?"
Read the behind the scenes stuff surrounding the article in question a little while ago. The majority of her criticism is justified, but it still stings a bit only because I feel for the writer. I know I’m biased, but he’s just trying to do his job, and if you can’t find something to write about when on assignment following a band, you need to find a way to not come home empty handed. Tough situation. (MTV)

Really interesting: Inside the mind of an anonymous online poster. (Boston Globe)

Student paper questions validity of gym class. Principal destroys copies of newspaper. (The News & Advance)

Tackling the obtuse notion that journalists can’t handle public criticism. Hey, watch it! After Ms. Paramore’s attack, can’t we get some love? (PBS)

Diego Maradona wants you to know he’s not gay. The headline says it all. (Deadspin)

Because I believe I once wrote “Islands” was the 21st or 22nd best song of 2009: Catching up with The XX. (Pollstar)

The Golden State Warriors have a new logo. They’ll need it when they slip in the playoffs next year. Remember where you heard that first. (Yahoo)

America Ferrera is engaged. Still need to catch up on how “Ugly Betty” ends. Shame it’s off the air. Neat fact: We share birthdays, to the day. We were destiny. My heart is broken. (MSNBC)

“A 2008 survey of more than 30,000 U.S. women published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that nearly 40 percent reported that they'd had a sexual problem at some point in their lives.” (CNN)

Double Feature: Toy Story 3 & Cyrus

Each Friday, we will offer up two movies that are scheduled to be released within the accompanying weekend. We know, we know. It’s hard to come across blogs who ever actually get movie talk right. That’s why we won’t say much. A trailer. A paragraph. And boom – all you need to know about what new movies you can take your beautiful object of affection to see this weekend. It's like going to the drive-in movie theater. Remember those? So much fun. Thank us later, not now.

Toy Story 3

So everybody likes this movie, eh? Good. Though I shunned movies for the first couple decades of my life, I made it a point to check out the original "Toy Story" back when I was three months old, and even then, as a three-month-old dude, I remember enjoying it quite a bit. That said, I can't imagine this will be a movie I end up seeing this weekend, simply because of the cartoon aspect. Call me a snob if you'd like, and I can't argue that. There's something about animation — however it's done — that I just can't get past. Question: Whose movie is this? Tom Hanks' or Tim Allen's? Just food for thought. From what I remember, they were both tremendous in the first installment. Minus my ignorance, this seems to be getting great reviews (as evidenced from the top link), and that, for some odd reason, makes me very happy considering the slop that has been hitting theaters in recent weeks. For once, a welcome approach to an old idea, and when you think about "The A-Team," "Robin Hood" and all the other recent remakes, this is an odd breath of fresh air. To infinity and beyond, indeed.


Yes, I understand this is limited this week, but it's a comedy that's actually had a ton of hype in my solitary little world. John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill. Tried real hard to hate the Dewey Cox movie, but Mr. Reilly made me a believer then and I have high hopes that he'll do much of the same now. The trailers make the film seem as though it's shot a bit like NBC Thursday night television shows, or, well, "The Office." Can that translate well into the theater? We shall see. Regardless, this movie has romance, awkwardness and all the indie feel anyone wearing a plaid shirt could ask for. Naturally, sign me up. Plus, that soft spot for Jonah Hill I previously mentioned has only grown. Still can't figure out why it's so easy for him to look like he's 12, though. Anyways, for a late June movie, this seems interesting enough to make the trip, that is if you happen to be in one of the four cities it opens in this weekend. Hey, it could be worse. You could be stuck having to watch "Jonah Hex."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Bristol Palin goes back to her ex, Erin Andrews will probably not be back at ESPN and Game Seven is tonight

Tonight's the night. It's what every sports fan hopes for - a Game Seven in a finals series. Boston vs. Los Angeles. The Celtics vs. The Lakers. One superstar vs. one team. Gold vs. green. Need more? Yeah, that's what we thought. Seems a bit unfortunate that it's on a Thursday, though, right? I mean, come on. You've had no problem putting light years in between games in the playoffs, anyways, NBA. Why not break the rules a bit and push it to Saturday so everyone could watch? In honor of such a monumental event, we give you the Kobe mean face to giggle at. Is it me, or has he seemed extra touchy during these finals? A lot of unpleasant one-word answers in a tone that seems annoyed. Hey, if they win, that's five rings for him, and 5,201 for Phil. And should the Celtics pull it out, we can all be assured that Boston will be a 30-win team next year. This is your last chance, KG. Utilize it. Our prediction? Boston wins, 93-90. Daring, we know. In any case, before you settle in for the culmination of this year's NBA season this evening, take some time to click on a few links, get strapped in for tomorrow morning's United States World Cup game at 9:30 (prediction: 1-0, Americans), and read about how surprisingly good summer television can be. Have fun, friends.

You knew this was coming sooner or later. All signs point to Erin Andrews not returning to ESPN after this recent stint on “Dancing With The Stars.” (The Big Lead)

Garry Shider, guitarist for Parliament/Funkadelic, dies at the age of 56. (Pitchfork)

Pajama jokes about bloggers are getting old, or so says this particular blogger. Untrue. I thought all bloggers were always naked when they wrote. (Daily Finance)

Wow, Rupert Murdoch. Quite the interesting way to try and get people to pay for news online. (Business Week)

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Bristol Palin is getting back with Levi? Super weird Thanksgiving dinner on the way. (Showbiz Spy)

To win tonight, the Boston Celtics need to play like a team. According to Bob Ryan. Note: If Kobe wants in on all this “best player ever” talk, he needs to remember that Michael Jordan would never ever lose tonight’s game. I’m not sayin’ but I’m just sayin’. (Boston Globe)

...And that’s not Tiger’s baby after all. (New York Daily News)

This is interesting, and something I’ve been pondering for a few weeks now. Everyone seems to be cancelling their summer tours. What does this say about the music touring industry? (Billboard)

Signs of Summer: Better Than Anticipated Television

Today we pay homage to summer television.

But wait, isn’t SUMMER television eternally linked to BAD television? Historically, maybe - but not in twenty-ten my friends, no way no how. Summer T.V. is slowly but surely catching up to its more popular and attractive elder siblings Fall and Winter T.V.

Despite the countless evening hours I’ve spent working on my summer glow, I for one choose to make a little time for my good friends NBC and HBO. I’ll even make some room for my pals FX, Food Network, ABC and AMC occasionally.

Here is my official “I’d prefer not to miss, so I’ll DVR just in case” summer viewing catalog, present and near-future.

"Last Comic Standing" (NBC)

A couple episodes in and I’m already hooked this year. Expect a full post on this season in the near future. Until then, I leave you with this: Craig Robinson has been really funny as the host, the comics seem extra amusing this year compared to past years and the judges have been pretty spot on (and Greg Giraldo has been really funny too). This is a can’t miss for me.

"True Blood" (HBO)

Ask me how cliché it is to like this show? Now ask me if I care. I love this show even more now more than I did in the beginning, mainly because the first couple episodes were too close to soft-core porn for the writers to focus on character development and plot line… glad they solved that problem. Now I’m immersed in the complex relationships between Sookie and Bill, Sookie and Eric, Eric and the Queen, Sam and his estranged family, Tara and LaFayette, Tara and her mom, Tara and Sookie, Jason and Andy, Andy and his cousin, Andy’s cousin and the ignorantly racist redhead waitress, Jessica and Bill, Jessica and Hoyt, Hoyt and “Vampire Bill”… Need I say more? Oh, and there’s that whole vampire thing going on too, which is pretty cool. Get into this, please. Then lets talk.

"America’s Got Talent" (NBC)

All right, I’m not nearly as hot on this show as I am the previous two, but it has its funny, dramatic and occasionally goosebump-inducing moments (see Subway Soul Singer for example). I like the judges more so than, say, the American Idol judges, and Nick Cannon is OK as the host. But there’s very little that’s great about it. And the crowd REALLY annoys me at times. One note to the producers though: if you bring back Mariah Carey for a ridiculous, pointless, half-assed performance of another awful song this year, we’re through.

"Entourage" (HBO)
As my esteemed colleague pointed out the other day, Entourage in its day was freakin’ awesome, and still today, it’s worth a watch on a warm Sunday night (starting June 27). What’s going to happen with E and his girl? Can Vince stay on top all season? Is Drama going to have a real stress-induced heart attack this year? On a negative note though, could Lloyd become more of the walking, talking stereotype the writers have typecast him into? I loved his character when he left us wanting more. Now he (and Drama and maybe Ari to an extent) have become caricatures of themselves. Hopefully the game is stepped back up this season. I think it will.

I’m pretty interested in that new show on NBC "Persons Unknown," but both episodes are in my DVR right now and I haven’t had a chance to try them on yet.

Man, I’m really into NBC and HBO right now, ay? Honestly I’m not on their payroll… Anyways, here are a few more shows I plan on checking out this summer, on neither of the aforementioned channels:

"Hot in Cleveland" (TV Land) - Looks pretty mediocre, but I’ll check out anything with Betty White in it right now.

"The Gates" (ABC) - This will either be PRETTY good or REALLY bad. It’s ABC’s attempt at cashing in on the whole vampire thing.

"Louie" (FX) - I am a Louis C.K. fan; I said it. I liked his show on HBO, I like his stand-up and I loved him in Parks and Recreation. I hope this show is good and I hope that more people can get into his brand of humor.

"Mad Men" (AMC) - It doesn’t start until July but I always tell myself I’m going to get into this show… then I never do. I put the first season in my Netflix queue, so that’s a start, right?

"Next Food Network Star" (Food Network) - This show gave us Guy Fieri, and I love him. Maybe I’ll check this show out, although I’m not a big fan of the Food Network competition programs.

That’s all for now - one more Sign of Summer on Tuesday. Until then, keep it real, keep it funky and Ride Ride Ride with us at 4 o’clock. xoxoxo