Tuesday, August 31, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Mariotti's recent troubles discussed on television, Demi Moore dances and your obligatory "'Modern Family' is great" piece

"It's the perfect song. A good drum intro. Great groove. And the lyrics are even a little bit romantic." That's what my dad said over the weekend as we revisited this band and a bootleg we made of them when we once saw them, what now seems like decades ago. Oh, how we miss you, The Urge. For those who like horns, reggae-ish music, funkiness, a little bit of soul and a lotta bit of a great voice, check them out. Way too bad they gave it up. So, hello to you, our dear, dear friends who are always here for support. It's the final day of August and that's bizarre. September is a mere few hours away and the end of summer 2010 is upon us. Big weekend coming up, and I only recently realized how many things I need to get done within the next, oh, say, like 36 hours. And it's because of that, that I will keep this introduction short. From the bottom of our hearts, we sincerely hope you enjoy the final day of (supposedly) the warmest month of the year, and we will see you back here, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, tomorrow morning. Remember: Always be respectful to others.

“Around The Horn” talked about the Mariotti business. Interesting. (The Big Lead)

Bob Bradley had his contract extended last night. Yes, that will be tomorrow’s post. (Boston Globe)

The New York Times
and using the F-word. (New Yorker)

Mike Wise gets suspended for a month from the Washington Post for claiming Big Ben’s suspension was reduced to five games. On Twitter. (Pro Football Talk)

Something that is often looked over, but never should be: A newspaper is now going to recognize same-sex marriages in its wedding announcements. (Editor And Publisher)

It’s just sort of funny. Demi Moore dances like she’s 22 and out after finals week. (TMZ)

Green Day is going to release a live album. People still like them, right? (Alternative Press)

Because I couldn’t really elaborate how happy I was with “Modern Family" and the Emmys yesterday. Check this out. (New York Times)

“Dancing With The Stars” contestants announced - It’s all downhill from here.

Hello friends/readers (in that order) – a little apology is due. Last Thursday I neglected to post for our regular noontime rant about the lesser important things in life. And while I wish I had some dramatic, tug-at-the-heartstrings excuse for you – like I was rescuing a group of girl scouts from a burning building or concocting the cure for the common cold – alas, my reason for abandoning my post (get it, get it?!) was barely noteworthy…

I thought it was Wednesday. Seriously. Ever have one of those days?

Either way, this is me offering my sincerest apology. You can send virtual bags of dog doodoo to my virtual front porch in the form of comments… or you can reassure me and tell me you’re CURRENTLY having one of those days. I’ll still love you either way. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

ABC recently announced the lineup for this season’s “Dancing With The Stars,” and I must say it’s a pretty intriguing one to me. This show has seemed to develop an odd respect in the entertainment industry – it can clean the slate of someone with a less than reputable past, it can revive the career of a former star and it can introduce a niche celebrity to the masses.

For those reasons, I find the selection of the “Stars” to be much more interesting than the show itself. Truth be told, I haven’t watched a full episode in a few seasons now, but I eagerly await the blogs and stories that stem from it (the romance, betrayals and scandals, oh my!).

So onto the task at hand: Below are this year’s “Stars” and a little diddy about each. Of course your comments are much more valuable than the words I have to write, so please, give your thoughts.

Florence Henderson
As long as the former Carol Brady isn’t extremely rhythmically-challenged, she should do great in this competition. She’ll get the mom/grandma vote, the “lets vote for the old lady” vote and the nostalgia vote. Look for her to go deep into the season and land more than a few show/movie offers afterward. Maybe the next Betty White?

Kurt Warner

Much like his football playing counterparts in the past (Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice, NOT Chad Ochocinco), this former Arizona Cardinals QB should do great. He’s got the good looks, I’m sure he’s pretty nimble and a great rags-to-riches back-story. He’ll get the man vote, the ESPN vote and the “he’s come so far” vote.

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino

Yuck. If rumors about this “Jersey Shore” cast member are true, the DWTS crew will need to stock up on Febreeze and air fresheners. I don’t like him going too far in the competition, unless by some freak chance he’s a really good ballroom dancer… can’t wait to see how he works showing his abs into his routines (sarcasm). He’ll get the MTV vote, the meathead vote and the “lets bang chicks” vote… so maybe he’ll go farther than I think.

Bristol Palin
The jury’s out on this chick. She’s been so hot and cold in the media over the last couple years, it’s hard to say if she’ll get viewers’ sympathy or vengeance. She’ll probably get the republican vote, the teenage pregnancy vote and the “I feel bad for the freak show life she’s had” vote.

Michael Bolton
“Why don’t you change your name to Mike? – Why should I change? He’s the one who sucks.” “For my money it doesn’t get any better than when he belts out ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’… I celebrate the guy’s entire catalog.” Ah “Office Space,” how you bring such joy into my life. Bolton will do OK; he’ll get the secretary vote and the former heartthrob vote. If he can poke some fun at his old hairstyle he’ll do even better.

Margaret Cho
This comedian-actress probably won’t do too great. She looks like she has very little coordination and she’s never had a huge following to my knowledge. But she’ll get the funny vote and maybe the underdog vote. Eh.

Rick Fox
The former LA Laker could be a sleeper. Like I said with Warner, athletes seem to do pretty well in this competition, and LA is a pretty big market if he’s still popular there. He’ll get the NBA vote and the weird facial hair vote.

Jennifer Grey

Ummm… she’ll do good… she’s a lady… she’s probably kind of attractive… all right I’m busted. I know nothing about this woman other than she was in “Dirty Dancing.” Knowing that and that alone, she’ll get the college dance major vote, the chick-flick vote and my wife’s vote.

David Hasselhoff
Aren’t we over this guy yet? How many career reinventions can we possibly give him before he reverts to 3 a.m. infomercials? Alas, he’ll still make it at least a few rounds deep and we’ll have to listen to him put “hoff” into words that clearly should not share connotation with this has-been (hoff-tastic? Really?). He’ll get the “wouldn’t it be funny if” vote, the drunk vote and the hilarious attempt at eating a burger while hammered vote.

Kyle Massey

I would have to refer to the better half of this blog for info about this Disney star, as he could punch me in the face right now and I would still not recognize him. He’ll get the kid vote, the “how cute” vote and the “trying so hard” vote. Yawn.

Brandy Norwood
Apparently she’s a singer-actress. Apparently she won’t go far unless she’s a great dancer. She’ll get the “I bought her record” vote… but that’ll probably be it.

Audrina Patridge

This chick is on “The Hills,” which means she probably won’t do too hot either. The MTV vote is already going to The Situation since that show’s hotter now, so Patridge may be doomed from the get-go. She’ll get the “I hate ‘Jersey Shore’” vote and the “I love ‘The Hills’” vote.

We’ll be missing you until you come back at 4 p.m. for The Ride.

Monday, August 30, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Doc's kid makes John Wall look silly, Emmys fashion and movies you may want to check out this month

To begin Week 23, we offer a picture of both Jan Jones and Christina Hendricks at last year's Emmy Awards ceremony. And that, naturally, segues us into Monday's official "Mad Men" recap (as always, any and all suggestions/comments are welcome in the forum below). Before I begin - and because this was brought to my attention by the better half of this blog - keep in mind these recaps will contain spoilers. If you don't want to know what's going on with the show, kindly scroll to the links. You there yet? OK. Good. So last night, we got to relive when Don and Roger first met, and this, to me, provided some of the greatest moments of the entire series. To see how eager and wide-eyed Don was initially, and to see how dismissive Sterling was to him, was simply fantastic. Now to the award. Oddly enough, I felt this was the first real time we got to see Don's drinking (kind of) get in the way of his professional life. When he rushes back from the awards ceremony to pitch ideas to LIFE, all you can do is cringe as he mindlessly throws ideas against the wall to have nothing turn out well. And yes, the writers are way too smart for you to even begin to think that showing that kind of episode on the same night as the Emmys wasn't done on purpose. Peggy continues her "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore" moments, but - and I honestly hate to say this - there are times when she simply becomes more annoying than confident or empowering. For as bad as she treated Don's former secretary when she "needed to get over" the fact that Don slept with her and she wasn't happy with the fallout from that, Peggy needs to consider getting over a few things herself instead of pouting all the time. Still love her, though. And finally, Pete stood up for himself and laid a little bit of the law down. "He always looks like he's over-acting," my roommate said. He's right, but at this point, you have to think it's done on purpose. Have to. Whew. That was a lot. As you digest that, take some time to click on a few links and enjoy the second to last day of August. Be happy, friends.

John Wall gets crossed the eff up by Doc’s kid. Remember when I talked about ooking a kid a bunch of months ago? Yeah, watch this video. (The Big Lead)

A look at the best movies September will offer. Mildly excited for the new Clooney movie. (Popmatters)

Ooohhhh. ESPN travels to high school and treats everyone and the town like poo. You HAVE to read this. (Sacramento Bee)

So, exactly how many people turned out to that rally in D.C. over the weekend again? Depends on who you talk to, really. (Yahoo)

Emmys fashion. The young girl from “Modern Family” looked fab. Absolutely. (NBC)

It’s a Monday tradition. Your “Mad Men” recap. (Entertainment Weekly)

And speaking of both of those above things, Ms. Christina Hendricks talks about how hard it is for her to find dresses these days. (New York Daily News)

Tiger stumbled back to assure himself another week on the tour Sunday afternoon. Here’s a recap of the People article that his ex-wife granted. (Bleacher Report)

Chinese food: A tale of love and hate

So, Chinese food. You dig it? I do. Well, kind of. Actually, I don't really even know if I do, to be honest. I find myself eventually opting for the stuff on days in which I am suffering through a bad hangover - Sundays, really. I don't know why, either. There's something about it that works after drinking an entire bottle of whiskey the night before.

What do I get? A C-1 to me, an order of General Tso's chicken to you (with white rice, mind you). And that's it. I've tried other dishes at other times, but to get an entire order filled with any of them would be too big of a risk, I believe. Besides, there is no consistency within any of the orders I receive. Sometimes, the chicken is crisp. Sometimes, it's mushy. Sometimes, the sauce is spicy. Sometimes, it's bland.

And that's why I'm writing this. I am the definition of "hot and cold" when it comes to Chinese food. The days I enjoy it, I enjoy it a bunch. The days I could do without it, I tell myself I'm never going to try it again (and this, in and of itself, is odd in its own right simply because I stayed away from this kind of food for the first 20-plus years of my life).

This all got me wondering what you think. Is there anyone out there who can honestly say they have a passion for Chinese food? Over steak? Spaghetti? A five-star, four-course meal? Is there anyone who views Chinese food much like people typically view fast food burger joints such as McDonald's or Wendy's? Can't be, right? I mean, honestly. Who could ever crave this kind of food on such a consistent basis that you eat it daily (unless, of course, you happen to be of Chinese ethnicity. Then, of course, this particular conversation probably doesn't apply to you).

All of that said, I was wondering if there are any dishes out there aside from General Tso's chicken that you enjoy? And what are they? And why do you enjoy them? Seems to me some of that stuff can be dicey. But there has to be at least one dish that could catch my eye. Something meat-y? Vegetable-y? Come on, now. I'm way sick of having to order the same thing every single time I get in the mood to order such food.

But speaking of such food, when you call yourself "The definitive General Tso's chicken page," you most certainly deserve a link (especially when the top of your page reads "Tso what?") So, well, here. You need to check that out. And for those of you wondering how to make the dish yourself...

Friday, August 27, 2010

...For The Ride Home: The Emmys are Sunday, older people love social media and 20 years ago today, Stevie Ray Vaughan died

I usually try to send you off into the weekend with a nice, "kick off your shoes, put on your dancing hat and let's have some fun because it's Friday and the weekend!" offering. Not that Mr. Rob Thomas can't do such a thing, but I had the weirdest dream last night about how I was informed he had died. It was super odd. Because it has stuck with me all day, I now offer this, a live version of a song I had no idea was, at one point, a single, "Mockingbird." Huge place in my heart for Mr. Thomas. Today, we say goodbye to Week 22 and to let you in behind the curtains for a few seconds (and only because we are all best friends around here, you know), this was tossed around as being the very final day of this blog's existence. If you haven't noticed, today, we celebrate our five month anniversary, and, it should be noted for those who are counting, that this is our 201st post. Over 200 posts, five months and thousands of page views (can't thank you guys enough for that), and because of other obligations, we contemplated the notion of giving it up. But alas, love prevailed in the end, and we shall push through until...well, until you guys stop reading. So, this is good news, right? You don't want us to do away, right? Come on, now. We need a little bit of our ego fed (more so than words can say), so any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated. All of that said, here's to another five months, eh? Now with the curtain swiftly being pulled in front of us again, we'd like to offer the following links to kick off the last weekend of August. Did you remember to check out today's Blogspot Banter? It's a goodie, you know. Give that a read, follow Ms. Indy Grrrl to her site to see what she has to offer, and as we wait to find you back here, ready to go Monday morning, I must remind you, the people who truly keep this operation going, love you, miss you.

So, Melo is gone, we know that. But he wants his extension, too? And Denver is honestly willing to blow the entire operation up once he leaves? Don’t really know if that’s necessary. (Yahoo)

Oh, college newspapers. You crazy. (Independent Florida Alligator)

Remember the Fox News guy we linked earlier in the week? You know, the one who was leaving to go to print? Yep. There’s a pay cut involved. (Media Matters)

People 50 and over love Facebook, too! Actually, they do, though. There are numbers to prove it. (Pew Research Center)

Good. Question. (Salon)

What would you give for lower concert ticket prices? (Pollstar)

Twenty years ago today, Stevie Ray Vaughan died. Way too young. (Contact Music)

The Emmys are Sunday. Don’t forget. We root for “Dexter,” “30 Rock,” “Mad Men” and “House.” And “Modern Family” got robbed. (NPR)

OH! Levi’s mad at Bristol! Levi’s mad at Bristol! (CNN)

Mike Lupica’s take on Tiger. I find myself feeling more bad for him each day. I shouldn’t. But I do. Weird. (New York Daily News)

Blogspot Banter: Diary of an Indy Grrrl

This month's Blogspot Banter turns its collective head toward all things indie. That's right, friends. The Diary of an Indy Grrrl blog has been slowly, yet surely, making a splash within the Blogspot world as of late, having been named a "Blog Of Note" and accumulating nearly 1,500 followers. Luckily for us, we were recently able to share a few e-mails with the site's mastermind, Brandy.

In addition to loving "Dexter" (a move that earned her an infinite amount of awesome points in our eyes), she was quick to point out that this particular blog is only an extension of her regular Web site, IndyGrrrl.com, a site that has even more goodies for you wonderful readers to check out, should you enjoy happening across her blog, a blog, which, by the way, you can access here.

Below, you will find the answers to her questions regarding how much she values her blog (quite a bit, like a good blogger should), her desire to bake, and how much of a dream being a "Blog of Note" truly was to her (and having never been selected for such a thing ourselves, we can confidently say that we can totally relate to how excited we would be. Besides, her response, as you will see, is as priceless and cute as a button!). Naturally, we commend her blog to you, and suggest that if you happen to follow us, you ought to follow her as well. Or, at the very least, meander over to find out what she has to offer (if for no other reason, because she likes "Dexter" for goodness gracious' sake!).

So without any further adieu, we present to you Brandy, the wonderfully nice individual behind Diary of an Indy Grrrl. Enjoy.

Q: How long have you had the Diary of an Indy Grrrl blog? Can you explain what the main focus of your blog is and what inspired you to begin this particular blog? It seems to showcase things that interest you, your life, etc., but is there a particular audience you are trying to reach with the topics you cover on your blog?

A: I started my blog in 2007 as an extension of my website: www.indygrrrl.com. I originally planned to keep the focus on the accessories I make, but that was a bit boring. I then decided to make Indy Grrrl like a diary of sorts where you can find various topics to read about. I don’t have a particular audience in mind. I’ve found that all types of people enjoy reading my blog, but it is primarily women that make up my readership.

Q: Diary of an Indy Grrrl was recently named a "Blog of Note" by Blogspot. How did it feel to be recognized like that? Did you ever know or think it was coming? What can you attribute to obtaining such status within the Blogspot world?

A: I was shocked and thrilled to be a "Blog of Note." It felt wonderful to be singled out, and I’m still riding off the buzz. I wanted to be noticed as noteworthy since I joined Blogspot years ago. I dreamt about it, and kept a note on my desk stating it would happen, and it did! Never underestimate the power of thinking.

Q: Your blog has over 1,400 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: You must stay true to your own writing style, and offer something real to your readers. Pictures help, and getting slightly personal is also something that pulls readers in. It’s still a struggle to find topics others are interested in. When I write something, and receive ample feedback, I keep that in mind as I’m thinking of new topics to discuss. You have to test the waters, and grab onto what works.

Q: It also states in your profile that you writer, crafter and baker. How do you find time to blog around your professional career? Would you like to make a career around your blog and/or blogging if you haven’t already, or is Diary of an Indy Grrrl something you plan to make a career out of?

A: I would love to make my blog a career, and I’m working on that each day. I want to write books, and I’m hoping a publishing company will approach me to make The Diary of an Indy Grrrl a book. It may be tricky, but I think it needs to be done. Baking is something I do for fun as a hobby, but writing is what I’ll have my degree in a few months from now, so I’m on the writing path.

Q: How important is the comments section/readership 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 have felt like giving up a bunch of times when comments are low, but I know people are still reading, so I continue. Even though I’ve been discouraged at times, I love to write in a social sphere, so I could never walk away from it. I enjoy it too much.

Q: How important do you think a name can be when beginning one’s own blog? You have done such a good job at designing and playing off the name you chose for your blog. Did you have design-minded ideas when you came up with the name of your blog, or was it something that all fell together in place? That said, how important do you think a blog’s design is? Is the use of things such as videos and photos essential to the success of a blog, or do you believe good writing is the key?

A: Honestly, I play around with ideas as I go. I put my style out there and hope that it translates well. I think the name and design is important, but not crucial to success. The important thing is to make sure your design is clear, eye-catching and unique. I am turned off by awkward pages that are not aligned, and blogs that have too much information to read. Pictures are crucial to posts, but they should be clear and big enough to see. Everyone loves imagery, but good writing is definitely the key to gaining an audience.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: "Dead Poets Society"
Q: Favorite food?
A: Pizza
Q: Favorite television show?
A: "Dexter"
Q: When you are not working or blogging, what do you enjoy doing the most?
A: Shopping, trying new restaurants, watching movies and road trips.
Q: What’s your favorite blog?
A: That is Priceless

Double Feature: Takers & The Last Exorcism

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.


Hey, look! It’s Stringer Bell from “The Wire!” Or Charles from “The Office,” if you fancy. The problem? He’s surrounded by a rapper who just got out of jail, an r&b singer who should still be in jail, Johnny Drama’s real-life brother and the dude who was in “Star Wars.” Boy, T.I. looks bad in these previews, doesn’t he? He just doesn’t seem like he can act all that well. Biggest question: Does Chris Brown being in this movie impact how many people end up going to see it? That’s an awfully good question. This has “nobody could possibly go and see this” written all over it, but weren’t some people saying the exact same thing about “The Expendables?” Who knows? It’s action. It’s got a ton of people in it. And school is about to start. $10 million? Maybe? $5 million? Either way, let’s hope Stringer can land a part in a movie I actually want to see someday. That, friends, would make me awfully happy.

The Last Exorcism

I hate to say this. I really do. But the way this movie appears to be shot, it seems like it's legitimately scary, and actually something that wouldn’t be all that bad if you tend to like horror films. Me? Give me the “Saws” and that’s about it. But you? Well, the general public seems to enjoy horror flicks. And this has Eli Roth’s hands all over it. The last time I checked, he was supposed to be a pretty big deal in this particular genre, right? The trailer reminds me of “The Blair Witch Project” in its own weird, off-color way. Side: I actually saw TBWP in theaters, and this was during the portion of my life that I didn’t watch movies. Initially even thought it was real. Spooked me out. Anyways, where we were? Oh, yes. That’s right. Hey, why not check this out, if you dig scary stuff? Patrick Fabian is in it. And he was in “Saved By The Bell: The College Years.” And yes, that sound you hear is the car door slamming as you now get in the car to rush to see the movie.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Revisiting 1990's music, Will Forte is leaving SNL and the Champions League draw was today

This DVD sits firmly on the top of my DVD player, and it seems as though there is no better night than tonight to finally indulge myself in it. After "The Maiden Heist," this has to be good, right? I mean, come on. You can't go two straight Netflix movies without stumbling upon something good, right? Right. Anyways, welcome to Thursday and the Ride that accompanies it. I have absolutely no idea where my partner in crime was earlier today, so alas, for the first time in this blog's history, there will be one Ride on top of the other. That's sad, isn't it? I plead with you not to think it's a product of laziness. Promise it won't happen again. Or, at least, I hope it won't happen again. In any case, the following links are for your viewing pleasure, and we sincerely hope you have a fantastic second-to-last day of the week. August is almost gone, now. Enjoy it while you can.

I have a lot of problems with this, actually. For one, Matchbox Twenty isn’t done and Rob Thomas’ solo career has been notably successful. Once wrote a column about this, but did it right by using bands such as Nine Days and Oleander. Half of these bands are still semi-prominent. (MTV)

The Champions League group stage draw was held today. And here are the pairings. (The Big Lead)

Bill O’Reilly watches porn. A writer reveals it nearly 30 years later. (The Phoenix)

Mariotti has been suspended from AOL. (Twitter)

If Conan wins Sunday at the Emmys, he’s not allowed to say what he wants. Kind of. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Bristol Palin joins The Situation and Kurt Warner as contestants on “Dancing With The Stars.” How long until she becomes “Mrs. Situation?” (Access Hollywood)

Will Forte is leaving “Saturday Night Live.” Get those resumes ready, funny people. (Entertainment Weekly)

What is going on with Timbaland, anyways? (All Hip-Hop)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Tiger and Elin talk, Christina Hendricks named spokesperson of London Fog and Brownie goes back to New Orleans

"Last night. She said." And then I have no idea what is sung after that. It's weird how the older you grow, the more you find yourself liking music you dismissed when you were at the age in which you should have liked the said dismissed music. The Strokes are slowly gaining ground on my conscious and I'm not quite sure what to do about it. The same kind of thing happened with Hanson, but, as you read earlier, we already scratched that itch. Anyways, welcome to Wednesday, a hump day for the ages. Why? It's the last of such a day August offers. Can you believe it? Summer is gone, friends. Its last breath will be uttered next weekend, and, only if the plans I happened to make last night are followed through will the summer truly go out in style. How about you? Oh, nevermind. I'm sure a "how was your summer?" post will be lurking somewhere around the corner by either one of us. Or, wait. Maybe even both of us (gasp!). Before we get around to any reflection, though, we must deal with the current, and we currently offer you wonderful readers the following links to enjoy on this, the last Wednesday of August 2010. Remember - eating healthy may assure your life to be longer. Just sayin.'

Elin talks. The world listens. (People)

Tiger talks. The world listens. (TMZ)

Michael Brown returns to New Orleans five years after that incredibly big storm made its way through the city. Naturally, he loves his life. (Westword)

Fox News talking head leaves Fox News to delve back into print journalism. Score one for the good guys! (Mediaite)

Lifehouse is going to tour in the fall. In shocking news, Kris Allen will open the shows. No Name Face is one of my favorite “nobody can ever know this is one of my favorite CDs” CDs. (Pollstar)

Elisabeth Hasselbeck supports gay marriage. And she wants you to know she’s not nearly as conservative as you think. This is certainly going to lose her Republican votes when she tries to run for president in six years. (New York Daily News)

I like Chris Broussard. But why write such things as this? Especially about Baron Davis? (Sports By Brooks)

When there is ever a link involving her, rest assured we’ll link it. Christina Hendricks is the new spokesperson for London Fog. She’s fabulous. (Fox News)

Don't mind me. I'm just sittin' on the corner of the street, talking to one of the Hanson brothers.

Found myself on the mean streets of Columbus, Ohio, this past weekend, having a chat with the particular person you see to the right. For those of you who may be confused, that's Zac Hanson, the youngest brother and drummer for the band who just may have put out the best record 2010 will see, Hanson.

The talk went a little over 30 minutes, and he was exactly everything you wanted him to be: Nice, happy, smiling, accommodating, interesting, completely not jaded and, of course, as cute as a button. Of all the things (and there were many) discussed, I'd be burying the lede if I didn't mention his clear passion for video games first. Goodness, he's spent so much money on so many pieces of equipment just to be able to play those things. He spoke endlessly of the measures he has taken in the past to participate in crazy video game scenarios. But hey: If I had the type of money writing a song like “MMMbop” can provide, I’d probably upgrade a few portions of my life, too. How his wife puts up with all the video game madness was a question I was five seconds away from asking, though opted against it. The last thing I’d ever want to be is a man hated by anybody in Hanson.

That said, there were many other topics of discussion brought up. And while I am fully aware that you, the fantastically loyal reader, may not give a heck about the Hanson boys, I am also aware that this kind of stuff can be neat. Especially when you touch on the following…

- He's upset that Levon Helm is not in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. "It's all about money," he said. “That’s all that place is – who has the most money.” This was all brought up after my roommate asked him about a recent quote he gave Rolling Stone regarding wanting to be the youngest member of the Hall. “Levon Helm needs to be in there, though,” he said more than once. “You can ask anybody.”

- The only time he was visibly uncomfortable was when the third member of our traveling group – a wonderful young lady whom we met while seeing the band earlier in the night (and a lady, I may add, whom I should probably marry sometime between now and next Wednesday) – asked him why he wasn’t wearing his wedding ring. “Why are the only one not married?” she asked.
“I am,” the drummer replied.
“Then you should really be wearing your wedding ring,” she said.
“I am,” he said after pausing for a quick two seconds to gather his thoughts. “It’s around my neck. I can’t play the drums with it on because it makes me bleed.” Then, after turning to me because it had already been brought up that I play the drums as well, he continued. “Right? You know what I mean,” he said.

- And speaking of drums (and this is specifically for anybody with the new record) I would lose my drummer’s card had I not asked him about “Voice In The Chorus,” a track off the band’s latest album that features an offbeat so awkward that I was convinced it wasn’t done live. Not the case.
“Yep,” he countered. “It was all done live. Actually, the whole record was pretty much done live,” he continued before launching into an impromptu pseudo-lesson about how to play the song in question. Hey. Not many people can say Zac Hanson tried to teach them how to play a song of his in the middle of street on air drums.

- I was completely taken by his genuine knowledge of the same kind of music I love. Asking him about the band covering Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Coming” earlier in the night, he spoke endearingly about soul music and the affect its had on his band. Sure, he called “Hold On, I’m Coming” a “deep cut,” – it’s not. Anyone with ears can recite that horn line in their sleep - but he gets a pass for that. It was his effort that counted.

- Fast food. This was actually the second time we had the opportunity to stop him on the street. The first was before the show while we shared drinks at a local bar. “Hey, that’s Zac,” my roommate said as we were looking out the front window. And it was. He was carrying a Wendy’s bag. When we caught up with him later that night, he was carrying a Five Guys sack of food. The dude likes his meals greasy and fast it seems.

- “Wouldn’t you like there to be just a little more guys at your shows,” my roommate asked after quickly offering up the notion that we seemingly couldn’t find more than 10 guys at the show. In response, the youngest brother of the three responded in a way most any other normal mid-20-something dude would. “No.”

- And finally: It was Zac Hanson! To think he was one-third of an act that literally ruled the music world for a little while is something that, at this point, is mind-blowing. We must have stood on the street with him for somewhere around 45 minutes and not once was he stopped. Not once did anyone try and bamboozle our conversation. It was the three of us and him. Nobody even recognized him. In hindsight, my roommate brought up the notion of a picture or an autograph, though luckily, he never indulged. These are the types of moments that could never be portrayed through picture or signature.

And, naturally, all of this gives me yet one more excuse to offer up this video. “We really wanted to do it because ‘The Blues Brothers’ is our favorite movie,” he told me. It’s the smartest thing they’ve done in years…

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Heidi and Spencer have been lying all along, Cheryl Hines is single and a must-read for those who are in their 20s

OK, OK. I know I promised to babble about Hanson in today's Ride. But as I sat down to compile this opening paragraph, I thought, "Wow. There is way too much to say than a mere one paragraph. This needs an entire post." So, to the six of you who read this blog, the Hanson stories must wait one more day. Promise it'll only be one day, though, and, of course, promise it will be worth it. In fact, I'd go as far to say that you definitely would like to check back tomorrow morning for a full Hanson-related post. And don't worry. You can thank me then, not now. I'll understand. Oh, and I need to take a moment to sincerely thank you wonderful, fabulous friends for offering up movie titles yesterday. I believe that may have been our most-commented post yet, and all of you can rest assured that I will take each suggestion and give it a shot. Much, much love to you fantastic people for that. Moving froward, I made it a half-hour into this movie last night, and I plan on finishing it as soon as this post goes live. Really can't explain why I put it on my Netflix list, but, hey, it's pretty short, and it has Morgan Freeman, Bill Macy and Christopher Walken. It can't be all that bad, right? Right. We've come across a few rainy days now for really the first time this summer, and, to be honest, I kind of dig it. Summer's gone, anyways. There are few better things in the world than a warm rain, you know. I'm not sayin' but I'm just sayin.' In any case, enjoy the following links, be ready and be excited for tomorrow's long-awaited Hanson diatribe, and be nice to those you may meet in public. Nobody likes to be treated badly, you know.

Hey, look. Further Seems Forever is reuniting with the guy from Dashboard Confessional! (Alternative Press)

Brazilian referee stabs soccer player in the chest after arguing over a penalty. Wow. (Deadspin)

The Baltimore Sun’s magazine is coming back. Who said all news about newspapers was bad, again? (Baltimore Brew)

For those who watch Candy Crowley on CNN. Here’s a profile that is worth your time. (Washington Post)

Cheryl Hines is officially back on the market. (People)

Just in case you haven’t read this by now (and if you happen to be in your 20s, and you haven’t read this by now, shame on you). The current batch of 20-somethings are taking longer to grow up than previous generations. Keep an eye on the five milestones. (New York Times)

So, about all that Heidi and Spencer stuff. It’s a lie. (Radar)

A nice read on Joe Scarborough. There was once a time in my life when I religiously watched Olbermann’s show on MSNBC and some of the best moments of the night came when he threw to Joe’s “Scarborough Country.” Funny dude. (GQ)

Miss Universe pageant brings laughter into at least one home… mine

For the last couple years, my wife and I have created a new tradition in our house where we watch the annual Miss Universe pageant, place little bets on who will win and then poke fun at the proceedings. Typically, the question and answer portion of the program garners the most sarcastic comments, and last night was no exception.

And let me throw in a disclaimer here: we have nothing against this whole pageant thing. We just like to bust chops. And we’re equal opportunity chop-busters - you can ask anyone.

Anyways, if you were one of the many unfortunate people who missed out on this trainwreck, let me break it down for you… and PS, this is paraphrased from my memory. It was so good I don’t even need to look it up for reference.

Judge (to Miss Philippines): What is one major mistake you’ve made in your life and what did you do to rectify it?
Miss Philippines (to the judge, the audience and the world): “You know, I’ve never made any major, major mistakes in my life, so I just want to thank you and everyone for the opportunity to be here today!

And yes, the exclamation point is there because she ACTUALLY sounded excited by her response. That’s right, in her head, she nailed it.

Needless to say, Miss Philippines did not win the fun little bedazzled crown this year – that honor went to Miss Mexico, who looked strangely not Mexican in my opinion, but I digress. She is the only one of the final five that gave a response that was hard to pick on.

Other highlights from this part of the show included:
- Miss Jamaica saying only one person has the right to end a life, and that person is God.
- Miss Ukraine sounding like a scary robot character from a Tim Burton film
- Miss Australia assuming (in a way-too loud and excitable voice) that everyone has the freedom to choose their religion, and how one of our unalienable rights is the right of fashion…

There are several confusing elements to this competition:

1. On what criteria are the judges chosen? Does the brilliant thespian William “Billy” Baldwin have some kind of background in finding/understanding the subtle nuances of “true beauty?” Does Gold Medal Winning Figure Skater Evan Lysacek have a pedigree for comprehending the correct way a certain dress should look on a certain woman? Come on folks, isn’t this all just personal opinion?

2. Is there specific criteria for why Miss A scored a 7.657 on the swimsuit portion of the show, while Miss B nailed it with an 8.493?

3. Was the competition always a two-hour infomercial for Chi haircare products?

4. Why the hell didn’t Miss Ireland and Miss Guatemala make the final five?

Until next time, friends, come on back at 4 p.m. for The Ride.

Monday, August 23, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Much to say about the Mariotti fallout, Conan's single, "Dexter" and goodness, 'Mad Men' was uncomfortable

That was one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen on cable television. In a "oh, no. Wait. She's not really going to... Wait...Really? Oh my God. That's what she was doing?!" moment, Sally Draper finds herself in trouble after being caught masturbating in public. She's 10. Couldn't believe it. Felt like I needed to take a shower after the episode was done. In a rare moment that forced me to dislike Roger Sterling, the white-haired man became insufferable last night, and, ironically enough, allowed me to kind of like Pete Campbell (again, a rare, first-ever moment). The Honda tactic was smart, and it's a moment such as that particular instance that reminds you of why you find yourself rooting for Don, even though he walks that "should I root for him or not" line so often. He's savvy. And the stunt he pulled last night was nothing short of fantastic. Naturally, after I scream about Jan Jones not being on the show last week, last night's episode was pretty Betty-centric (goodness, she is the worst mother ever). And finally, Don's new secretary has now officially lasted one more show than I had anticipated she would. But that's OK. I'm beginning to warm up to her comic relief. Thoughts? Comments? You know where to leave them. Speaking of which, have you stumbled across our romantic comedy thread yet? Again, all suggestions welcome/needed. Hello Week 22, and hello Hanson. Why hello Hanson? We'll get to that in tomorrow's Ride. Mondays are reserved for "Mad Men," silly. Besides, I've already run way too long for an opening paragraph, and we wouldn't want to bore you, you know. Alas, follow some of the below links and have a wonderful Monday.

Anybody out there hear about this Jay Mariotti situation? Here’s Dan LeBarard’s take on it. A must-read for sports-heads. A must. (The Big Lead)

And now a list of other ESPN personalities that have found themselves in trouble. (Midwest Sports Fan)

Sort of funny in an MTV cheesy kind of way: Movies folks would like to see based around Web sites. (MTV)

Courtland Milloy, one of the most explosive columnists in America, tackles the n-word and how it should be relayed in print. (Washington Post)

“Good God.” Those were the words uttered after seeing the financial statements at Newsweek. (Wall Street Journal)

Lithgow praises Michael C. Hall and “Dexter.” Almost to season four. No spoilers, please. (People)

Conan’s first single. (Pitchfork)

As always, a better, more detailed recap of last night’s “Mad Men.” (Entertainment Weekly)

Because you probably never check our Twitter account, and I know you love Nickelodeon game shows. (Twitter)

The only thing better than romantic comedies is nothing.

As I said Friday, I was finally able to take in "Leap Year" - a movie I had coveted for months and months - Thursday evening. "Prepare to be disappointed," my roommate said beforehand. Ironically enough, he had already seen it. I say ironically because, much like any other straight 20-something male in the entire universe, he never wanted to see it in the first place.

Disappointed I was not. In fact, with the exception of "The Kids Are All Right," I would even venture to say it's the best movie I have seen released this year (that sound of a loud thump you just heard was the noise my credibility made when it hit the concrete after falling 12 stories). Loved, loved, loved Matthew Goode and, as always, Amy Adams is someone I hold near and dear to my movie-watching heart. The ending was fabulous and it would take more than one hand to count the amount of times I legitimately laughed out loud at some nonsensical gag portrayed within the film.

But none of that is really the story here. Nope. That honor goes to the fact that my love for the movie only reiterated my inexplicable, unmatchable, undying and unrequited love for romantic comedies. I mean, my God. This is a movie that released to awful reviews and more negative ratings on all of the internet movie critic sites than the latest Vin Diesel effort. Me loving this thing doesn't just make me look feminine. It makes me feel as though I should keep an eye out for subscription offers for Redbook.

All of this said, I sat down to think about the amount of romantic comedies I've seen, and realized that my number is sadly low. "Music and Lyrics," "Definitely, Maybe," "50 First Dates," "Did You Hear About The Morgans?" "Valentine's Day," "How To Lose Friends And Alienate People," "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "Wedding Crashers," and, of course, the best-ever, without-any-doubt-crazy-ridiculous-good film, "Love Actually." But that's it.

So, alas, I turn to you, my Internet, blogtastic, dear friends. I need suggestions. And while all are welcome in the comments section, I must ask that you keep the following in mind: No Dane Cook , Katherine Heigl or Seth Rogan movies, please ("Good Luck Chuck" and "The Ugly Truth" was unbearable and though I know most of you seem to have an unwarranted crush on him, Seth Rogan simply needs to go away). Knowing my love for "Leap Year," though, this task should be fairly easy. I mean, come on. If I can fall in love with a movie such as that, I should be able to find joy in just about anything you lovely individuals offer.

And if you all fail me (which, I pray to God I don't happen upon this blog later today to find a grand total of zero comments, mind you), at least I can look forward to this...

Now, tell me that doesn't look great.

Friday, August 20, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Carson Daly's show is renewed, Brian Williams hates Facebook, Demi Lovato buys a house and is Jack leaving '30 Rock?'

It took until the middle of August, but I do believe I finally found a summer jam. And this is it, granted a remixed version with Jay-Z. Either way, this is it. Love her new record and I owe it all to the same person who provided me a copy of LCD Soundsystem's latest record before it hit stores. I love friends. Welcome to the end of Week 21. Woke up to an interesting surprise that I still haven't figured out how to feel about. As some of you may or may not have picked up by now, I may or may not review CDs, among other things, for another, much bigger Web site. In my e-mail's inbox, I found I had been mailed David Gray's new album by my editor to review. Having originally thought it was a simple re-release of some of his earlier material (since "Babylon," he has been re-releasing stuff for years on a monthly basis, it seems), I shrugged. A little research and a few clicks later, and I find it's an actual brand new CD. And it's a double disc, to boot! This made me equal parts happy, excited and disappointed in myself for not knowing this already. Love that dude. Anyways, and more importantly, I finally got to see "Leap Year" last night. I never thought I would ever get to a point where I could say this, but, it was BETTER than I thought it would be. Did it inspire a Monday post? You shall see (hint: I wouldn't ask if it inspired a Monday post if it didn't inspire a Monday post. Or something). But before we get there, we must provide you, the well-rounded and always attractive reader, with a few links to ponder for the weekend. And yes, even though I was unable to stop by one day this week (for the first time, mind you), that doesn't mean my feelings have changed. Remember: Absence makes the heart grow fonder. That said, friends, love you, miss you.

Six pop groups from the ‘90s that MTV thinks should get back together. Who is LMNT? (MTV)

Saw this item this morning and immediately conducted news searches for “30 Rock.” Why? Well, if you read this entire interview (Beadle comes off very, very cool, by the way), she mentions at the end at Alec Baldwin’s character is leaving the show. Is that true? Has anyone heard this? Awful way to wake up. (Manofest)

This man is angry at Google. But his argument is interesting, and I’m positive you can relate. (Slate)

Rule No. 1 for aspiring journalists: Don’t believe that journalism school will help prepare you for a career. Honestly, though. If you have any ambition to do this kind of stuff, this is a must-read. (Online Journalism Review)

Brian Williams does not like Facebook. Reason No. 40 why he’s awesomeradical. Reason No. 29? He’s been known to slow-jam the news. (Market Watch)

Michael J. Fox is coming back to television. No snarky remark here. Good for him. (New York Post)

Wow. Carson Daly’s show got renewed on NBC. Now, I know none of you will ever give it a chance, but with this new format, you can tell that he’s really, at the very least, trying to put out a good show. Hate him all you want, but it’s the only program where you could ever, ever see someone like The XX perform in the States. (Showbiz Spy)

Cheryl Miller is going to be inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame along with other people you may know. Really like her. Seems like she’s done a lot for the game without even knowing it. (Los Angeles Times)

Demi Lovato turns 18. Buys a house. For her family. (People)

Double Feature: The Switch & Lottery Ticket

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.

The Switch

Last week, Michael Cera bombed with a dismal opening weekend that saw his movie, "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World," barely break the $10 million barrier. This week, we see how another "Arrested Development" alum can do. And he even has a little help from Jennifer Aniston! Me? I'll have to see it (remember, this comes from someone who highly enjoyed "Extract"). In the theater? Probably not. Though if I lived in a convenient place that was surrounded by movie theaters, the likelihood of me seeing it in an actual theater would probably increase. Also, I really, really, really like Jen. I do. Count me in what seems to be the decreasing number of people who still love her. The only problem? It seems to be opening to wretched reviews (i.e. a 45 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes). But, hey. The critics said the same thing about the aforementioned "Extract" adventure. So what do they know, anyways? If nothing else, it can hold people like me over until that "Arrested Development" script is finally completed.

Lottery Ticket

What the hell is this? Bill Bellamy. T-Pain. Charlie Murphy. Ice Cube. And a "Oh, so that's what she's doing now" Teairra Mari (disclosure: I own her debut and only album. Didn't burn it. I own it, as in, I bought it.). Had no idea what this was, even after I saw the trailer six times. How could anybody think this is a good idea? And why do idiot comedies centered around African-Americans such as this continue to creep out through the cracks? Really, really liked Bow Wow on "Entourage" and thought that after his work there, he could be taken seriously as an actor. I even could go as far to say that I thought his career looked "promising." One step forward, eight steps back, I suppose. The writers are killing it, dismissing the movie as an unfunny play on black stereotypes. Gee. How could they possibly say that? Oh wait, maybe they've seen this...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Conan is going to release records, Chelsea Handler will host the VMAs and the country's most stressful cities

I finally did get around to seeing this the other night. The line I typically got on it from people who have already seen it was "the music's great." My line to you? The music's great. I don't really know how else to put it. The acting's fine. The story's OK. Overshadowing the entire thing, though, is how wonderful the music is. I still have a bad taste in my mouth because Clooney didn't win for "Up In The Air." But alas, such is life. Hello, hello. Welcome to Thursday. Did you miss Wednesday in much the same way I did? Ahhh, yes. I apologize dearly for not dropping by yesterday. Unforeseen happenings occurred, and while my day was wasted, the true thing that proved bothersome was knowing I was unable to offer up a few links and (sometimes) witty banter in this particular corner of the Internet. Did you miss me? I doubt it. But I did miss you. Promise. But alas, today, I am back, ready to share some stories with you, and hoping you don't hate me too much. Hey. Friday's nearly here. If nothing else, you really ought to be happy about that, right? In any case, enjoy the following links, and, if you get a little bit of time, enjoy a nice summer night as well. It's almost gone, you know.

Chelsea Handler is going to host this year’s Video Music Awards. Can somebody please explain to me what her appeal is? (MTV)

“Live Entertainment in Kabul: Dog Fighting.” Must-read on in-flight magazines in Afghanistan. (Wall Street Journal)

Business journalists make an average of $65,000 a year? Honestly? Wow. (SABEW)

The top 10 guitar albums of all time. (Popmatters)

Rick Reilly’s take on this Dustin Johnson business that occurred at the PGA Championship over the weekend. (ESPN)

The most stressful cities in the country. Riverside, California, is a city? (Yahoo)

Eminem: Still holding on to that No. 1 spot. That’s hard to do these days, you know. (Billboard)

Kat Von D is officially dating the guy who broke Sandra Bullock’s heart. Seems kind of quick, doesn’t it? (Actress Archives)

Conan is going to release two albums. That’s kind of neat. (MSNBC)

What's better than a burger? A cheeseburger, duh.

Last night I was straight up craving a cheeseburger. This was one of those Bill and Sookie True Blood cravings; one of those Lindsey Lohan attention cravings. But I wasn't in the mood for my special burger with brown sugar, cajun spice and steak sauce - I wanted something simple that I hadn't had in awhile.

I ended up mixing my ground beef with Montreal Steak Seasoning and topping it with provolone cheese. Four minutes a side on med-high heat. Simple, good. It made me think about how versatile ground beef is... it's freakin' awesome.

My need for something simple didn't stop me from searching Allrecipes.com for some different burger recipes. Had I the appropriate ingredients on hand, I may have been persuaded to try one of the following:

Backyard Burgers
1 (1 pound) package Bob Evans®
Original Recipe Sausage Roll
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/3 teaspoon ground pepper
8 hamburger buns
Lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced onion
(suggested toppings)

Buffalo Burger
1 pound ground beef
1 (10.75 ounce) can Campbell's® Condensed Tomato Soup (Regular or 25% Less Sodium)
1/2 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
4 Pepperidge Farm® Classic Hamburger Buns, split
Lettuce leaves
Red onion slices
Tomato slices

Teriyaki Burger
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 (10.5 ounce) can Campbell's® Condensed Beef Broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 Pepperidge Farm® Classic Sandwich Buns with Sesame Seeds, split

Horseradish Burgers
2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons steak sauce
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
8 hamburger buns, split

These are all now on my food to-do list. If the spirit compels you and you give one of these a try, don't leave me hanging. Got a better one - I'm all eyes (it's the internet, get it, get it!)

See ya at 4, friends. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Trouble for "Wait, Wait," the trailer for Joaquin Phoenix's movie hits the Web and a great photographer dies

I woke up this morning with this song rummaging through my head over and over. Full disclosure: I love Train. Like, really love Train. Like, love Train more than some dude should. The night I got home from vacation, I bought a bottle of wine and watched their concert DVD. No kidding, even. I'm really hoping they come around my part of the woods in a not-opening-for-John-Mayer-slot. And that's only because I want to see them play a longer set than a mere opening 30 minutes. Wow, I can't believe I admitted to all of that. This song? Eh. The whole "I'm not in it to win it..." line is cheese at its best, and the track as a whole feels a bit too contrived even for me, someone who just spent the better half of a paragraph explaining my love for the band. Anyways, I'll move away from that now. Welcome to Tuesday, friends. Did you cast your vote for a man's hairstyle yet? You really ought to, you know. So far, we are at clean shaven and short hair - 2, and no shave with longer hair - 0. As the world is grips itself to see who wins this competition, we'd like to offer up a few links for you, the wonderfully talented and pretty reader to look over. Why? Because we love you. That's why, silly.

Jason Whitlock leaves the Kansas City Star. The real news here is the fact that the rumor of a show on HBO is being floated. (The Big Lead)

“Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” is probably my favorite NPR show, and any time they take a stance on something, I must stand firmly behind them. And this is all over the phrase, “For God’s sake,” too. (Star-Telegram)

Arkansas radio reporter wears Florida Gators hat to news conference. Arkansas radio reporter gets fired. (USA Today)

Herman Leonard, the man who took some of those iconic photos of pretty much every jazz great ever, died. He was 87. (Pollstar)

And now Method Man and Tila Tequila can forever be linked together. (TMZ)

So, this Joaquin Phoenix movie is supposed to justify all of that erratic behavior his has showcased in the last few years, right? (New York Magazine)

A closer look at the girl who producers chose for the lead in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” (New York Times)

This is kind of funny. After Sunday, she’s slowly creeping her way into my conscious. (Twitter)

Family Ties

Nope - this post has nothing to do with the 80's sitcom of the same name - but I thought you'd like to see the picture anyways.

On Sunday I had what most would call a nice little afternoon, as the other male members of my family and I carried out what has all of the sudden become a regular thing - a family golf outing. And for those keeping score at home, this guy hit a solid 54... on nine holes.

Do the math - that's REALLY bad.

If you would have asked me three years ago what I thought of a family that had a golf outing every year as a means of spending quality time together, I undoubtedly would have scoffed and poked fun (as I do). But the day got me thinking about family time in general, and how every family defines themselves by what they do when they're together.

For my family, which I would classify as pretty close by the way, we've got the following:

- Eating
- Watching a baseball or football game
- Playing Scattergories, Scrabble or Yahtzee
- Eating
- Arguing about whether Oprah is actually a good person or just a PR machine
- Shopping
- Eating

Is the picture becoming clear yet? We love us some food. With butter. And sugar. And salt.

We define ourselves as a big, food loving family. It bonds us, it makes us competitive (my wife is the current Pecan Pie champion - don't even step), it gives us a conversation piece. But to be honest, all but a few of us could stand to lose a few pounds (myself included).

So where does that leave me? Trying to find a happy median I suppose. I think we can pull off being the food-obsessed, tight-knit group we've always been, but with a dash of "let's try to be a little healthy" for good measure.

Risking the embarrassment of no one commenting here, how about you? What defines your family? I would love to hear how others are doing it.

One thing is for sure - the situation brings to mind a few family movies that are worth browsing below.

So long for now - See you at 4 p.m. for The Ride Home.

Monday, August 16, 2010

...For The Ride Home: How 'This American Life' finds stories, Clooney's new project and the juggalos strike again

How does January Jones still collect a pay check from "Mad Men?" Can someone please explain that to me. She's been in 18 minutes of this entire season so far. So, last night, we see Alison walk out on Don, a move we knew had to come eventually. The odd part, though, was the fallout and Don's apparent desire to want her back. Best part of the episode (aside from watching Peggy spy on Don over the wall, as you can read more about if you follow the link below)? Don sitting down to write a letter to his former secretary and watching him type the sentence, "My life has been very..." before stopping and throwing the paper away. Pete's going to have a baby now, and the final scene that shows him and Peggy staring each other down was just fantastic. And speaking of Peggy, it's about time she ventured out away from that loser of a boyfriend she has. Clearly the girl has already reserved her seats at Woodstock in four years after seeing her begin to hang out with all of those forward-thinking folks. And as if this particular review hasn't been Peggy-heavy enough already, it must be noted that she had the line of the show when told that her boyfriend doesn't "own her vagina." "He may not own it," she says, "but he does rent it." Crude yet tasteful. In any case, what shall happen next week? Anybody think Alison will come back? It doesn't appear to be all that likely. Will Peggy leave the agency to become a bit of a beatnik? Will Don find a new secretary (there's no way he stays with that old lady)? Oh, so much to ponder. Before we find those answers, though, we must offer the following links to kick off Week 21. Be good, now, you hear.

Whitney Cummings killed at The Hoff’s roast last night. Though this isn’t the funniest thing she said, it’s certainly the one that’s getting the most headlines. (Deadspin)

“This American Life” and finding stories. If you like NPR, you’ll love this. (Washington Post)

Rupert Murdoch has never succeeded in any digital adventure. Interesting. (Newser)

How the hell did this girl land this role over Carey Mulligan, Ellen Page and Mia Wasikowska? There’s no way I’m going to see this movie now! (MTV)

The obligatory Tila Tequila incident over the weekend link. Some would say her getting out of there alive would be a “Miracle.” (Dimewars)

As mentioned up top: A vote for Peggy spying on Don as the best part of last night’s “Mad Men.” (Entertainment Weekly)

Some people seem to have a problem with Ms. Linney’s new show. I’m still looking for a way to find an episode online (Help, anyone?). Yes, it’s about cancer, and yes, it’s aimed at making people laugh. But it’s Laura Linney. How could it possibly be bad? (CBS News)

George Clooney as Frank Sinatra. Angelina Jolie as Marilyn Monroe. That’s all. (Hollywood)

Friday, August 13, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Spencer is now a director, Pippen enters the Hall this weekend and Snooki wants to own Snooki

We send off the nice, round number of Week 20 with a cool, calm and collected Jack Johnson and a performance of the fabulous "Flake." And it's even on the now-obscurely-old-and-longtime-canceled talk show hosted by now-annoyingly-famous Zack Galifianakis, to boot! I watched "The Kite Runner" last night, and after a midnight run and rewrites on stories I'm working on, it was a nice way to wind down my evening, or, well, my late-night. I cried twice. Again, much like my reaction to "Outsourced," it delights me tremendously to find that I bought a movie I actually enjoy. That's two for two now in the "buying movies I've never known anything about that turn out not bad" category. Word is this was a book. Can anyone out there either confirm or deny such an allegation? If so, is the book any good? Tonight seems to be a "Crazy Heart" kind of night, though we shall see how that works out. As for the rest of the weekend, well there a few things bolstered down, though it seems as though it may rain through the days. Rain, something I love. What are your plans? Going to see a movie? Maybe be by a beach? Date nights? Come on, now. There ought to be something wonderful in your sights. If not, I suggest sitting in front of a television that won't be consumed with football for one of the last times the next six months will allow. Still don't like that? OK. How about you check out the Premier League's kickoff weekend. That's sure to not disappoint, though you admittedly would have to wake in the early hours of the morning on a Saturday. Promise it would be worth it, though. Honestly. Before you find yourself encompassed in any of that, we offer the below links for you to ponder before diving into a middle-of-August weekend. Treat others well, and please don't forget my dear, dear friends, love you, miss you.

Woke up to find Bob Bradley out as the U.S. men’s soccer coach (I believe I had that one). Only to find that he’s not out and talks are on-going. The saga continues. (Washington Post)

Spencer from “The Hills” is directing a movie. Insert “reality television isn’t real” comment here. (Twitter)

How great is this? PBS ombudsman wants to “grab a beer and hit the escape chute” after seeing some PBS programming. (PBS)

“Warning: Medical claims in this article have not been confirmed by peer-review research.” You NEED to check these out. Funny with a capital "Unny." (Tom Scott)

Thirty-five percent less was spent on press travel for White House coverage this year. That just seems like so much, doesn’t it? What were they doing before? Bringing entire families on the road with them? (Media Matters)

Ellen is going to be on “So You Think You Can Dance.” Well, that’s good. (Dimewars)

In the wake of Scottie Pippen entering the basketball Hall of Fame this weekend, here are 10 current day players who would most likely be Mike’s sidekick these days. (Bleacher Report)

Ut oh. The “Twilight” kids are at it again. (People)

Snooki wants “Snooki” trademarked. In it’s response, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said no. And your show sucks. (USA Today)

Double Feature: Scott Pilgram Vs. The World & Eat Pray Love

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.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Michael Cera. Anna Kendrick. Aubrey Plaza. And these aren't people I simply like. I love them. Not going to see this. Not even on DVD. It's just so hard to get into something based around a comic book. Yes. A comic book. Not a graphic novel. It's a book filled with colors and little dialogue. Even when I find myself edging toward "I may see this someday" territory, I see one more clip that reminds me I'll just be disappointed. Floating words around everything that happens (i.c. the word "ring" floating around a telephone as it makes a sound)? Honestly? We are starting to get into the time of year in which good movies come around, so though I am exponentially disappointed that Mr. Cera is in yet another movie I'll most likely pass on, I must take solace in the fact that something good may be coming around the corner. How long until that "Arrested Development" movie again?

Eat Pray Love

How odd is it that of the two movies this week, I admit I'm more likely to see the one that isn't centered around a comic book and stars Michael Cera? More so, how odd is it that the one I've already admitted to at least taking in on DVD someday is the one starring Julia Roberts and was lauded by such a powerhouse woman as Oprah? Oh, and did I mention I'm 20-something, and, well, a dude? Yeah, anyways, the always-fabulous Javier Bardem (rent "Vicki, Christina, Barcelona" tonight), the often-funny James Franco, and the always brilliant Viola Davis join Ms. Roberts in a tale that was seemingly meant to be discussed throughout your local woman's book club meetings with authority. These kinds of pseudo-poignant movies are always films I enjoy, though, and when you take into consideration that I wasn't one of the 90 million people who hated "Duplicity," one of Roberts' most recent efforts, I could easily see myself falling into the trap of seeing this when nothing else I want to see is at the theater I'm located near. Side: Has anyone actually read this book? Come on, now. I know at least some of you have. Drop a review in the comments. It may make or break my movie-viewing ventures.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

...For The Ride Home: LeBron has a list, college degrees you shouldn't go after and Ms. Mavis Staples

Finally getting back to my Netflix, I watched this the other night. Only put it in the que because it has a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt as its star. It was...not all that good. You know what it reminded me of, though, in a completely odd way, of course? "Synecdoche, New York." The film itself is simply being different for the sake of being different. I understand the art aspect, and I also understand how cool it can be to be pretentious. But sometimes, it's just a bit much, as was the case in these two movies. Next up? "Crazy Heart." Hello, Thursday, how do you do? One more day until the weekend, and we won't stop until we get there (even if the gas gets low). Bought two tickets to see Hanson yesterday. Yes. Hanson. Judge me now, not later. Feel a bit squirmy about being surrounded by thousands of teenage girls screaming for the boys while singing every word of that new album, but hey, nothing a few beers can't cure, right? Wait. Do they sell beer at Hanson concerts? Ut oh. Anyways, we offer the following links in nothing but good spirits, and from all of us here at The Unusual Suspects headquarters, we sincerely hope that you, the wonderful reader, have a fantastic rest of your day.

From the “we have way too much time on our hands department,” we offer you 200 beer bottles opened in 80 seconds. (Deadspin)

There will now be coupon inserts in your copy of the Wall Street Journal. Honestly. (Ad Age)

Hey about that guy who wants to buy Newsweek? Yeah, he’s not a billionaire. (Forbes)

The worst paying college degrees of the year. Super interesting read. I’m assuming Journalism was too low to make the list because a starting salary in that particular field doesn’t even sniff this list’s No. 1. (Yahoo)

A Tiny Desk Concert with Ms. Mavis Staples. Who else is excited-times-a-gazillion about this new record? Come on, now. It has Wilco attached to it. (NPR)

Saw this yesterday but didn’t link it. Thought about it a bit more, and thought why not. LeBron has made a list and he’s checking it twice. (Fox Sports Ohio)

Halle Berry is single and ready to mingle. (People)

Kanye West is going to perform at this year’s Video Music Awards. There are talks of a duet with Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. OK. That second part isn't true. (MTV)