Thursday, September 30, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Anderson Cooper has himself a new show, what the 'like' button really means and rest in peace Greg Giraldo

Why Phil Collins today, you ask? Well, after writing that Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame post yesterday, the lovely people at the Hall decided to follow us on Twitter (something you fantastic friends should do as well!). This, in turn - and because we are nice people - led us to start following them. The result? Well, today those fine people tweeted that on this day in rock history, Mr. Collins joined Genesis! That's right. Little did the world know that 40 years ago on this very day, the history of music would forever be rewritten as one (if not THE) greatest band in the storied history of the musical universe would undergo a lineup change. It's such a landmark day, you know. It's also a rainy day (at least at The Unusual Suspects world headquarters). And I like that. No. Wait. I love that. Rainy days are my favorite, and if I could only come across one during which I didn't actually have to work, my mind could be at ease. But alas, that's what we grown-up people do. Work hard for the money. Whether or not it is raining wherever you are, we suggest taking a few minutes to click on a link or two, check out our take on the latest and greatest NFL prank and cuddle up with a nice, loving lover. Because nice, loving lovers are the best. They really are.

Anybody out there see yesterday’s comments from Bubba Watson about this year’s Ryder Cup? Check this out and I dare you to tell us you aren’t rooting for the United States now. (ESPN)

Oh, wow. Don’t know if this is the right move. The Boston Globe will begin to offer two Web sites – one you have to pay for, the other will remain free. (Boston Globe)

Anderson Cooper is going to have a daytime talk show. And I’ll bet it’s good. (New York Times)

Recession-proof style. What more could you want? (GQ)

I admittedly know absolutely nothing about this kind of stuff. So this, to me, at least, is interesting: What the “like” button means in regards to Web traffic. (CNN)

So, someone from The XX is already putting out a solo album? Damn. Who do these dudes think they are? (Pitchfork)

Greg Giraldo died yesterday. That’s sad. (People)

Spencer and Heidi: Love perseveres. (TMZ)

NFL rookie hazing prank damages players’ reputation, my ego

Football season = fun season in The Unusual Suspects camp (seasonal depression notwith-standing). And with the huge, HUGE Steelers v. Ravens game set to start around 72 hours from now, it’s safe to say I’m in the zone. Is there a bigger rivalry in the sport today? Methinksnot. I would be happy to debate that point with whomever, just keep it clean.

Anyways, as much as I love professional football, there’s occasionally a story that makes my skin crawl – see Roethlisberger’s hijinks, Ray Lewis walking after committing murder and the rampant citations for domestic abuse. Add to that list the story of Dez Bryant, rookie wideout for the Dallas Cowgirls. Boom.

As the story goes, Bryant refused to carry shoulder pads for the team’s veterans after practice earlier this year, which is apparently something all first year Cowboys are supposed to do; a hazing of sorts. The act of rebellion caused a slight stir in the media after those veteran players spoke out against the pompous rookie.

So to get back at Bryant, his teammates did what any reasonable fraternity of overgrown men would do: they stuck him with a team dinner bill of nearly $55,000!! According to Tweets from the players and staff, everything on the menu was ordered (some items multiple times) and many bottles of wine were purchased to go. Obviously, this wasn’t the Olive Garden.

Now I know, who am I to judge how anyone, much less a multi-million-dollar-earning NFL player, spends their money? Typically, I could care less. But there are two things that grind my gears about this situation.

1. There’s a lot of talk about a potential NFL lockout next season if owners and the players union can’t agree on some new terms. One of those terms, obviously, is more money for the players… What kind of message does this prank send the owners? I realize this stuff is common in NFL locker rooms, but giving the owners public PR gaffes like this is just like giving them dozens of rounds of live ammunition at the negotiating table. I don’t want to see replacement players next year and I sure as heck don’t want a lockout.

2. Stories like this expose what a shallow, resentful, jealous person I can be, as I can’t help but gag at the thought of this kid, probably five years younger than myself, shelling out in one night more than I make in a year - as a part of a joke no less! I know these guys make huge bank, but millions of dollars doesn’t mean anything to me… that’s not even real. But to hear $55,000, a hopefully reachable figure at some point in life for the common Joe with a college degree, it’s so… deflating I guess is the best word.

So until next time, let’s keep these fun little stories under wraps, ay boys? My pride needs some time to recover.

See you at 4 p.m. for The Ride Home.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

...For The Ride Home: 'Deadliest Catch' guys walk off show, soccer star gets caught in sex scandal and an interview with Ben Folds

This was good. Really, though. It was. I know it opened to bad reviews, and anyone who had seen it before me advised I stay away from it. But I enjoyed it. Of course it's not a candidate for Movie Of The Year or any such nonsense. But it's really worth a watch if you dig 1960s rock & roll, Mr. Hoffman or any of the people you see in one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, "In The Loop." Honestly. Check it out. Welcome to Wednesday, or, well, hump day as many dirty minds may suggest. How are you doing? September is nearly gone and October looms its head right around the corner. While driving today, the forecast on the radio said that temperatures are set to peak in the 50s throughout the weekend, so for those of you who may still be clinging to the last scraps of summer, you may be hit with a firm dose of fall within the next week or so. Cold weather. Rain. Dark. Dreary. Not to sound too depressing, but... Yeah. You get it. In any case, maybe a few of the following links may help ease the pain colder weather can bring. If not, maybe a look at who will possibly be in 2011's class of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame could do the trick. Either way, here's hoping you and yours have a wonderful evening.

Am interview with Ben Folds. That should be enough to get you to click, right? (Popmatters)

Fulham defender meets transsexual. And, then, well… (Deadspin)

The Washington Post
will no longer run ads for (possible) prostitution. I thought of a few different jokes, but none seemed fit to print. (Washington Post)

Still can’t understand this: The Academy Is… and a photo gallery of their tour with Kiss. (Alternative Press)

“Deadliest Catch” stars quit the show. Does this mean the dudes on “Ice Road Truckers” are going to call it a day, too? That’d be sad. (Yahoo)

The Rider Cup begins this week. This is interesting only because Tiger made some “we are a team” comments yesterday. Maybe this year will be worth watching. (Fox Sports)

“American Idol” judges come together for first try at being judges. Somewhere, Kara weeps. (USA Today)

The Grande Ole Opry is back. Having spent a few days in Nashville over the summer, I can confidently tell you I am happy about this. Good for them. (Pollstar)

Let's look at this year's possible Rock & Roll Fall Of Fame inductees.

Every year, the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame announces its final list of nominees before the list is dwindled down to a smaller number in December. And every year (for the past three years) I’ve been called upon to dissect the list for the various outlets I happen to write for. That said, it is with great pleasure that I note that this is the first year I will be able to do that while having a blog as well.

Because the only group I ever truly wanted to see get in got in last year (Genesis), my rails against Jann Wenner and the Hall Of Fame are going to be tamed now more than ever. Yes, there are still some injustices when it comes to this thing, but hey, as long as Phil Collins and Peter Grabriel can now call themselves members of this particular exclusive club, I feel as though most other atrocities can be justified.

But alas, here we are. Prepare yourselves for a long post with a few videos sprinkled in here and there for your viewing pleasure. What you get is a paragraph, a percentage of how much I think they will indeed get voted in when the final votes come in a couple months, and a percentage of how much I think they should get in when the final votes come in a couple months. Feel free to argue, agree, leave a comment or six, complain about how Rush or Kiss still aren’t in the Hall, or offer your own suggestions in the comments section. Why? Because we love you and we value your pretty opinions.

Now, without further delays…

Alice Cooper

This isn’t the first time the shock rocker has made it this far in the voting process, and because this year’s class is a bit weaker than in previous years, it’s hard to argue him getting in this time around. I mean, come on. This guy was at the forefront of a lot of musical theatrics we see today. Granted, I’m not the biggest hair metal fan, but if Cooper hadn’t done what he had done in the ‘70s, I’m not so sure the road for Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Motley Crue and all those boys would have been as easy. Plus, the dude always had a snake. That’s rough. Snakes are scary.
Percentage he gets in: 75 percent.
Percentage he should get in: 90 percent.

The Beastie Boys
If you are going to put in Grandmaster Flash (which the voters did) and Run DMC (which the voters did), you have to put in the Beasties. I’ve long rallied against hip-hop being in the “Rock And Roll” Fall Of Fame (even though I am a gigantic hip-hop fan. Hey, get your own Hall Of Fame, people), but if we are going to carve out a spot for this type of music, these guys have to get in. Huge pioneers of the music, the Beastie Boys can say they once wrote one of the classic hip-hop albums…ever: “Paul’s Boutique.” And not a lot of people can say that. Just ask Sisqo. Still not enough? Try getting this out of your head…

Percentage they get in: 78 percent.
Percentage they should get in: 90 percent.

Bon Jovi
Ugh. I knew this day would come. They’ve sold over 120 million albums and have had a tremendous second act as a group with “It’s My Life” and that silly song they re-released with the lady from Sugarland. Anybody who has ever tried to learn how to play guitar somehow tries to master “Wanted Dead Or Alive” before even learning how to tune the thing. I understand they’ve had an enormous impact on pop rock, and for that, they should be saluted. But man, I hate these guys. There’s just something so inherently cheesy about them, and this comes from a dude who likes his cheesy music. Those things said, I can’t deny their legacy within popular music over the last three decades. And, well, I like Jon’s hair. That counts for something, right?
Percentage they get in: 60 percent.
Percentage they should get in: 65 percent.

When are Nile Rodgers and his boys finally going to get in? Goodness, you have to feel for the man. They’ve made the cut so many times, but just can’t seem to get over the hump. How many times has “Good Times” been sampled? Somewhere between five and 10 billion. Chic should get in. Important. Funky. Influential. And they brought a bit of soul to disco music, thrusting the genre into a more credible sounding music. Come on, friends. Give the band a break and let them through.
Percentage they get in: 64 percent.
Percentage they should get in: 79 percent.

Neil Diamond
He’s got to go, right? Don’t believe me? This ring a bell…

Percentage he gets in: 80 percent.
Percentage he should get in: 89 percent.


This is sort of tricky. It just kind of feels as though some of the other artists on this list should get in before him. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be in, all together. Goodness, legend has it, he taught John Lennon and Paul McCartney how to play guitar. He seems to be the definition of “love him or hate him” to a lot of people, and from what I understand the “hate him” faction is bigger than I would think. Sure, he’s folksy and maybe a bit too mellow for listeners at times, but he was a pretty big part of the meditation, “let’s all feel really good” movement that had a stranglehold on the late 1960s. I don’t think this is his year, but let’s hope he gets back to have another shot at it.
Percentage he gets in: 52 percent.
Percentage he should get in: 59 percent.

Dr. John
If there was a sentimental favorite of mine this year, it would have to be Dr. John. “Right Place Wrong Time” is one of my favorite songs ever written, and the influence I feel he’s had on southern soul/R&B music is immeasurable. And in addition to all of that, he bleeds New Orleans, a city that is in desperate need of a victory, even after the Saints won the Super Bowl. Oh, and his magnum opus of a record, “Gris-Gris,” needs to be in every rhythm & blues music fan’s orbit, or else he or she really isn’t a rhythm & blues music fan. I’m just glad this gives me the opportunity to show this…

Percentage he gets in: 42 percent.
Percentage he should get in: 79 percent.

LL Cool J

If we have to get a hip-hop artist in this year, we already established who that should be. Not that James wasn’t influential in his own right – he’s been behind some of the most classic hip-hop tracks music has ever seen. But that’s just the point: Classic tracks. Not classic records. And the Beasties were behind a rap masterpiece. This may not be your year, LL, but don’t fret. As long as you keep starring on that CBS show, you should sway voters your way in no time.
Percentage he gets in: 29 percent.
Percentage he should get in: 34 percent.

Darlene Love
I don’t know how many years I’m going to have to write about her before she gets in (Because I just know all those important rock and roll people hinge on my every word, you know. I kid. I kid). I don’t really know what more I could say that I haven’t already said. But if I’m not mistaken, Letterman still has her on each year to sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on Christmas night, and if you haven’t seen it, it’s certainly something to check out. She’s been in this position so many times, and because of the others surrounding her, she hasn’t been able to seal the deal. Sadly, it seems this year will be no different.
Percentage she gets in: 54 percent.
Percentage she should get in: 81 percent.

Laura Nyro
Remember everything I just wrote about Darlene Love? Substitute the words “Darlene” and “Love” in with “Laura” and “Nyro,” and you’ll get my point. My goodness, she’s one of the most influential singer/songwriters…ever. She died young, she had more passion in her voice than five Lady Gagas and six Keshas combined, and everyone from Elvis Costello to Elton John has been stumping for her to get the recognition she deserves. But will it happen this year? Unfortunately, and unjustly, probably not.
Percentage she gets in: 49 percent.
Percentage she should get in: 89 percent.

Donna Summer

I thought she was getting in last year, so silly me, eh? She has all the numbers and she has all the record sales. She even has an iconic hit or two - “She Works Hard For The Money” is inescapable. Four No. 1 hits. Twenty Top 40 singles. It’s just hard to justify putting her in while ignoring the previous two women. She was a Disco Duck, and someone who was a product of how powerful the music industry can be. That’s not to say she isn’t talented. That’s just saying if you can’t put Ms. Nyro and Ms. Love in, you can’t feasibly argue for Ms. Summer to be amongst music’s best and most legendary artists.
Percentage she gets in: 39 percent.
Percentage she should get in: 46 percent.

Joe Tex
How's this: The pallbearers at his funeral included Wilson Pickett, Ben E. King and Percy Mayfield. This is a neat nomination, actually. While I must say that of the 15 finalists this year, this particular artist is the only one I didn’t previously know much about (though a quick Google search and a few YouTube visits later, I now know enough to at least form an opinion), I have to follow that up by mentioning how much I love whatever I hear. The giant Jerry Wexler was behind a lot of his career (or so the Inter Webs say) and that alone inclines me to think highly of him. Will he get in? Doubtful. But if he would have made his way to Stax Studios, rather than FAME studios, he may have a bigger part of my heart.
Percentage he gets in: 32 percent.
Percentage he should get in: 39 percent.

Tom Waits

All the indie darlings and hipsters will cringe at the thought of him not getting in. And the reality is that, well, he probably should be in. Will he make it this year? Well, if Bon Jovi happens to make it through while Mr. Waits is left on the outside looking in, let’s just say there will be riots by all the thick-framed glasses and ugly sweater-wearing misfits in the world (and that includes me). Just think of the dude’s voice. I mean, come on now. It’s just so darn recognizable, a voice fit for something like a Hall Of Fame. Still not sold? He wrote this…

And that was the theme song to the second best television show ever. EVER!
Percentage he gets in: 70 percent.
Percentage he should get in: 82 percent.

Chuck Willis
“Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes.” “What Am I Living For.” “It’s Too Late.” Classics. Nothing but hits. His songs were covered by everybody. Ray Charles. Jerry Lee Lewis. Buddy Holly. Otis Redding. He sang these songs before the legends did. He just died too young. Thirty years old is a tragedy, really. Imagine if he would have made it through the classic, timeless soul music of the 1960s. He could have been mentioned with all the others – Pickett, Redding, Sam, Dave, Charles, Gaye, Wonder, Robinson, Mayfield, Brown, Booker T. But alas, his was cut short and we are left to wonder what could have been. No doubt he should get in. Oh, wait. I forgot Bon Jovi was up this year! Goodness, these voters can be so stupid sometimes.
Percentage he gets in: 63 percent.
Percentage he should get in: 91 percent.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Rita's new show debuts tonight, the top 10 love triangles and the Boston Celtics are funny

Landed a phone interview with the particular gentleman you see to the left. For those of you who do not know, this is Brandon Flowers, the lead singer of a band called The Killers. He recently put out a solo record and because one of the 52 jobs I have allows me to speak with big stars on occasion, I will be dialing his number within the next few weeks (something you may not know: These things takes for-ev-er to finally come to fruition). I bring this up why, you ask? Well, I need questions. Because I am certain whatever interaction we have, I will probably write about on this here blog, I figured it would be nice to extend the invitation to see if anyone out there has ever wanted to ask Mr. Flowers a question. And please, friends: No Killers questions. He's promoting his solo album. The band will be back in 2011. He's not going to want to talk about it. You know where to leave them, and as always, any words are incredibly appreciated. Anyways, welcome to Tuesday. I can't stop sleeping. It's odd, actually. I'm certain it has to do with the season and the rain, but it's still unsettling. Back to the gym next month and then that shall change. This week? Well, this week means more sleep and bad food than one could ever dream of. Oh, well, sleep, bad food, and blogging, of course. Here's hoping you have a wonderful rest of the day as you check out a couple links below, and until tomorrow, do not forgot to keep your bathrooms clean. Because when they get messy, boy do they get messy.

The Boston Celtics are becoming lovable. They really are. (The Big Lead)

Phil Collins has another No. 1 record. And on the day when the exclusive club his band was let in a mere year ago announces finalists for its next class (more on that tomorrow). (BBC)

Congratulations are in order to CBS for winning seven news Emmys. (Broadcasting & Cable)

David Simon, who used to work at the Baltimore Sun and, more importantly, created “The Wire,” wins “Genius” award. Yay! (Baltimore Sun)

Finally got around to catching up on this season’s first episode of “30 Rock” last night. Brilliant. In related news, Jenna touches on the live “30 Rock” that’s set to take place in a couple weeks. Should be interesting. (Popeater)

The Tampa Bay Rays are one of the best teams in baseball and nobody in Tampa cares. It’s sad. (ESPN)

The top 10 love triangles. When “Casablanca” is mentioned, I’m listening. (Time)

This show starts tonight. We root because Rita is in it. Can’t think it lasts more than four episodes. (New York Daily News)

Bringing back the block party

There’s a conversation that’s surely been had millions of times between the youngins and the old timers in any given culture: Are things better now or back in the day? The answer to this question is simple… it depends on who you ask.

This past weekend the neighborhood I live in engaged in what I believe to be a decidedly old-school activity – a neighborhood block party. That’s right. 2010. Neighborhood block party.

Now depending on where you’re at in life, this may sound like either the biggest drag or a pretty good time. My wife and I, prior to the event, fell somewhere in the middle. We know our next door neighbors names, we have a general idea of how old their kids are, we think we know what they do for a living… beyond that, do we really care?

I mean let’s face it, most people don’t know or want to take the time to get to know the people they share a street name with. We have our group of friends, be they college pals, work associates, church groups or bar buds. We know if nothing else, we have THAT starting point to jump off of to enjoy one another’s company.

But neighbors? What common ground do we have to at least START a conversation? Property tax? Local road work? Whose yard looks like crap?

But the idea of a block party – this throwback to a simpler time – was way too intriguing to pass up, even with the possibility of awkward conversation looking us straight in the face. So we made our side dish (cheesy hashbrown casserole topped with French friend onions), loaded the cooler and made the trek one block up our street.

Man was I glad we did.

After the initial small talk, subsequent adult beverages and “entertainment” (a 12 year old pageant girl singing Taylor Swift, Amy Grant and “I’m proud to be an American” into a crappy karaoke machine – believe me, I could dedicate an entire post to how awkward yet hilarious this was), we had an awesome time.

It got me thinking, what happened to this age old American tradition? Why did the block party disappear? Have we all become so jaded that we can’t even see the usefulness of trusting the people you live around? I know I did, but my eyes are open. Viva la block party.

I seriously feel closer to my neighbors than ever before, but not in some annoying, clingy way… more like in an “I won’t be annoyed next time I feel obligated to ask how you’re doing when I walk my dog” kind of way.

Maybe the block party has become social networking. Maybe it’s just too personal, in a face to face way, for people to embrace. But I’m telling you, if you’re lucky enough to get the chance to attend one, go for it.

What’s the worst that could happen? You find out your neighbors are annoying, shallow or weird? You already knew that anyways.

Have fun guys and gals, hugs and kisses as always. See you back here at 4 p.m. for your essential daily links.

Monday, September 27, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Vincent Chase makes a movie about celebrities, Fox News controls the world and is 'Family Guy' in trouble?

Who could have ever thunk this guy would ever be lauded as heroic for his actions? Not this particular blogger. Episode 10 brought it last night, and it was met with a gigantic "It's about time," from, well, me, and those who I speak with about such things. We finally saw the "Mad Men" crew pick up the action on last night's episode as Don lets yet another individual in on his deepest, darkest secret. Dude was shook. He clearly couldn't take the thought of losing everything, which must lead us to ask the following question: Exactly how confident and how sure is the real Don Draper (or, well, Dick Whitman)? He exudes such emotions on a consistent basis so much that it's simply weird to see him act the way he did last night (the acting, though, was utterly incredible. Who says Jon Hamm isn't one of the best in the game?). Betty, on the other hand, came across in the same light as Mr. Campbell - nice. They both went to bat for Don when both of them clearly had the chance to bring everything he's worked for down. Oddly enough (and because the "Mad Men" writers are smarter and better at what they do for a living than most of us), they were also the two people who could have benefited the most from Don going away for good. Or could they? Joanie and Roger's saga continues, and to be completely honest, I was hoping Joan would have kept it. Something within me still longs for those two to be together permanently. And Lane! Oh, Lane, you poor, poor thing. He just needs to catch a break. Any break. As always, comments, thoughts, arguments are encouraged in the section so designed to display such a thing, and as always, I'll be checking back throughout the day to partake in such an activity. For now, though, hello Week 27, and hello links.

A 25 year old and a 26 year old land jobs at The New Yorker. I will now proceed to drink until Thursday. (Splitsider)

Vinnie Chase made a movie! Vinnie Chase made a movie! (Popmatters)

This writer left The Huffington post because she wasn’t getting paid. That seems fair, right? (Mayhill Flower)

Fox News holds all the clout in political media. In related, “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe this is true” news, seasonal change can bring upon seasonal sicknesses such as colds, sore throats or ear infections. (Politico)

A little late on this, but it’s still sad: Max Weinberg will not be back with Conan when he starts his new show. (Rolling Stone)

Mindy Kaling: Still one of the funniest women on television (Twitter)

My God, Peyton Manning is good. (Yahoo)

Is this the beginning of the end for “Family Guy?” (Hollywood Reporter)

Your “Mad Men” recap, friends. (Entertainment Weekly)

Six months ago, we started this blog. It's time to celebrate!

Six months ago today, this thing appeared out of nowhere. While it was our first official post, it must be noted that this wandered its way onto the Internet a few days before. Little did we know that when we said "End Date: Nowhere in sight," that we actually meant it because lo and behold, one half of one year later, we find ourselves continuing to offer various ramblings and rants about everything from Wii parties to an "Arrested Development" movie.

Even more so, who would have thunk that in these short six months, this blog would have been viewed more than 8,000 times? Certainly not the two of us. Especially when we (or should I say, I) once offered this clunky, awkward no-knowledge take on Cannes fashion. Goodness, what was I thinking?

Remember the first Ride? How about the first Blogspot Banter? How about the profession of love for Harry Potter? It seems like forever ago, doesn't it?

But alas, here we are, still churning out posts about movies we haven't seen, and making new friends each and every day. Neither of us thought in our wildest dreams that any more than three people would have ever stumbled across this thing, and even more so, would have left a comment or two while they were at it.

So from the bottom of our bottomest hearts, on a day when we celebrate exactly six months of existence, this post is dedicated to nothing but a big, emotional, wet, thank you virtual kiss from us to you, the fantastically beautiful reader. Here's to six more months and 8,000 more page views. And here's to celebrating by rocking this appropriate jam...

Friday, September 24, 2010

...For The Ride Home: A new kind of "Hard Knocks," "Goodfellas" turns 20 and everybody from ever major network is now looking for work

We say goodbye to Week 26 with Drake, Eminem, Lil Wayne and Kanye West and "Forever," an old song that I inexplicably thought to offer up in the wake of October looming around the corner. Whew! It's warm out, right? Or, at least, warmer than it feels like it should be at this point in the year. I've played more tennis this September than any other September in my life. So how was your week? Was it good? That's good. It's always nice if you can manage to squeeze out a good week every now and then. Did you happen to check out today's Blogspot Banter? If you didn't, may I suggest you do so. Scott was super kind to carve out a bit of time to answers some questions we had for him, and for that we will forever be grateful. In fact, go follow him. Read his stuff. Forget about silly us. In any case, we celebrate six months next week, so be prepared for something incredibly incredible. Who would have thunk we would still be going strong after half a year? Goodness, gracious. Before we get there, though, we must deal with here. And what here provides us is a few links for your consideration, and a bunch of hopes that you and yours have a fabulous late September weekend. Until Monday, friends, as always, please don't forget as you may be out enjoying the beauty fall can sometimes bring, love you, miss you.

I haven’t purchased this yet, but it’s been one of my most anticipated records for the year. John Legend and The Roots perform in New York. Gabillions of people show up. (MTV)

HBO is going to do a version of “Hard Knocks” with the Pens/Caps Winter Classic. This should make a lot of people I know happy. (Post Gazette)

Pretty neat. How NBC’s morning news anchors wake up in the morning. Meredith Vieira wakes up at 2:30 a.m.! (CNN)

In today’s CNN is in major trouble news: President Jonathan Klein doesn’t have a job anymore. …(New York Magazine)

… And in related actions, NBC’s CEO says he’s saying goodbye as well. (New York Times)

Drake vs. Kanye West. (All Hip-Hop)

The 50 loudest college football stadiums. Room for debate? Of course. (Bleacher Report)

We’ll get to this more when it hits theaters, but for now, Jesse Eisenberg (who I looooovvvveee) doesn’t use Facebook. Irony? He’s the lead in the new Facebook movie. (Popeater)

It’s been 20 years since “Goodfellas.” GQ wrote about it. And you should read it (especially if you read this earlier in the week). (GQ)

Blogspot Banter: Scott's Tip Of The Day

Ladies and gentlemen. Friends of all ages. This month's Blogspot Banter takes us to Scott Solomon, the man behind Scott's Tip Of The Day, a blog that was recently named (much like others we have profiled in the past) a Blog Of Note by Blogspot, the lovely people who provide us the tools to offer these wonderful corners of the Inter Webs. Though Solomon hasn't had his blog as long as some of the others we have spoken with, he has still carved out an incredible following in an awfully short amount of time.

The blog, which you can find if you click here, is exactly what it says it is: A site that offers tips (often humorously, if we may add) on everything a life can offer, from where the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Chefs have gone (a question we have all pondered from time to time), to junk mail from credit card companies. It's all there, fully equipped with pictures, videos, and other various interesting and neat things a blog may offer.

His story is kind of neat, as you will see below. Considering the short amount of time he has been doing this (and, well, the fact that he admits to not knowing a thing about blogging before he got involved with his site), his achievements and amassed following have all grown to add up to be pretty darn impressive. Also below, you may find a few movie recommendations you'll enjoy (he is a film expert, and by expert we mean he probably knows way more about such things than us), the importance of adequate response, and, of course, how to juggle a successful blog while holding down a real honest-to-goodness day job (he's an attorney, for God's sake!).

But alas, enough from us. Please take some time to enjoy the following interview with Scott Solomon from Scott's Tip Of The Day.

Q: How long have you had the Scott's Tip Of The Day blog?

A: My first blog post was on August 28, 2008, so I have been blogging for a little over two years.

Q: Can you explain what the main focus of your blog is and what inspired you to begin this particular blog?

A: I have a pretty serious day job as an attorney, but I have always had a creative side to myself as well. Although I enjoy my job, it's not creative at all. I was looking for an outlet to express myself and I thought blogging would be a great way to share my unusual thoughts with the world. I also wanted to improve my creative writing skills. I found my writing style emulated whatever author I had read last. Some of these influences I found seeping through include Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe and Brett Easton Ellis. I was searching for my own voice. Getting into the habit of writing about random things, many of them topical, forced me to develop a unique voice of my own. My blog's main focus is sharing my thoughts with the world in a humorous way. I use it as an outlet to discuss whatever is on my mind. Sometimes it's something I read in the news, sometimes it's just a random thought. I try to keep it fun, I try to keep it entertaining and I try not to get too preachy.

Q: It seems to showcase things that interest you, and it seems to be mostly comedic, but is there a particular audience you are trying to reach with the topics you cover on your blog?

A: I don't target my material toward any specific audience. I may be more popular with certain demographics than others but I never really explored this in great depth. I use my blog as a way to express myself. It might resonate with certain types of people more than others but I think if you took a cross section of my followers you would find my audience is pretty diverse.

Q: Scott's Tip Of The Day 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 had no idea it was coming. One day I noticed that people were leaving way more comments than usual on my blog. Some of these comments congratulated me on making the Blog of Note list. I checked out Blog of Note and when I saw what it was all about I was blown away. Chosen by Blogger? As the Blog of The Day? I was flattered. It felt great. There are so many blogs on the internet and so many talented writers. I was really honored to be the only Blog of Note for the day.

I attribute my success to a few things. First off, when I first started my blog, I contacted a lot of humor bloggers who I thought were funny. I knew nothing about blogging. I was looking for any advice I could get. I asked these bloggers for tips on building a base of readers. I also asked if they would be kind enough to exchange links and add me to their blogroll. This had mixed results, but some people really went out of their way to help me. Chris Illuminati was one of these people, (, and I probably wouldn't have made it this far if people like Chris didn't patiently answer question after question of mine. Yeah. I had a lot of questions.

I also attribute my success to my unique perspective on life. A friend of mine once told me "Scott, I don't think you're wired like the rest of us." That very well might be true. The gears in my head are always turning. I'm extremely curious, I love to procrastinate and I absorb useless trivial knowledge like a sponge. I also love to talk a lot and have a problem interrupting people when crazy ideas occur to me. (Over the years this has frustrated almost all of my friends. Haha.) I'd also like to think I have a good sense of humor. I did win Best Sense of Humor Superlative in my High School Yearbook (Go class of 2000!) Combine all of these traits and you have someone who has a lot of amusing stuff to say about nothing in particular.

Q: Your blog has over 400 followers, and your profile says it has been viewed around 2,500 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: Like I said earlier, I would look for successful bloggers who write about things you're interested in. Contact them. Pick their brain. You may find some jerks, but you'll find a few who are willing to help. Since Scott's Tip Of The Day became a blog of note I've been getting a lot of emails asking for advice. I responded to EVERY SINGLE ONE. Some bloggers were nice enough to help me and I wouldn't be where I am without them. I am a strong believer in Ben Franklin's concept of paying it forward. I'm also a big believer in karma. I'll answer your questions, even if no one else will.

If you can find a way to get onto a popular blog's blogroll, that's not a bad way to start gaining viewers. It's slow going at first but if you update your blog regularly and reach out to a lot of people you will slowly build a following.

Sometimes the process gets frustrating. My blog definitely didn't blow up immediately. It took a lot of time and hard work. If you believe in what you're doing and you pour your heart into it, good things will come. The internet is a big place. You will find people on your wavelength who are interested in what you have to say. It takes a lot of time and effort though.

Q: It also states in your profile that you are an attorney. 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 Scott's Tip Of The Day something you might like to make a career out of someday?

A: Being an attorney is pretty time consuming. Sometimes I have more time to blog than others. Sometimes I am feeling very creative and other times I have writer's block. These variables definitely shape how often I write and how much I write in each entry. If you love something, you will find time to do it. I have friends who work during the day, go to school for their M.B.A. at night and still find time to go out for dinner and drinks with me in-between. If they can do that, I can post a blog entry every now and then.

If I could build a career around my blog, I would. I don't know how realistic that is. Advertisers definitely aren't spending as much money selling ads as they were before the economy tanked. I would have a long way to go before I got to that point. I have a great deal of respect for Shit My Dad Says. He turned his tweets into a book. Now there is a show based on his website starring William Shatner! Crazy! If I ever had the opportunity to do something like that I would. I have been toying with the idea of writing fiction and/or a screenplay or two. Not really blog-related, but I can't imagine having more fun than writing for a living.

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 think all creative people want to be recognized for their work. I think most performers, writers, entertainers do what they do because something inside them compels them. I think it's something they feel they have to do. But I also think there's a part of these people that seeks third party approval. I would be lying if I said my readership/comments numbers weren't important to me. I put effort into the blog and it's definitely gratifying when I receive a positive feedback.

There have been times when I thought my blog peaked. Before I was selected as a Blog of Note my readership had kind of plateaued. Even so, I still had people reading my blog regularly and they enjoyed it... and I enjoyed writing it. So I wasn't that discouraged, but I had accepted the fact it was probably never going to be huge. It felt really great to be chosen as a Blog of Note and now I am inspired to up my game. I can be better. My blog can be better. I'm going to use this as motivation to take my blog up a level.

Q: How important do you think a name can be when beginning one’s own blog? Did you have designed-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 essentials to the success of a blog, or do you believe good writing is the key?

A: Name/Format is very important. I wanted to come up with something unique. I asked myself what I thought I could put together that was appealing to the reader but not on a scale so large that I realistically couldn't tackle updating it regularly. I figured OK, I use at least one picture for every post and I make it a tip of the day. I keep the format simple and consistent so people can read it easily and relate to it. K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, Stupid. That's the best advice I can give. Being witty and clever never hurt either.I think using pictures or video is important but don't have to use it to excess. It's quality not quantity. I want to grab the reader's attention but I don't want to distract him from the focus of my blog entry. It's a balancing act. I write a humor blog, though. If I was a painter and I had a blog on painting, I might be giving different advice.

Quick 5:
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: One favorite movie? I'm a film buff. I have way too many. Here are a few obscure ones I would recommend checking out, though:
- "The Lives Of Others"
- "City of God"
- "Le Professionnel"
- "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"

Q: Favorite food?
A: Scallops
Q: Favorite television show?
A: A few: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Eastbound and Down," "Life and Times of Tim," "Family Guy," "Peep Show" and "Louie."
Q: When you are not working or blogging, what do you enjoy doing the most?
A: I DJ for fun. I spin house music. I also love going to New York Yankees Games, exploring New York City and good food & drink with good friends.
Q: What’s your favorite blog?

Double Feature: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps & You Again

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.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Around a week ago, I put the first installment of this movie in my Netflix que, and since then I have received "When In Rome" and "Youth In Revolt." Sure, I know it says "very long wait," but how long exactly is that wait, damnit? Anyways, I, much like anyone else who has gone to a theater in the last six months, began seeing trailers for this so, so long ago. Initially, I had no interest. But as the commercials kept playing, and as the grumblings regarding how great the first one was became louder, I became sold on wanting to see this. The problem, though, is that I feel it's essential to see the first one before I move forward with this. It's worth it, right? All of that stuff aside, the definition of a perfect woman (according to, well, me), Carey Mulligan is featured here, and the more I become infatuated with her, and the more copies of Vogue I buy simply because she graces the cover, the more it makes me want to catch this in the theaters. Unfortunately, I have a long way to go until I get there, though. Quick question (and most importantly): Is seeing the first one essential to seeing this one? To those out there who are capable of answering such a thing, your comments are treasured.

You Again

I still don't entirely understand the premise of this movie. I've seen a zillion previews for it - both in a theater and in front of a television - and I can't quite understand what this movie's endgame is. I discovered Kristin Bell can't carry a movie on her own this past week when I took in "When In Rome," but nobody's asking her to here. Jamie Lee Curtis seems to be someone I should like, though I can't say I know too much about her. While seeing a commercial for this, a roommate of mine said, "you're going to see that someday," to which I replied, "I really don't think so." Why? I...don't know. I mean, don't get me wrong. I dig these kinds of cheese ball teenage girl angst flicks, but there is something about this that seems off-putting. That said, though, if any of you out there happen upon this movie over the weekend and enjoy it, I could be swayed (hint, hint). Regardless, Ms. Bell will never look better than she did in "Couples Retreat." Ever.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Weezer announces tour dates, ESPN ombudsman reacts to things and how to talk like a vampire

For as long as Michael Cera continues to make movies, I will continue to go out of my way to make sure I see them. It may have taken nine months to get to it, but alas, I finally was able to take in an evening with the accompanying flick last night. It was pretty Michael Cera-ish. Had no idea it had such an interesting cast, though, which was a pleasant surprise. If you don't like Michael Cera, don't see this movie. But if you like him, well, hey. Why not? Welcome to Thursday. We here at The Unusual Suspects sincerely hope you are having a wonderful day-before-the-final-day-of-the-work-week. This is your reminder that we will indeed offer our next installment of Blogspot Banter tomorrow, so be sure to check back for that (in addition to the always-wonderful post about movies we haven't seen yet, of course). "30 Rock" flies its way back onto your television sets this evening, so this is your friendly reminder that yes, it is the best show on television today, and yes, you ought to check it out at 8:30 (new time!). And finally, well, "Outsourced" looks awful. If you think it's mildly interesting, rent the movie and then shun the television show. OK. Now that we've done all that, we encourage you to click a few links and have a fabulous rest of your Thursday.

ESPN ombudsman finally speaks about all the madness that’s been happening. And it appears as though no one is happy about the things he said. (Deadspin)

If you pass along links, we will use them, friends. “…off in the open field, no bricks in sight, stands Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger with 37 million readers online wondering whether he could soon run the largest newspaper site in the world.” (Buzz Machine)

David Gregory speaks. News junkies listen. (Washington News Council)

Hey! Hey! Tomorrow is National Punctuation Day! (St. Petersburg Times)

Never, ever got into them. But I know there are gabillions of you who did. Weezer announce the first batch of dates for the tour in which they will play their albums from front to back. (Pitchfork)

How to talk like a vampire. That’s pretty much all you need to know. (CNN)

I was happy I got to see it last night as it happened. Letterman made it awkward, I thought, after harping on what he harped on for as long as he did. It was still worth seeing, though. (Hollywood Reporter)

NBA players want to know how much money commissioner David Stern is getting paid. So, this means we don’t already know? Hmmm. (TMZ)

Woody Paige. Suicide. And depression. Read this. (Denver Post)

Network TV be bringing the A-game this season

You know it's funny, when I was a teenager, I thought network TV was awful. Back then, had you given me a choice on any given day, I would have taken MTV over ABC, CBS or NBC without hesitation (Fox was still a fringe channel at the time). Come to think of it, I don't remember a single piece of television during my formative teenage years that didn't involve the words Real, World, Road or Rules.

How did I turn out even moderately well adjusted?

Anyways, so here we are, midway through week one of the new network television season, and I have to say - so far so good. Here are a few of the high points from what I was able to catch:

"The Event"
Anytime a show has this much hype, it's gotta be bad, right? I mean, those teasers bordered on laughable at times with the whole "this show is so mysterious thing." I have to say though, I liked episode one. The show jumps around a lot and has a "Lost" meets "24" vibe. Jason Ritter is really good (although he looks a little creepy to me), the rest of the cast is good (but someone please tell Ritter's girlfriend to eat something) and the cliffhanging storyline really has me looking forward to next week. Just make sure you're situated when you sit down to watch it - if you miss even a minute you might be left behind.

"Modern Family"
The season premier was just like every other episode - hilarious, heartwarming and over too soon. Phil and Claire's crew prepare for the sale of the old family station wagon, Cam, Mitchell and Jay build a castle and Gloria competes with Manny's latest love interest - need I say more? With characters like these the jokes write themselves. This is the one show on television that makes me laugh out loud multiple times.

Ok, I think everyone has mixed reviews of this one. The episode took place immediately after House and Cuddy return to his place after they lose the patient in last season's finale, and as expected, they get together... and keep "getting together" throughout the entire episode. At one point, I swear the director was telling the camera guys, "All right, $50 for whoever can come the closest to showing Cuddy's lady parts on natioanl television." I root for House and Cuddy, the couple - I have no clue how it would ever work though. Damn you for being right again House... Also, the 13 story intrigues me, despite the fact that she wouldn't do you know what with you know who. Come on! They would make some beautiful babies with AWESOME accents, am I right?

Other random comments:
1. "Law & Order SVU" needs to stop. 2. Did anyone watch "Mike and Molly" by chance? The lead character (Billy Gardell) is really funny but I didn't catch the show. 3. "Mike and Molly" notwithstanding, CBS could stop being a network and I would not even blink. I just can't get into anything on that channel. Sorry "Big Bang Theory" fans. 4. Can't wait for "30 Rock," hope you're with me. 5. The Hoff is off... of "Dancing With The Stars" that is. America and I collectively rejoice. 6. Was it just me, or did "Biggest Loser" seem extra cruel this week? I haven't been that uncomfortable since... (insert "Family Guy" flashback scene here). 7. Jimmy Smits: what are you thinking with this new show "Outlaw?" You're ruining whatever cred you earned after Dexter.

I watch too much TV.

See you at 4 p.m. for you Ride Home links. xoxoxo

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Klinsmann speaks, the lead singer from Staind has carved out a nice little life and Jen & John back together?

Saw this last night. It was...good. Fine. Sure. Adequate. A nice night at the movies. For those who want to begin Oscar chatter, though, please keep it to yourself. No way this thing should be up for anything (and the same goes for "Inception," crazy people). Two highlights: One, seeing Vicky from "Vicky, Christina, Barcelona" do a wonderful job with the female lead. Hopefully, Rebeca Hall can become a huge star as a result of this particular flick. Two, though it took around 45 minutes, once I was able to look at Jon Hamm without thinking of the words "Don" and "Draper," I was completely sold on him as a good actor. I was a bit worried he wouldn't translate well onto the movie screen, but he held his own. It's all right. And that's all. Hello, Wednesday, and hello to you. Did you check out our goodbye to the summer? There has admittedly been some dispute over which day is indeed the first day of fall (today or tomorrow), but I keep hearing/reading conflicting reports, so we must go with what we first discovered. Besides, regardless of if the official first today is today or tomorrow, we can all agree that it's here, and that's all that really matters. Sad, sad times. In any case, before you move on with your final day of summer or first day of autumn, we invite you to click on a few links below and have a wonderful Wednesday evening. Be good, friends.

Juergen Klinsmann speaks about why he wasn’t hired as the U.S.’s manager moving forward after this year’s World Cup. Ut. Oh. (Fox Sports)

Wow. How many times does Scott Weiland have to pull stunts like this before people stop going to Stone Temple Pilots shows? I mean, my God. He’s ruined so many things and people still flock to him for some reason. (Rolling Stone)

Words of advice, writers: Go to grad school. (The New Yorker)

Have you ever wondered about all those anonymous sources celebrity magazines cite? Read this. (Los Angeles Times)

Jen Aniston and John Mayer back together? (Showbiz Spy)

If you would have told me the lead singer from Staind was going to begin charity work and eventually establish himself as a prominent acoustic act that can tour at will 10 years ago, I would have blasted “Mudshovel” at 11 and turned the other way. Good for him. (Pollstar)

What is going on with Ashton and Demi, anyways? (USA Today)

Casey Affleck talks to Jay Leno about the Joaquin Phoenix mess. Remember: The dude is back on Letterman’s show tonight. (Entertainment Weekly)

Goodbye summer. Hello fall.

Ladies and gentlemen. Children of all ages. Brothers and sisters. Friends and enemies. Haves and Have-nots. Stupid people and smart people. The old. The young. The fat. The skinny. The somebodys. The nobodys. The six people who read this blog on a consistent basis.

Yesterday was the final day of the summer. No. Really. It was. Yes, I know you thought that particular day was a few weeks ago, the morning you realized that the previous day was the last Monday you were going to have off until Memorial Day. But alas, that’s not true. The first day of autumn began at 12:01 this morning. And it was from that point on, we can now shy away from all social interactions, plans on improving our lives and, most importantly, happiness.

I have a tough time with the fall. But you know that already. It’s just not something I look forward to. I understand an individual’s position when he or she proclaims September through December as “beautiful” or “romantic.” But I just can’t ever bring myself to buy into such a notion.

Think about it: The fall is filled with awfulness. Daylight becomes shorter (so much so, they delete an hour’s worth within the next few weeks!). The weather becomes decidedly colder, no matter where you are. Once beautiful trees or other assorted foliage are reduced to nothingness, left as bare as your soul feels. You feel your pocketbook become lighter as the money for your heating/gas bill has overtaken all “fun” spending. And, most importantly of all, it sets up holidays that always, always, always bring upon loneliness (especially if you happen to work in the media field).

Me? Well, ironically enough, I find myself in a place that I’ve never been while going into autumn. For some reason, I’ve been so determined to work on myself over the course of the last eight or nine months, that I’ve been awaiting this day to promptly hit the ground running. I have high hopes that this could be the first fall I don’t quite literally psychologically stumble myself. This type of seasonal depression has been something I’ve only recently admitted to myself, so maybe now I can battle it with a little more authority than before. Right? Wait. Right?

In any case, as long as this blog continues to exist, and as long as I know there are at least three people reading this each day, then I suppose I can use y’all as a crutch to help carry me through the upcoming months. You don’t mind too much, do you? Good. All comments (even mean comments, mind you) are welcome. Anything to get me through the impending doom fall has always brought me. But this year’s going to be different. Right? Wait, again. Right?!

Step one? Be sure to put this song far, far away so I can’t torture myself by listening periodically while wallowing in self-pity…

Goodness, Train can be so sad when they want to be. And yes, I am fully aware that the credibility meter just took a huge hit.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Reggie Bush is out for six weeks, Kanye is going to be on SNL and Wyclef says goodbye to presidential hopes

I love me some romantic comedies. And per recommendation from the people who read this particular blog, I threw this in my Netflix que, and had the opportunity to cuddle up with it Sunday evening. It was...just OK. Not great by any means, and may have wandered into "good" territory from time to time. The way things came to ahead near the end (when she has the four dudes in front of her) was touching, I suppose. It's all about love, you know. Next up? I'm not quite sure, actually. I've had the first "Wall Street" in the position, but nobody wants to send it to me yet. So we shall see. Hello, friends. Welcome to Tuesday, and welcome to an abnormally warm day for late September. That's a good thing, though. Right? I stumbled upon La La's new show in VH1 last night and yes, I am officially hooked. I'm fairly certain I was a middle-aged house wife in all my other lives. What I'm doing in a morose mid-20s dude-body kind of baffles me. Hope to see "The Town" tonight, though that, as always, is up in the air. But people say it's good. People say it's super good, actually. Can't wait for DVD on that one. In the meantime and in-between-time, follow a few links, enjoy a nice glass of Kool Aid, and try to think positive. Because positive things happen to positive people, right?

Wow. Beginning to wonder about Reggie Bush. He’s got a ring. But he isn’t nearly as good as everyone planned. And now he’s out for six weeks with a broken leg. (Fox Sports)

Elisabeth Moss officially files for divorce from Fred Armisen. Damn. I was so rooting for them. (People)

People spend more than half their day consuming media. My, how times have changed. (The Wrap)

Muck Rack Daily: Your source for all journalist tweets. (Media Memo)

Kanye West will be on SNL in a few weeks. So, here is what we have so far: This Saturday, Amy Poehler and Katy Perry. The following week, Kanye West and Bryan Cranston. After that, we see Jane Lynch and Bruno Mars. And then following all of that is Jon Hamm. What ever happened to being excited to find out who is going to be on “Saturday Night Live?” (MTV)

13 bands who became legends in four years or less. (Alternative Press)

I told you The Presidents of the United States of America have the best attitude ever. (Twitter)

Wyclef Jean officially ends his bid to become president of Haiti. Does this mean a new Fugees album is near? (New York Daily News)

Top 5 Mob Movies… and none involve Christian Slater

There's something so intriguing, so mysterious, so downright sexy about the idea of "the mob" (as I alluded to last week) I can get lost for hours watching even the most mediocre tale of racketeering. And by mediocre I of course mean "Mobsters," starring Christian Slater.

And dammit, I root for Christian Slater. Loved him in the Kevin Costner version of "Robin Hood."

Anyways, we're not here today to talk about the most mediocre gangster movies; what kind of post would that be? No no friends, let's talk about the best... or at least my favorite productions to cover the world or organized crime.

The Godfather
I have to start with "The Godfather" because... well that's where you have to start with mob movies, right? Brando, Pacino, Caan, Duvall - all at their finest. This movie set the framework for the dozens of pretenders that would follow. There was a sense of urgency in this movie that I don’t think has ever been replicated. What role will Michael play in the family business? How and when will Don Corleone meet his demise? Who or what will be the circumstance of Sonny’s temper? I could keep going, but I think you get the point.

I saw this before "The Godfather" and thought it was the end all, be all... all right maybe I jumped the gun, but it still is a pretty awesome movie. Ray Liotta plays the outside man, turned almost inside man to a T, and Pesci's famous "how am I funny" scene is still one of my favorite cinematic moments of all time. This movie also really highlighted the notion that to become a made guy, you need to have Sicilian roots, which is cool to me.

This Brian de Palma classic strikes a different chord every time I see it; most recently, the movie reminded me why to this day I don't like Michelle Pfeiffer: because she played that unlikable, junky b-word so perfectly. And odds are you're lying if you claim to have never quoted "Say hello to my little friend." Most underrated scene in mob movie history: the scene where Tony Montana is being kicked out of the club, yelling at the other diners about how they need bad guys like him to feel better about themselves. Classic.

Reservoir Dogs
While it’s not your run of the mill mob movie, this was nothing if not organized crime at its finest. To this day I throw up in my mouth a little every time the cop gets his ear cut off. Just brilliant. The dialogue is just so killer in this movie, as is to be expected from Tarantino, and the plot is twisty and turny. PS - Steve Buschemi rocks in this one, as usual. PPS - The tipping scene below is priceless.

The Sopranos
Not a movie you say? Well who asked you? I kid I kid, but seriously, "The Sopranos" is without question my favorite mob production of all time. Between the writing, the characters, the plot, the scenery, the music, the sub plots... it is as close to perfection as a show will ever get in my book for my tastes. Does this sound cliche? Possibly. But I really believe if and when the full length feature is made, it just might shake the top of this current list up a bit.

Comments would be lovely. Where did I miss the mark? What did I leave out? Top 5 is NOT easy in this category… let’s talk.

Until later, friends, I bid you adieu. xoxoxo

Monday, September 20, 2010

...For The Ride Home: Why the Celtics signed Shaq, Letterman talks Twitter and you should pay more attention to Bill Withers

So, I thought episode eight was great. In fact, both seven and eight are easily my two favorite episodes of "Man Men" thus far this season. But the more people I talk to about it (and people, who, I may add, have opinions I fully respect and seek), the more I find that episode eight wasn't an episode that people entirely loved. I find myself disagreeing more and more with the "smart" "Mad Men" fans - the ones who claim to love the show for all the "hip" reasons (if that makes any sense). And that bothers me. Makes me feel like a "stupid" "Mad Men" fan. Now, with all of that said, I didn't much care for episode nine. Naturally, this leads me to believe most of the fans of the show will think it was brilliant, or it was one of their favorite episodes. It's like I'm on the outside looking in to the inside in which I already reside. Sally Draper. Sally Draper. Sally Draper. We love you, sweetheart, but enough it enough. By the end of the hour, I was begging for the show to end simply because I couldn't stand her brat-like demeanor. She's got to go live with Don eventually, right? I mean, come on now. That writing is on the wall. Even the doc was annoying, complaining about children and "failing tests." Goodness, people. How much whining can one "Mad Men" episode hold? The most redeeming factor? Roger Sterling was a big part of this go-around. And if you noticed, he didn't make any appearance last week. Also, I sort of root for him and Joan to work things out (which is why you see the above picture). Side: How many of you also thought he would take that gun from the hooligan and fight for his and Joan's stuff? I was on the edge of my seat. No way that dude got away, I thought. And just when I was beginning to warm up to Miss Blankenship...Boom. The final 20 seconds were fabulous as you saw Peggy get into the elevator with Joanie and the doc and you just have to smile at all the metaphors being thrown into your eyes. Goodness, I babble, don't I? In any case, welcome to Week 26, all your comments regarding "Mad Men" are welcome and encouraged (I'll be checking!), and we hope you have a fantastic rest of the day.

Half of this blog is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. And this play was pretty neat. (The Big Lead)

A writer talks with the directors of “Still Bill,” a movie catching up with the man who wrote the greatest song ever written, Bill Withers. Months ago, I had the idea for this exact story, pitched it to a friend, who responded with a “well, I don’t really think you’ll be able to pull that off” kind of statement. Three months later, not only has someone else thought of it, but it’s someone who writes for the same Web site that I do! This is equal parts saddening, infuriating, disappointing and heart-breaking. (Popmatters)

The New York Times
profiles Jason Whitlock. I can’t understand why Le Batard’s quote is getting so much traction. The same thing was said about Keith Olbermann nearly a decade ago. (The New York Times)

David Letterman talks about Twitter. We know he’s not perfect, but you have to love Letterman. You just have to. (The Star Press)

English is dead. Read this. Now. (Washington Post)

Eddie Vedder got married Saturday. Though I can admit I’m not the biggest Pearl Jam fan you could find, he looks happy here, and I’m happy for him. Tim Robbins was the best man. (Rolling Stone)

This may be a post someday: I kind of find myself rooting for Michael Vick to do well. Come on, now. We all love a redemption story. And as long as he keeps saying he knows he’s the back-up (which he admittedly didn’t always say), you ought to root for him. (ESPN)

Kobe said he had one more ring than Shaq. And that’s why the Boston Celtics signed him. (Yahoo)

Your weekly “Mad Men” recap. RIP Ms. Blankenship. (Entertainment Weekly)

A recap of the 2010 WHFS awesomer than awesome festival

Remember radio festivals? Way back in the deep, dark and distant late-1990s or early-2000s, the concerts - mostly spearheaded by alternative rock radio stations - were all the rage. They featured all the bands you loved, most of the bands you kind of liked and a few bands which offered a song or two you totally dug for somewhere around seven minutes. Going to these things gave everyone an opportunity to see bands they wouldn't normally seek out to watch perform. They were great.

So....where did they go? That's a good question. Alt rock stations began to die. Most of the bands that were festival regulars proved to be no more than a one or two-hit-wonder. Hard rock got replaced with emo or pop-punk. The music industry revolutionized the way it handles itself with things like iTunes and the death of the compact disc. And, well, everybody stopped attending these kinds of concerts.

But alas, this past weekend, the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area revived the radio festival - if only for a night - when the premier rock radio fest, WHFS' HFStival returned with a dream line-up for anybody still living in 1999. Third Eye Blind. Everclear. Billy Idol. The Presidents Of The United States Of America. Lit. The lead singer from Live. Fuel. Naughty By Nature. Marcy's Playgounrd. And, of course, Jimmie's Chicken Shack.

I was fortunate enough to be on hand for such an event, and because I love you more than words can say, I will now take this opportunity to offer a few short musings. I would try and write an all-encompassing piece that begins and ends cleverly, but alas, this is a blog, damnit. You don't want writing. You want short, to-the-point rumblings. And that's what you shall receive...

- It was really good to see Lit again. They mentioned something about a new record they plan to release, and I honestly hope it brings them success. A.J. and Jeremy amazingly looked the same as they did nearly a decade ago. Oh, and I completely forgot they wrote this song...

- The dude from Live is insufferable. I hear he's not the most pleasant person, either.

- Fuel was probably the surprise of the day. Sure, Brett had a completely different band behind him, but they played something like four songs off Sunburn, easily the group's best (and first) album. Never thought I'd hear "Bittersweat" live again. And wow, people still like them. I was completely struck by the amount of people who gathered to see them. People still like Fuel. And that surprises me.

- The Presidents Of The United States Of America have the best attitude in the history of music. After setting up and sound-checking their gear, the lead singer offered the following: "OK. We are going to go do some coke now and come back to play for you." Funny.

- Art stopped his band's performance of "A.M. Radio" because he forgot the words. "It's pathetic when you can't remember the words to your own song," he said. "So we are going to play this instead," he added before launching into this...

- Third Eye Blind claims a new record will be out soon. Nobody believed that. But Mr. Jenkins grew his hair out. Yah! for long hair.

- Naughty By Nature was a pleasant surprise. Why? Because I'm down with OPP.

- And finally, while thousands were rocking to Billy Idol, me and 67 of my closest friends gathered around the local stage to watch Jimmie's Chicken Shack's headlining set. No way could I have asked for a better set selection. It was absolutely heart-breaking to see Jimi Haha barely able to walk because of his knees, though. I was completely unaware that they had a new record out (and by new, I mean from 2008), and the track they played from it was fabulous. The final song? What else could it possibly be...