30 November 2007

Called It

Just a little time waster for your Friday afternoon, when the work day just can't end quickly enough. I mentioned we'd probably see some more fun writers' strike-inspired videos, considering the latest developments in the negotiations. And, here's a new one, right on schedule: Check out this one from Late Night Underground, with an important message from Conan O'Brien. I particularly enjoyed Conan's rugged look from his "strike beard," which I've heard a few of the Late Night writers have been growing since the work stoppage began. It's especially cool since everyone knows Consie can't grow facial hair, and he quite clearly had to glue his pubes to his face for this bit. Way to be committed to the joke, Conan. You truly are the master.

As a former
Late Night intern, I have to say this strike site has been extra fun for me, as a lot of the writers and staffers I know are featured in the videos, and seem to have been making the best they can of times... Until now, at least, when all Late Night staff were laid off as of the end of business today, because of the strike. *Sigh* Hang in there chippies! We're all hoping this will be over soon.

Strike Two

It looks like the second attempt at settling the WGA/AMPTP negotiations has not succeeded, and talks are "on hold" again. This round only lasted four days, after the three weeks of mutual silent treatment between the writers and producers during the beginning of the strike.

Basically, the AMPTP is still trying to fleece the writers and give them an absurdly shitty deal on "new media" (you know, since the Internets just came out, and all), and the dorks seem pretty committed to standing up for themselves. I guess for many of the writers it's the familiar playground dynamic of Roger the Schoolyard Bully taking their orthopedic shoe money all over again, but this time they've got a little more self esteem. And lawyers.

On the plus side, I guess we can expect some more amusing videos to come out on that trusty new fangled intranet media communications system I heard about.

29 November 2007

Gasp! "America's Mayor" May Have Been Shady During Extramarital Affair

Oh, the possible scandal! It looks like there was some questionable accounting done during a period between 1999 and 2000, when the erstwhile mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, is known to have been getting some covert stank on his hang-low from Judith Nathan. Nathan, of course, became his third and current wife eventually, but this is back in the day when Giuliani was, you know, cheating on his second wife "doing lotsa important mayor shit, damn bitch, you nosey, mind yo business" out on Long Island, where Nathan just happened to have a condo on the beach. This news comes just in time for the Iowa caucuses in January, so Giuliani must be thrilled.

There was "unusual" billing of eleven of the Mayor's trips to Southampton, wherein various travel costs were allocated to obscure offices and departments, including a so-called "Blumpkin Bureau," the "Getting the Mayoral Dick Wet Commission" and something called the "I'm Having an Extramarital Affair and Using the City Budget to Fund It Office."

Naturally, when LTNA called to ask about this, Giuliani's aides' only comment on the matter was "Haaa? 9/11! [*click*] [*dial tone*]." The current mayor, Michael Bloomberg made accusations back in '02 that Giuliani used tactics like this to keep the budget for the mayor's office artificially low. Despite this, Bloomberg's office also refused to offer any explanation to the comptroller's office for the accounting, citing the landmark case of Bros v. Hos.

28 November 2007

Things with More Appeal.15

I've been trying to decide what to talk about today for a little while. I've been pretty ambivalent toward gossip fodder these days, which, of course, used to be the bread and vegemite of LTNA. But, I guess somewhere along the way I stopped giving a shit about any of it, and realized I probably never really did in the first place. After all, how many times can you tell that old joke about how when you stick your hand under Paris Hilton's skirt, it feels like you're feeding a pony? Seventy three is the answer, and in my two and a half years of zealous, turned sporadic, turned absent, turned semi-zealous again writing of this blog, I have reached my quota.

Still, I do like to think of this as an entertainment and showbusiness-oriented virtual soapbox, or "demiblog" if you will, so that explains the nonsensical hodgepodge of miscellany in the recent posts you see below. And, in keeping with that, here is a new installment of
Things with More Appeal, on a Wednesday as LTNA tradition mandates. This week's Thing happens to be The Greatest TV Show of All Time: The Wire.

If you've never seen
The Wire, do so. That's pretty much all I can say to you, because describing why is futile. Watching the show is the only way to give it its due justice, and my hackneyed praises would merely sully it's luminous splendor.

If you have seen
The Wire, and simply didn't care for the show, that is repugnant and inconceivable, and you can get the fuck out of here. For real, son. I have a no re-re policy on this one.

It is nearly December, and the fourth season of The Wire is being released on DVD this Tuesday, December 4th. That gives you ample time to get that Netflix queue in order so you can catch up, in preparation for the 5th and final season, premiering Sunday, January 6th on HBO. Better yet, take advantage of some of the holiday sales going on and just buy the first four seasons on DVD if you don't already have them. I know HBO DVDs don't come cheap, but you won't regret it. And, if you do regret it, then you're a fucking imbecile and you have larger issues to handle.

I cannot tell you how much I've been looking forward to the conclusion of this show, but this post should give a fair indication. I'll be posting more about
The Wire as we get closer to the premiere, and more news and videos begin to surface. There are already five teasers I've managed to find, so check out the ones for McNulty and Marlo if you're curious. Courtesy of YouTube, everyone's favorite content pirates, please find one of the teasers for the new season below, featuring everyone's favorite stick-up boy, Omar Little. While it's the most brief teaser of the five, the blue balls of anticipation it manages to build for the new season hurt so good, and make it a real success. So get ready to cough up some blood and enjoy!

27 November 2007

Lord Emperor Google Is Benevolent

Well, Google has done something else, and I'm sure the IT sect is going gaga over Google's latest announcement. In their continued acts of apparent kindness and innovation (and what I believe is really a strategic and calculated effort to catalog and index the entire fucking world and ultimately enslave mankind), Google is poised to offer free online data storage within the next few months.

Documents and information you would normally want to keep on your hard drive like music, photos, and you know,
personal health* and financial records can now be put into Google's virtual hands, instead. Don't worry, they'll keep it niiiiiiice and safe for you-- and for free too! You know you were probably just going to lose it anyway. It's basically Chairman Google's way of extending the 2.8 gigs of storage already offered to Gmail users, to encourage the remaining skeptics to surrender to their will, or face the consequences. Naturally, "consequences" simply means inferior data storage options!

*By the way, Google's cryptically named "Weaver" is already their first step in weeding out the weaklings so only the mighty will fill their army ranks when the robot war comes cataloging our health records.

26 November 2007

How Was Your Fucking Turkey?

I hope you had a not entirely unpleasant Thanksgiving holiday, and that you weren't denied the four day weekend by being called into work. I almost was, but the evil boss' plans to screw me out of yet another day off were thwarted by a handy, albeit unimaginative, lie about being out of town. Hooray for dishonesty fueled by self interest! Plan B was pulling the race card.

LTNA's holiday was the customary celebration of corpulence, repressed resentment, friends and football. There was a bounty of bottles of beer, and plenty of pot-laced pastries pounded (pumpkin bars to be precise!), all of which apparently left me disoriented and in a Seuss-like dementia.

Of course, all of these were mere opening acts for the headliner: turducken (pictured). Yes, the friends with whom I spent my holiday decided to go even more balls to the walls than we have in past years-- which I will say have been truly impressive in their own rite-- and embraced the gluttonous spirit of the holiday threefold. Turducken, in case you aren't familiar, combines the glory of three different kinds of meat into one gastronomic masterpiece. The three meats, as you may have guessed, are of course turd, duck and chicken. Delicious.

Of course I'm being ridiculous. Turd is for vegetarians, and not qualified as a "meat." Turducken is actually a turkey with a duck shoved up its ass, with a chicken shoved up its ass. They partially de-bone each bird to achieve this, and adding a layer of stuffing (we went with cornbread) between each bird, just in case there was any doubt about this being the greatest invention ever.

I have to say I am now a turducken convert. There's no going back. I will no longer be slumming it with the plebes, choking down holiday dinners of birds stuffed with fewer than two other birds. In fact, I may have to continue to upgrade yearly, defying the laws of physics and good sense by adding yet another bird to the mix. Make fun all you want, but I'll be laughing last when I die laughing/of four simultaneous heart attacks in 2017, while feasting on turgoduckmaguikenantidgeonck. I imagine I'll be wearing a tiara.

21 November 2007

?uestlove Redeems L.A. Only Slightly, Only Slightly

My ears are still ringing from temporary (I hope) hearing loss, but it was worth it. Last night, I went to Crash Mansion in downtown L.A. for their monthly Soled Out Tuesdays show. It was my first time going, and I had good reason: The headlining DJ of the night was an up-and-comer by the name of ?uestlove. I know, I know. I'm just so "with it" you probably haven't even heard of this young chap yet. Allow me to elucidate.

Obviously, anyone who isn't a complete imbecile realizes The Legendary Roots Crew is perhaps the best live show in hip hop, like, ever. Furthermore, ?uestlove is easily the most recognizable member of the band, aside from MC/frontman Black Thought. ?uestlove is, in many ways, the linchpin driving the nonstop dynamism at Roots shows. When watching him at work, ?uestlove seems to be one with his drum kit, making incredibly precise and masterful love to it riffs with misleading ease. For the record, I can play like that too, you know. I just don't wanna.

Thusly, I had no idea ?uestlove had any DJ-ing abilities. After all, anyone who has seen him drum would likely agree he doesn't really need to pursue any other skills beyond playing the skins. What I'm saying is, ?uestlove is all set in the talent department. And, admittedly, there were a few hiccups here and there during his set. But, it was clear to all in attendance that precision was simply not the point.

?uestlove spun for nearly three hours, which is an indication of the "?uestlove just wants to have fun!" vibe of the night, and also echoes the customary habit of The Roots playing until they are forced off the stage by the venue management. LTNA was lucky enough to be right at the front the whole night, watching ?uestlove spin tracks ranging from Nas to Pink Floyd. Everyone was dry humping and head bopping in bass-driven ecstasy, most of all ?uestlove himself, wearing his trademark pick in his 'fro. Indeed, I was close enough to reach out and fuck his shit up! And, when the occasional mixing snafu did arise, ?uestlove merely grinned sheepishly and hurried to correct his error. In short, the decks are like ?uestlove's Russian whore of a
gumar whom he fucks on the side in his spare time; but, we all know where he really puts his drumstick, at the end of the day. Still, he manages to give it to that strumpet pretty good, for what it's worth.

Toward the end of his set, there was an extended James Brown mix, complete with ?uestlove sharing some classic dance moves behind the decks that would make even The Godfather of Soul quite proud. I think I would have fainted from sheer delight if his entourage went all out and had someone bring out a cape to help him off the stage. A great time was had by all, no doubt. A great enough time that I can forgive L.A. for being a total shitbox, at least until I hear someone say something stupid.

The over/under is 43 seconds. Get your wallets out.

20 November 2007

The Chili Peppers Are Slow on the Uptake

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, everyone's favorite band for about two weeks in the sixth grade, have decided to sue Showtime/their awful, awful show Californication. I'm not entirely sure why this is just happening now, eleven months after we first heard about this show way back during pilot season. Perhaps Chili and the Pepps (as I like to call them), had figured they'd let it slide as free publicity for their 1999 album of the same name. That is, theoretically, until they actually saw an episode of this vulgar, crass, hacky, piece of shit show and decided it wasn't in their best interest to have any association between the two. And you know if LTNA thinks something is vulgar, it's got to be pretty uncle-fucking, pig shit, dead baby vulgar. Just sayin'.

"The band claim that the the title is 'inherently distinctive, famous ... and immediately associated in the mind of the consumer' with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Anthony Kiedis, the band’s lead singer, added: 'Californication is the signature CD, video and song of the band's career, and for some TV show to come along and steal our identity is not right.'"

Yeah, the RHCP are pretty much right on this one, and I hope they win. I don't really think they need the money, and I'm not exceptionally invested in the principle of it all, or anything. Mostly, I just think the show is dreadful, and those hacks need to pay for wasting thirty minutes of my life on that pilot.

I had actually assumed that Showtime had gotten the band's permission in order to clear the title of the show before, you know, airing it. But, I guess I gave Showtime, and by proxy the Chili Peppers, too much credit for assuming they'd actually be on top of their shit enough to realize the blatantly obvious conflict in a more timely fashion. The show's hack writing staff also rips off the Peppers' song title "Dani California," with one of the characters sharing the same name.

Sadly, I doubt this lawsuit will do anything except go away or, at best, force Showtime to shell out some dough to make it go away. There are enough imbeciles out there to have made this show a big enough success for it to already have a second season pickup. On the plus side, the success of Californication (the show), gives me hope. After all, if perverted tripe written by hacks can enjoy that kind of success here in Hollywood, there's hope for LTNA too! Did I mention the people behind this show are goddamned hacks? 'Cause they are. Hacks, that is.

19 November 2007

God. Fucking. Damnit.

As a native New Yorker, I can barely express my intense chagrin over discovering what I missed this Saturday, when I was busy having another bullshit night in suck city, here in L.A. Long-time fan of Saturday Night Live that I am, I have lusted over actually attending a taping for years, and curse their cruel "lottery" ticket-giving system for never affording me the opportunity. But, this weekend's even liver than usual performance of SNL would have been the coup of coups!

SNL cast (sans Maya Rudolph), plus some veterans like Horatio Sanz and Rachel Dratch put together a "too hot for TV" live show at UCB, where tickets originally went for just $20. But naturally, Criag's List scalpers entrepreneurs were selling tickets for as much as 3 hundo in the end. The proceeds went to benefit the crew who had been laid off due to the current writers' strike, which just makes Amy Poehler and the gang seem extra awesome for doing this.

The final "fuck you" on this vile cake of shit-LTNA-missed-out-on is that the host of
Saturday Night Live-- No, Seriously, LIVE! was the adorable Michael Cera, whose enviable deadpan delivery has been enormously entertaining since his earlier days as George-Michael Bluth. The standing-room-only crowd was a motley crew including Lorne Michaels (who was not involved with the event), some of the aforementioned laid off staff members and, apparently, Jim from The Office.

So, yeah. As if seven years of living here still had me on the fence, L.A. is, indeed, a vapid wasteland for which I have bottomless contempt, and all the truly cool shit happens in New York. Confirmed.

16 November 2007

Things with More Appeal.14

Reunited, and it feels so...fair. Now that I'm "back" and all, I've decided to have my first post exhibit me phoning it in with my customary efficiency. You knew what this was.

To wit, I'm resurrecting the whole
Things with More Appeal bit. It is marvelous filler, after all. I haven't decided if I'm going to be doing these often, or with any regularity. Nevertheless, we're off, with the first installment of TWMA v. 2.0. Time to get your dick wet!

This week's Thing isn't anything new, or at least it isn't anything new to me. However, I revisited it recently because it's f'in hilarious, and I was pleased to discover it held up on a second (and immediate third) viewing. It's a sketch called
The Jeannie Tate Show about a crazy soccer mom who hosts a talk show from her mini van while she's running errands. Her guest is Bill Hader(!) from SNL, whom I lurve. I was planning to have his wife, Maggie Carey, destroyed so I could have him for myself, until I learned that she directed this sketch. A keen comedic sensibility can offset even my most bloodthirsy murderous intentions. For now.

You can check out some of her other stuff here, but
Jeannie Tate is definitely my favorite.

So, enjoy!

I'm as Suprised as You Are

Hey. It's been ages, huh? You look great. Really, really, great. It's so nice to see you. I know, I should have called. I'm sorry. It was hard for me too, okay? Look, I didn't come here to fight. I just thought, maybe we could, I don't know, give it another go. You know, pick things up again, like the old days. It was never you, it was me. I was married to the job. But, I'm ready to try again. I've been thinking about you a lot lately, and how things ended. I've missed you. I've missed your musk as much as you've missed my signature reach-around. Most of all, I...I still love you. Always have, my darling. I'm committed to this relationship, again.

Committed, at least, until I don't feel like it any more. Damn it's good to be back!