Thursday, May 28, 2009

When animals attack... the downside

The other day, at 5 a.m., Marisa and I were awakened by the crashing and howling of animals at the foot of our bed.

Pumpkin, as she is wont to do in her role as Attack Cat, swatted Norton.

And got a claw stuck.

In his face.

Ah. Animals.

Can't wait to add a baby to this mix.

Karma's a... well, you know

Sayeth the Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBC set a low-water mark of historic proportions for TV viewership last week.

The network averaged 4.4 million prime-time viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

While it's not the smallest ever recorded by ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox, it's the smallest to come in a week outside of the summer doldrums of June, July, August or early September.

As a "Life" fan, I say, "Serves you right, NBC."

I guess I never really got that Charlie Crews Zen thing working.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A couple of interesting shows

Recently, Marisa and I managed to take in a pair of non-Broadway productions, both of which proved quite enjoyable dinner-and-a-show "date nights" for us.

The first took place at Centenary College in nearby Hackettstown, and featured students performing a show called "The Many Deaths of Shakespeare," which was written and directed by a CC professor, Dr. John S. Lennox. The concept is a college class is forced, as a senior project, to study every death in Shakespeare's canon (prompting two stoner students to ask, "Shakespeare killed people with a cannon?").

The show was really very interesting, funny, and even thrilling in spots - Dr. Lennox is a stage combat choreographer. Although M thought it dragged a bit toward the end, I thought that was one of the funnier parts (as the students try to get through the last 100 or so deaths en masse). The combat moves may have been a little repetitive, but on the whole, I found it particularly entertaining. Especially as the son of a (retired) Shakespeare professor.

Not sure when or if this show will be playing again anywhere soon, but I highly recommended it as light entertainment for Shakespeare fans.

The second show was a bit closer to Broadway: The historical musical "1776" at the Paper Mill Playhouse.

It's one of my favorite shows - I own the movie(starring William Daniels, the voice of KITT) on DVD - and I first saw it years ago at the Paper Mill. I missed the Broadway revival, sadly (though I have the soundtrack), so I was glad we made it to the last weekend of this version. We were up in the cheap seats, and this review made me a little nervous, but on the whole, we had a grand time, even if M overheated a bit by the end (it's a long show).

I couldn't tell you exactly why I love this musical about the writing of the Declaration of Independence, but I do. It's based on historical events, with some historical dialogue, and it's just kind of funny and yet serious all at the same time. "Molasses to Rum to Slaves" may be the creepiest, most disconcerting, discomforting song I've ever heard in a musical, and that includes "Assassins" - a show about killing various presidents.

In fact, we had a good enough time at the Paper Mill that I'm plotting a trip to see another show at the Paper Mill that I have an odd fixation with: "The Full Monty."

Loved the British movie, and loved it on Broadway. Even if there is a bit too much male nudity for my taste, as the expression goes.

Bit of trivia: The role of the courier in "1776" was played by Griffin Matthews, a graduate of my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon; the role of Jerry in "The Full Monty" on Broadway was played by another alum, the slightly better-known Patrick Wilson.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A confession

I realized today that I forgot to vote yesterday in the municipal election!

I was all set to do it, and just somehow forgot.

This upsets me, because anyone who knows me or follows my blog knows how important voting is to me.

I know you could say it was just for mayor of my little home-township, but still.

My apologies. I feel like I just let one of my most important duties as an American slip away.

It's been a very busy week at work, and I have a very important appointment this week, so I have a lot on my mind. But still. Not an excuse. There were signs everywhere and I got the sample ballot and everything.

Just very upsetting.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An open letter to USA: Save "Life"!

I sent this letter to the USA Network today as a way of joining the campaign to save "Life," my favorite TV show, by moving it from NBC, which canceled it, to the NBC-owned cable network, known for its quirky dramas such as my second-favorite, "Burn Notice."

Help me and thousands of other fans save "Life"!

As a huge fan of "Burn Notice," I wanted to join the thousands (millions?) of fans encouraging USA Network to pick up "Life," late of NBC. This show would be a perfect addition to your lineup of "quirky" detective-type shows, including "Burn Notice," "Monk" and "In Plain Sight."

As a partner in NBC Universal, you are undoubtedly familiar with the show, and can see how lead character Charlie Crews and his relationship with partner Dani Reese would fit right into that lineup. There is drama, yes, but more than a touch of humor, finding a type of middle ground between a comedy-centric show such as "Monk" and a more serious show such as "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

There is a reason "BN" and "Life" are my two favorite shows.

In addition, you may know "Life" Season 1 was shortened by the regrettable writers' strike, and only aired roughly a dozen episodes. So you could see how "Life" also would fit into your shorter summer-season format so many of your shows utilize.

"Life" was never strongly promoted by NBC, in my opinion, but a show such as "BN" is heavily promoted by your network, and "Life" could use that same asset to provide ratings that, while not strong enough to keep it in a network lineup, would be excellent for a cable show.

I urge you to add this show, which comes with a loyal, built-in fan base, to your lineup. Damian Lewis' outstanding acting has been widely praised by critics, and would give you another underrated centerpiece actor a la Tony Shalhoub or Mary McCormick.

Thank you for your consideration.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Uwe Boll Mad Libs, Part II

In the last post, of course, I asked you to come up with a list of words for the Uwe Boll Mad Libs project.

This, of course, is the story that goes with it. So get out your notes and play along!

Remember, use yesterday's words in the proper order you wrote them down. This one's a bit longer than your average Mad Libs, but hey, don't all of Dr. U's films feel that way?

Ready? Begin!

When (German name) was a little boy in (Eastern European country), he had two loves: Movies and video games. All his (Time period), he dreamed of a way to combine the two. And then, one day, it (Action verb) him! Movies based on video games!

His first movie was called (Video game). It had no recognizable stars, though he did get the girl from (B movie) to show her (Body parts). Sadly, it scored only a (Number from 1-10) on (Website).

Ach! What to do? And one day, it (Action verb) him! Find stars to build the movie around!

So he launched a side career as a (Job). In that job, he took (Adjective) pictures of movie stars such as (Academy Award winner) in (Adjective) positions with (Plural farm animal).

Using the photos, he got many famous (Location) actors to star in his next movies: (Video game), (Video game) and (Virtue).

He even got (Movie star) to show her (Body parts) in his third film, before she was (Verb, past tense) by a (Monster).

Of course, even the (Adjective) one scored only a (Number from 1-10) at (Website). He was devastated.

Perhaps, he thought, he should film his masterpiece. Forget video games. It was time for his (Impressive-sounding word). A film called (Adverb) designed to offend just about everyone in (Nation).

For that, he thought, I will need (Movie star), the star of my second film - the one in which an actor once (Verb, past tense) by the (Royal title) played a (Animal) slowly turning into a (Awkward physical characteristic).

And (Movie star) to show her (Body parts).

Time to break out the old (Camera brand) and (Household pet)!

It was the happiest day of (Different German name)'s life.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Uwe Boll Mad Libs, Part I

Somewhere in my feverish brain, I came up with an idea the other day: Let's play Uwe Boll Mad Libs!

Why? Because we can.

You know Herr Dr. Boll, right? The man who brought you everything from "House of the Dead" to "Bloodrayne"?

Well, here's what we'll do: Today, I'll give you the categories, and you grab a pen and paper and write down your answers.

Tomorrow, the story will go up, and you can see if you've written a masterpiece worthy of the Boxing Boll himself!

And hey, if it turns out to be fun, maybe we'll do it again sometime!

Ready? Begin!

1. German name
2. Eastern European country
3. Time period
4. Action verb
5. Video game
6. B movie
7. Body parts
8. Number from 1-10
9. Website
10. Action verb
11. Job
12. Adjective
13. Academy Award winner
14. Adjective
15. Plural farm animal
16. Video game
17. Video game
18. Virtue
19. Movie star
20. Body parts
21. Verb, past tense
22. Monster
23. Adjective
24. Number between 1-10
25. Website
26. Impressive-sounding word
27. Adverb
28. Nation
29. Movie star
30. Verb, past tense
31. Royal title
32. Animal
33. Awkward physical characteristic
34. Movie star
35. Body parts
36. Camera brand
37. Household pet
38. Different German name

Friday, May 08, 2009

A honeymoon video...

... Not that kind, ya pervs!

In an effort to learn more about making slideshow movies to create one for work, I turned our little honeymoon photo slideshow into a YouTube video. I lost the captions somewhere en route, but it's 99 photos and two turns through Travis' "Flowers in the Window," our wedding song.

Seven minutes and change.


Random Raider coincidence of the day

I posted this over at, but perhaps you'll find it interesting, too. It's celebrity and all that.

Beat writer Jerry McDonald reports a quarterback named Danny Southwick is on a tryout basis at the Raiders' current minicamp.

Just a camp arm, no doubt, a 27-year-old former AF2 quarterback who wound up at Occidental in 2007, his fourth or fifth college.

So, a few years back, the Raiders had around a camp arm named Bret Engemann, out of BYU? He was around in '03-05 in camp and on the PS, plus a couple of assignments to NFL Europe.

So here's the random coincidence.

Danny Southwick is the son of a woman named Shawn Southwick, who is talk-show host Larry King's latest wife. (Number seven, if you're counting; married since 1997 - he is now 75, she 49).

Her maiden name is Engemann, and she is Bret's sister.

So apparently, the Raiders' tradition of favoring NFL(ish) bloodlines extends even to fifth-string quarterbacks!

(Bret Engemann, now 31, is retired from football and a marketing executive, if you're curious.)

Maybe, as keeper of the S&B Report roster (formerly the unofficial roster), I'm the only one who finds this interesting.

Or maybe not.