Sunday, March 20, 2011


I've rediscovered the joys of racquetball, and with it, some weight loss. Since picking it up again before the holidays, I think I've lost 8 to 10 pounds.

Matt and me are pretty evenly matched. Even though I have a few inches and several pounds on him, we each bring something different to the game. I was coming out ahead most of the time at first, but Matt has recently been taking me to the cleaners. And I love it.

We're both competitive people, but don't let it get in the way of a good time. I've taken to using nicknames for various scoring combinations in our matches. We play to fifteen points. Let's see if you can guess what these stand for.

  • Slurpee Time
  • The Tufnel
  • Hockey Sticks
  • Ishii's Crew
  • Good Buddy

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Entertainments Of The Week: March 6

A busy week led to less TV-viewing. Which is fine. Again, I've been playing catch-up on the DVR.


NBC Thursday Night
Most of the week's tv-viewing is relegated to the sitcoms here. We caught up with the last new episodes over the weekend, which all delivered.

  • The Office was up to its old highs by falling back on its strength - weird office politics. No one character was particularly showcased this week, which meant more time all-around for the ensemble. It was nice to see David Koechner's Todd "Pacman" Packer in for more than the usual cameo. Jim's put another notch in the arrow for pranking Dwight. Kevin-as-punching bag was good for a few laughs. Finally, Michael and Holly's sweet relationship continues to blossom, which will likely lead to the two moving off the show in the spring.
  • Parks and Recreation had another strong episode following "The Office"'s template of strong ensemble work. Just about every character had their moment in the spotlight, with two plots splitting time between Leslie and Ron's trip to Indy and most of the rest of the characters celebrating a night out at Tom's partly owned (1/16th percent?) nightclub. Andy and April's romance has a comforting effect on me, harkening back to the old Jim/Pam flirtations on "The Office".
  • Community started off a bit weak with what seemed like a forced-plotline of a student body presidential race, but turned out to be just an odd, one-off episode that highlighted most of the main character's flaws and assets. At worst, it teased yet another flirtation between Jeff and Annie. At best it relied on Abed's sincerity in assessing others and bringing out the best in them. My favorite part was Pierce's emphasized bastard-role that saw him getting revenge on a character we'd never seen before. Second best was the Dean's Uncle Sam costume and commentary during the election debates. Bonus points for another appearance by Greendale's own, "One Man Party" - Magnitude. Pop! Pop!
  • We started catching up on five episode's worth of 30 Rock, but only managed to watch two. Thankfully they were very solid outings up with the best from season two.

The Oscars brought out the worst in me online. After promising not to comment during the awards on social media, I did anyway. I don't think most of my awards-based views were too snarky, but a couple of commercials did. Anything with Celine Dion is lost on me, including what appeared to be a commercial about a disease that featured the songstress singing at the beginning and the end. Plus, she showed up during the broadcast. I muted it. The one comment I made that drew any sort of attention was about a commercial for one of ABC's sitcoms. Which brings me to:

  • Modern Family. I've watched the show three times and don't like it. Twice I've stated as much on Facebook. Each time, I've received almost as many responses as when I've posted something political. Almost all of the hype over the show that I've been audience to has been from television writers and critics. General consensus with this combined group led me to believe that Modern Family is the funniest and smartest sitcom airing today. After watching it, I couldn't agree less. It truly seems to derive its humor from other sitcom tropes (which a lot of shows do). The best comparison I can make is that it would appear to be a standard studio sitcom filmed like a newer, one-camera show. The characters cover a wide range of archetypes (Cute step-kid, older husband, hot and ethnic younger wife, the gay couple and the normal couple). The thing here is, they're all related through the older husband and marriage. From what I've seen, it is a serviceable show and comes from good stock (Ed O'Neill and the creative team of Levitan and Lloyd are worth a look). But it just isn't anything close to all of the platitudes heaped upon it. As my friends Todd and Jane put it, humor is subjective.
  • And because of this, my use of Facebook, was a low this week. I try to limit my status updates to things I like: Videos, other statuses, etc. More often than not, I end up complaining about something in the entertainment world. It's an easy target. Unfortunately it can lead to adverse reactions from other Facebook friends. I think my reaction to Modern Family came off as a criticism of those who watch it. That wasn't my intention. The dialogue that followed reminded me that somewhat public comments will be responded to from time to time. And once in a while the conversation that follows isn't particularly productive.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Entertainments Of The Week (February 27)

No damn car accident was going to keep me from my media. Damn it. It was an entertaining week even WITHOUT watching Thursday's NBC sitcoms.


  • Archer - The eponymous ISIS agent adjusted to his new role as baby-daddy to bastard son, Seamus. A variety of cocktails kept the infant sedated while Archer's butler, Woodhouse, got his own spotlight. Seems that Archer's man Friday made a pact with a few other servicemen during the Great War that is turning deadly. After the prior week's, mostly one location plot in the South, it was nice to see more wrap-around scenes back at HQ. I can always go for more Pam and Dr. Krieger.
  • Odd Future - Though it actually aired two weeks ago, this hip-hop collective made its debut on Fallon in a memorable fashion. Ski-masks, costume changes, garden gnomes, Zombie girl in a hospital gown and Tuba Gooding Jr. made a lasting impression on me when I finally watched it on the old DVR this week. I haven't been this excited about a new artist since the kid plant at the NBA Slam Dunk competition last weekend.

  • Full House - My kids have discovered this show and watch it from time to time. While working from the home office I overheard audio from a talent-show themed episode. The attention-starved and soon-to-be drug addled Stephanie performed her own Karaoke version of what Uncle Jessie introduced as "Love Shack Baby". Another notch in the arrow for the Miller-Boyett Crap Factory's cribbing from popular culture without giving props to the original artists. (See Beavis and Butthead on "Step By Step"). Hey, it may be crap, but it's ABC's crap. After all, they practically own the patent on talent show episodes of their sitcoms. Anyone remember the Shotz Talent Show or "What's Happening"'s Little Earl ripping off Steve Martin's act? No. Well, I do. And it is a burden I'll have to carry for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Tonight Show? Time For CoCo To Go Go

I hope Conan leaves NBC. Not necessarily because of his treatment as of late. Given the peacock's history, no one should be surprised (pick up a copy of the book, "The Late Shift" and you'll understand). No, Conan should leave so he can have the kind of show his team is capable of making. He's earned it. He deserves the chance.

In my personal la-la land, his new show would be his old show, "Late Night". I'd love to see the old writer-performers back (Jon Glaser anyone?) and the old bits were always fun to watch. Even the failed ones. Conan embraced failure like no other late night host, often turning it into another segment. Give me the show I fell in love with.

Or not.

Conan and company have changed over the years. At first they developed their comedic style and the format of the show. Once they settled in they lost Andy. And it was a bit rough at first. But they adapted and had Conan rely more on his performers and guests. Last summer, the show changed again. "The Late Night" model was made to fit with "The Tonight Show" model. A hybrid if you will. We lost Preparation H Raymond but we got to watch vampire intern Cody sacrifice himself to the sun every week. Masturbating Bear was left on the East Coast and eventually replaced by wax mannequins of Tom Cruise and Henry Winkler. The bottom line is this: Conan has always proven to create something unique out his entertainment outlets. It's evolution and intelligent design baby. If anyone can bring the two extremes to the center, it's CoCo. Conando. Conesie. The problem is he has not had enough time to develop this new "Tonight Show".

In my humble opinion, here is the good, the bad and the hmmm of it, so far:

The Good

1. Twitter Tracker - Probably the most classic of the new sketches. Conan interacting with graphics and a nameless voice is all good.

2. Retaining staff. Keeping on the regular performers, Max and the band, Pierre and a lot of the rest was a good move. It allowed the old audience to move over and gave the new viewers some proven talent to enjoy.

3. The interviews. Conan has finally gotten used to this part of the gig. He owns all of those nervous quirks that made him endearing so long ago. He has established a personality that makes a "Tonight Show" host integral to the franchise.

The Bad

1. Musical guests. This seems to be the greatest compromise made in the transition. For every good one, you get four mediocre to bad ones. This is the height of NBC pandering to what they perceive their audience to be.

2. The studio. It is beautiful, to be sure. But a big part of the allure of "Late Night" was being able to go into offices, hallways and other NBC studios. No more dropping in on "The Today Show" and Brian Williams.

3. Los Angeles-Hollywood - On the rare occasion that Conan leaves his studio, he ventures out into the neighborhood around it. And it just doesn't work. So far, the best bits have seen Triumph visiting the most shallow of businesses, mostly catering to pampered pets. These remotes have been entertaining, yes, but are a constant reminder of how pathetic people can be.

The Hmmmm - The Return Of Andy - I'm torn on this one. Initially, I felt that bringing him back would be a slam dunk. But keeping him at a podium is never a good idea. Andy has actually made it back to the couch recently, which makes me feel a little better. And I love seeing him in the updated "In The Year 3000" and "On The Aisle". Hopefully he'll stick around with whatever happens.

So? What happens now? Here are three possibilities.

1. Two "Tonight Shows". Conan moves back to New York and gets "The Tonight Show East" airing at its traditional time for half the country. Leno gets "The Tonight Show West" also at 11:35. California and the other half of the country watch him. For anyone who doesn't like the arrangement, you can watch your choice from the internet or NBC can air the alternate version deep into late night for your viewing or recording pleasure.

2. Conan leaves late night altogether and develops a new kind of show. Or maybe he moves to HBO and really goes wild with an uncensored late night talk show.

3. Conan moves to another network and adapts himself as he always has. He finally gives Fox something they've been craving for a long time. They can afford him. And who wouldn't love to see Triumph invading the space of Bill O'Reilly and his ilk. This is my top choice.

Whatever happens, I firmly believe Conan will come out of this as the better person and his fans will get a load of great comedy for years to come.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Radio! Radio!

After a few years of toying around with the idea, The Unexpected Guests have produced a pilot for a sketch-comedy radio program for WRFA-LP.

It was a long process (especially for Gary who produced and engineered 99.9% of it)! But it has finally come to fruition. I had a load of fun writing for the program (listen for two commercials for local pubs and audio from a Rotary meeting) and even did a bit of voice work for it (you can pick me out for your own damned self.

Our new radio endeavor may be heard here! Listen to the whole she-bang and give us some feedback when you can....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Occasional Post

Well, Facebook has pretty well dominated by posting tendencies since before the start of the year. It just feeds my insane media addiction better than blogging! Even my parents have started accounts.

All is well in Western New York. The kiddoes are at grandma's farm this week and begin 1st and 3rd grades next week.

PreppyGirl has been performing with The Unexpected Guests for a while now and is quite good!

PGirl Jr. and Galoot Jr. both auditioned for "The Nutcracker" last weekend. I auditioned for a local production of "The Producers" last month and at a callback last night. Fingers crossed...

I've also been working with the Guests on a radio pilot for our in-house radio station.

Here's a link to something I wrote for it.

Check out the podcast link for more material we've written and recorded.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Photo Tag From Julia


  1. Take a picture of yourself.. riiiiiight.. NOW!
  2. DO NOT change your clothes. DO NOT fix your hair.. Just take a picture.
  3. Post that picture with NO editing.
  4. Post these instructions with your picture.
  5. Tag 10 people to do this!
At left is me. I'm in my office. The glow of a snowy 3rd Street is coming in from a window on the left. Over my shoulder you can see two panels. The one directly over my shoulder has artwork made by my children. The other contains covers from the newsletter I make at work. Arts On Fire.

I tag PreppyGirl, Tracy, Mr. Social, Stinky Paw and Steaming Bowl of Calderone. I don't think I'm close to 5 more bloggers.