« Televised Programming Bulletin. #014: | Main | NO BLACK BOX. »

Fever Pitch.

“Some more than others.” -- Spike on the extent to which humans are human
"It scared me." -- Tom on his favorite horror film, Monsters, Inc.
"You’re a gross person and I kinda want nothing to do with with you." -- Tom on lighthearted family prankster Chad Shackleford
"Yo, John Scharpie, man, what is a podcast, man?" -- Fred, not a subscriber, but still a filthy junkie
"Oh, Hasselhoff, don't do it." -- Tom, trying to avoid a clean sweep on America's Got Talent
"It's all juice bars now." -- Ted Leo, lamenting what's become of the old neighborhood
"It puts me back to sleep for my 11:30 a.m. nap." -- Tom, new FIFA spokesman
"Did you pick your ascot out yet?" -- Tom, asking Richie Rich if he has the requisite attire for his snob school
"We want to live. Don't you want to live, Tom?" -- Richie Rich, dropping some Wooderson-y Goshen philosophy
"You got no heart, son." -- Tom, on Goshen's Tin Man
"What's happening to this community, Tom?" -- Rev. Ken Miller on Newbridge in decay
"I don't know what it is -- I just see them and I have to help them." -- Ken Miller on his compassion for stray dogs that wander into adult businesses
"You just light the stuff and it goes off, right?" -- Ken Miller, oblivious to the safety problems of his planned indoor fireworks presentation
"I never did find that dog!" -- Ken Miller, still searching

[TBSOWFMU - 6/27/06 **NO ARCHIVE** / Podmirth* / Jingle Jams / Myspace / Headquarters]

*The podcast is up to a lucky (Heinz) 57 subscribers, which is staggeringly low considering the Recid-O-Cast has 213! Tom's done begging -- he will no longer tap dance for the pod people. Once he figures out how to work the magic red button, he will add one bonus minute of chit-chat to the live show to reward people for checking out the real three-hour extravagonza with all the hott music.

Sleater-Kinney - "Start Together"

( Click here to buy The Hot Rock)

Chavez - "Top Pocket Man"

( Click here to buy Ride The Fader)

Boris - "Furi"

( Click here to buy Akuma No Uta)

Danko Jones - "When Will I See You" [I had never heard of these guys until a couple of weeks ago when Evan "Funk" Davies played them while filling in for DJ Terre T and now I've decided that they rock HARD.]

( Click here to buy Sleep Is The Enemy)

Sleater-Kinney - "Taste Test"

( Click here to buy Call The Doctor)

Bonus track for Spike, the Astro-creep, a dungeon-dwelling American freak, yeah!:

White Zombie - "More Human Than Human"

Annotated highlights:

- A dude with an iffy British accent calls and drops a hint about his identity by singing the opening line of "This Charming Man". It's the one and only "Morrissey". He asks Tom if he's "smitten by my wily voice“, and Tom tells him that he needs to re-enroll in impression school because it was a whole lotta terrible. Popular online funzine Gingerbread Corsair is reporting that Moz is working on a 2006 update to the track that addresses the mutants that have been defacing storefronts and tormenting Tom and his family. Sample lyric: "Punctured tall bike/on a Brooklyn desolate ..." It'll be out in mid-August on Vice Records as a charity 7" benefiting the Free Annika campaign (vote YES on Prop 97!), featuring guest spots from Andy Samberg, Coco Hayley Gordon Moore, Taylor Hicks, KHBX's Tillie Sullivan, Petey, former NY Knicks guard and tazering enthusiast John Starks, the Higgins boys w/ Dave "Gruber" Allen, celeb chef Bobby Flay, Laura Cantrell, and Celtic Frost's Tom G. Warrior, among many others. The b-side will be a Death From Above 1979 remix of "Pretty Girls Make Graves" featuring Pretty Girls Make Graves.


- Spike falls back into his usual time slot and gives Tom some news: he's been turning on his customers to The Best Show and numerous other programs. Is this how Fred really discovered the show? Tom clarifies that the customers in question are those visiting Spike's basement apartment for dithiplinary sessions and not patrons of his hot dog stand, which is known for its orange crate seating, a small television that plays the Friday the 13th series in a continuous loop, and a controversial sign indicating that patrons must sing some doo-wop before being served. Spike says that dungeon business is picking up after a slow period due to trouble coordinating customer schedules with his scary-packed appointment book. Tom thinks he was just too busy watching his daytime stories like The Young and the Restless. Per Spike's recommendation, Tom finally bought a VCR, but he couldn't figure out how to hook it up, so he's waiting for The Jock Squad to swing by to install it.

Spike taunts Tom about his lack of technical skills by saying that he knows some 4-year-olds who can manage the task without assistance. Tom's not thrilled about the suggestion that he's dumber than a toddler, so Spike makes a meager attempt to make Tom feel better by saying that his mother never knew how to set up a VCR, either. Once Tom's machine is up and running, he vows to tape programs left and right, starting with TYatR. Spike also gives Tom the go-ahead to grab The View now that "Piglet Jones" is leaving the show. Spike says that everyone calls Star Jones "piglet", but Tom considers it a low blow and poses a question: "Are we all not just human, Spike?" Spike's quick retort: “Some more than others.” Spike kinda got Tom on that one.

This, of course, led to a discussion of Rob Zombie. Spike is familiar with Zombie's music (he calls it "interesting"), but has yet to see either House Of 1,000 Corpses or The Devil's Rejects. He plans to see them because he's a fan of decapitations, castrations (a disturbing new entry in Spike's lineup of cinematic desires), choppings, and hack-em-ups. Spike reiterates his love for slasher heroes Chucky, Jason, Michael, Freddy, and Sarah. Wait. Whuuuuuuuuuut? Tom is not familiar with Sarah, so he defers to the horror afickionado, but Spike's confused about the origins of this killer. He thinks there is a character named Sarah in either I Spit On Your Grave or Last House On The Left. I'm pretty sure he's referring to the female member of the baddie trio in LHOTL, and, considering her name, I'm stunned that he could not remember it: (Sexy) Sadie!

Tom's daddy wouldn'tlet him see LHOTL as a child, and he remains deprived of Wes Craven's "gruesome" directorial debut. Spike is certain that he'd love it and also thinks he knows Tom's favorite horror movie. However, his guess of The Legend Of Lizzie Borden is wrong. Tom's favorite horror film is the frightening genre classic Monster's, Inc. Spike wonders if this is the film featuring Halle Berry's Oscar-winning turn, but that's Monster's Ball. Tom tells him that Monster's, Inc. is an animated film that depicts what the world is like with monsters that torture people. Spike wants to know if it contains any decapitations, but Tom can't say because he was too scared to watch the entire film. He's still slowly working his way through it. Spike hopes that people get eaten by the monsters.

Since the phones are lit up like a holiday tree, Tom has to move along, but Spike wants to the know the latest on "Sternberg", known to most people as MC Steinberg. Tom's not sure, but says that Spike might be able to catch up with him in the dungeon. Tom asks Spike if he'd be willing to give a listener a free visit and suggests Mike the Associate Producer as a potential candidate for a session. Spike says Mike is too nice -- he only tortures people that he can't stand. Mike was initially very excited about the opportunity (he yelled "Yipeeeee!"), but after calming down a bit, he decides that he will only go if Tom joins him. Tom says that he would be laughing too hard to focus on the dithipline and would have to redefine the word "dungeon" to mean "leaky basement apartment". Tom informs Spike that someone in the upstairs apartment left the sink on and it's flooding his basement. Spike's not buying it and says that if they did it, he would castrate them. Tom's creeped out and hangs up.

- Not a long time listener but first time caller Chad Shackleford checks in from his deck to chat about the upcoming July 4th holiday. Tom tells him that he'll be spending the day with family, and Chad wishes him the best of luck. Tom says he doesn't need it, but Chad needs quite a bit of it because of his family's biggest flaw: they are really, really, really, really irritating. While many people have a family member or two that they butt heads with, all of them irritate Chad to no end. The chief irritant is his Aunt Jackie, whose offenses include being old, incessant nagging, and, especially, constantly worrying. Aunt Jackie elevates the smallest of things to the level of castrophe, a trait common to Chad's older female relatives. He can't dance with that and likes to take action. Chad piled his wife and three kids into the car for a 3.5-hour drive to a small Shackleford family reunion over the Memorial Day holiday. One morning, Aunt Jackie wanted to go to one of the area outlet malls. To everyone's surprise, Chad volunteered to take her. A few others wanted to go, but Chad insisted that it was just the two of them, fooling them into believing that he wanted to spend quality time with her.

Aunt Jackie has a loose grasp on her mental faculties, so she was an easy target for Chad's ulterior motives for the supposed shopping jaunt. Chad drove 80 miles away and left his aunt in the parking lot of a small, rural convenience store because she was really getting on his nerves. Tom wonders how this will address the core issues, and Chad said it would at least put her out of irritation range. Chad is not sure if she ever made it back home safely and worked up a story to explain why she did not return with him. He claimed that she got carsick en route to the outlets, so he went ahead and took her to her house, which is not far from the family gathering site. Nobody suspected anything until after they got home from the reunion.

Chad explains that he does this stuff all the time to entertain himself and considers it a funny prank that helps him deal with the familial annoyances. He also does "lighthearted pranks" to his wife and kids to get through the day. He has a fairly lax, stress-free corporate job that grants him some free time during the day. For about a week or two, Chad would put pantyhose and a wool cap on his head and return to his house. He'd peek in the windows and spy on his wife as she was doing the dishes or milling about the bedroom. She was understandably convinced it was a Peeping Tom, but it was in fact her merry prankster husband. She'd call the police, who would then call Chad at work. He'd race home and pretend to be surprised, determined to track down ("We're gonna get this guy!") the perpetrator.

His wife was freaked out, but Chad thought the whole thing was hilarious. Tom thinks it's terrible to put fear into his family and thinks he has a twisted sense of humor. Chad insists that he's just executing harmless pranks, including some aimed specifically at his two youngest kids, ages 3 and 6. They are into children's programming, so Chad will tell them it's time to watch their shows. They'll run in expecting their favorites like The Wiggles and SpongeBob SquarePants, but, unfortunately for them, Chad will have something cued up that is far from kid-friendly. The content includes the dog explosion scene in John Carpenter's The Thing, a film that deeply disturbed Tom, and the head explosion scene in David Cronenberg's Scanners. He also once told them that he had rented Babe 2: Pig In The City, but he actually had the ultraviolent, Normandy invasion scene from in Saving Private Ryan cued up.

Tom wants to know what he has against his children that would make him trick them into seeing such graphic violence. Chad claims he has nothing against them and just likes to play jokes on them. Tom wants him to define "joke". Chad defines it in the form of a story about taking the kids to Chuck E. Cheese. They wanted to listen to Top 40 or some kids music, so Chad played Morbid Angel at full blast the entire way there. Tom doesn’t understand why he finds the stuff funny and disputes his claims that he is simply a prankster. Tom believes he's a sociopath with a demented sense of humor that is damaging his children. Chad thinks his kids are good sports about it and tries to illuminate this with another tale of his hijinks. He has a company car that he keeps at the office, so his kids have not really seen it. They are on summer break, playing in the neighborhood -- the 3- and 6-year-old stay close to the yard, while the 9 year old is granted a bit more range to roam about. When he gets to work, he’ll go into the breakroom and take take every condiment -- ketchup, mustard, mayo, vinegar, etc. -- out of the refrigerator and mix it into one of those 64-ounce, Big Gulpy cups along with mushed-up lunches of co-workers to create a vile, liquified atrocity. He’ll put the pantyhose over his head, don a ski-mask, put on some different clothes, and get back in the company car to drive where his kids are playing. Once he spots them, he’ll throw the mixture on them. He says it’s really funny and the looks on their faces are hard to believe. The 6-year-old wears glasses, so the goop blinded him.

Tom thinks he’s gross and needs help; Chad thinks Tom lacks a sense of humor and only needs help in the form of new prank ideas. He got a pro massage the other day and when the massuese left the room, he dug $15 out of her purse and left it as a tip. Chad rejects Tom's accusation that he's a thief, saying that he's only guilty of tipping her with her own money. Tom thinks he’s awful, gross, and wants nothing to do with him. Chad doesn't know why Tom is being so negative, and Tom explains that he’s just not into hurting people and not throwing things at children. Chad laughs thinking about his kids covered in the garbage. Tom says he's despicable and may be the worst caller he’s ever gotten. Chad says those are strong words and thought Tom would find it funny. For his sake, Tom hopes he gets caught because he's not doing jokes -- he's attacking people and, to make it even more scary, it's his own family. Chad says they are irritating, so Tom suggests getting away from them. Chad doesn't want to because they are a constant source of entertainment. He wants to know if Tom wants him to visit and do a prank on him, such as hitting him with a bag of "dog doo" as he walks down the street. Tom’s responds by hanging up.

- Fred calls to warn "John Scharpie" about messing with a dude like Chad Shackleford. He also didn't like that Tom called him a dirty junkie 55 times last week, but does nothing to suggest that the claim was false. He wants to know if Tom's a junkie and says he used the term "420" last week because in Sweden, it means that everything is OK. Just before getting dismissed, Fred asks "John Scharpie" what a podcast is. The world is closing in on The Kid. Too many shows in a row.

- Tom had a bad experience over the weekend at a taping of America’s Got Talent. As part of the first tier of auditioners, Tom sat in the studio audience and watched some of the acts -- bass player Wizzard hitting the low G, I-ron's Reggae Challenge's union of music and shotput, and professional snappist Bobby Badfingers. Regis called him up as part of the next wave of performers, so Tom was backstage getting appropriately jazzed. He was confident that he could be one of America's most talented and entertaining open phone conversationalists. Tom eventually took the stage and was trying to do his thing, but the lack of open phone lines meant that he couldn't take calls to flaunt his flexibility. He had to dial somebody on his cell phone and try to hold it up to a microphone because they did not have the setup to run it through the studio PA. The first call: fax machine. On the second attempt, he got some old bat who had no idea what he was talking about. The judges started to weigh in -- the British guy gave him the X, then Brandy gave him the X, and then Hasselhoff finished him off. 1-2-3, out of the game.

Tom was upset and said some things that apparently cannot be aired on television, which he thought had more liberal speech restrictions than radio. In a nutshell, he was escorted from the building and his segment will not air. In retrospect, I think Tom should have skipped the phones and just uncorked his sizzling Meatloaf cover. At a minimum, The Hoff would have rocked out.

Is Zachary Brimstead trying out for this show? It's probably not metal enough for him.

- Fred's back and wonders why Tom is being so harsh on him. He remembered the Sex Pistols song he tried to request last week: "I Just Wanna Be Sedated". Fred's GOMPed for being a moron. Tom wants to know where these people come from. He feels it all slipping away and strikes the microphone in frustration.

- The line flashes and Tom hopes it's not Fred. Far from it! It's professional rock star Ted "The King" Leo! Ted hasn't been able to keep up with the show for a few weeks and landed in the middle of bizarro land with Spike back in the fold and Tom surrounded by weirdos like Fred and the Goshen kids. Ted's sad to see what's happened to the old neighborhood while he was away and doesn't like the influx of juice bars. Tom tells him that it's actually far worse than just a retailer shake-up. The streets have achieved Death Wish 3-grade filthiness and require a thorough cleansing akin to Paul Kersey's romp through East New York. Ted cannot confess to having ever seen DW3, and Tom tells him it's one of the best films ever made.

In addition to being a world-renowned rock star, Ted is an afickionado of the futabal, so Tom cues up "World Cup Fever" to launch his impressive debut as the new Best Show correspondent for all the news from the pitch. (Ted assumes the post vacated last year by Larry the Perv, who lost the gig after some offensive remarks about Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain.) Ted's been spending the last few weeks serving as a caretaker, so he's had a lot of time to watch and analyze the World Cup matches. Tom watched both of the previous day's games and thought the Ukraine vs. Switzerland match was a snoozefest that did nothing to sway public perception that the sport is just "some jerks kicking the ball back and forth."

Ted and Tom both enjoyed the end of the Brazil-Ghana game earlier in the day, featuring the Brazilian faithful cheering the heart of the Ghana squad as they frantically tried to score. Tom thought it was exciting, heavy-duty stuff, and Ted admired Ghana's skill at setting up plays and dropping the ball exactly where they wanted it. Tom likes seeing fast break action, which prompts Ted to propose a rule change that would eliminate the frequent offsides calls and boost offense. Tom and Ted agree that if the offensive player beats the defender, it's the defender's job to track him down. Similar to the 3-second call in the lane in basketball, Ted suggests a limit on the amount of time a player can hang out in the box and thinks the new rule could be used to create an "American soccer".

Tom wants to know if Ted was rooting against the American team, but Ted says he likes them because they are one of the few class-act sports ambassadors the country offers. He cannot deny that their play was completely inept, only scoring one goal courtesy of an Italian player's foot. Ted says that there was an American dude right there ready to tap it in, but Tom points out that he would have missed. In general, watching soccer is painful for Ted because he played for eight years and then got cut from his freshmen high school team. Tom asks if he was nixed for being too slow-a-foot, but it was actually the result of being too inquisitive about his standing on the team. Ted wanted to know if he was just spinning his wheels and wasting his time, so he asked the coach what was going on after two weeks of tryouts where he hadn't cut anyone. Ted now realizes that his coach, who looked like Eric Bogosian with the facial moves of Jeff Spicoli, was probably stoned a lot of the time. Ted asked him if he was going to make the team and Bogosian-Spicoli responded: "Uhhhh, yeah, probably not." Ted was initially relieved, but later found out he was the only person cut, so he probably would have made the team if he had kept his mouth shut. Ted wasn't the worst guy trying out for the team -- that fat kid was.

Tom never had any room for soccer in his life, but now that he's been watching it, he discovered that it offers him a delightful range of experience: the bad, boring games are relaxing and aid his late-morning napping, while the exciting games give him a nice jolt. Ted gets back to the World Cup and gives a rundown of his predictions and his take on the remaining teams. His fear of the expected Brazil vs. Argentina final has since been erased with France and Germany bouncing them, respectively. Portugal defeated England so Ted will no longer have to watch David Beckham's hair gel or the constant camera pans to Posh Spice. The last remaining team is Italy, a squad Ted thought was talented, but also overly emotional and disorganized. Omar's picks for the all-Euro Final Four:

Italy def. Germany 2-1
Portugal def. France 3-2

Final: Italy over Portugal 1-0.

Tom wants to know what Ted thinks about the soccer hooligans, and Ted makes a good point -- with World Cup tickets going for 300 € and up, you'd have to be a really successful hooligan to get in. Tom thinks it's easier to just buy a ticket to a Ted Leo rock concert. Ted says there is plenty of room there, but Tom points out that the last Teddy show he saw at the Knitting Factory was SRO. If you show up at a Ted Leo concert, you may just be sent home without dinner. Ted was supposed to be in the studio this week to continue to work on his Touch & Go debut, but had to cancel. He's having a hard time and needs to sit on it for a while. In another sign that Tom could use a rest, he misfires on a Happy Days reference, mistakenly citing Fonzie instead of Potsy in response to the "sit on it" comment.

Tom informs Ted that Mike is also a soccer enthusiast, currently sporting an Argentina jersey; Ted is wearing a Ghana shirt that he just got at frontrunners.com. Tom thanks Ted for easing the transition from Fred, and Ted promises to do some research on the filthy junkie that seemingly emerged from under a rock in Queens. Ted closes with a strong message for the upstate dorks: "Hey, this is Ted Leo from Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. Knock it off, Goshen!"

Follow Ted's World Cup postings over at the aptly-named tedleo.com.

Air Miami - "World Cup Fever"

L-I-V-I-N: The Goshen crew begin to melt while waiting for Mommy's homemade brownies. Note the $35,000 fruit bowl.

- Richie Rich calls to say he liked the tunes Tom played in his last set. He was particularly pleased with the presence of the 1960s electric transistor organ, something he feels is missing from today's musical landscape. Looks like we've found the next Charles R. Martin! Good thing Tom didn't play "Jigsaw Puzzle". Rather than tell Tom where he's calling from (as if we didn't know), he directs him to check out the WFMU message board. Tom discovers a thread titled "Goshen Rules!" that features a picture of the caller and some of his out-of-their-league cohorts. Richie Rich tells Tom that it all could have ended last week, but then Tom had to bring Ted Leo into the fray. Richie Rich considers Ted Leo to be like a father to him, and Tom informs him that his fontasy father hates him, so it's just like real life. He accuses Tom of co ercing Ted into making anti-Goshen statements, a completely unfounded claim. Tom wonders if he has a landscaping job to go worry about, but that was another Goshen kid. Tom attempts to probe Richie Rich's summer plans, but he resists, thinking that Tom was putting him on the stand for some kind of inquisition. Tom says he was just trying to make conversation, and Richie Rich says he was doing the same. Tom loses patience and demands swift response: "THEN ANSWER MY QUESTION!"

Richie Rich doesn't have any big vacation plans, so he'll spend the summer working a couple nights a week at the pizzeria (a fake job that builds fake character) and hanging out. He tells Tom that he's the one in the picture with the nice shirt, folding his arms at an angle. Tom's always been a big fan of that angle. I must admit, it's a pretty awesome angle. Anyhoo, Tom has finally seen what he's up against, and Richie Rich assures him that this is only a sampling of a larger Goshen crew. Tom points out that the guy on the far right looks like O'Bannion from Dazed and Confused and suspects that they are rehearsing for a stage version of Dazed and Confused: The Younger Generation. Tom later points out that the kid in the middle appears to be trying to emulate the sax player from the A-Bones. Tom's certain that the kids have no lives. Richie Rich doesn't deny it, but he also doesn't think it's their fault. Tom thinks it kinda is and believes there are more productive things they could be doing instead of holding up fruit and posing for pictures. Richie Rich wants an example, and Tom suggests reading books. Richie Rich retorts: "Been there, done that." Tom tells him that there are many books out there, including those not assigned to them at school. Richie Rich thinks there's more to life than reading books -- the Goshen kids want to l-i-v-e. He wonders if Tom also wants to live.

At this point, Mike points out an intriguing figure creeping into the right side of the image: a mom wearing a pink jumper holding a tray of brownies. Richie Rich hasn't examined the picture, but since he's only 12, he can't move out and rid himself of the perils of parents sneaking into the frame. Tom disputes his age, and he admits that he's 18 and getting ready to put on the ascot to attend the snooty Boston University in the fall. This impending matriculation convinces Tom that he's dealing with a curly-headed rich kid who looks like the bassist from the MC5. Richie Rich tries to soften Tom's accusation by saying he got a half-tuition scholarship, but the damage is done -- it's the familiar Best Show battle between snobs and slobs. Tom, a proud slob, went to a community college, working his way up the ladder without the benefit of having everything handed to him.

Richie Rich reveals that his real father is a lawyer, but he's not evil since he just does mundane house closings. Tom has a different take -- he thinks he's a coward who only cares about raking in money instead of fighting for good causes. Richie Rich doesn't have his own car, but he sometimes drives his parents' muscular Buick Roadmaster (aka the "Moneymobile"), which is packin' 411 Positrac outback, 750 double pumper Edelbrock intakes, bored over 30, 11-to-1 pop-up pistons, and turbo-jet 390 horsepower. Tom's heard more than enough to issue his judgment: the kid's got no backbone. He's soft as the day is long and it's written all over his face. Tom can tell that deep down, each Goshen kid is weaker than the next. Richie Rich interprets this as a dig at his physical strength and wonders what good that is in this day and age. But Tom's not Lou Ferrigno -- he's talking about strength in the heart and the head.

Tom thinks it's too late for Richie Rich because his parents have molded him into a soft-serve cone that can't just magically transform into FrozeFruit. He'll have his way and when he lands in jail, his parents will bail him out and then his daddy will call his other lawyer buddies to make it all go away. He's destined for a soft job and a soft life, but Tom views this as a positive because the world needs a lot of soft-serve so the FrozeFruit can squash them out. Tom thinks he lacks a heart, and Richie Rich tries to counter by suggesting that Tom doesn't have one. Nice try, but Tom's robust ticker is indisputable, confirmed for good measure by Mike. Tom tells him that he's part of the Good Guys brigade and they don't have any use for tree sloths from Goshen, hanging out at the fancy Cobrai Kai dojos, trying to stick it to the Daniel Larusso's of the world.

Much like Tom deals with the perils of having so much heart and talent, Richie Rich will eventually have to come to terms with his softness when daddy's money runs out. Tom can already see the first signs of melting in the picture. If he's going to become a stain on the sidewalk of life, Richie Rich at least wants some rainbow sprinkles, so he can create a multi-colored swirl of shame. With the dismantling complete, Tom GOMPs the little troll.

Ice Cream Truck - "Soft Serve Sleepytime"


- Rob from Fanwood, N.J., calls and wants to know if he's talking to Tom. He is, but Tom traps him in a fun game of fake call screener shenanigans. Rob tells Tom that he'd like to chat with Tom about how he got started writing for a certain television show, but Tom says that Tom can't talk about that due to a conflict of interest policy. Afer making sure he's turned off his radio, Tom confirms that he came up with an alternate topic for Tom. He tells Tom that he will ask Tom if he should move to L.A. to aid his dreams of becoming a writer. Tom puts him through to Tom, who adopts an aggro curtness. Rob explains that he's a new fan of the show and thinks Tom is a funny man. He tells Tom that he wants to get into the television racket, but he's not sure if he should go west or remain in New York. Tom says he doesn't know and GOMPs him. Tom chuckles. The ruse made him feel a little better.

- Reverend Ken Miller from Newbridge Episcopalian calls to let Tom's young listeners know about the special things they have on tap. His parish is trying to connect with the young kids of Newbridge on their level and make inroads in bringing them into the church. Tom thinks he read about Ken's outreach efforts in an article in the Newbridge Herald-Times Herald that profiled a priest known as the "Rock 'N Roll Reverend". Ken said that the piece was actually about their good friends over at Newbridge Lutheran, led by their great new minister Rev. Mike Thompson, a former rock 'n roll guitar player for Newbridge's own White Tiger. Ken thinks he's a great guy, and he's heard that Rev. Mike has been booking rock bands and showing movies like The Cross and the Switchblade and The Last Temptation Of Christ. Ken hasn't seen the films, but he thinks Rev. Mike uses them to start a dialogue with the young people. Ken thinks it's a great idea, and Tom agrees that it's healthy to be able to discuss different aspects of one's spiritual life.

Ken thinks the events that Newbridge Episcopalian has lined up will be even more appealing to teens. In August, they're doing their Make a Joyful Noise festival featuring groups like Necropsy, Hex Head, and Timmy von Trimble fave White Reign. Tom informs him that White Reign is a white power group. Ken's never heard of any of the bands, but Chuck assured him that these are the bands that kids today really like and helped line them up. Tom wants to know more about Chuck, so Ken gives him the backstory of how he met him.

Ken's 54 and his knowledge of popular culture and music stops in 1977, the year he entered the seminary. The last album he bought was Billy Joel's Stranger. Since he's so out of touch with this stuff, he thought the best way to find out what today's kids are into would be to consult the very kind of person he's trying to reach. He went to Newbridge Commons and started talking to Chuck, the very nice young man who dispenses quarters at the arcade at the far end of the mall. The arcade is located two doors down from where the Lady Foot Locker used to be, and Tom thinks it's odd that there's still not a new business in the location two years after its closing. Ken's heard strange stories about the space from people in the community, and while they may just be tall tales, some say that there are ghosts haunting the old Lady Foot Locker. Ken suggests further exploring this in a ghost story segment, which Tom will consider for next Halloween.

Ken introduced himself to Chuck so he could probe his mind about current music and then hire the bands to draw kids into his parish. Tom asks if Chuck's a typical teen, and Ken says he's about 20, has no hair, and has rings coming out of his eyebrows, which he found very odd. He reminds Ken a lot of Matthew, a young fellow he met at the Video Vault over at East Newbridge Muse. Matthew is helping Ken program films for the festival to spark discussion. Much like music, Ken knows little about modern cinema. The last film he saw was Saturday Night Fever, which followed a screening of Oh, God! Matthew recommended some inspiring titles by a very famous director named Trent L. Strauss: You're Soaking In Her, It's Raining Membranes, Pukeadelphia, and Dr. Sleaze. Tom says they are the opposite of inspiring and informs Ken that Strauss is a director of extreme exploitation horror films. Ken didn't hear anything about that, but Matthew told him that he's very highly regarded in Europe, especially Belgium. Tom doesn't think he's as respected domestically, where he's considered just a sleazy horror guy. Tom tells him that these are not the kind of films he should be showing at church. Ken laments that he's already rented the films and paid the bands.

Ken asks about Pirates Of The Caribbean 2, and Tom thinks it's definitely more family-friendly but doesn't come out in theaters for another week. Ken plans to run a double feature, pairing it with Little Man, which doesn't hit multiplexes for another three weeks. Ken acquired the films through a German man named Werner. Tom thinks this may be the same Werner that used to work out on the docks at Consolidated Cardboard. Tom requests a physical description of Werner, and Ken says the friend who introduced them compared him to a guy who was in a film called The Hitchhiker. (Ken got the title wrong -- it's The Hitcher, which is being remade with Andy Milonakis in the C. Thomas Howell role.) Tom tells him that the actor in question is Rutger Hauer, and Ken echoes the previous description we heard from Darren: he's smaller than Hauer, has a beard that's dyed black, and yellow hair. Tom tells him that it's illegal to have the bootleg films. Ken's concerned and says that explains Werner's creepy behavior, such as lurking around the narthex on Sundays. Tom confirms that Werner is a shady character because he knows people who have had problems with him due to his unsavory business dealings.

Ken realizes that he's becoming privy to a whole underside of Newbridge that he didn't know existed. Tom wants to know how he's finding these people, and Ken says he just meets them out in the community. Tom says it seems like he has a real knack for finding the wrong people, especially Chuck, who served as a catalyst to the darkside by introducing Ken to Matthew, who then introduced him to Werner. Ken asks Tom if he's ever heard of The Sopranos. Tom tells him that it's a very popular program on HBO, so Ken's pleased to announce that two huge stars from that show will be attending his services in the coming weeks -- Louis Lombardi, who played FBI Agent Skip Lipari, and George Loros, who played NJ Capo Raymond Curto.

Werner assured Ken that they were big stars, but Tom's seen every episode and can barely place them. Tom wants to know why he's so obsessed with reaching out to young people, and Ken says he's lost a good portion of his flock (attendance is down 80%) to Newbridge Lutheran. He's not as charismatic as Rev. Mike, so he's losing kids, who take their parents with them. Ken is saddened and frustrated by the efforts of what he calls a "Reverend-come-lately". Tom doesn't think that having obscure television character actors show up is an effective means of spreading the message. Ken hopes Tom will be more impressed with his "Communion vouchers" -- in addition to the wine and wafer, you get a voucher for an autograph from Louis and George. Tom thinks he's corrupting what it means to receive the sacrament.

Ken's surprised by Tom's reaction and predicts that he will start knocking the celebrity lookalikes. Next Sunday, Ken will put President Bush and Jenna Jameson lookalikes in pews around the congregation without telling the public that they're not the real people. Tom doesn't approve and informs Ken that Jameson is a porn star. Ken said that Werner sold him on the idea as a way to create a buzz around the mass, and he listened because he's afraid of him. Tom says his fears are justified. Ken asks Tom if he should cancel the third lookalike -- Rich Robinson from a band called "Black Crowe". Tom said he knows that guy and tells Ken that he recently planned to kidnap the real Rich Robinson and switch places with him.

Tom thinks there are higher ways to inspire people other than bottom-shelf mainstream pop culture references and trappings. Ken wonders if "laser Anthrax" fits that bill. Chuck told him about this very spiritual concept that involves kids sitting on the grass in a tent behind the church on nice summer evenings. A professional laser operator then shoots laser beans onto the tent ceiling while the music of a group called Anthrax plays over the sound system. Tom's baffled that Ken would find this appropriate and asks Ken to reflect on the band name. Ken was told it was Biblical in nature, but didn't have time to look it up. Tom explains that it's a heavy metal band and not even a good one. Ken's surprised that Tom doesn't think the laser beans will help draw people, and Tom tells him that, for one thing, it's actually beams. Ken writes that down. Plus, Tom says if people do show up, it will be for the wrong reasons. Ken says he has to get them in somehow and wonders if he should cancel Kamal as well.

Ken heard that the kids today are very excited by what they call "prank telephone calls". He's arranged to have a young man named Kamal perform several of these prank calls over the chuch PA system during sermons. He was told that Kamal is the genre's best performer. Tom tells him that he's part of The Jerky Boys duo and that his partner, Johnny B, is better. Ken wants to know if he would be more expensive, and Tom says yes. This is a problem because Ken is already pretty far over budget for the festival. At this point, he'll need to have at least 700 people giving $20 every Sunday for the next year in order to break even.

He also plans to experiment with a "preach-free sermon" where kids can come by to sit around and play video games, listen to their iPlods, and eat candy without being disturbed. Tom says that they might as well not show up. Ken is determined to do whatever it takes to free them from the clutches of Rev. Sleaze Mike. Tom wants to know why he would refer to his colleauge as "Rev. Sleaze". Ken didn't want to get into this, but says it's no secret that Rev. Mike partook in the debauched lifestyle that goes along with the world of rock 'n roll. He points out that in the article Tom read, they left out the part about his arrest in 1989 for having sex in a public bathroom while under the influence of cocaine. Ken's source on this is Darrrell, a PI he hired because he wanted to find out more about the new Reverend in town. Tom wonders what he'd do with the information other than say it on the radio. (Ken was not aware he was on the air.) Ken would like to think that Rev. Mike's new parishioners would like to know as much as they can about the man they're entrusting with their children's spiritual guidance. With the exception of that one incident in 1999, Ken's record is spotless. Ken says that the incident in question was technically a breaking and entering, but the charge was quickly dropped. Turned out that the arresting officer, Officer Harrups, was found to be on cocaine when he made the arrest. Ken thinks this is a horrible breach of ethics and wonders what is happening to the community.

The arrest occured after Ken entered Adult Mania after it was closed. Earlier in the day, he was walking down the seedy Frontage Road and saw a stray dog run into the establishment in question. He followed it in to try to rescue it, but had no luck. Later that evening, he had to buy some groceries for an ailing shut-in parishioner and realized that he didn't have his debit card. He figured he lost it at Adult Mania, so he went to retreive it. Tom's not sure how he could have lost the card during a canine retrieval attempt, and Ken says that he thinks he may have bought a Summit bar or some water at the counter. He slipped through a window and just as he had located his debit card, Officer Harrups came storming in. Ken says that the word in the community is that Rev. Mike has a ton of other skeletons in his closet. Ken heard that he was a very frequent customer of a strip club right up until he joined the ministerhood. Tom wonders what bearing that has on anything. Ken thinks it has a lot of bearing and once saw him at the Love Nest on Muffler Row. Ken entered the club looking for another stray dog, and while he couldn't find it, he was thirsty so he had a club soda at the bar. As he was sipping it, he saw Mike come in and pay for multiple, disgusting lap dances. This was all right before he became a Reverend, although Ken was already a Reverend. Tom says he felt sorrow for him at first because he thought he was just misguided, but now he's not so sure.

Ken saw a woman grinding against Rev. Mike before they retreated to a private room for a more intimate entanglement. At that point, Ken had climbed into the false ceiling to get a closer look at what goes on in these places. He fell out onto the stage in the middle of one woman's dance, ripping her G-string. Ken says it was sick. Then she fell on him, which was sicker. Tom thinks the whole thing sounds sick. Ken has something even sicker than that. He once saw Mike drunk beyond all recognition at Los Amigos near NC. He was walking past and saw a stray dog wander in, so he went inside to discover Mike having sex in the bathroom. He alerted Officer Harrups, but he had to let him go because he was still on the Newbridge marching powder. Tom says it sounds like Ken is a very torn person.

Ken wants to know if Tom can help him get ahold of 700 pounds of fireworks in time for the July 4th holiday. He's been placing ads in the local press to promote a massage fireworks presentation that will spell out "Newbridge Episcopalian Rocks!" inside the church. Ken says that nobody will sell them to him because it's too dangerous, and Tom concurs. Ken wants to know if Tom has any ins at Black Cat Fireworks in Middle Westbridge. Even if he did, Tom said he would not provide them to Ken due to safety concerns. Ken thinks Tom is typical of all the people he's been meeting in Newbridge and he may have to give up his quest to connect with young people. He reveals that he's calling from Newbridge Massage, yet another local business he's frequented by following a stray dog. He has to run because he thinks he hears Officer Harrups coming.

Tom thinks Ken may be the saddest caller ever. Mike the Associate Producer is usually as stoic as Maximus in Gladiator and it made him sad.

The Jerky Boys - "Egyptian Magician"
The Jerky Boys - "Sol's Glasses"

Already a bit woozy, Tom is finished off by the final flurry of callers. None of them knew what they wanted to say. It'd be cooler if they did.

- Tommert calls to apologize for not taking part in the show of late. He's in college and has been meeting a lot of new, interesting people like his English teacher who is really hyped up on Percoset from a car accident. Tommert has some people knocking on the door, so he has to go.

- A guy who kind of sounded like a Kamal character calls and takes 10 minutes to turn his radio down. When he finally does, he doesn't know what he wants to talk about.

- Taylor from Goshen calls to apologize for the "Roxanne" debacle of last week. He still wants to hear it.

- Kamal, the self-proclaimed best caller ever, is back. He answers to stupid, calls Tom a moron, and still doesn't know what he wants to say.

- Some guy had the Best Show number in his cell phone so he called for no reason.

- Tommert calls back to tell Tom to calm down.

Tom rips up his show docket with all the fun ideas he had and then plays "Porcupine Pie" twice in a row.

On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU:

With his batteries recharged, The Kid makes his triumphant return on July 11th to clean the riff-raff off the streets ...

... earning some much-deserved respect ...

... and giving the bad guys their comeuppance:

The Good Guys win every week for the rest of 2006. Mutants lose. Mark it down.

"When the world steamrolls you, you're gonna steamroll it back." -- Tom


Question: How do you know how many subscribers you have?

Wait, why no podcast? I don't get it. It's not my fault I'm in lame Europe.

Post a comment

If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.