Way Down in the Hole.
"I'm already at a deficit! Doing this show from a deficit. I can't work from a lead ever?" -- Tom after some headphone issues necessitated a calming, cold-sodey break
"My head is swimming. I'm so stupid." -- Quiz Kid Tommy Scharpling on trying to dive into the world of finance
"Can't be a fan of everybody -- that's why God made horse races." -- Tom, explaining the Lord's safeguard against being forced to like Tom Waits
"It still kinda like, I 'unno, subverts like a bunch of the traditional kinda, I 'unno, like elements and stuff like plot and character and stuff. But it's like more fun, you know?" -- Pudge on Thomas Pynchon's new novel
"You get to cut people up and stuff." -- Pudge on what he likes about the video game, Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires
"Tom Waits don't play no raddyator, Tom." -- A caller, sticking up for his musical hero
"Why you gotta be so Shockey Jockey?" -- An angry Steely Dan fan, questioning Tom's aggro radio persona
"We don't have Rain Dogs? Oh, that must mean they've never replaced the copy that I destroyed." -- Tom on the absence of the album in the WFMU library
"Yeah, Insane Clown Posse are making a lot of money, too." -- Tom, countering a claim that financial success makes Tom Waits good
"Grab the neck of my banjo. I'll help you off the edge of the cliff." -- Pete Seeger trying to save Tom Waits from falling to his death
"I have to tell you, and don't take offense at this, I thought this was like some homo station." -- The WORST CALLER EVER
"We caught 'em!" -- A Myspace Marshall on capturing five Fight Club fans
"Fiddlesticks, we can't land! I guess we're going to the Livingston mall, honey." -- A rich New Yorker having to re-route the helicopter due to a backup on the Short Hills Mall helipad
"Happy Feet makes Mad Max look like an episode of Friends." -- Tom on the extreme weirdness of the new George Miller freakout
"Can you not do it as subtle as that?" -- Happy Feet producer to Al Pacino after doing his Scarface voice for a Hispanic penguin
"These Comic Relief guys are trying to start a Race War!" -- Tom on the new cultural instigators
"That made me hate music. I don't think I like music anymore." -- Tom on the powerful effects of the soundtrack to Happy Feet
"Dude, that's crazy!" -- A caller on Tom's lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen
"What's so funny?" -- Tom, wondering why all of his relatives were snickering at him during Thanksgiving dinner
"Three times the length, and one-third as good." -- Tom on accidentally playing "We Dance" from Wowee Zowee instead of the desired "Serpentine Pad"
"It was kinda hard to hear over the whooshing and the thudding that was going on." -- A caller on Judge Davies' ruling in his case against Kern Pharmaceuticals
"Say what you will about Kern -- they make good muck." - A caller, touting the company's man-made lake filler
"He's harsh, but fair." -- A caller on the approach of his landlord, Bryce Prefontaine
"I'm not that filthy! I wash." -- A millionaire, defending his hygeine
"For every hater, gettin' some love." --Tom, reading some positive responses to his Fight Club Myspace bulletin
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Urinals - "Scholastic Aptitude"
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Boris - "Korosu"
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Subtle - "Middleclass Stomp"
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Pavement - "Serpentine Pad"
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Jay Reatard - "Nightmares"
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Ahoy, mateys! Here's some annotated highlights of a recap I storyboarded while wearing a white suit (as a node to Alec Guinness) because nobody questions a man wearing a suit. You put on a suit, and you've got carte effing blanche. While working on it, David Lee Roth approached me with a clipboard and said, "Hey man, that suit is you!" He then assured me that I would get some "leg" later that night for sure. He was right! Bowzdy Bowzdy Bop Sitty Bop:
- Pete from Westville, NJ, calls (starts at 30:14) on a bad connection, and Tom wonders if he could move to his cellar to further degrade it. Pete explains that he's on his shift at the gas station, man, and has left his post in the awesome, heated kiosk to listen to the show in his car, man. The kiosk is not equipped with the requisite entertainment devices, so he darts for his vehicle once his boss leaves, man. This Gas Station Dog requests to hear anything by the singer-songwriter Tom Waits, man. This could be a problem because Tom Scharpling is
a huge Tom Waits fan the opposite of a fan of Mr. Waits. Tom got a free copy of the new 3-CD Waits set, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers,and Bastards, but he threw it out ... by accident. Pete senses that Tom is hinting that he doesn't like Waits, so Tom tells him that he's doing more than hinting. Tom is, in fact, stating it quite clearly: he's not a fan. He apologizes to Pete, but points out that one can't be a fan of everything, hence God's invention of horse races. Pete is dumped. Customers at his gas station will get 3 cents off the 89 and a free back windshield cleaning if they bring him a copy of Mule Variations. Pete's call was sponsored by man.com (NSFW, as you can imagine), which pays him 5 cents/"man".
For the first time in the program's history, Tom declared the show a W immediately after the opening music set. A disaster in the making? Tom is sticking with his prediction, but he's concerned that the other team caught us napping and ran up a 14-2 lead.
- Another caller (starts at 33:42), who claims to work at the gas station across the street from Pete, also wants to hear some Tom Waits. Tom concludes that he has discovered the lone intersection in the world that features two gas stations manned by Waits-heads. He asks the caller if the two of them yell across across the street about Waits being awesome in Dracula. Since Tom was familiar with this film credit, the caller assumes that he is a Waits historian and wonders why he doesn't like him. Tom says his music simply doesn't work for him. The caller offers Tom a deal: if he plays one Waits song, he'll be a listener forever. Tom doesn't want him to listen to the show if it's dependent on a Waits spin. Tom says he'll get some Waits on for him later, but it never materialized. Tom requests the caller's name, but he hangs up.
Score Update: The Bad Guys drained a 3, while The Best Show's foul-shooting woes (1-4 from the line) continue. 17-3.
- A caller quells (starts 35:48) the Waits barrage by asking for Tom's help. He's successfully boarded a time machine back to the 1978, but he's having difficulty getting into M*A*S*H -- the television show and the movie. Everyone told him the show is really good, and he wants Tom's opinion since he values his taste. Tom wants to know how he managed to avoid the constantly rerun series over the entire stretch of his existence on Earth in America. When he was a kid, M*A*SH followed the cartoons, but the helicopter and depressing theme song caused him to immediately switch to the goofy charms of Too Close For Comfort, starring The Best Show patron saint, Tadeusz Wladyslaw Konopka (oh, you may know him as Ted Knight). Tom thinks this was a wise move. The caller wants to know if Tom was aware that Ted Knight did voicework for cartoons series such as The Batman/Superman Hour and Super Friends.
Tom, of course, knows this and starts to do an impression of Ted Knight's narration on the Super Friends. However, the caller steps all over him by listing Knight's stable of Batman villain voices. Tom is able to get out a sample ("Meanwhile, Superman had a plan ...") before the callers stomps him again. Tom painlessly GOMPs the telephonic trampler.
- Pete calls (starts at 37:47) to apologize for getting disconnected. He says that he spoke to Tom once before via a guy named Greg who works at the Barnes & Noble in Clark, NJ. Pete went into the store that night to order a Meat Puppets DVD, and Greg took his phone to talk to Tom on the radio. Pete asks Tom for his take on the Meat Puppets and Curt Kirkwood's solo work. Tom thinks the Kirkwood brothers have had their moments, and he likes some of their stuff. Pete mentions that the Meat Puppets are reforming with with Primus drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander replacing original drummer Derrick Bostrom.
Tom wants to know if 21-5 means anything to Pete. Pete thinks it means that he will be disconnected, and he's right. He gets a double shot of dial tone. Trivia: Curt Kirkwood has a son named Elmo. Better than Sky Stalker, I guess.
Tom now realizes that he made a huge, Gob Bluthian mistake with the premature W.
- Pudge calls (starts at 39:28) to make sure he's correct to conclude that Tom isn't a Waits fan. Tom confirms that it's not his thing. Pudge guesses that's cool since he's not sure if he likes Waits either. He's heard some of his stuff, but doesn't know if he's a fan. Pudge changes the subject and wants to know if Tom saw the smash hit Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny when it opened last week. Tom hasn't seen it yet; Pudge thought it was OK and stuff. He thinks he laughed a couple of times. Pudge wants Tom to guess what Kyle Gass was wearing in every scene. It was a t-shirt for his side-band, Trainwreck. Pudge wants to know if that project is any good, but Tom is not comfortable expressing his opinions over the radio. Pudge is cool with that.
Pudge apologizes for not calling last week, but Tom didn't know he was actually scheduled to call. Pudge says he wasn't scheduled, but thought he would call in and chime in on some stuff. However, he kinda lost himself in a book and forgot to call. He was reading Against The Day, the kinda stupid new novel by Thomas Pynchon. The book hit stores last Tuesday, so Pudge purchased it at the Newbridge Commons B. Dalton at 4 p.m. He finished the 1,120-page epic at 11:30 p.m., and Tom is shocked that Pudge was able to get through it in under eight hours.
Pudge asks Tom if he's tried the new Coke that tastes like coffee and stuff. Tom mentioned Coke Blãk earlier in the show, and he thinks it's OK, but it's not something he frequently consume. Tom wants to return to his literary feat, pointing out that Pynchon's prose is not exactly light reading. Pudge thinks Against The Day is more accessible than Gravity's Rainbow and maybe not as difficult or stuff or something. Pudge says that while the novel still subverts traditional literary elements like plot and character, it's more fun than a lot of Pynchon's oeuvre. Pudge isn't sure if he actually enjoyed it. He says it's different than the Part 1 of Gravity's Rainbow with the 21 episodes that kinda correspond to the number of cards in a Tarot deck, as long as the Fool card is not counted. Pudge also mentions the third part of Gravity's Rainbow, which is comprised of 32 episodes that relate to the gravitational acceleration of 32 feet/second. Pudge suspects it's also in line with the 32 "Paths of Wisdom" in Kabbalistic tradition.
Tom doesn't know any of this stuff and always gets very confused by the density of Pynchon's writing. Pudge doesn't have this problem. He says that while Against The Day has the same relentless satire of counterculture found in Vineland, it's a little more fun. Pudge asks Tom if he heard about Kid Rock and PaMELa Andersons getting divorced. He did. Tom points out the dichotomy of Pudge's milquetoasty demeanor and his physics research and torrid romps through difficult fiction. Pudge doesn't think it's a big deal and wants to know if Tom got the Xbox 360. Tom doesn't have one. Pudge likes one stupid game called Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires. He enjoys building ancient Chinese empires and cutting people up and stuff. Tom thinks Pudge is so intelligent that there's no reason for his extreme lack of confidence.
Pudge has to go to prepare to be interviewed by popular and powerful online music 'zine, Pitchfork. The Best Show listeners will recall the site's vicious, 0.3-graded review of Mother 13's High Dive, which led to them getting dropped by RCA. They also turned me onto a great band from Brooklyn called Clap Your Hands Say GOMP. Anyway, Pudge thinks the whole thing is stupid, but the rock band Spoon wrote a song about him called "Boy Genius" for their forthcoming album. Tom doesn't think this is stupid and declares Pudge a bundle of contradictions. Pudge will get geared up for the interview by downing a Coke Blãk. He will let Tom know if he likes it, but he predicts it will be a stupid beverage. He parts with a fitting sign-off: "See you and stuff."
***EXCLUSIVE*** Thanks to Britt Daniel for the .mp3!!!! See you in March at SXSW, buddy!
Spoon - "Boy Genius"
- Jim from Scotch Plains 07090, another Waits mutant emerging from the woodwork, calls (starts at 48:48) with a lot more confidence than "Mr. Spoonman". He wonders why Tom is so mean to his callers. He didn't appreciate Tom calling Pudge out on his lack of convictions or his ill treatment of Tom Waits fans. He thinks Tom should have granted their song requests. Tom gets Jim to admit that his basic problem is that he doesn't like that Tom doesn't like Tom Waits. Tom promises to love Tom Waits from now on. The caller has a request of his own: he wants this installment of The Best Show Ever to be a 3-hour Tom Waits discussion. Tom warns him that if he's a fan, this is probably not something he would want to hear. Tom doesn't understand why Jim can't just accept that he doesn't like Tom Waits. Jim says it's impossible to dislike the guy, but Tom tries to defy the odds. He points out that his songs stink and he obviously can't sing, which would seem to qualify as legitimate reasons for not liking him. Jim makes an ill-advised attempt to change Tom's mind by mentioning Tom Waits's "Jersey Girl", which was covered by Bruce Springsteen. This is actually Tom's least-favorite Bruce Springsteen song.
Jim suggests that Tom may not be properly educated on Tom Waits since he plays many types of music, such as piano and guitar. Tom prefers to think of his stylistic range as simply "terrible" and "awful". Tom feels he's had proper exposure, purchasing several Waits albums that always end up in the trash. The much-revered Rain Dogs suffered this fate. Jim considers this one of the best Waits releases and wants other callers to back him up. Jim thinks the music Tom plays on the show is "trashy", so he believes that Waits would add some class to the playlists. Tom isn't sure that a millionaire pretending to be homeless while banging on an oil can will accomplish this upgrade. Jim disputes the charge, saying that Waits is a storyteller depicting the down-and-out plight of a homeless man. Tom says that Waits is doing phony character work just like Billy Crystal, but Jim says it's not the same because Billy Crystal sucks. Tom predicts that if Waits did Crystal's "jazzman" character on Comic Relief, Jim would be drooling all over it. Jim says he would and thinks Tom should be equally enamored of Waits. Jim accuses Tom of knowing one Waits album, but Tom attributes this to a thorough job of erasing all memories of him banging on a garbage can and raddyator like Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids band. Jim is not familiar with that band, but he's certain that Tom Waits don't play no raddyators.
Tom sings sha la la la la la sha la la la-GOMP to Jim for being a whole lotta awful. It's a rout: 41-14.
- An awesome caller (starts at 54:25) who didn't realize that the call-in number was changed four years ago can see Tom's point about Waits sucking. He does like some of his catchy rock 'n roll numbers, like one that was used in Fight Club. Since it appears in such an awesome movie, Tom cannot deny the track's greatness. The caller hopes Tom is not being sarcastic, but he's out of luck on that one. Tom wants co-conspirators David Fincher, Chuck Palahniuk, and Tom Waits to board a rocket ship ("I screama, you screama, we all screama for freeze-dried ice creama!") and get off his planet. While the trio prepares for their intergalactic exile, the caller is told to get off Tom's phone.
Tom Waits - "Goin' Out West"
- A caller chimes in (starts at 55:39) by citing the famous expression, originally attributed to Tom Waits: "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy." This is Tom's least-favorite saying of all-time. I IM'D Waits about this little gem:
[deleted a bunch of stuff about karate, voodoo, and the perils of roadside surgery]
swordfishtrombone49: So you liked that saying?
Omar: Oh, yes. It's very clever.
swordfishtrombone49: Thank you.
Omar: How's that working out for you?
Omar: Being clever.
Omar: Keep it up then ... Right up.
batouttahell: Hey guys!!!!
swordfishtrombone49: Bitch tits!
Omar: Ew, boy. Later skaters!
- A caller (starts at 56:18) doesn't understand why it's so all-fired important to people whether Tom likes Tom Waits. The caller enjoys his music, but accepts that Tom doesn't. He won't sell his collection because Tom's not a passenger on the Waits downtown train. Tom thanks him for bringing something that resembles sanity to the program. The caller is amused by the "resembling" qualifier. In the late, lamented FOT Chat, Rick_B pointed out that Tom Waits is similar to a religion -- people have to talk themselves into worshiping at his sonic altar. Tom essentially agrees, comparing Waits fans to wacko devotees of Apple products who proselytize to the masses about their superiority over the dreaded PC counterparts. Tom has a PC and a Mac and is able to work on both without any problems.
Tom returns to cinema and Sobchakingly draws a line in the sand: you've either in the Fight Club club or Magnolia club. You can't have it both ways. Tom is a member of the Magnolia club. Here's a question: what is the first rule of the Magnolia club? Here are some possibilities:
* Stanley's dad needs to be nicer to him.
* I will drop-kick those fuckin' dogs if they come near me.
* Strange things happen all the time.
* Respect the 'hrum, tame the vageen.
* It's not going to stop 'til you Wise Up.
* We might be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.
* It is not dangerous to confuse children with angels.
* NO GODDAMN REGRETS!!!!
Mike the Associate Producer opts for the Clerks II club, which meets once a week in an abandoned church basement in Red Bank. Tom saw him on the news last night standing outside of a Best Buy to be one of the first people to scoop up the new Clerks II and An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder DVDs.
- A caller who works at the Mobil station in Newbridge calls (starts at 58:50) to remind Tom about his Myspace policy, which states that anyone with Fight Club in their profile will be swiftly de-friended. The caller has plenty of time to prowl Tom's 1,999 friends to root out the offenders so he volunteers for the reconnaissance mission. Tom says that if he smokes out five people, he'll earn the honor of a spot in Tom's Top 8.
- A caller wants (starts at 1:01) to merge the discussions of film and Tom Waits. He feels that whatever one thinks about his music, he's done good acting work, especially in Jarmusch films like Down In Law. Tom agrees that he's done some good work, and the caller is relieved that Tom does not have a universal distaste for the man.
The caller also bumps and runs with a clever thing he read in print today. A writer jacked Stephen Colbert's stylee to say that the question is not whether Tom Waits is a great songwriter, but, rather, whether he is the greatest songwriter. The caller thinks Waits is definitely top-shelf, but he's not ready to get out the oils and anoint him the best ever. My pick for best songwriter ever? Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo. Is there anything this guy can't do? The new stuff I heard on his Myspace page sounded like the jazz-punk of early Bazooka, but with some interesting screamo elements. There's a rumor that he's going to sign a deal with In The Red in the next few weeks. He also did an uncredited rewrite of the script for The Pursuit of Happyness.
Tom ends the call with a sweet sign-off: "Thanks, honey."
- A caller asks (starts at 1:02) Tom if he's heard of divine intervention. Tom wants him to teach him about it, and the caller's curriculum consists of playing a clip of Tom Waits's "Pasties and a G-String (At The Two O'Clock Club)" through his cell phone from a tape deck in his car in a gas station parking lot. In a shocking turn of events, this causes Tom to finally see the appeal of his music. It's a miracle!
- A caller leads (starts at 1:03) with "Scharpling, what up?", and Tom wants to make sure that he is really going to talk to him that way. The caller thinks this is an appropriate greeting because he's called before and feels he and Tom know each other a bit. Tom says he will be the judge of that. The caller is Aaron, who unsuccessfully argued that Steely Dan were an actual rock band during the 8/22/06 show. With that in mind, it's no surprise that he wants to hear "Hey Nineteen" from Gaucho. Aaron has a little giggle fit, but he assures Tom that his request is dead serious. Tom asks him what appears to be a benign question about whether he owns the album, but Aaron wants to know why Tom insists on being so "Shockey Jockey". He thinks Tom is constantly trying to aggravate callers. Tom fails to see the correlation between not liking Steely Dan and Tom Waits and attacking people. Aaron says Tom doesn't have to like Steely Dan, but he does have to appreciate it for what it is. Tom says it is pure garbage, and the packaging for the albums is a waste of trees. Aaron counters by saying that Tom is always touting Jay-Z, but he doesn't want to listen to that and wonders what Tom even knows about rap music. Tom concedes the point ("Who am I to tell anybody anything?") and instructs Mike to pull some Steely Dan and Tom Waits records. Tom is particularly interested in Rain Dogs, which he's repeatedly tried to get into throughout his life. Mike discovers that it's missing from the WFMU library because they never replaced the copy that Tom destroyed.
- Dave Smith, the big bully* of the Danielson Family, calls (starts at 1:05) from Bristol, England, a week into their European tour. They've run into a few FOTs and spotted someone wearing a WFMU shirt earlier in the day. Dave says that the shows are going well and some of the British fans have been yelling and jumping around after they down a few pints. However, they've discovered that the European crowds generally tend to be a bit more standoffish and don't provide any feedback until post-show. They stare at the band like zombies/deers caught in the headlights when they are playing, but after the show, they reveal that they luvved it. I did hear that one fan told Daniel Smith that their 11/27 show in Brighton was "just a läff." I'm not sure if that's good or bad.
The lineup for the tour includes Daniel, Dave, Chris, and special guest John Ringhofer from the Bible-quoting Berkeleyites Half-Handed Cloud. Dave has to cut the call short due to low credit on his international calling card, but he is able to put out a quick All Points Bulletin for the safe return of their crisp blue uniforms, which were stolen in Belgium at a Trent L. Strauss retrospective they attended last week.
* He actually wouldn't hurt a fly.
- A caller says (starts at 1:10) that he flipped on his radio and was thrilled to hear someone talking trash about Tom Waits. He supports Tom 100% in his belief that his music is terrible. However, the caller also believes that Tom's priorities are out of place because he was talking crap about Steely Dan, but then gave Danielson, an equally crappy band, some airtime. Tom's points out that his priorities were apparently perfectly in line when he expressed an opinion the caller agreed with, but then if all fell apart when he strayed from the caller's beliefs. As a result, Tom tells him to flip off his radio. Tom then starts banging the equipment to get it to work properly.
- Aaron returns (starts at 1:11) to express concerns about the technical difficulties and wants some more details. Tom says that since he doesn't install phone systems into radio stations, he's not exactly sure. Aaron tries to improve Tom's mood by offering his friendship. He decided that Tom doesn't have to like Steely Dan, and they can agree to disagree. Tom rejects the olive branch (constructed with Peanut Chews, Philly-style) because he's right and Aaron is wrong. Case close -- Judge Davies has spoken! And whirred. Speaking of judicial decisions, Tom wants help in drafting up some Best Show Laws. He starts things off by putting two on the books:
1. The music of Tom Waits is terrible and unacceptable under any circumstances.
2. Respect must be paid to Ernie Anastos.
- Michelle, who appears in "The People's Theme", calls (starts at 1:13) to change the topic from Tom Waits to Thanksgiving. She and her family didn't eat much food, but overall, it was okay. Michelle recommends that Tom take more control over the show to thwart the Tom Waits callers and avoid the L. She thinks Tom should have issued a quicker dismissal of the anti-Danielson caller. Tom thinks she's right.
- Stephen in Chicago calls (starts at 1:14) to steer the ship in a different direction and get Tom's expert opinion on the most infuriating nicknames assigned to you by someone you don't really know. For example, Stephen has encountered an owner of a bike shop who called him "sport". He also doesn't like "champ" or "chief", but he can handle "captain". Tom thinks "chief" is pretty bad and adds "Pops" and "Matey", as in the traditional pirate greeting of "Ahoy, matey!" Tom wants Stephen to help him come up with another Best Show Law. Stephen thinks a little bit of politeness would go a long way. Tom likes it, so:
3. The callers need to be more polite to Tom.
- A caller gives (starts at 1:17) Tom the nickname "chief" and says Best Show Law #4 should be to rescind Best Show Law #3. Tom gets rid of him for being a wiseguy.
- A caller totally agrees (starts at 1:17) with Tom about Waits being a big phony. He's always thought that Waits was putting on a desperate, unconvincing act. Tom refers him to Best Show Law #1.
- Fronchie argues (starts at 1:18) that Waits is not a phony because he's making millions of dollars. Tom points out that the Insane Clown Posse also bring in a lot of revenue. The caller has violated Best Show Law #1, so Tom has to hang up on him. Tom dips into his Crameresque (so much better than Krameresque!) bag of tricks for a gavel-pounding sound effect to accompany the recitation of the legislation. Mike later remarks that it sounds like Tom is dropping an air conditioner out the window.
- Aaron calls again (starts at 1:19) to make his case for the 11th time, but Tom wants nothing to do with this sad troll.
- B from Brooklyn calls (starts at 1:20) to say he's enjoying all the Tom Waits "affectioniados" out there. He wants to know if Tom agrees that Eileen Brennan, Waits's wife, was pretty good in Annie. Mike yells from the other side of the glass that his wife is actually Kathleen Brennan. Eileen Brennan did in fact play Miss Hannigan in a production of Annie. She broke her leg (presumably obeying a pre-show directive) when she fell into the orchestra pit. Tom wonders how the show got to the point where he has to deal with incorrect Tom Waits trivia.
- A caller who used to be a volunteer at WFMU calls (starts at 1:21) to tell Tom about a dream she had last night. She was talking to Ken Freedman, WFMU station manager, while en route to the studio. They got on the topic of Bruce Springsteen, and the caller told Mr. Freeman that she liked some of his music. All of a sudden, there was dead silence on the other end for several minutes, just like now. Tom says that if he was having a dream this boring, he would have fallen asleep a second time. When in a waking state, the caller can only stand a few Springsteen songs, but she thinks Tom Waits is alright. Tom has to let her go because Best Show Law #1 does not allow for that.
- An aspiring stand-up comedienne calls (starts at 1:23) to find out if Tom Waits and Rickie Lee Jones were ever married. Tom's answer: nobody cares. If they were, the caller wonders how weird their children would sound when they talked.
Mike comes up with another Best Show Law: know why you're calling before you call.
- Cracker from Arkansas calls (starts at 1:25) to request Tom doing Tom Waits doing "Porcupine Pie". Tom denies the request.
- A caller brings up (starts at 1:25) Captain Beefheart, the implication being that Waits's strangulated vocals contain more than a soupcon of the Captain's growling blues and laconic ramblings. Tom likes Beefheart, which means that he can tell the difference between good and bad. In other words, Tom Waits is uniquely terrible. The caller wants Tom's take on the nickname "guy". Tom doesn't like it.
- A caller suggests (starts at 1:26) a Best Show Law involving Pete Seeger. Tom previously issued an open challenge to fight Seeger on any terms, such as a barefisted Tom vs. a Seeger armed with a banjo. If Tom is able to wrest the instrument from his clutches, he will beat him with it. The caller wants Tom to pick a winner in a Seeger vs. Waits battle. Tom hopes that they would fight near the edge of a cliff and both fall to their doom like Toad and Nubby atop Mt. Everest. Tom imagines that Waits would be dangling off the edge, and Pete Seeger would offer him the neck of his banjo to pull him up to safety. The caller also adds "old-timer" and "Gramps" to the dreaded nickname pile. Tom thinks this call is a momentum changer. The tipping point has been achieved.
- Bob from Memphis thinks (starts at 1:28) Tom should be more wary of Seeger pulling out the ax he used to chop Dylan's soundboard. Tom realizes that Waits is bringing down his first name. He's so confused that he mistakenly identifies Todd Rundgren as his first namesake. Tom is fine with Hanks, Cruise, Thumb, and Carvel, but Waits is ruining the Tom party. Tom tells Bob to have a good night and gives him the nickname "honey".
- Larry the Perv's son does (starts at 1:29) an impression of Petey doing an impression of Pete Seeguh. Whole lotta bad.
- John, a lobbyist from Ontario, Canada, calls (starts at 1:29) to float a trial balloon for a potential Best Show Law. At the risk of offending New Jersey residents, he wants to ban the music of Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. Tom is fine with it because he doesn't listen to Bon Jovi, and he's heard enough of The Boss to last three lifetimes. While this law didn't pass, if it ever gains traction, I'd add a loophole that allows Bon Jovi only in the indieblockedapella format.
- A first-time listener (starts at 1:31) wasn't sure if he was on the air because he expected some kind of fancy call wrangler to tell him that he was up next. Tom informs him that this is not NJ 101.5 with Jim Gearheart or Tom Leykis -- it's down home radio. The caller thought WFMU was a college station, so Tom tells him it's the station for the high school where he works as a Home Economics teacher. The caller doesn't want to offend Tom, but he says he thought he was listening to a "homo station". However, he discovered that Tom is actually pretty funny. Worst. Caller. Ever. Mark it! November 28th, 2006 at 9:36 p.m.
- The Myspace spelunker calls back (starts at 1:32) to say that he captured five fugitives who had Fight Club in their favorite movies list. He will send Tom the names of the guilty parties, so they can be exterminated. The caller says the hunt became addictive, so he may search for more. Be sure to check the henhouses. You never know what you'll find in those things.
- The street-cred-laden Bif calls from Short Hills (starts at 1:33), the most embarrassingly wealthy town in America. Tom believes the town holds the most nauseatingly pompous mall ever constructed. It caters to rich New Yorkers and features a helipad on the roof for customers who run shopping errands via air travel. Tom prefers to buy his clothing from the discount bin at WalMart. Bif also wants to know what Tom thinks about the Canadian funnyman Tom Green. At first, Tom says he's also bringing the name down, but he thinks he seems like a decent, harmless guy who survived cancer. He was very much of a time, and Tom admires him for sabotaging his career with such gusto in the form of the noir film, Freddy Got Fingered. Tom GOMPs the sicko caller for suggesting that there was some kind of dirty implication in the film's title.
- Sathington calls (starts at 1:37), sounding like he's been injecting anabolic steroids like Mark McGwire. He blames his altered voice on strep throat, which was exacerbated by working a 10-hour shift installing audio/visual cable. He thinks he might die because he doesn't have medical insurance. Tom doesn't want him to die. He proposes a Best Show Law, and while the first half was unfocused, the second half nails it: when you're on Tom's court, it's Tom's ball. Sathington also turns himself in for having Fight Club on his Myspace page, so Tom gives him 24 hours to erase it. Tom issues a Myspace bulletin to inform everyone of this deadline.
Tom is very excited about the release of Superman Returns DVD, which includes a three-hour making-of feature. Tom wouldn't even want to see that for his favorite movie ever. Sathington concurs: "Word."
Tom reviews The Best Show Laws:
1. The music of Tom Waits is terrible and unacceptable under any circumstances.
2. Respect must be paid to Ernie Anastos.
3. The callers need to be more polite to Tom.
4. Know why you're calling before you call.
5. When you're on Tom's court, it's Tom's ball.
Possible 6th Law:
* "If you like rock music, you can't like Steely Dan."
* "If you like Steely Dan, you can't like rock music."
The Message: singing and dancing penguins are weird
- Since some customers showed up at the area gas stations and the medication started taking effect, the Tom Waits callers fade away, allowing Tom to discuss (starts at 1:53) the 340-minute Australian penguin propaganda film, Happy Feet. Tom saw the film because he's co-writing a parody of it for the next corporate get-together. He contemplated leaving just three minutes into the film, which is the earliest he's ever gotten the feeling that it was time to run out of the theater. The film began with a shot of the globe, and then swooped down to the Arctic where all the penguins reside. As the title suggests, the penguins were singing and dancing to medleys of classic and current pop music, such as "Golden Slumbers" by The Beatles and "Kiss" by Prince. Tom thinks the film is not only weirder than Moulin Rouge, but it was also the weirdest movie ever made by George Miller.
A Marilyn Monroe penguin (voiced by Nicole Kidman) appears, and up on a hill, a penguin named Memphis (voiced by Hugh Jackman) starts performing an Elvis tune. The Monroe and Elvis penguins mated, and while Tom doesn't know much about nature, he's pretty sure that the male penguins kept the eggs warm while the female penguins slid around in search of food. At one point, the Elvis penguin has to scramble to retrieve an egg that rolls down the hill. When the warm weather arrives, the eggs start hatching, and Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) comes out tap dancing. He has a horrible voice, so he leaves the singing to the other newborns. His tap dancing was not well-received. One penguin started doing the Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five classic, "The Message". Tom was glad to see that the last ounce of importance of the message of the track has officially been run dry.
Mumble goes off and runs into a group of adelies with exaggerated Hispanic accents. Tom speculates that if Al Pacino came in doing his Scarface accent, the producers would have asked him to dial it up a little bit. One of these penguins was voiced offensively by Robin Williams. Tom wondered if it was nice to hear a diversity of voices not normally represented in an animated film. In this case, he decided it was a racist rainbow. Mumble has a few questions, so the adelies take him to Lovelace, their mystic penguin leader, also voiced by Robin Williams, who now unleashes an offensive black preacher voice. Tom thinks the Comic Relief guys are trying to instigate a Race War. Tom stayed because he had to see how it all ended. Mumble returns, but his dancing is still unappreciated, so he gets run out. He eventually causes an avalanche and gets mixed up with the humans, who are referred to as "aliens" in the film's penguin-centric worldview.
- A caller laments (starts at 1:55) that Maxim magazine keeps overlooking two great, bloody "guy movies": Zulu and The Wild Geese. Tom has no opinion on either film and thanks the caller for helping out with the Happy Feet discussion.
- A caller says (starts at 1:56) that the Borat film taught us that 84 minutes is a perfect length for a film. The caller liked the film, but Tom is still trying to shut it down because it made fools out of his beloved frat brothers. The lawsuit is moving forward, and Tom hopes to pull it from theaters and prevent its DVD release. Tom also recently discovered that Borat is a fictional character played by an actor.
- Jedediah from Danielson calls (starts at 1:57) from NYC to say it's about time that some Best Show law and order hit the books. He also saw Happy Feet and agrees with Tom's assessment. He couldn't believe how weird it was, especially the overriding message that human beings are idiotic and bad, while penguins are good. Jedediah jokingly suggests that the music was the film's one redeeming quality. Tom thinks the film made him hate music in general. Jedediah kinda liked the Prince song until he saw the film, whereas Tom is now soured on Stevie Wonder. Jedediah also detected an anti-religious undercurrent and some bizarre (false) idol worship. Tom wishes penguins were listening to the show tonight because human are not currently scoring well with him. Jedediah's 10-year-old brother had a much different take on the film, declaring it "awesome". Jedediah also reports that Freddy's wedding at an apple orchard on the weird turf of New Hampshire went well, despite some eccentric locals. For example, the obese owner would wear rainbow-colored suspenders and deliver donuts to their lodge at 3 p.m. Tom predicts a "Danielson Hates New Hampshire" cover story in NME.
- A caller (I'm pretty certain this was Aaron again) wants (starts at 2:04) to know if Sacha Baron Cohen did something to insult WFMU. Tom explains that he was victimized by Cohen's hijinks while serving as the designated driver for the RV containing his frat brothers. They were in the midst of one of their horseshoe loops around the country, and the incident took place in Montana. Justin alerted them to the foreign hitchhiker, so they pulled over and picked him up. The caller saw the movie, and he thinks it's incredible that Tom was in it. Tom had no idea about Cohen or his stable of characters when he saw the film with Mike Peters from The Alarm and the members of Cactus World News. He laughed it up until he remembered his previous encounter with Borat. The caller is skeptical, but Tom tells him to check The Smoking Gun to see his name listed on the legal documents.
Tom hopes to extract a $30 million settlement from Mr. Cohen and get the film pulled from theaters by next week. The callers thinks he's pretty cool, but Tom says he lied to them. Tom's head appears in the film, but he never signed a release form. While the caller thinks Cohen is really funny, he agrees that this is a messed-up situation. Tom isn't happy that that he turned his frat brothers into buffoons by doctoring the scene with looped lines they never said during filming. The caller believes this is an outlandish claim, but Tom is pretty sure that's what happened. He knows that Justin would never say some of that offensive stuff about women and minorities. The caller thinks the lawsuit is crazy, but he's heard that mad people are suing him. The caller thinks the Da Ali G Home Box Office series is comedy genius, but for Tom, it's simply Exhibit A for his case against Mr. Cohen. Tom was the laughingstock at Thanksgiving because his entire family started snickering when they realized that he appeared in the film.
Tom says he didn't realize they were filming because the producers told them that Borat was sick and the camera-like device was a breathing machine. The caller is torn because he thinks Cohen is a genius, but perhaps he finally took it too far. The caller sympathizes with Cohen because he does it in the name of laughs, but Tom points out that his life could be ruined when people can freeze-frame the DVD and isolate him in the scene. The caller doesn't see any malice in Cohen's work, which reminds him of the approach of Andy Kaufman, who runs Troma films. Tom wonders if he can still catch Kaufman's stand-up act, but the caller informs him that he's dead. He recommends Troma's Man on the Moon for an overview of the Kaufman story.
The caller also wanted to ask Tom for his top 3 favorite movies. Tom can only cite one: 2002's Capricorn One, an expose about the faked moon landing starring O.J. Simpsons. The caller thinks O.J. is toast, but Tom thinks he's making a comeback after a few unexpected bumps in the road. The caller calls O.J. is a jerk and thinks the If I Did It book is despicable. Tom doesn't like the name calling and wants him to take it back because that is not the kind of discourse that is acceptable on the program. Two wrongs don't make a right. The caller is stunned by the implications of the book, but Tom was just hoping that O.J. discussed his experiences making Capricorn One. I read it, and he does! I'm Tom's fact-checking 'cuz.
- A caller declares (starts at 2:23) the show BORING, so Tom wants to know what he could do to up the entertainment value. The callers suggests less yapping and more music, but not like the crap he just played. He'd prefer something like "Miss Gredenko", a deep, Stewart Copeland-penned cut from Synchronicity. The caller thinks most of the listeners would also be interested in hearing the song. Tom tells him to put his copy on because he'll never play it. The caller says Tom can't talk to him like that because he's a millionaire. He earned his riches by suing Kern Pharmaceuticals over their Peniscillin drug, which gave him flagrant night prowls. While taking the medication, he almost murdered an entire rock concert. He attended a free Sister Sheila show in the field where Newbridge Hosiery was located before it sank. He took the Peniscillin for obvious reasons, but fell asleep after the deal went down. While afflicted with a night prowl, he went to the concert site and started swinging a machete at the 8,000 people in the crowd.
As a result, he sued and Judge Davies awarded him a jackpot of $870,000. The caller was initially upset when Davies rendered his verdict because he thought that he was ordered to pay Kern the settlement amount. It was hard to hear with all the whooshing and thudding that was emanating from the bench. Tom is familiar with the problems that Davies has had in this area. The caller thought it was impressive because you couldn't really tell what was happening, but he recognized the face he was making from some of videos he's seen. Since getting the settlement, the caller has gone just over the million-dollar mark. He senses that Tom doesn't believe him, so he gets out his checkbook and confirms that his account contains $1,000,000,404. Tom assumes that he already had enough money to go over the top, but the caller actually had to sell everything he owned to reach the lofty status. He sold his house, his cars, and his Lhasa Aspso, Lonny. The pet was sold to Dog Days, a Westbridge dog petting zoo.
He also misses his fiancee, Carla. She left because she couldn't quite understand why he was selling off all of his possessions. Tom is siding with Carla, but the caller thinks it's every person's fontasy to become a millionaire. Tom agrees that everybody would love to have that kind of money in the bank, but it's not his fontasy. The caller wants to borrow Tom's car because his ran out of gas. He had to leave it near Lake Muck, a man-made lake that abuts Lake Newbridge. Tom is not familiar with this body of muck, so the caller explains that it's stocked with high-grade muck manufactured by Kern. He can't afford to put gas in his car because he's afraid that he'll drop below the millionaire threshold. Tom doesn't understand why he's so obsessed with maintaining his status and refuses to lend him a car. The caller says his rent is $50/month and his landlord, Mr. Prefontaine, is very strict about paying on time. He's currently living a lean-to behind where Foot Locker Grey used to be at Newbridge Commons. This is on the opposite side of the mall from where the old Lady Foot Locker was once located. Tom knows that Bryce lives in a lean-to in the woods in that area, and he's actually the caller's landlord. He finds him harsh, but fair. Tom thinks the whole situation is very disturbing, while the caller is disturbed by Bryce's policy on drinking. He won't allow any liquids in the lean-to, so the caller has to go to a designated "Wet Zone" if he wants a beverage. The "Wet Zone" is a drain pipe behind what used to be Colonel Jessup's Salad Plantation. The owners of that establishment split town in the middle of the night under odd circumstances. When they closed for good in 2005, they left big bags of lettuce, beets, and dry pudding mix, which are currently the caller's sole source of nourishment. The caller says consuming the lettuce is like eating dry leaves, but it's worth it because he can save money and remain a millionaire.
Tom wants to know the point of being a millionaire if it requires you to live like a pauper. The caller says one of the perks is that when he goes to Los Amigos, he can whip out his checkbook and impress a lady with the ultimate turn-on -- look what I've got, look what I am. Tom recommends making his money work for him by putting some of it into an equity that would yield a return. The caller tried that, but found that the investment statements are too confusing for the ladies at Los Amigos. If it's all in one place, they get it. The caller got a $22 parking ticket before he ran out of gas. He won't pay it because he can't dip. He also has to renew his license, which is another $25, so he may just sell the car to add another $1,000 cushion to his account. The caller thinks Tom is talking to him in a douchey manner, which is inappropriate because he signed the "Millionaire's Book". The caller thinks Tom is a clod for not knowing about the book. Right after the settlement, the caller was contacted by the gentleman who runs the Newbridge Millionaire's Society. He was told that he was entitled to all the rights and privileges afforded to millionaires in Newbridge after he made it official by signing the book. He went down to the office and gave two pints of blood. He's not sure why it was extracted because Werner never told him about that. Werner is also a millionaire (or, at least, he acts like one), but he doesn't live in a lean-to. He set the caller up with his Derby hat.
Craig Cooper from Radio Hut wants the phone back. He was on his smoke break, so he left the cordless out on the ledge. The caller says it's implied that he can use it as long as he sweeps up. Tom realizes that he's seen the caller hanging around outside of Radio Hut wearing a beat-up Derby hat, an original Foghat concert t-shirt, camo pants, and flip-flops. Tom says that he's also filthy, so he always assumed he was a poor, homeless man. The caller says he's not that filthy and claims to wash. He doesn't want Tom to ever forget that he's a millionaire and needs him to spot him about 100 clams to pay Werner for something he bought. He won't reveal his purchase, but he says that Bryce's new nickname for him is Frosty the Snowman. Tom now knows it's coke, and the caller needs more of it to prevent the snowman from melting. A loud snorting sound can be heard, but the caller isn't sure if he did a rail. Tom refuses to lend him money and wants him to get a part-time job to earn some money instead. The caller says he is already employed as being a millionaire. He also thinks it sounds like Tom wants to wake up one morning with a Derby in his throat. The caller says he can arrange to have Rutager do the deed. Tom will now have to watch out for a crime trio of Werner, Rutager, and Bryce, who is getting huge from binging on leftover food from Carol's Cupcakes, which closed a few months ago when its owners fled in the middle of the night. This is apparently a new trend among Newbridge retailers. The caller says Bryce will roll on top of Tom. He does another rail and reminds Tom to expect a Derby attack on his throat. This marks the first time in the show's history that Tom has been threatened with a hat.
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU: Tom reads an excerpt from his screenplay for the American Dad feature film, Jim Cramer calls to discuss the 2007 growth prospects for the undervalued TLRX, and a Coke representative reveals the company's plans for a new Coke Blãk-based drink called "The Harlem Shuffle".
When you walk through Newbridge
You gotta watch your back
Well I beg your pardon
Walk the straight and narrow track
If you walk with Tom
He's gonna save your soul
You gotta keep Werner
Way down in the hole