Welcome Back Carter (And Owen).
"Sounds like a culture clash!" -- Tom on the quality gulf between Japanese and American recorder construction
“I want him to get caught, but I just want to see him just beat the odds for 40 minutes." -- Tom, wishing for an airborne predator
"You want me to go after someone from Destiny's Child? You’re first, buddy." -- God, sorting out his pecking order and targeting Spike for damnation
"Can’t let some numbskull drive the bus. I’m driving the bus! It’s my show!” -- Tom, revoking the licenses of the Petes of the world
"Hey, man. I found out a way to travel in time. Wait, I’ll show you how, I just gotta change this guy’s oil. Hold on a second, man." -- Pete, struggling to find time to flaunt his new time machine
"He knew his place! Fourth place!" -- Tom on Roger Daltrey recognizing his standing in the band circa The Who Sell Out
"Mike, fetch me the Ringo Starr, please." -- Tom, sending Mike to the library with a regrettable verb
"Save that for your journal, buddy." -- Ted Leo, offering John Lennon some constructive criticism on his lyrics
"John Lennon broke The Beatles up! Not Yoko Ono." -- Tom, setting the record straight
"Oh, Sam. You’re not useless, your call was just pointless." -- Tom, reassuring a caller who recommended Petra Haden Sings:The Who Sell Out
"The gun is good, the penis is evil." -- Zardoz has spoken
"Boar’s Head -- they make a good wurst." -- Roger from NYC, engaging in a little lunchmeat talk
"Even her best moment was Photoshopped." -- Tom on the doctored image of Paris Hilton holding a copy of Trout Mask Replica
"What made you start with your sick parade of terror on my emotions?" -- Tom, demanding the truth from Owen, aka No Smokin' Joe
"Oh yeah, well, I guess I can let that one slide in my head." -- BeBe Williams, cutting J Dilla some slack on his Myspace friend maintenance
"It’s not the norm of the Norm." -- Petey, disappointed by an anomaly in Norm McDonald's comedy oeuvre
"I love those little guys." -- Aaron on the sinfully good Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers at Wendy's
"Check the third one out. It all makes sense.” -- Tom, recommending The Matrix Revolutions, which really tied the series together
"He’s like the dumbest of fans now given a microphone." -- Tom on fellow CSB alum Joe Benigno's improbably rise to radio professional
"What planet was that happening on?" -- Tom on the Sweathogs' fire escape drop-ins on Welcome Back, Carter
"Can you play something warm for me?" -- Philly Boy Roy, requesting some literally hott tunes as he waits in the cold for RB
"Larry Bowa, I coulda handled, but Mike Schmidt woulda probably thrown me for a loop." -- Philly Boy Roy on dealing with Philadelphia dreamscapes
"I've had to buy nine suits so far, Tom." -- PBR on the cost of making it at Krass Brothers
"Hey, Rock, let's go out to Lansdale for some fried shrimp." -- Philly Boy Roy's unappreciated Rocky Balboa riffage
Amy Winehouse - "Me & Mr Jones"
( Click here to buy Back To Black)
Slick Rick - "Children's Story"
( Click here to buy The Great Adventures of Slick Rick)
3rd Bass - "Steppin' to the A.M."
( Click here to buy The Cactus Album)
EPMD - "You Gots To Chill"
( Click here to buy Strictly Business)
Eric Barrier & William Griffin - "Lyrics Of Fury"
( Click here to buy Follow The Leader)
Clipse - "Trill"
( Click here to buy Hell Hath No Fury)
Wamp Wamp, annotated highlights of a show performed in classic Best Show pace:
- Tom interrupted the opening music set to hit the phones for another Best Show 90-Second Comedy Calvalcade!®, a fun homage to the “Morning Zoo” format. The obsessive millionaire who called last week returns -- presumably after doing a few rails -- with a rapid-fire recap of his strange tale:
He thinks the music Tom plays is boring, and Tom thinks he’s a jerk, but the caller doesn’t think Tom can talk to him like that because he’s a millionaire after winning a settlement from Kern Pharmaceuticals for $870,000. He then sold all of his possessions so he could become a millionaire, and he currently has $1,000,404 in his checking account. He needs to borrow Tom’s car because he ran out of gas at Lake Muck . Tom doesn't understand why he can’t buy gas with some of his cash stash, but he can’t afford to buy gas or anything because if he dips below the threshold, he won’t be a millionaire anymore! Tom thinks that’s nuts, and the caller has to go soon because he’s calling from Radio Hut on Craig Cooper’s phone, and Coop wants it back. He’s using the phone because he lives in a lean-to behind Newbridge Commons. Bryce Prefontaine is his landlord, and the caller eats the food that got left behind when Colonel Jessup’s Salad Plantation left the mall. He’s also addicted to coke -- Werner solid it to him and now he can’t get enough! He wants Tom to lend him $100 to get more coke, but Tom refuses to lend him money to buy coke, so the caller guesses that Tom is going to eat his Derby hat and calls him a jerk. The caller threatens to kill Tom. Tom has enough and says goodbye. Time's up!
Fresh Perked: A vintage -- and politically progressive -- advertisement for Folgers instant coffee
- Scott from Tokyo, Japan calls (starts at 27:50) to wish Tom a good morning. Mike the Associate Producer told him that his connection wasn't top-shelf, but he tweaked something to make it suitable for broadcast. Tom enjoys his commanding voice, which would be suitable for a Folgers coffee commercial. Scott attributes his authoritative tones to the distortion caused by the Internet telephony service, Skype. Scott feels privileged to be the first caller, and he inquires about the status of the troubled Best Show podcast. Since he's usually working when the show airs live, it's a treat for him to get the show in this format. Scott was one of the first two subscribers, and he wants to know what he can to do ensure that it continues to thrive. Tom says he should keep telling his Japanese friends to get on board to create some East Asia excitement for the show.
Scott says he moved to Japan primarily because he’s a rice junkie, but his wife is Japanese, so there’s that, too. He’s been teaching English for eight years, and he also does his own podcast, which documents his daily travails in this foreign land. Tom grants him some pluggage: Tokyo Calling. While he does tell stories, sing songs, and perform skits, Scott says he is not much of an entertainer, so he focuses on stream-of-consciousness riffs on life in Japan. The amateur musician also creates sound collages by playing a recorder on trains. Tom asks him if his recorder tooting drives fellow passengers nuts. Scott says that he does get weird looks when he talks into the instrument. Tom wants to know if any weird sounds are created when his speech is filtered through the recorder's windway. Scott says his digital recorder has a microphone that picks up all of the ambient sounds. Tom is surprised that he’s using a digital version of the instrument, assuming that this is a new Japanese invention that has yet to appear stateside. Tom informs Scott that Americans have to settle for blowing into $7 plastic versions of the instrument. This sounds like a culture clash to Tom, and he bids Scott "Ohayo". Scott opts for “Sayonara, sir”, which was a new one for Tom. Scott says that it translates to the English word, “Goodbye”. The other side of the planet remains mysterious to Tom with its digital recorders and exotic lexicon.
Rocket Pedophile: A child predator enjoys his last 40 minutes of freedom
- Jess from The Shamblers calls (starts at 31:53) to say you can find out more about her band by going to Myspace or the Internet. They have cultivated a growing fanbase in Bristol, UK after the Brits dug around Myspace and came to dig their folky covers of hard rock/punk, as well as their weird noise stuff. Jess hopes to shoot that British buzz back to this side of the Atlantic. She says she's heard their music described as The Carter Family meets noise rock, and Tom is intrigued by this sonic stew.
Tom wants to know if Jess has a liberal policy for adding Myspace friends. She says the band will add most people, but not the pornography chicks. Tom is also wary of these hott ladies with no content on their page other than some vague trait, such as “I like hanging out!” Jess points out that these suspicious vixens usually have two friends, and one of them is Tom Anderson. The weirdest erotic friend request I've ever received was from an "Airforce Amy". Other than Tom, her only friends were Brian Posehn and Jon Favreau. The only text on the page was the cryptic "It's Pumpkininny!". There were a lot of pictures of her lounging about in patriotic garb. We're hanging out next week. At a ranch. Just outside of Las Vegas. Anyway, Tom informs Jess about Tom’s arrest for allegedly exposing himself in a nursing home. Jess would have never guessed geriatric indecency since she pegged him as more of a predator armed with a case of hard lemonade, getting caught by Chris Hansen in the Dateline house as he stalked teenybopper prey.
Tom roots against the predator filth just like everyone else, but he also recognizes that the odds are very much stacked against them. They are sent into a trap, they chat with Hansen, and then exit the house to the gaggle of cops waiting for them outside. The guy has no chance. Just once, Tom would like to see the predator enter the house and go through all the formalities of his entrapment, but upon exit, he'd enable a jet pack and blast into the sky to temporarily elude the officers. Tom wants these cretins off the streets, but thinks it would be fun to see them beat the odds for about 40 minutes to an hour and marvel at the surprised reaction of the cops when they see their target head skyward. Jess proposes a very exciting addition to this scenario: the cops will try to battle the predator at his own aerial game by also strapping on jet packs. The second half of the show would then feature riveting chases scenes straight out of the science-fiction feature film, Minority Report, not to be confused with Air America’s The Majority Report, a failed radio show that Tom birthed. Tom apologizes for launching it, but does appreciate the job Air America did during the 2004 election to somehow decrease support for the Democrats. Tom and Jess agree on the following assessment of Air America: BORING.
Jess also wants to know about the plans for The Best Show
Christmas Holiday Season Meet-Up. Tom says it will likely go down after the 12/19 show. Tom softened the name of the event to avoid angering Mike, a diehard pagan who runs a Winter Solstice ritual on the PATH train. Jess wonders if there is something inherently spiritual about the PATH, but Tom isn’t sure since he’s never attended. Mike keeps bugging him to go to a service, but Tom doesn’t think that will ever happen.
- Spike sticks (starts at 38:37) with his new “Evening, Tom” greeting and chases it with his disturbing cackle. Tom asks how many unlucky people have heard his laugh as their last Earthly sound. Spike says it’s too numerous to count, but denies actually killing anyone because he doesn’t do murder. Tom wonders what would happen if cops suddenly broke into his basement apartment by puncturing his tiny window with their feet. Spike says they might get their feet yanked off. After telling Spike to get against the wall, Tom thinks one of the cops would remark about the overpowering mustiness and ask Spike if he's familiar with dehumidifiers. Spike says that he uses dehumidifiers all the time in his general living quarters, but not in the dungeon.
What’s new in the world of Spike? He won’t be wasting his money on Dreamgirls because he’s not a fan of Seance. At first, Tom wants to know what that is, but Spike says it’s a person, so Tom realizes that he’s referring to Beyonce Knowles using one of his clever nicknames. Spike says "whatever", but Tom tells him that Beyonce is actually her name. Spike thinks she lacks talent, but Tom tell him that she can sing and dance. Spike also wouldn’t waste his money on the equally talentless Snoop Kitty Kat. Tom takes a moment to unpack this pop culture reference and laughs when he realizes it’s Snoop Dogg. Spike says his moniker is appropriate because whether it’s a cat or a dog, one thing is clear: Snoop Dogg is an animal. Tom tells him that the lovable pimp appears wearing a Santa hat and holding a candy cane on the cover of the new issue of Rolling Stone.
Spike is deeply distressed by this, asking God to help us get through this publishing atrocity. Tom is baffled by Spike’s pious position since he reckons that Spike would not fare too well in God’s judgment. Tom predicts that if Spike ordered God to rid the world of Snoop Kitty Kat and Seance, The Lord would quickly determine that he was the weirdo with the dungeon. Rather than target a member of Destiny’s Child, Spike would be up first. Spike disagrees because unlike them, he provides a necessary service. He would explain to God that his work as a professional disciplinarian makes him a valued member of society. Tom pretends to be God, adopting a voice like Ted Knight ("My son has a certain … zest for living") with a touch of reverb. He ask Spike to account for his life and gives reasons for why he should be spared eternal damnation. Spikes tells Tom-as-God that he performs a service for the world, helping people by fulfilling their fontasies. God is not that impressed and has no choice but to doom Spike. After God issued his ruling, the Devil called him to say he wasn’t interested in Spike’s residency either. Spike says it’s mutual -- the Devil’s opinion means nothing to him. Tom thinks Spike will get kicked around from afterlife zone to afterlife zone like Elian Gonzalez trying to find a home. Spike remembers good old Elian, and Tom tells him that he recently appeared on VH-1’s Celebrity Paranormal. Spike watches VH-1 all the time, but he’s never seen this program. Gonzalez ran around a house chasing ghosts with Gilbert Gottfried, Traci Bingham, and Michael Madsen. Spike is familiar with Gottfried, but doesn’t know Tracey’s work.
While Spike will skip Dreamgirls, he does want to see Happy Feet and Baroque. Tom warns him that he if goes to a theater and says, “One for Happy Feet,” there will be a law enforcement presence surrounding him within seven minutes. As soon as he sits down, police will parade down the aisle to remove him from the screening of the kids movie. Spike is speechless and seems somewhat concerned. Tom wants to know what Chris Hansen is like, but Spike claims he’s never met the man. My guess is that he will at some point. I hope he’s wearing a jet pack when he does. A Spike chase scene! "Evening, Chris, you'll never catch me!" Tom’s heard about Burok, which is so current it only came out seven weeks ago. Tom wants to know if he’s also interested in seeing The Dukes of Hazzard, and Spike says he likes to wait a few weeks before seeing new theatrical releases. He tries to catch them just before they get shipped off to the second-run houses.
Spike will avoid The Gridiron Gang because he's not a fan of the lead actor. Tom tries to help Spike out with a nickname by suggesting The Stone, and then rewrites it to The Pebble. Tom is certain that The Pebble is the way to go, but Spike is unenthused. Tom doesn’t appreciate the dismissal of his fine punch-up work. Spike offers a last-minute observation that earns the GOMP: Lynn Samuels should run for President. Tom wonders if Spike calls Lynn Samuels’s Serious show to talk about him.
No New Year's Eve to Celebrate: Let's hope someone brings a Synclavier to the 2006 Cosby-Off
- Franklin Smith from Philadelphia calls (starts at 47:00) to find out if Tom has any plans New Year’s Eve because he’s inviting him to be a celebrity judge for the first-ever -- and hopefully annual -- “Cosby-Off” competition. They already snared three judges, so Tom would be the last component, joining former Temple basketball coach John Chaney, SNL’s Kenan Thompson, and Raven-Symone from That's So Very Typical of the Behavior I've Come to Expect of Raven. Tom thinks it sounds like a trap, but Franklin offers to pay him $1,500 for his duties. Tom wants to know where he is getting that kind of cash, so Franklin explains that the city of Philadelphia hires his organization and gives them the budget to put on various events throughout the year. This contest will be held at the 10,200-capacity Liacouras Center on the Temple campus, and Franklin admits that he’s not confident they will fill all the seats for the “Cosby-Off”. Tom agrees that it might be difficult to get people to watch other people do Bill Cosby impressions on New Year’s Eve. Franklin says the impressions are only one of four categories in the competition:
1. Best Cosby Sweater
2. Cosby-themed Rap Battle: "Jammin’ on the One"
3. Jell-O Pudding Pop eating contest with Takeru Kobayashi
The festivities begin at 5 p.m., so Tom could be back in Stink City at a reasonable hour. Franklin says he doesn’t need an answer tonight, but he just wanted to put the offer on the table. Tom will consider it, but wonders about the drop-off in celebrity caliber from the extant trio to him. Franklin claims that Tom scored high in an inter-office and phone polling. Tom calls Franklin a liar and GOMPs him. Franklin had a good bit going, but then lapsed into shenanigans instead of going out with dignity. Tom reminds listeners that The Best Show is not a joke program.
- Pete calls (starts at 50:21) and wants to know if Tom remembers him from last week, man. Since he said “man”, Tom remembers that he was the idiot from the gas station who couldn’t get it through his thick skull that Tom was not a fan of Tom Waits. Pete doesn’t want to talk about Waits this week. Instead, he wants to say that the previous calls were boring and that Tom’s Myspace page is ridiculous. Sayonara to Pete. Tom tells Mike to never let Pete through because he has no desire to endure being judged by him or his ilk. Tom realizes that the problem last week was that he entertained guys like Pete. Tom thinks that Gwenyth Paltrow was talking about Pete when she said that Americans were dumb. She likely heard a portion of last week’s show prior to the inflammatory interview. I confirmed with Paltrow's publicist, Bumble Ward, that she is indeed a fan of The Best Show. However, her FOT status created some marital discord after Tom urged Jay-Z to stay away from Chris Martin a couple of weeks ago.
Tom takes the blame for letting certain callers pollute the precious airwaves. He’s gotta move on. He can’t let some numbskull drive the bus. Tom’s driving the bus. Tom isn’t here to entertain some bottom-shelf pump jockey doing $10 of 87. Tom says it’s his fault for handing the show over to him because he can’t help how stupid he is. Pete has already called back, so Tom tells Mike to either hang up on him or speak his language by requesting $20 on Pump #3, and then making the “bing-bing” noise. Last week, dummies asked to put their grubby hands on the wheel while Tom was driving, and they suddenly yanked it to the right. From now on, Tom will tell them to sit down or GET OFF THE BUS.
- Mike is still arguing with Pete, so Tom puts him back (starts at 54:47) on the air. It was a short stay: Tom tells him to fill ‘er up and GOMPs him again. Tom makes it clear that he is not mocking gas station workers since he’s worked worse jobs than that. There were times when Tom couldn’t get a job at a gas station despite his best efforts. That being said, he hopes this specific gas station attendant gets his foot run over. Bing-bing. Squash.
- Tom got a very nice e-mail from a listener named Anne, who had a nice idea for a topic for the show. Anne said she would love to hear the best of the worst and the worst of the best. In other words, every good band, actor, writer, or inventor (!) had a bad day, while many obscure or horrible celebrities had their one or two triumphs. From Zeppelin to Trent L. Strauss, from Einstein to Sandler -- the low points of the greats, and the high points of the awful. Tom loves it, so the game begins.
- The first player offers (starts at 1:00) a bad movie featuring the pretty cool Orson Welles, who acted in it only because he was didn't want to dip below the millionaire mark. Worst of the Best: Trouble in the Glen (available only on garbage VHS). In this nonsensical Scottish story that somehow involves the Loch Ness monster, Welles plays a kilt-wearing local laird named Sandy Menzies.
Tom gives an example of the opposite scenario: a talentless person managing to trip over something great. Best of the Worst: Pete from the gas station somehow inventing a time machine. Tom imagines that he'd want show it off to people, but he'd have to hold off until he finished an oil change. I bet he'd also yell to his fellow Waits-head at the gas station across the street: “Great Scott, man. 1.21 jigowatts, man. This flux capacitor only runs if you play Mule Variations in the Delorean’s CD player, man. Don't give any of your gas to the Libyans, man!”
- Dickie Z calls (starts at 1:02), confirming that he's still using his self-appointed collegiate nickname despite Tom advising against it during the 9/19 show. Tom reminds Dickie Z that his school nickname was Too Cool, a burden assigned to him by his classmates. While it was enthusiastically revealed, Dickie Z's Best of the Worst had some factual issues. He’s not a huge fan of Marky Ramone, but his “graphic novel” changed his life. Tom’s confused. Dickie Z says that a couple of years ago, Ramone appeared on The Best Show to read an excerpt from this “graphic novel” (perfect for radio!). Dickie Z heard this on the podcast on the way home from school, and his life has never been the same. Tom was confused for good reason since the impact of this event apparently did some damage to Dickie Z’s memory. It appears that he was trying to tout Marky Ramone’s Lady Wainsworth’s Desires, a ribald and flowery romance novel that probably has some graphic content, but contains no images with its text. Ramone read the excerpt on the 1/31 show, and it was released by Scribner’s in February of this year. Dickie Z says he was glad to help out with the game, but Tom is reluctant to honor his supposed assistance. Bottom line: this was the quality of call we’ve come to expect from someone named "Dickie Z."
- A caller feels (starts at 1:04) like Tom Cruise in Cocktail. Tom feels like kicking him off the bus and does. He won’t get his hands anywhere near the wheel of Tom’s vehicle. Tom hears Mike explaining the show to some potential passengers and braces for the worst.
- A caller has (starts at 1:06) another Best of the Worst: jazzman Bob Saget’s version of the depraved classic joke in The Aristocrats. It made him laugh and almost respect him. Hearing Saget riff on this joke actually made me long for the relatively pleasurable Full House, especially the underrated third season. Coulier killed that year.
I got a fever! And the only prescription.. is the Chicago Transit Authority!
- A caller has (starts at 1:07) an easy musical Best of the Worst: Chicago Transit Authority, the not-bad debut album by the oft-maligned rock band Chicago. He follows that with more controversial Worst of the Best: The Who’s It’s Hard album. Tom is surprised since he thought that was the best. Tom prefers tracks like “Eminence Front” to stuff like Tommy. The caller thinks they went steadily downhill after Quadrophenia; Tom thinks they went downhill after The Who Sell Out, the band’s high-water mark, unbeatable front-to-back, top-to-bottom. Tom argues that this album succeeds because you had one guy playing GUITAR really loud, one guy playing BASS really loud, and one guy playing DRUMS really loud. It was an Outloud-Off (that’s a contest Tom would probably enjoy judging). The singer knew that he had a fourth-place role and made no attempt to compete with the surrounding rock din. He sang like a castrato. After that period, however, Daltrey became a titanium-throated bellower like Bob Seger on steroids trying to outloud his bandmates. Tom likes things in Tommy and Quadrophenia, but he’s not a big fan of either record.
The Who - "Eminence Front"
- Paul from Staten Island adds (starts at 1:09) another musical twofer. He thinks that his personal favorite The Byrds album, Younger Than Yesterday, contains what may be their Worst of the Best -- the David Crosby-penned “Mind Gardens”. Tom thinks the band had a lot of duds, particularly in the sketch Clarence White era. Paul's Best of the Worst is Berlin’s hott single “The Metro”. Tom delivers a stellar rendition of the track.
The Byrds - "Mind Gardens"
System of a Down - "The Metro"
- Professional rock star Ted Leo almost got the instant GOMP for trying (starts at 1:11) to be exciting with sheet-shaking Jim Cramer-style introduction. Tom established a substantial position in TLRX, and Ted says the band is exploring an IPO next year. Tom says that If they do it, Ted would get to ring the bell on the NYSE. Ted would let Big Steve ring it, which might finally persuade him add an ice bell to his kit a la Dale Crover. Tom recalls seeing The Melvins years ago and noted the precision of Crover’s drumming with the intermittent bing of the ice bell.
Ted recently discovered his Best of the Worst when he was driving and heard "It Don’t Come Easy", the debut solo single released by former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr. Tom thinks the Greatest Hits is a solid collection. This track boasts George Harrison on guitar, Tom's uncle, Klaus Voorman, on bass, and backing vocals from Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger. Tom also touts "Back Off Boogaloo", which he plays for Ted in the second music set. He instructs Mike to "fetch" him the Ringo Starr, and then immediately apologizes for using such a command.
Ted also has a Worst of the sort-of Best because he's not willing to go on record as a member of the John Lennon-is-best camp. However, based on popular consensus, he nominates the disbelief-ridden “God" from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Ted believes the song contains lyrics that should have been relegated to Lennon's personal journal. Tom loves the honesty of the record, but doesn’t really care if Lennon believes in Elvis Presley. He also mentions that while everybody gets on Yoko’s case about breaking up The Beatles, Lennon was driving the bus. He’s the jerk who had the idea to invite her to sit in on rehearsals. It wasn’t her idea.
Tom asks Ted how he would feel if Big Steve brought his wife into a session, and she sat down right next to him on the drum set while Ted was trying to polish off new tunes. Ted loves Big Steve’s cool wife, but he says that Tom is right. It would create a weird, detrimental vibe. Ted gives a release date of 3/20/07 for his Touch & Go debut called Living with the Living (a flute solo!). The title has dual meanings -- in one sense, Ted is saying that he’s choosing to live amongst the people while shunning the politically-extreme “death cults” obsessed with harping on the world’s horrors. On the other hand, it can also be a pain in the butt to actually have to mix it up with other live humans.
- Ranger Cordell Walker gets (starts at 1:17) Tom again, eliciting a muted snort of laughter with his frantic call for backup. He leaves to go incapacitate a bad guy with a roundhouse kick to the head. He tried to squeeze another call in at the end of the show, but it was utterly charmless.
- Sam from NJ calls (starts at 1:17) to follow up on the discussion about The Who Sell Out. He loves the album, including the cover art with the drummer [it’s actually Daltrey] bathing in Heinz baked beans. Sam wanted to recommend an album by a woman named P-e-t-r-a H-a-d-e-n who performed the entire album a cappella using multi-track recording. Tom is familiar with this lady and this album since he’s played it on the show many times. Sam didn’t know that Tom was aware of it, but he’s glad Tom's fan. He now feels useless, but Tom reassures him that his call was merely pointless.
- Jeremy calls (starts at 1:18) with a cinematic Best/Worst of the Worst/Best: Sean Connery in Zardoz. While this one could go either way for the public at-large, Jeremy believes that the movie brought out the inner goodness in the terrible Connery. Jeremy parts by reciting Zardoz's take on the relative merits of guns and penises.
- Roger in NYC stays (starts at 1:19) with film for a Worst of the Best of Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, and a Best of the Worst of Greg Kinnear in Little Miss Sunshine. Roger usually can’t stand the actor, but he liked his work in this indie laffer. Tom asks him if he ever saw Kinnear as a mailman in Dear God. Roger says he missed that one, and Tom nominates it for a third category: Worst of the Worst. Roger's third entry is a Best of the Wurst for the Boar’s Head meathouse. Tom gets his little wordplay, but Roger’s giggling indicates that he enjoys it more than Tom.
- Teeth Whitener wants (starts at 1:21) Tom to pick a Best of the Worst for the industrial rock 'n roll group, Nine Inch Nails. Tom can't locate a single second of good in the Reznor oeuvre, so he declares the entire catalog a nine-way tie for last. Teeth also challenges Tom to come up with some albums that rock HARDER than Raw Power. Tom said he would think about it and get back to him. The first three that popped into my head were Teena Marie's Emerald City, Dinosaur Jr's You're Living All Over Me, and The Decemberists' Picaresque.
- A caller plucks (starts at 1:23) a Worst of the Best from his beloved Melvins: Colossus of Destiny, a single live track consisting of unpleasant noises and beeps. Tom confirms that this is worse than the trio of solo EPs the band released in 1992. The caller thinks those are awesome, even the one done by Joe Preston. Tom also likes it.
Joe Preston - "Bricklebrit"
Dale Crover - "Dead Wipe"
King Buzzo (ft. renowned monologist/drummer Dale Nixon) - "Skeeter"
He also has a Best of the Worst: the image of Paris Hilton clutching a copy of Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica. Tom doubts the legitimacy of the image, but the caller holds out hope that the socialite heiress intentionally held the Don Van Vliet masterwork. Tom points out the sad, likely reality that even her best moment required graphical manipulation.
- A caller who lacks a firm handle on the concept delivers (starts at 1:24) a three-tiered entry with the best song by the best band (?) on a bad album, which may or may not be the band’s worst. His Best of the Worst of the Best (or something like that) is Deep Purple's "Burn", the title track on a really bad record with David Coverdale on lead vocals. The caller cites the guitar solo as being especially Best-y. Tom anoints the caller the Worst of The Best Show on WFMU for tonight, but nowhere near the extreme depths of the guy who thought WFMU was a “homo station” last week. Again: Worst. Caller. Ever.
Deep Purple - "Burn"
- Joe on the road in NJ calls (starts at 1:25) with the first culinary entry, giving Best of the Worst status to McDonald's. While they are the worst of the fast food chains, they have the best ice cream by far. Tom showed some restraint and did not openly court a vanilly cone. Joe then condemns cult fave Bruce Campbell with a Worst of the Best for his terrible Man with the Screaming Brain, which he co-wrote, directed, and stars in. Joe says that his Citizen Kane (I prefer to think of it as his Buffalo '66) is marred by a dead-end plot.
- A caller piques (starts at 1:26) Tom's interest with a Best of the Worst: Randy Newman is the worst, but Nilsson Sings Newman is the best because Randy is not singing and his songwriting is generally pretty good. The caller recommends the track “Dayton, Ohio 1903”, and Tom says he’ll check it out. Tom then wonders why people like Tom Waits and Randy Newman are so fascinated with vaudeville and want to board Pete’s time machine to return 1920s to sing songs. The caller had heard enough and hangs up on his own.
- Since the new game was going so well, No Smokin’ Joe considers (starts at 1:28) deferring his confessional until next week. Tom tells him to proceed. NSJ's real name is Owen, and he apologizes for making up his sick stories. Tom gives listeners the backstory of how this ghoul played him for several years with a phony quest to crack his smoking habit. Tom cheered him on, but they had a falling out after a communication mishap. Tom responded to an e-mail, but NSJ didn't receive it, and the glitch led him to reveal that he made everything up. Truth was on the doorstep, but he welcomed in the lies. Tom believes he was trying to inflict emotional pain, so he wants to enter the mind of a lunatic and hear Owen explain what originally prompted his sick parade of terror on his emotions.
Owen thought Tom was in on the ruse and knew he wasn’t completely on the level. Tom wants to know if he thought this was some kind of funny joke. Owen says he intended to educate the youngsters in Tom’s listening audience. Back then, he worked with a lot of young people who smoked. At that point, he had long quit after years of smoking two packs a day. After his father had an extended bout with lung cancer and died, Owen finally realized that he should not be smoking cigarettes. He believes breaking the habit was the greatest thing he ever did for himself. He was already calling the show and since he didn’t think he had much to contribute in terms of humor, he decided to concoct a fake nicotine battle to serve as an example for impressionable, adolescent FOTs. He hoped to inspire others to quit. At first, Owen thought Tom believed his story, but after a while, he was certain that Tom knew he was playing a character because he used his real name in e-mails. Tom points out that signing an e-mail “Owen aka No Smokin’ Joe” is not exactly a clear tip-off that the content of his calls was completely false.
Tom’s conclusion: he’s a demented sicko akin to the person who starts a fire so he can save the day and become a hero in gasoline-soaked clothes, gently sliding the offending can out of eyesight. Joe apologizes and says he didn’t mean to hurt Tom’s feelings. Tom accepts the apology and welcomes him back into the fold by his new name:
Boring Owen The Bore. From now on, he will use that name when he calls. The Bore says that he won’t call anymore, but Tom wants him to call. Tom wants to know how things are going over at Fox News since The Bore previously sent Tom a commercial he did with Sean Hannity. Tom made that up, but The Bore is so discombobulated that he goes along with it. The Bore does work in advertising, but his only connection to Fox is Fox Sports. Tom thanks The Bore for his nice call, but he still thinks he’s weird and would not trust him in a foxhole. He suspects that The Bore would shoot him instead of the attacking enemies. The Bore says he’s a nice guy and would never turn on Tom in a warzone.
While the No Smokin’ Joe saga has ended, I think The Bore still needs to come clean about his connection to the End Hungrr campaign. I fear it could be some kind of Travis Bickle situation.
- Mike (probably related to Mike the Associate Producer) offers (starts at 1:35) a palindromical Worst of the Best is the Best of the Worst that folds in on itself. He points out that Rush’s worst album, Presto, contains the awesome “Show Don’t Tell”. Mike says that he used to build Mike used to build palindromes in chorus class. I wonder if he sounds like Geddy Lee. That guy's voice is so high!
Open your eyes and hear the magic ... of ELO!
- John in Manhattan is stuck at work, so he calls (starts at 1:37) to lament the Worst of the Best Gene Kelly in Xanadu. He’s not a huge Kelly fan, but he deserved better than this oddball musical towards the end of his career. John thought it would be fun. It wasn't. Tom hasn’t seen it in awhile, but he recalls enjoying The Tubes. John's Best of the Worst is John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. John thinks that was pretty much it for Travolta other than maybe his work on the 1970s television show, Welcome Back, Carter. John wasn’t actually a fan of the show, but Tom has good memories of it, although he can’t remember who played Mr. Carter. John says it was Gabe Kaufman. Tom thinks he's right. Tom used to like seeing the antics of the“Sweathogs” gang, especially Arnold Horshack, who would always raise his hand in class and say, “OOOOOOHHHHH! OOOOOOHHHHH! OOOOOOHHHHH! Mr. Caaaarter …” like he was some old dowager. Horshack never stopped bugging Gabe Kaufman. Tom wonders what ever happened to Gabe Kaufman.
My favorite recurring line was when Freddy “Boom Boom” Washington would say “Hey there, Mr. Car-tare!”
- BeBe Williams calls (starts at 1:40) to find out how he can improve his status on Tom’s Myspace page. He is currently a friend, but he’s stuck on page 47, a long way from top anything. BeBe thinks he could probably whip together some kind of animation for the video contest, so Tom says that the winner goes straight to his Top 4. BeBe sets low expectations by suggesting that his entry will have smoke coming out of Tom’s head, his arms flapping as he flies into the air (what, no jet pack?). Tom gives him another option: wrangle 10 Myspace friends with Fight Club. BeBe likes Tom’s negotiating style. BeBe did some research and discovered two people on Tom’s Top 20 that don’t return the favor. He thought he could slip into their slot. The guilty parties are comedian Zach Galifianakis and J Dilla. Tom will straighten Zach out, but he has some sad news for BeBe: Dilla died from a rare blood disorder this past February. BeBe decides he can let that one slide. Tom commends BeBe for making some room in his heart for someone who died in their early 30s. Tom tells him to go hunting for what Sathingtron would soon dub “Clubbers”. If he can’t find 10, Tom says he’ll see what he can work out. BeBe likes that style.
Spike Petey checks in (starts at 1:43) with a Worst of the Best: Norm McDonald’s long-shelved and dated-sounding “new” CD, Ridiculous. Petey feels this is not the "norm of the Norm", and Tom tells Petey that he shares a love for wordplay with Spike. Petey's Best of the Worst hits a bit closer to home. He thinks cats are generally the worst because they smell and suck on your bedcovers. However, his two-year-old cat is the best, and it’s been missing for eight days. Petey thinks an FOT may find her prowling around some town. Maybe she’s on Muffler Row, leading Rev. Ken Miller into The Love Nest. Tom hopes for her safe and speedy return.
The family found the feline jumping around at the train station, and Faffer picker her up. She bit him on the finger, and he took her home. Petey thinks the cat may hear the show with her powerful cat ears, but Tom thinks a better strategy would be to put a picture of the cat on his town’s website. Petey will do that, and he also gives a very specific description: a grey tabby with four legs and a tail. Tom is sure somebody has already located the animal. Petey announces that he will be entering the video contest. He offers to reveal his plans, but Tom prefers to be surprised.
Power of Voodoo: Jump magic jump, junk in the front
- Aaron from Salzberg, NY, calls (starts at 1:47) to say that the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers at Wendy's are the Best of the Worst. Tom doesn’t partake of such fare, but Aaron loves those little guys. He usually just eats one per session, but when he’s really falling victim to the cravings, he’ll hit Wendy’s three times per week. Dave Thomas and the little cartoon Wendy’s call to him. He can’t resist the sireen call, so he guns it right over and smashes it up. Tom wonders if it’s weird working in a fast food restaurant and then going straight to another one for dinner. Aaron says he doesn’t work at a fast food eatery. He got fired.
His Worst of the Best is David Bowie’s “Magic Dance” sequence from The Labyrinth. Aaron was offput by seeing the mercurial singer toss a baby in the air while wearing man-tights that reveal his frontal junk.
- Jeff from Westfield calls (starts at 1:49) with a nostalgic The Best of the Worst: The Cure’s Disentegration. As a teen, Jeff thought he was a fan of the band, but it turned out that he only liked the embrace of that one album’s comforting sadness. Teenage angst paid off well, but now he’s bored and old(er) and listens to the Mountain Goats. Tom is also a MG fan, and Jeff says that he heard that mainman John Darnielle is a supporter of The Best Show. Tom doesn’t know if that's true, but if it is, he salutes him in return. Sadly, this is not the case. Earlier this year, Darnielle told Pitchfork that he only likes “Morning Zoo”-style radio with goofy voices and thinks Tom should play more death metal bands like Doctor Stupid instead of all the boring stuff he usually spins. Hail Satan!
Best of the Worst: Mal Evans on anvil!
- Alex, a bartender from Flatbush, offers (starts at 1:50) The Beatles’ excruciating “The Long and Winding Road” as their Worst of the Best. Alex recently got into a long argument with a customer who insisted that the band never recorded a bad song. Tom’s pick for worst is “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, and Alex says he's also not so hot on “Eight Days A Week”. Tom returns to Abbey to throw out “Octopus’s Garden”. Alex counters with “Piggies”, featuring a very angry George Harrison.
Alex's Best of the Worst is the original The Matrix, the best Keanu Reeves movie. Alex didn’t even see the third one because he was too disgusted by the sequel. Tom recommends checking it out because the whole series comes together and makes sense. After Alex hangs up, Tom admits that it doesn’t make sense. He tricked him! Alex probably put it in his queue!
- Jack in Bloomfield lets (starts at 1:52) Tom guess his Worst of the Listenable WFAN hosts. Tom writes it down, and he gets it: Joe Benigno. Benigno started as "Joe from Saddle River", a regular caller who ranted about The Mets, among other things. He then got his first taste of the studio by winning a contest for an overnight guest host spot, eventually parlaying that into a legitimate radio career. Tom gives him credit for running the gauntlet like Whoopi Goldberg in Eddie and declines to put him down because he’s a fellow graduate of the CSB. Tom wasn’t in Benigno class, but he did graduate with WFAN reporter Sweeney Murti. Tom does flick a little jab at Benigno by comparing his radio show to the dumbest fan talking into a live microphone. Jack reminds Tom of Benigno’s heist of Chris Russo’s elongated “and”, morphing it into “of course” when he plugs the show following him.
Tom points out that there was a feud between Mike Francesa and Benigno. This created a dilemma for Tom because he had trouble deciding which participant he hated more. In the end, he hoped that they would both get into a shoving match and somehow kill each other. Tom thinks he hates Francesa more because at least Benigno’s a slob from the streets like him. Francesa acts like he’s the self-appointed dean of sports, WFAN’s answer to Robert Christgau. But for the Jets instead of music.
- Vinny in Morristown 07960 calls (starts at 1:57) with a correction and update on the lead actor in Welcome Back, Carter. He says it’s actually Gabe Kapland, who is now a professional poker player. Tom wonders if there will ever be a Welcome Back Carter reunion. Mr. Woodman, the bitter, Sweathog-averse principal of Buchanan High, always drove Tom nuts because he was constantly on Carter's case about his teaching methods. I thought John Whiteman was excellent in the role. Vinny explains the history between the two -- Carter was the original Sweathog and had Woodman as a teacher back in the day. Tom also liked how the Sweathogs would show up unannounced on the fire escape for the apartment that Carter shared with his wife. Tom concludes that these visits must have been occurring on a different planet because it's completely unrealistic that Carter would give his student the eternal greenlight to stop by his residence. As unbelievable as that may be, the notion that the desired method would be to climb up the fire escape and stare through the window sends the scenario into space. The last time Tom saw a student visiting a teacher on a fire escape was in Class Of 1984. Violence ensued.
RB: Rocky Balboa comes out of retirement to make Mason "The Line" Dixon eat his hat
- Philly Boy Roy calls (starts at 2:25) to request a song that will warm him up as he stands outside of the Ritz 5. Since Tom's a hopeless Philadummy, PBR explains that this is a movie theater on Walnut Street. He's waiting for it. RB. Tom knows what it is, and PBR wants him to say it: Rocky Balboa, the sixth installment in Stallone's fight film franchise. The film comes out on Christmas Day, but PBR has been on line since the day after Thankstakin' to ensure a good spot. Tom is eager to hear about some of the elements of this new Ziegler tradition. In a nutshell, there's really only one element: the family goes from dark house to dark house on the third Thursday in November to reap the bounty that's meant for them. The bounty is reaped by entering the houses vacated by people visiting relatives for Thanksgiving. Tom interprets this as the criminal act of breaking into someone's house, but PBR prefers to say that they are just "getting" into the homes with a credit card. Tom thinks this sounds like they are picking locks, but PBR prefers the term "sliding". After they slide the card through the door, they enter and begin foraging for the cornucopia of Tastykakes, CDs, and stereos.
Tom argues that this is robbery, but Roy, Jr. told PBR that he had a dream in which Phillies slugger Mike Schmidt informed him of a passage in the Bible that anoints the Zieglers as the chosen people, granting them permission to loot their neighbors. PBR asked his son why Schmidt didn't come to him, and Roy, Jr. told him that he couldn't handle it. PBR admits that while he could have handled a vision of Larry Bowa, seeing Schmidt in a dream would have thrown him for a loop, perhaps causing him to short circuit. PBR says the worst part about standing outside is that he's not even the first person in line. The pole position is currently held by Center City Sid, the same guy who edged out the Zieglers for Invincible. Center City Sid beat them out by a mere five minutes, and PBR has been holding his place since the day after the day after Thankstaking. PBR doesn't like it, but he has no choice because CCS has seniority over him.
Tom doesn't understand why PBR is lined up a month in advance because you can get a pretty good seat for any movie on the day of the show. PBR says this film is different because its release will be a holiday in Philadelphia. Tom argues that Christmas will take precedence over the film, but PBR thinks Tom's nuts. Some people think PBR is nuts for the outfit he's wearing outside the theater. He and CCS had the same idea: boxing trunks, tube socks, boxing shoes (Converse high-tops), and boxing gloves. However, CCS is far more prepared for the climate. He added a down-filled robe to his ensemble, while PBR went shirtless. Tom locks in on this image and discovers that PBR is wearing Rocky-style satin shorts that barely fit because he got them when he was 18. PBR hopes he can hold out another 20 days, but it's getting tougher to withstand the adverse conditions. The worst part of the ordeal is when PBR has to go to the bathroom. The closest facilities are in Krass Brothers, a menswear shop. He'll run over there, but there's a cost since Krass don't let youse use the toity if you're not a customer. Every time PBR wants to make, he has to buy something. He's already purchased nine suits, including four today because he had some problems with a cheesesteak that Roy, Jr. brought him. PBR says that the cheesesteak tasted weird, not unlike the taste you taste just before you got to the Tower Theater to see Blue Oyster Cult. Tom has no idea what he's talking about, so PBR explains that the same taste results from taking something that makes the colors change as you ride the wave of Buck Dharma's guitar solo in "Joan Crawford". PBR thinks his own son dosed him with "health tabs" that he made in the basement. The speakeasy went under, so Roy, Jr. has converted it into a drug laboratory. PBR vows to talk to him about his behavior.
The worst part of the bathroom arrangement is that PBR hasn't even worn a suit since December 17, 1989, the day The Hooters got dropped from MCA. He suited up like the rest of the city out of respect for this day of mourning in Philadelphia. Tom finds it hard to believe that the grief was that widespread, but PBR says it was almost as bad as when Robert Hazard got dropped from RCA. PBR recalls the experience as being bittersweet, which is what he's expecting from Rocky Balboa. It's the last one, plus PBR attended an open casting call, got a callback, but ultimately did not land the role of Rocky's corner man. PBR riffed on some great off-the-dome dialogue, but Stallone's handlers thought he was too overpowering and might dwarf the star. The riffage included a warning about the walking into certain death: "Hey, Rock, douse youse wanna go down and fight this guy? He's gonna tear your head off, youse don't wanna do that!" PBR also read lines in which he asked Rock to attend an REO Speedwagon show at the Spectrum and eat fried shrimp in Lansdale. Tom thinks he might know why he didn't make the cut. PBR offered to serve as the film's dialect coach to ensure authentic local accents, but they told him to take a hike.
PBR actually heard that Rocky Balboa will not be the final chapter. His sources says that someone close to Rock dies in the film. Rocky himself will also perish and then be reincarnated as Burt Young's son in Rocky VII. In that film, he'll throw Paulie into an open furnace, possibly as retribution for him tossing the turkey onto the lawn in the first film. PBR is also still mad about that incident and thinking about it makes him want to punch stuff. A possible target is the cop horse who just took one on his boot.
- SathingTRON calls (starts at 2:42) with a story about his viral computer that has been randomly restarting itself. While listening to the show, an impromptu reboot occurred, so he was forced to lunge off his bed and run to the radio to throw it on within seconds. Tom appreciates his devotion to the program. SathingTRON wants Tom to guess the item he won on eBay. Tom goes with a chair, pillow, and pen-and-paper set, but it was actually a six-string electric banjo, which he hopes to use as part of the reunited Von Scharpling (the lineup will not contain Captain Jack). Sathingtron also found another "Clubber" in Tom's Myspace friends roster, and he's convinced that the genocide is nearly complete.
- A guy who was on hold for 20 minutes screams and hangs up. Tom takes this as evidence that we're living in a sick, sad world.
- Tom discusses (starts at 2:47) his annoyance with ubiquitous television commercials for businesses that are nowhere near him. For example, Tom has been seeing advertisements for Sonic's new Fudge-Gingerbread Brownie Blast, even though the closest outlet to him is in Atlanta, Georgia. I guess Tom will have to settle for The Fudge Tub's fare. There's a rumor that the proprietors of that shop recently fled in the middle of the night. Tom also saw a commercial for Peppi's $5 all-you-can eat pizza and soda buffet. Tom likes pizza and soda, but he'll have to fly to Texas to take advantage this offer. Tom doesn't like having these tasty, faraway treats rubbed in his face.
- Pete calls (starts at 2:49) to apologize for all the havoc he's caused Tom. He also wanted to give Tom a heads up on a BIG, non-Waits, full-show discussion he has planned for next week. He denies Tom's request for a teaser, though he promises that he won't BOTHER him. Tom speculates on some kind of rotating cast of characters that work together on these bits. I am officially declaring this collective the Undergroundlings. Pete has somehow suddenly become Tom's favorite caller, and he can't wait to hear the topic he claims will dominate next week's show. Tom's prediction is a discussion of the nuances of chocolate milk stirring.
- Ted Leo returns (starts at 2:52) with a Tom/Ted on ... entry. He got confused by Mad Money, so he switched to a National Geographic special on the chupacabra. During that show, there was a commercial about Monster Fish, so Ted wants Tom's take on sport fishing. Ted thinks it's a lousy fate for a fish to live peacefully in the ocean for 100 years only to end up on some dummy's fishing line. Tom thinks the fishing enthusiasts need to lay off these plump, elderly sea creatures instead of capturing them for laffs on ESPN2.
- A caller declares (starts at 2:54) the show a W (duh, it's a rout) and offers regards to his friend Brad, who is stuck in his parents' basement after getting a DWI. Tom doesn't feel sorry for this new drunk driver and offers no salty salute. He thinks he should have had the caller pick him up. This was impossible because the caller was in Milwaukee, while the the dope was in Chicago. Tom points out that cabs are plentiful in Chicago.
The Kid bounced back like a champ and celebrated by drinking a bottle of room temparature Trump Ice pure spring water.
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU: Pudge chimes in with a I 'unno like I guess maybe it's you know the Best of like the Worst or something and stuff?, Pete calls from 1955 to play a scorching version of "Whistlin' Past the Graveyard" live from the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, and Gabe Kapland offers some tips on playing No Limit Texas Hold 'Em from the short stack.
Raw Power not bringing it hard enough for you? These Gas Station Superdogs should do the trick:
If that didn't work, try a little blast from leather-clad Oneida roadies, The Big 3!
Sorry, "Stompbox" ...