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Under Pressure.

"Can't do it. Can't do it tonight. Can't do it. [whimpers, moans] I'm scared. [brief cry-moan] I can't do the show tonight. [Cowardly Lion sound] I'm scared. I don't wanna do the show." -- Tom, shortly before breathing easy, getting on the ride, and believing that he can do the show just like any other DJ!
"You could set the atomic clock to Michael Anthony's bomp bomp bomp." -- Tom on the portly bassist's trademark reliability
"It shouldn't be a question mark where people can go to help out ?" -- Tom, recommending a landline for all charitable requests
"I've been busy." -- August, explaining why he hasn't called the show in several months
"Is there a way both of you could lose this feud?" -- Tom, rooting for no winners in the Piven-Dorff jerk-a-thon
"I thought that sounded terrible. That was some of the worst advice I've ever given." -- Tom on his proposed letter to a caller's long lost friend
"Sounds like he might've been for the Natzis. Did he have a Swasticker on his jacket?" -- Tom, questioning the loyalties of an eccentric World War II veteran
"It is high, it is far, it is gone ... Happy the Clown!" -- Tom via John Sterling, delivering the home run call
If Billboard had a section called "Disturbing", that guy'd be the High School Musical of that chart." -- Tom, sending a scatalogical caller straight to #1
"That was the coldest thing I've ever heard!" -- Tom on August's pacifist rejoinder to Petey's call to arms
"So it requires minimal brain activity?" -- August, assessing the intellectual demands of Breakout
"I wouldn't want that maniac in my pizzeria at 5 in the morning." -- Tom, denouncing a bread truck driver who accused him of running a hypocritical contest
"Get outta the house and make some money, you fat loser." -- Jennifer Schwalbach-Smith, ordering her husband to get an acting job
"He's one of the most uncool guys I've ever seen." -- Tom, exposing the myth of Funzie's coolness
"Wait, Orlando Jones wasn't good in a movie?" -- Tom, expressing disbelief that the noted thespian stunk it up in Primeval
"I mean, dude, you gotta pep it up a bit. If you're a broadcaster, you gotta be more alive." -- Toilet Mouth McGee, trying to tell The Kid how it's done
"I can feel it. He's got what it takes. He's just stupid enough to latch onto the show and not realize that he's just a complete dope and we're laughing at him." -- Tom on the fate that awaits Mr. McGee
"Oh, you just bought Dore-itos. Oh, you're so much better. That's the Artie Lange of food you just bought." -- Tom, judging those who judged his Beer League rental
"Artie Lange, don't you love the dude? I mean, the pinnacle of American civilization as we know it." -- Captain Jack, placing the comedian atop the cultural pedestal
"The best you could do is be just a little bit worse than The Best Show!" -- Tom, providing the only option for would-be challengers to the throne

[TBSOWFMU - 1/23/07 / Podmirth [Subscribers = 61 -- WHO QUIT?!] / Video Contest Entry of the Week / Myspace / Fotpedia / Headquarters / S&W]

The Rolling Stones - "Jigsaw Puzzle" (apologies to Charles R. Martin)

( Click here to buy Beggars Banquet)

Big Business - "Hands Up" (from the forthcoming Here Comes The Waterworks)

( Click here to visit their Myspace page)

Tralala - "Yellow Taxi"

( Click here to buy Is That The Tralala)

Pezband - "On And On"

( Click here to buy Laughing In The Dark)

The Ponys - "Everyday Weapon" (from the forthcoming Turn Out The Lights)

( Click here to visit their Myspace page)

The Buff Medways - "A Distant Figure Of Jon"

( Click here to buy Medway Wheelers)

Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun:


Did open-phone Tuesday action return to the program? Of course not! It remains filed next to the brontosaurus and Michael Anthony playing on the Van Halen reunion tour. Edward Van Halen is currently insane, so he’s determined that it will be a good idea to have his 15-year-old son, Wolfgang, play bass in front of millions on the =VH= reunion tour. Tom thinks Eddie is not showing proper respect for his son by sending him into certain stage death. Wolfie's only been playing the instrument for about 1.5 years, but Eddie says he’s great. He trained exclusively with Wizzard at last year's Jefferton Bass Fest. The new issue of Bass Player (the one with John Entwistle on the cover) reports that The Wolfman can hit the rare low G. Tom believes that you simply cannot question the value of the bomp that the plus-size Michael Anthony put into Van Halen's sound. He didn’t really do much else, but he brought the necessary bomp. The bomp was so reliable that one could use it to properly calibrate the atomic clock.

Tom considers Anthony a crucial band member because his bomp-bomp-bomp was the calming throughline that navigated David Lee Roth’s vocal pyrotechnics, Eddie’s eruptive shredfests, and Alex’s double-bass stickwork. Since Anthony is famous for his Jack Daniels-style bass, Tom wonders what kind of beverage Wolfgang’s bass will mimic. Tom speculates about a vitamin water- or POWERade-shaped bass, but Mike the Associate Producer believes the young musician will opt for a sippy juicebox model.


Tom vows to talk to anyone brave enough to call pre-topic. He issues a challenge to any listener: if you think you can deliver just on your own merit, you are welcome to call and see if you got what it takes. You gotta be good, and you gotta bring it. Tom notes that Spike has been MIA since the end of open-phone Tuesdays. Perhaps he realized that his tired doo-wop and slasher riffs have also gone the way of the sitcom Head of the Class and Tice's Farm (that's an inside one for the north Jerseyites).

- Evan from Montclair calls (starts at 32:30) to take Tom up on his challenge. He thinks that he's likely the most recent podcast subscriber, so Tom welcomes him into the 61-member family. The Best Show podcast lands in your iTunes box every week thanks to the great work of bookem_dan-o. The Hawaii-based FOT's recent one-year anniversary went briefly uncelebrated, but was quickly and appropriately hailed.

Evan needs to get one of those iPods, but he's hesitant due to the price points and their uncanny ability to break. Tom is amazed that Apple is riding the uncool our-stuff-breaks-so-just-buy-a-new-one business model. He can't imagine the public outcry if a refrigerator manufacturer tried that s in the 1950s. Evan imagines a similar level of disgust if GM used that kind of marketing campaign for the Chevrolet Bel Air. Tom thinks this is a symbol of what is wrong with the world. While he doesn't want to get all Roger & Me, he may have to visit the iPod factory in Korea Battle Creek, Michigan while clutching one of their broken devices. Tom's iPod is still functional, although he doesn’t have a fancy video iPod because he doesn’t want to pay $4 to watch Lost on a 1” screen. I don’t recommend watching Lost on any screen. ZING! Lindelof and Cuse, you just got zung by Omar, sons.

Evan wanted to know if Tom would be doing either a State of the Union prelude or some counter-programming. Tom is not familiar with this State of the Union thing. Evan explains that the President is making his annual speech to the ovation-happy Congress. Tom wonders if Bush ever shuts up since he bored everybody 10 days ago with his Iraq troop surge shenanigans. Evan thinks he could have just merged the two speeches and only pre-empted regular programming for one night. Tom was not pleased when Bush bumped The Knights of Prosperity all over the place. Tom put the Iraq thing on because he wanted to give the benefit of the doubt to the man he voted for twice. However, he only voted for him in 2004 because Kerry was a confusing flip-flopper. Tom wasn’t happy with Bush when gas prices soared, so he supported his impeachment. When gas prices fell, Tom was back on the Bushwagon, but after an uptick, he’s leaning towards impeachment again. Prior to the Bush coming on the air, ABC World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson reviewed some bullet points in advance of the speech. Tom then watched as Bush proceeded to take 25 minutes to repeat everything Gibson just summarized in one minute.

Tom argues that the quality of television has never been better, so Bush should interrupt movies instead. Evan thinks it would be reasonable to air the speech on one channel, not unlike the Super Bowl and other major televised events. Tom would like to see all this content shifted to The Politics Channel. It already exists! This would allow people to watch the primetime speeches and let Tom get his George Lopez fix. Evan and Tom discuss a potential State of the Union channel. All SotU, all the time. The network would fill the thousands of hours of time between a live address with vintage speeches from Jimmy Garfield, Abraham Lincoln, and Wink Brylowski. Tom would check in on that channel. He would not, however, download State of the Union speeches on iTunes.

Speaking of Charlie Gibson, here’s a few tidbits that are rarely talked about because of The Anchorman’s Code that Brock Peuchk mentioned last week. Gibson and Charles Osgood started the Twin/Tone record label. At the time, Gibson was a booker for 7th Street Entry while doing some freelance journalism, and Osgood's son, Chris Osgood, was the vocalist/guitarist for The Suicide Commandos. The duo were also known for their extreme snobbery when anchoring the counter at Oar Folkjokeopus. They once reduced a female customer to tears after she inquired about a Green On Red record. Gibson eventually fled to New York after a torrid romance with Kat Bjelland went totally sour. Charles Osgood, who is also a gifted pianist, assisted Bob Mould with the production of Soul Asylum's Made To Be Broken. By the late 1980s, Osgood left the scene to devote more time to his news commentaries, but he did attend the 2004 benefit show for Karl Mueller. Dig around the archives for his report, which included some wild Hart-Mould gossip.

that dog - "Minneapolis"

Soul Asylum - "Tied To The Tracks

Evan references Tom's trip to Montclair to see The Queen, and he wonders if Tom was squeezed between the elderly in the second row. Tom sat behind some 70-year-olds, but he refuses to throw the old-timers under the bus. These elderly cinephiles help the advanced town provide what Tom calls "a little taste of New York." Evan's lived in Montclair for a couple of years, but he still hasn't adjusted to its culture. He does, however, enjoy the Montclair Book Center, which trounces anything you can find in Kearny or Lyndhurst. Tom also likes the classic Blimpie in that same area. He advises Evan to show proper respect to this Blimpie, which offers a superior sandwich slate compared to its chief rival, Subway. Evan did the undoable. He delivered the goods on his own.

- Boring Owen aka The Bore aka the caller formerly known No Smokin’ Joe calls (starts at 40:09) on behalf of a good cause. Tom reminds listeners that a couple of years ago the silicon chip implanted inside The Bore’s brain got switched to overload. While this malfunction normally causes someone to start shooting people, The Bore started lying instead. It wasn’t so peachy keen, and it probably wasn’t too neat for The Bore to admit defeat and come clean about his ruse. The Bore wants to drum up support for ? from ? and The Mysterians. His house burned down on January 11th. All of his possessions, including 40 years of memorabilia and his musical equipment, were destroyed. ? had seven Yorskshire Terriers, and four of them died in the fire. A fifth, Tiffany, had been sick since the fire and died on January 23rd. His pet parrot also perished.

? had no insurance, so multiple benefit shows are being planned, and you can donate via Paypal on the band’s official site. The Bore helped establish a YouTube Group where people can post cover versions of “96 Tears” and find out how to contribute. Tom tells The Bore that he's a good guy, and he tells Tom that he's a big fan of the show. Tom says he's sweet ... and boring. He almost fell asleep during the call. Tom thinks people need to use a landline when discussing charity work so they can be clearly heard. In other words, there shouldn't be a question mark about where people can go to help ?. While his connection was bad, Tom will not start a feud with The Bore because his heart is in the right place. ARTISTIC SLIDE INTO THE NEXT TOPIC!

- Tom eases into (starts at 43:47) the Let's Talk About Feuds topic by reviewing some of the latest antics of his warring life heroes. Rosie O'Donnell attacked American Idol for being junk, but then Mr. Trump defended the program. Tom compares this to an old-school US and A vs. USSR fight taking place in Poland. The ratings juggernaut somehow found themselves in the mix with two people they have no use for. Tom is pretty certain that their reaction to Rosie trashing them was "so what". When Trump came to their defense, it was "so what, part II." Since everyone in America watches the show, these kinds of skirmishes have no impact. Tom finds debates like the "Love it or Loathe It" Scrubs battle in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly to be equally silly. Tom think the opposing opinions are worthless because even the hater would push his own mother in front of a bus to get a job writing for Scrubs. Not content with her Trump entanglement, professional feud fiend Rosie started with Oprah Winfrey because she had the The Miracle Kid of Missouri on her show. This is a story that isn't on Tom's radar. He's glad they found him and hopes everyone is happy, but The Kid doesn't have enough room in his head for this kid.

Tom lists some of notable The Best Show feuds:

1. No Smokin’ Joe.

2. Spike's brief banishment after he flaked out during the first 2006 WFMU Marathon show. Tom gave him an amazing opportunity to come to The Magic Factory and co-host The Best Show for the full three hours. Spike did not commit to the gig because he has to get up at 4 a.m. for his government job. Weak.

3. On-and-off flare-ups with Petey, including a 2006 court appearance after he used Paypal to run a business of giving out Tom's IM address in chat rooms. Petey was convicted and appropriately sentenced.

4. Laurie turned on the show for a week with a premature "L" prediction in the FOT Chat, but now she's back. Tom likes Laurie.

5. Purple Shirt vs. Officer Tom. The Best Show's biggest feud pitted a Body Count-loving New Jersey law enforcement official against a tall-bike- and unicyle-riding enthusiast from Williamsburg.

A bit later in the show, Tom mentions his feud with the FOT Chat. The tensions were alleviated a few weeks ago when the Chat community bought Tom a sound effects machine. Due to some scheduling restrictions, Tom was unable to set it up. It will make its debut very soon.

Tom thinks it’s time for a new feud on The Best Show. He wants to hear about desired feuds, existing family or neighbor feuds, feud challenges, or suggestions for feuds that Tom could start over the air. While Tom enjoys a good feud, he ultimately wants to put them to rest. Tom's ability to bury the hatchet -- against all odds -- with No Smokin' Joe shows that he's a goodkinded man.

- August is back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The FOT fave checks back in (starts at 50:07) after an extended hiatus. August's explanation for his absence is simple: he was busy. For the last 11 Tuesdays. He wants to let Tom know about a feud he won while he was introducing of the feud topic. August was halfway done making a milkshake, and he faced a classic dilemma. He had to decide whether to finish constructing the ice cream treat or call The Best Show. Tom won. Tom wants to hear more about the aborted attempt to concoct the milkshake. August says he was at the mid-blend point of his vanilla shake -- it was edible, but had yet to achieve proper consistency. August also likes strawberry, but he's had some bad experiences with chocolate. He's also into the mint genre, such as mint chocolate chip. Tom is impressed by August's appreciation for more subtle flavors over chocolate, a flavor preference that Tom associates with goons and caveman. Tom thinks it's perfectly reasonable to enjoy a chocolate candy bars or chocolate milkshakes from time to time, but it's boorish to devote your life to consuming chocolately foods. August is with Tom on this one. He says that he'll occasionally dip into Rocky Road for the marshmallows. Tom says that August is a lot like him when it comes to ice cream, and August takes it as a compliment. Tom imagines that August's sophisticated palette might enjoy a fine cognac at some point later in life. August says he doesn't like congnac "too much right now," a response that suggests he's sampled some. Tom would be horrified if he liked cognac now.

Tom asks August if he was involved in any school feuds, and he says he just has some dead ones. Tom confirms that no people died -- August put the feuds to rest and moved on. Tom calls August a mature young man, and August agrees with the assessment. Tom doesn't like it. He loves it! Tom's glad that August is no longer feuding with his blender.

You call this a screenplay, you pasty bitch? I've read better from Kevin Smith. Lloyd!!!!!

- Tom heard about (starts at 54:17) a hott new feud brewing between Jeremy Piven and Stephen Dorff. Tom hopes there are two losers in the battle of the guy who plays the jerk on Entourage vs. the guy who played the evil vampire in Blade. Piven also answered the jerk all-call for the new film Smokin’ Aces. The cast also includes Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, and Ryan Reynolds. (I'm assuming that Tom would exempt Jason Bateman from jerkdom.) All of these performers make Tom's skin crawl. He will probably see the film, but he won’t like it because it’s 15 people being turned loose with firearms. Tom always falls for these sub-Tarantino genre riffs with eight minutes of good scenes stuck in a flabby lump of bad storytelling.

Mike told Tom about a feud he's having with his neighbor. The neighbor in question walks his dog, but doesn't take responsibility for scooping up any of its releasings. The neighbor's position is that he isn't his dog's keeper, so he is relieved of any cleaning duties. He advised Mike to address any issues directly with the dog. Tom is on the verge of a feud with himself over the feud topic temporarily flatlining because everyone is glued to the Presidential address.

- One of the Chris Ls rescues the topic (starts at 58:12) by starting a feud with the other 10 Chris Ls that populate The Best Show audience. This Chris L is the The Wire and Alejandro Jodorowsky enthusiast who hails from Maryland. While he has much respect for the Chris L who created the opening theme, he wants to resolve the overcrowding with a battle of the Chris Ls. Which Chris L will reign supreme?

- Steve in Brooklyn calls (starts at 59:38) to get some advice on how to deal with the exhumation of an old feud. A few years ago, he met a girl through some mutual friends, and their platonic friendship ended after some kind of blowup. He hadn't heard from her since October 2005, but she sent him an e-mail this morning. She heard something on the radio about the concept of losing your cool, which inspired her to apology for her past cool-losing behavior. Steve thought she was gone forever, and now she's pulled him back in. Tom wants Steve to call her live on the air, but he doesn't have her phone number. Tom composes a letter:

Dear [insert ladyfriend name],
It’s so nice of you to apologize. Yes, you were wrong in this matter, but I am a big person, and I find it in my heart to forgive you for your flaws. I am welcoming you back into my world, although I will keep you at arms length until you earn the privilege of being in my inner circle. I will speak to you within the next three months.
Good day, madam,

Steve likes it. Tom points out that the "within the next three months" grants him the luxury to initiate a further connection in two weeks or wait out the full 90-day window. Steve isn't sure how she'll react to the missive -- she might erupt in anger, she may really want to reconnect, or the whole thing could be a joke -- but he promises to keep Tom posted. Tom is alarmed that Steve appeared to take the terrible advice at complete face-value and plans to use it. Tom believes it was some of the worst advice he's ever doled out.

- Mark from Portland calls (starts at 1:05), so Tom wants to know if he has any current feuds with the street trash. He correctly assumed that Mark was calling from Portland, Oregon. If he was from Portland, Maine, he might feud with Captain Logan and the other hardcore fisherman at the Golden Wharf. Mark doesn't have any problems with the locals, but he does have a feud story involving a crazy neighbor from his Louisiana youth. This somewhat nutty man was a WW2 veteran with gun racks in his living room, but he was nice enough to Mark and his parents. One day, Mark's father was cutting down branches from his tree because they were hanging over into their yard. The kook walked onto their property and pushed the ladder. Mark's father fell on the ground, but was not injured. No fences = bad neighbors. Based on this maniacal outburst, Tom wants to know if the man fought on behalf of the Natzis. Mark was too young to remember if his clothing was decorated with any Swastickers.

The loon became increasingly rambunctious with people in the neighborhood and eventually declared WAR on everybody, including Happy the Clown, who lived across the street from Mark's family. Tom is no longer interested in anything about the war veteran. He wants to know everything about this clown. He was a local television celebrity who also did parties and drove a van. Tom is not surprised by his choice of vehicle because there's no way that somebody in Louisiana named Happy the Clown doesn't own a van. Prior to becoming a southern clown, Happy had a brief stint playing for the New York Yankees. Mark's eclectic and eccentric company prompts Tom to ask him if he's one of the Royal Tenenbaums. He's not, but he admits it was a funny neighborhood in retrospect.

Mark says that Happy was a nice, friendly guy who loved the area despite not really fitting in with the rest of the people. He was the second baseman for the Yankees for one year, but a fluke injury derailed his career. Tom wants Mark to do an impression of Happy making the decision to transition from the diamond to clowning. Mark initially refuses to do the Louisiana accent, but he relents and entertains America with a line scripted by Tom: "Well, it looks like my baseball career’s about over. Might as well go down to Rex's, get some facepaint." Mark inserted the "about" and "Rex's" for some local flavor. Despite those touches, Tom doubts the authenticity of the accent. He thinks it just sounded rushed, like the car commercial codas about financing and leasing rules. Mark defends his rendition by saying that he and his people talk fast and funny.

In high school, Mark's friend came over to the house and was excited to spot the Happy the Clown van. Just as Mark told him that Happy actually lived there, the now-retired clown started yelling at some kids about what the hell all these dirty diapers were doing in his front yard. Mark cannot confirm the presence of the diapers and thinks Happy may have hallucinated them while on the sauce. Tom wants to know if Happy's van had transparent windows that allowed people trapped within to wave at the outside world for help. Mark says Happy was harmless and did not apply black spray paint to his windows. Tom can't decide if he will leave for Louisiana tonight or assign it the top spot on his never-go-there list.

Mark returns to the far less happy WW2 guy, who eventually became known for spending the night up in his tree with a shotgun. He finally started to mellow out after 15 years of neighborhood warfare, and Mark recently discovered that his crazy antics were at least partly provoked by kids egging his house. Tom thinks this is the perfect time to ramp the feud right back up. Mark recommends waiting for his trigger finger to stop working before reignited any old flames. Tom would dump a milkshake on his head like he was in a sitcom. If the old man is smart, he'll play it cool and just enjoy the nice strawberry treat. Since the scene is talking place in Louisiana, Tom changes it to a catfish and bourbon milkshake. Tom thanks Mark for the picaresque journey into the Cajun swamps. Mark says his family lived on dry land.

I tried to find out the identity of this Happy the Clown, but the historians are stumped. Perhaps Philly Boy Roy has some stories about the Philadelphia version.

- Jonah in Cleveland calls (starts at 1:16) to enlist Tom in his theoretical feud with Paul Giamatti. At a party a couple of weeks ago, a friend of a friend said he looked like that guy from Sideways ("Weird movie, dawg."). He got a bit offended, and he ultimately channeled his hatred towards Giamatti's schlubby loser routine. Jonah became mad that this man existed. Tom wouldn't want to be likened to Giamatti, but he thinks Jonah needs to redirect his feud to the mutual friend. Jonah agrees to give him an ultimatum: he must choose between Jonah and his other loudmouth friend. In the worst case scenario, Jonah may have to terminate the friendship if he determines that his friend's friend-selection skills are beyond repair. Tom thinks this is an example of the lack of restraint that plagues the Internet age -- just because you can write it in an e-mail, doesn’t mean you have to say it out loud. Tom gets rude e-mails from people who think certain bits on the show stink. The bottom line: Tom doesn't care if you didn't like it. Keep it to yourself.

- Ed calls (starts at 1:19) to discuss a one-sided feud his batty mother is having with her two blind neighbors. She got set off when she watched them install a swinging love seat in the back yard. They set it up the wrong way -- instead of looking out towards the view (likely not an issue for BLIND people) , they are facing the garage door. This mishap drove her nuts, and Tom wants to know why. Ed says that the retired lady has plenty of time to stare out the window and go nuts over what she sees. Tom thinks it's time for her to volunteer for a two-day/week, five-hour shift at the local library. By spending some time putting books back on the shelves, she might be able to straighten herself out and calm down. Tom doesn't think she should be criticizing how visually impaired people install outdoor furniture like she has the discerning eye of a master aesthetician.

The guy who lives across the street has a seeing-eye dog who does its business in the middle of the street. The blind gentlemen can sense that the dog is bringing it by his posture, but when the deed is done, the dog moves out of the way. Ed has been unable to convince his mother to help the guy as he puts a baggie on his hand and tries to feel around for the fresh lumps of feces. Tom can't tolerate the disgusting scatalogical talk, so he GOMPs Ed and his mother for being sick and hate-filled. The Best Show is not a porno program, and Tom compares this off-the-charts disturbing call to a chat with Larry Flynt or Al Goldstein. Tom says that if Billboards magazine had a section called “Disturbing”, Ed would be the High School Musical of that chart. He'd be a runaway hit along the lines of Hannah Montana or The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. Tom is a fan of the latter program. He likes Zach, but he thinks Cody is a showoff who's in dire need of some comedic chops.

- Petey calls (starts at 1:25) to start a feud with August. Tom understands his desire. He senses that August makes Petey feel like he's yesterday news. He sees promise and potential in the new kid on the scene. When Petey looks in the mirror, he's disgusted and realizes that he's washed up. August embodies the spirit of Rocky II, but Petey has been cast in Rocky VIII. Petey downplays the existential crisis angle. He just wants to fight someone. However, Petey isn't sure if he's allowed to fight a littler boy. Tom prefers to use the standard English word "younger", and he points out that the younger August doesn't do any weird cartoon voices. Petey claims that he hasn't done this kind of voicework for four months. Tom argues that Petey just did the voice by doing an impression of his "littler" line. Petey makes a distinction between goofy word choice and a full-on goofball performance. He also admits to being addicted to "Breakout", a new drug found in the FOT Arcade. Petey defeated P. Nut Chew, but he wants to get his high score above 30,000 as a yardstick for his ultimate potential in life. Tom thinks it's healthy to judge oneself via video games, and Petey believes that he will be able to "take over people" if he breaks through the 30k barrier.

August checks in (starts at 1:27) to address Petey's challenge. Their initial exchange is a memorable mix of styles -- Petey's punky request followed by August's practical pacifism:

Petey: “Hey, August. You wanna fight?”

August: "Um, is there really a reason to?"

Tom thinks August's chilly zing just shut Petey down and won the fight. Petey says he shut him down because he’s older. August argues that age is meaningless, but Petey thinks the added life experience helps you know more stuff and be better at things like Breakout. Petey bets that August plays the cliché FPS Halo. Misread! Petey proposes a championship Breakout battle, but then Tom expands it to a three-part contest: Petey picks a game, August picks a game, and Tom picks a game. August wants to know if Breakout involves any strategy. Petey says it has to do with moving mouses left or right. August concludes that the game requires minimal brain activity. Petey tries to defend the game, suggesting that brain power is required to quickly determine the best peddle-ball machinations. August isn't impressed, dismissing Breakout as an Internet version of Wall Ball or handball. Tom's heard enough. It pains him to do so, but he rules that Petey just got thumped. August whipped him with a strap, Ghostface-style, borrowing some aerial moves from Doctor Strangelove does it. Meanwhile, Petey’s tied to the land like Sandman. Petey thinks August is cheating by bombing him from the air. Tom GOMPs him for making the wild accusation. Tom congratulates August on his victory. In his auspicious FOT Chat debut, August asked Petey, “Ever hear of coexistence?” Is there room for both of these young men in The Best Show universe? The Kid certainly gives love gives love gives love gives love to both:


- Jack from New York calls (starts at 1:32) to inform Tom that his stylee was jacked on The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show. In the promos running on Comedy Central, David Kohekenir, who plays T-Bones to David "Gruber" Allen's The Naked Trucker, unleashes an "I don't like it ... I love it!" catchphrase. Uh oh. Tom will sue him because he carefully crafted and workshopped that joke. He copyrighted 800 jokes and catchphrases, but he isn’t sure if that was one. Tom doesn’t like it. He hates it. Tom will contact his lawyer and issue a cease-and-desist on the program. Jack was offended by the heist, and he wants Tom to take Kochnecker down. As arcuradio pointed out on the FOT forum, Kokomorosie also called CCR the "American Beatles". What's next? Koachner attacking the Aberzombie & Fitch uberdouche? Putting the DC Snipers on his iTunes celebrity playlist? Singing the Magnolia soundtrack while in the bathtub?

- Tom recalls (starts at 1:34) the feud between Queen and David Bowie that erupted during the recording of Hot Space. Bowie did a lot of backup vocals, but after he and the band got into a fight, Queen erased all of his vocals from the final album. The dispute apparently stemmed from a snide remark John Deacon made about Bowie's performance in Just a Gigolo. Tom was also amazed to find out that Stephen Stills removed Jim E. Hendrix from "Love the One You're With". Hendrix performed a guitar solo, and then Stills, in the ultimate act of hubris, decided that his steel drum playing was better than Hendrix’s axe work. He erased it. Since Bowie and Queen had a falling out, the only example of their Hot Space collaboration is "Under Pressure". Tom wants to finally answer the age-old debate of who wins the Freddie Mercury vs. David Bowie sonic one-upsmanship. Mike the Associate Producer sides with Bowie. Tom opens the phones for some rapid-fire votes:

* Megan in Bloomfield says Mercury's astounding work makes him the clear winner. David Bowie is merely singing, but Mercury goes above and beyond in her favorite song ever.

* A guy who sounded a bit like Charles R. Martin votes David Bowie hands down. He believes the track reeks of Bowie, whose songwriting chops are all over it, much like his Mott the Hoople assist.

* A caller goes with Freddy Mercury because he’s the man and does a better performance. He thinks Bowie is just a guest on Queen's show.

* A caller gives Mercury the edge because after Bowie sets him up with "Insanity laughs under pressure we're
cracking," he takes it to another level with "Why can't we give love that one more chance."

* A caller thinks the song is horrible and gives his vote to Vanilla Ice. Tom declines comment.

* A caller agrees with the previous caller, declaring Mercury the winner for his passionate performance at the end.

* A caller thinks Tom's got a lot of nerve running this contest because he previously criticized the Scrubs debate in EW.

Tom thinks the caller is a dope who should be watching the State of the Union. Tom never said The Best Show was a news program. Tom thought he was headed for a fairly comfortable 96-88 W (not as close as the scored would indicate), but now this guy threw a soda on the court. Two players just slipped. Since this guy disrupted play, Tom decides to spend the next half hour deconstructing every nuance of "Under Pressure"'s 3:58 running time. Tom accuses the caller of being a bread truck maniac who waltzes into pizzerias at 5 a.m. Tom makes it clear that you can't Top or Stop The Best Show. Tom proceeds (starts at 1:45) with his Fair Song Review:

* 0 points for Mercury's meek "Um-bum-ba-bay" opening; he'll get points for nonsense sounds later in the track.

* 1 point to Bowie for kicking the song off in solid fashion -- Mercury lacked the guts to start off with actual words.

* 1 point for Mercury's next verse, although Bowie joins him on "puts people on streets".

* As Tom promised, Mercury gets 1 point for "Ee-day-doh".

* Bowie locks down 1 point with "It's the terror of knowing / What this world is about".

* Mercury ties it 3-3 with "Pray tomorrow -- gets me higher".

Tom wonders if he knows every vocal part well enough to break the tie and pass the ultimate test of an off-the-dome rendition, either a cappella or with CD accompaniment. He wants a caller to provide the requisite claps and snaps. A guy auditions for the role, but Tom thought he was terrible. Another caller puts his girlfriend up for the part, but she got the wrong sides and does the Mercury mouth-noises instead of the proper backing. Tom considers searching for a karaoke version, but he doesn't have the time. He sings along with the record:

Tom Scharpling (ft. David Bowie & Farrokh Bulsara) - "Under Pressure"

Tom declares Bowie the winner. My pick: Tom Scharpling! This was easily the most exhilarating version of the song ever performed -- Tom's operatic "Why-why-why" into the rousing plea for love trumps the power of the original.

Silent Bob Speaks: Kevin Smith goes vaguely undercover to gather material for his next college lecture tour

Tom noticed that Kevin Smith was doing reaction shots as Goofball #2 in Catch and Release, the awful new Jennifer Garner romcom. Tom predicts that two years from now, Smith will trash the film as a total cash-grab. He'll claim that he only took the job because his wife called him a fat loser and made him leave the house to make some money. Tom assures listeners that the insult-laden Smith household is not representative of married life. Tom also mentions The Dantes, an exciting New Jersey band whose members dress up like Kevin Smith characters. I listened to a few tracks on Myspace, and the dude who dresses like Noman the Golgothan (aka "The Poop Monster") from Dogma is a pretty good drummer. Think ?questlove meets Chad Channing.

- Tom discusses (starts at 2:13) an e-mail request for some insight into a peculiar Charles Grodin guest spot. A young man named Jixby noticed that Grodin's filmography includes a credit for playing himself on a 1981 episode of Laverne & Shirley. The episode took place in the early 1960s when Grodin was a working actor, but it was years before his breakout role in The Heartbreak Kid.

Jixby wants to know if Grodin was playing a younger, struggling-actor version of himself or an alternate-universe version of himself where he exists in the 1960s with the same amount of fame he had achieved by 1981. Upon first reading the e-mail, Tom was terrified that this was the kind of correspondence he received from fans. However, the query stuck with him, and now it's the only thing he can think about. Tom wants answers. He appears to be leaning towards Jixby's second option because Happy Days was a haven for alternate realities, such as Mork stopping by for an epic battle between his laser-enabled index finger and Funzie's thumb. Tom also recalls an era when everyone on the show started looking like Matt Dillon in Over The Edge. Tom doesn't think anyone in the 1950s had the long mullets favored by the wayward youths in the 1979 film. At one point, Chachi further compromised period detail by sporting an earring. Tom is pretty sure he also jumped pop-culture decades by wearing a Battlestar Galactica t-shirt in an episode.

When Tom was littler, he thought Funzie was the coolest, but when he revisits Happy Days now, he realizes that he was one of the most uncool guys ever. He can't understand how a 5' 2" nerd with an ill-fitting leather jacket ever became the epitome of cool. Tom's 2007 assessment: a nerd with his hair greased up. He fooled us! Tom always preferred The Funz's powder-blue windbreaker phase. Tom was Too Cool, while The Funz was Not Cool Enough!

- Patricia, Spike's groovy night nurse, calls (starts at 2:17) after Tom's voice compelled her to stop pushing buttons on her radio. After revealing that nerd spelled backwards is "dren", Patricia slurs some Grodin-based fragments about shark jumping, rehab, and Howard Stern. Tom questions why he even does the show if this is who's really out there. Whether "Patricia" was a character or a real person, it was a whole lotta terrible. The experience leaves Tom numb.

- A caller agrees (starts at 2:20) that Funzie wasn’t cool or tough, citing the fact that he had to get the help of Carmine "The Big Ragu" Ragusa when fighting in a gang situation. The caller pretends he doesn't know the origins of the Ragusa character, so Tom GOMPs him for failing to flaunt his expertise. Tom feels like the fumble-happy New Orleans Saints being victimized by a Chicago Bears recovery and runback in the NFC Championship game. Despite these third-hour setbacks, Tom vows to remain undefeated for the month of January. Tom switches to a new topic because Happy Days brings out the dregs. Tom isn't surprised that talking about a 1978 sitcom lured people out of the woodwork.

- Tom launches (starts at 2:22) a consumer advocacy topic called "I WANT MY MONEY BACK!". He wants to hear about regrettable purchases ranging from a subpar peppermint patty all the way up to a house. Tom bought a DVD/VCR dubbing combo unit so he could eliminate the clutter of boxes of old VHS tapes. He hooked it up and tried to dub something he taped off TV 15 years ago. It rejected the blank DVDs due to copyright restrictions. Tom dropped thrills bills on the burner, and he wants all three back.

- A self-proclaimed heir to The Kid's throne calls (starts at 2:25) to question Tom's decision to dump the hot-sounding Patricia. Tom decides to dump him so he can go work on his history paper. Tom doesn't want anybody telling him how to do it because the best anyone can ever hope for is to be a little bit worse than The Best Show.

- A mutant laments (starts at 2:26) a bad crippler purchase. I think this guy meant to call Rutager's radio show on WNCC.

- Johnny from the Jersey Shore calls (starts 2:27) to praise Tom's professional vocals on his "Under Pressure" performance. Tom tells Johnny to check out The Consolidated the next time they play in Point Pleasant. Johnny starts to complain about his new cell phone, but Tom gives him the quick hook. He thinks this show might become his Seasons in Hell or Chinese Democracy, due out on March 6th.

- Matt from Warren calls (starts at 2:29) to get a refund on Primeval. Tom can't believe that a horror movie released in early January is terrible. Based on the trailer, Matt assumed the serial killer was a human, but this was not the case. Tom issues a 15-second SPOILER WARNING before Matt reveals the nature of this beast. 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... it's a terribly-CGI'd, 20-foot-long crocodile. Tom doesn't believe it. In addition to this laughable villain, Matt thought Orlando Jones' dialogue was especially reprehensible. Tom is shocked because he thought the 7 Up pitchman was the perfect comedic foil for David Duchovny and Julianne Moore in Evolution. The producers settled on these comedy titans after discovering that Willem Dafoe and comedy insider Klaus Kinski were unavailable. Matt quotes the most disturbing line uttered by Jones in Primeval: “If this is what Africa is like, I’m glad they invented slavery.” Tom recoils in pain.

- A caller asks (starts at 2:32) a New Paltz, N.Y., pizzeria for his money back because they ruined his Philly cheesesteak by adding lettuce and tomatoes.

- Toilet Mouth McGee demands (starts at 2:33) monetary compensation for his broken radio. He smashed it with a bat because the show is so bad. He thinks Tom needs to pep it up and come alive like other broadcasters. Tom starts laughing. He's a proud graduate of the CSB where he trained with the great Joe Benigno, while the caller can barely put two sentences together. Tom thinks this guy's delivery sounds like the flow of rap star Denny Blaze. Tom refuses to fight McGee because he's so over his head. It's not fair for a boxer to knock out someone who wandered into the ring from the stands. Tom wants McGee to give the show a fair chance and get into its rhythm. If he still has a problem with it, then Tom will take his head off.

McGee calls again, but Tom tells Mike to ban the bush-leaguer from the airwaves. Tom talks to him off the air and requests a 30-minute demo tape that he promises to play on the air in its entirety. Tom GOMPs him for claiming that his real name is Lou Pinella. More Lou Pinella, less Joe Torre! Tom hopes a truck runs his feet over so he has to waddle around with weird casts. Tom's predicts that in six months, this caller will either not have called in four months, or he will be Tom's favorite caller. He thinks McGee/Pinella is just stupid enough to stick with the show and allow Tom to turn him into a buffoon for everyone else's amusement.

- A caller says (starts at 2:35) he received a substandard pizza egg roll at Kennedy Fried Chicken. He wants his money back.

Last song from Jawbox's last-ever D.C.-area show. HELP CAL!

- David from D.C. calls (starts at 2:36) to apologize for all the haters. Tom doesn't mind because you need haters to have lovers. He doesn't want dummies to like the show. Tom predicts that David wants his money back from some Dischord purchases, but he thinks the label is making a comeback with bands like Aquarium and Medications. He does want his money back on the iTrip, a transponder that sticks into your iPod so it will play on your car radio through an empty frequency. However, the device is useless to David because he can't locate a suitable frequency for a static-free listening experience. He also thinks the device is flimsy, unsafe, and doesn't charge. (In Griffin's defense, they do offer iTrip products with integrated chargers.)

- Kyle calls (starts at 2:39) to get his money back from the SUNY-Cortland bookstore. The new semester just started, so he had to buy a boatload of overpriced textbooks. His haul of six books cost him about $200. Tom knows one of the flim-flam artists who works for a publisher of collegiate textbooks. The guy was bragging to Tom about gouging college stooges for books that cost 30 cents to make.

- Eric in Staten Island calls (starts at 2:43) to trash the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority. He takes their ferry, buses, and subways every day to get to work in Manhattan. He wants his money back because the buses are constantly late, the rates hikes are too frequent, and the subways are crowded and smelly.

- Thomas from Jersey City calls (starts at 2:45) to report that he's still laughing at Tom's quip about a Corzine lookalike prowling around Whole Foods in search of organic avocados. Thomas throws in another dial-it-down vote for Rachel Ray. He's sick of that chick.

Thomas takes the insane 99S bus from Port Authority to Jersey City, and he assures Tom that the "S" does not stand for savings. This bus is known for reckless drivers who yell at passengers. Thomas has seen two bus drivers get in a fight near the scary strip on the edge of Weehawken and Hoboken, featuring Dykes Lumber, the only indie hardware store left standing in America. This area also has a nice strip club. In addition to the unpleasant ride, the bus is constantly being moved to different gates at the terminal, so it's difficult to even find it. The passengers that do manage to board the bus end up looking at each other with a face that says, "Why did I do this?" Thomas says the bus is so packed that it's often impossible to alert the driver to your desired stop using the standard alert strip, so you end up screaming at the top of your lungs. Mike wholeheartedly agrees with the description of the 99S.

Tom would love to see two bus drivers settle their dispute with fisticuffs. However, there's one method of conflict resolution that Tom would prefer: seeing who could run over Toilet Mouth McGee harder. He'd be tied up in a chair, and the drivers would take turns flattening him as he emitted toilet-mouth phrases about pep.

- Tom talks about (starts at 2:51) his adventures while renting Beer League (not to be confused with Beerfest). His grocery store has a DVD vending machine that allows you to rent movies for $1/day. As Tom flipped through the comedies on the screen, he remembered that his friend Gil Gerard had a small part as Ump #2 in Beer League. He pulled the trigger. Unfortunately, the screen froze on a giant picture of the Michael Anthony-sized Artie Lange for two minutes. As customers exited the store, they stared at Tom like he was human garbage for trying to rent the film. Tom didn't like being judged because he could have sifted through their carts and judged them right back for buying Dore-itos, the Artie Lange of food. The machine finally dispensed the first disc of Lange's magnum opus. Tom can't believe that the film was released as a 2-disc set considering that Criterion managed to fit their edition of The Third Man, one of the best films ever made, on a single disc. The Beer League DVD includes nine featurettes, including one that is longer than two minutes. Tom viewed the film, and he wants 70 cents back.

- Captain Jack calls (starts at 2:55) to say that Tommy is beloved out in the heartland. He also believes that Artie Lange is the pinnacle of American civilization as we know it. Captain Jack felt bad for Petey because he thought he won the debate against the "emotional robot". Tom reminds him that he's disparaging a nine-year-old kid. Captain Jack thinks Tom is letting down Petey, the show's favorite "pre-schooler". Tom informs Captain Jack that Petey is now 31 with a full beard. It's been a long, long time since Tom changed his diapers on the air. Captain Jack wants Tom and Mike to join him in the Village to pick up some Go Go Girls. Once they secure the ladies, they will hit the road with a bottle of tequila -- just like they did it in the old days! Tom doesn't comment on the proposed itinerary, but he does appreciate Captain Jack's spirited call. Captain Jack declares tonight's installment one of the best shows he's ever heard, and he doesn't think Tom should let the ne'er-do-wells put him down. Captain Jack says he's behind Tom all the way, but Tom interprets this as an unpleasant stalkery scenario rather than a pledge of support. If Tom senses that Captain Jack is behind him, he will turn around. Before returning to the stage to play saxophone with his band, Captain Jack parts with a message for his brother from another mother: "Let's kick the crap out of 2007, Tommy!" Captain Jack also promised to e-mail Mike the recipe for a jalapeno-Paxil dip.

On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU: Evan "Funkalicious" Davies swings by to give away tickets to three past shows (the 1989 Moscow Music Peace Festival, Lollapalooza 1994, and Wake Ooloo at the Budapest Cocktail Lounge on 2/1/97), Petey explains How He Learned to Stop Feuding and Peacefully Coexist with August, Purple Shirt reviews the injuries he suffered during the Idiotarod, and Tom declares a winner in this duet:

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