The Belt Brigade.
"Joey Kramer's got a yacht because of this album. Because of those muted browns." -- Tom on the Aerosmith drummer's luxurious toy aquatic
"Yesterday I had a conversation about salami with somebody." -- Daniel, Twittering away his days
"I got nothing to be arrogant about." -- Hesh, coming clean on his sad life
"I've taken up cigars because someone told me they aren't as bad." -- Frederick Douglas, receiving some odd health advice
"I wanted a vegetable panini! Does this look like a vegetable panini?!" -- Ira Glass, raging about his lunch
"What, were they wearing shirts?" -- Tom, asking Audrey in San Fran how she knew the Conan audience was filled with out-of-towners
"Van Morrison? No. No, no, that means the Good Old Days were worse." -- Tom, correcting a caller's historical perspective
"Jerry was playing some flapper music tonight. I thought it sounded great." -- Tom, sticking up for his lead-in's old-timey playlist
"First they came for the grilled chicken, and I said nothing. They then came for meatloaf, and I stood by and did nothing. Then they came for stew, and I did nothing. Then when they finally came for sandwiches ... I don't remember what the rest of that saying is." - Tom on a caller's inability to thwart some fictional culinary marauders
"You know what, it's not a book, though. Nothing should be left to the imagination when you're watching something that's actually happening." -- Tom, rejecting the notion of fontasy sports viewing
"I've gotta say, I've never heard anybody sing 'All By Myself' four times in a row nearly as effectively as you did on air." -- Dave from Knoxville on Tom's classic Eric Carmen mini-opera
"You know what doesn't work on kidney stones? Herbs." -- Tom on Evan's wife's misdiagnosis
"Would you want to fly on a plane being flown by the guy who decided to make Wild Hogs?" -- Tom, questioning the safety of air travel with John Travolta
"I could take over Sweden. Makes me want to go there. I'd probably be elected mayor of a city in four days." -- Tom, projecting his rise to power
"I mean that's something that you just can't shake. That early kinda programming, you know, you just see your dad do that and you, know, you just kinda fall into that." -- Dom on learning to forget his wallet
"Oh, come on, you think you're a big deal because you work in a cubicle at Consolidummies." -- Dom Scharpling on his brother's arrogance
"Well, technically they were pants, though, you gotta give me that. They just weren't adult pants." -- Dom Scharpling on his controversial near-ejection from Captain's Donuts
"Well, hey, I know you and dad never thought I'd passed mustard. Like I wasn't as good as you." -- Dom Scharpling, acknowledging his standing within the family
"I needed to get those Poison tickets." -- Dom Scharpling on why he dropped out of college two days prior to graduation
"You wouldn't be able to take it. Your haunches would be black in about three minutes." -- Dom Scharpling, assessing Tom's stamina as a belt-whipping player
"Dr. Snooty? Sounds like he's making a house call right now. Great to have you back." -- Dom Scharpling on Tom's criticism of the GEICO Cavemen series
"Wipe it off, Dom." -- Tom, instructing his brother to remove "blue" from his lips
"Is your self-esteem that low? Whaddya need a prop, a gimmick? What are you, Carrot Top?" -- Tom, trying to figure out why Michelle continues to smoke
"Take 'em over to Pat's Steaks. Ask him to cook 'em on the grill." -- Tom, trying to help Rick from Philadelphia dispose of his Veronica Mars DVDs
"For shame, teachers. Suddenly, you, teachers, are the ones who need to learn. How's that feel, teacher? Huh, teacha-teacha?" -- Tom, urging educators to give up the hope of million-dollar paydays
"It's hard being one." -- Tom on real-life heroes
Black Sabbath - "The Mob Rules"
( Click here to buy The Dio Years)
XTC - "No Thugs In Our House"
( Click here to buy English Settlement)
Sloan - "Two Seater"
( Click here to buy Smeared for like 58 cents or some such craziness)
Battles - "dDiamondd"
( Click here to buy Mirrored)
The Time Flys - "Romance + Violence"
( Click here to buy Rebels of Babylon)
Chokebore - "Comeback Thursday"
( Click here to buy Anything Near Water)
Destruction Unit - "The Fools Will Dance"
( Click here to buy Death to the Old Flesh)
River City Tanlines - "Lookin' For A Line"
( Click here to buy I'm Your Negative)
Big Star - "I'm in Love With a Girl"
( Click here to buy #1 Record/Radio City)
Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun:
Can Tom do another one? He did another one! Can Omar recap another one? He can recap another one!
Open-phone Tuesdays remain rooted in the Good Old Days, a vague catchall for bygone, supposedly better times that Tom hates and rejects. It's certainly debatable whether Spike ever had any "good old days", but Tom points out that he's definitely running on fumes in the present with last week's set of some of his best Moldy Oldies. Spike's days of riding a familiarity streamroller over the hump are ova, so it's back to the drawing board for that chief. Tom imagines that Spike will try to write new material in his basement apartment while sitting in front of one of those all-purpose entertainment centers that olds often own. A giant record player built into the furniture, a television hiding beneath a lid, and two massive speakers bookending the whole deal.
Tom undoubtedly annoyed Spike by completing his heave-ho three weeks in a row Aerosmith romp with a twofer of "Jailbait" from the Jimmy Crespo-era album Rock in a Hard Place and the title track from Toys in the Attic. Tom asks listeners to imagine a
heavy metal hard rock group in 2007 releasing an album with an old-timey cover featuring mischievous, attic-based toys climbing out of their box. He doubts that any record executives (maybe Ziegler over at Wawa?) would be too excited about an image of a weird elephant toy, a gnome, a bear, and a horse shown in gloriously muted browns. But this is then and that was 1975, and Aerosmith knew what they were doing. Tom points out that Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer has a yacht because of those muted browns. Meanwhile, Tom’s riding a recliner bicycle all over town. Advantage: Joey Kramer. Kramer: 1. Scharpling: 0.
At first, nobody had the courage to defy the open-phone Tuesday rule, but three gutsy callers illuminate the lines.
- 14-years-young Daniel in New York calls (starts at 25:51) to say his freshmen year of high school is going well. He's not getting picked on, and he's not doing any picking of his own. Tom assumes that Daniel's scholastic conflict avoidance means he's home-schooled. He's not. After several clipped replies, Tom asks Daniel to further reduce his answers to just a grunting noise. Tom can still hear an actual letter. Daniel says that he's not in a rush and Tom's not holding him up. He curtails his curtness to get Tom's take on the social networking/"micro-blogging" Web application Twitter. Tom has never been to the site, so he wants Daniel to homeschool him on its appeal. Daniel explains that Twitter allows you to text/IM everything you are doing to create an online version of passing paper-based notes to your "friends" in class. For example, your virtual friends will receive updates on all of your daily funtivities like making coffee, doing homework, applying "blue", slapfighting, or macraméing stool covers. Tom wants to know why there's a pressing need to alert others to everything you're doing. Daniel says the exchange of information sparks interesting conversations. Tom imagines that Twitter gives you the chance to bond with someone over shared boredom, but Daniels says the conversations also delve into more specific areas. Like cured meats. He talked to somebody yesterday about salami.
Tom asks Daniel if his parents ever reminisce about the Good Old Days. Daniel says that his dad has noted the differences of the past, but he's never issued any qualitative judgments about how they stack up against the present. He recalls hearing his father talk about the colored gel strips he'd stick on his black-and-white television when he was growing up in Greece. The gels created the illusion of color programming before real color sets were affordable to the average Greek family. Tom says that this makeshift colorization effort is less an example of the Good Old Days and more just plain weird. He asks Daniel if his father had him when he was 60, but Daniel doesn't really know how old he is. He admits that he doesn't remember things very well. However, Daniel is able to cite the DOBs (3/16 and 4/28) of both of his parents. Daniel says he'd sort of like to live in the past because he likes fiddling with old things. He longs for the tactile experiences that are often missing in the digital age of the computer poke and click. Tom logs Danie's vote. He notes that the Good Old Days topic was inspired by Mike the Associate Producer's incessant pining for 1999 -- the new Good Old Days. The Matrix! Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah Al-Haj, Sultan of Selangor, becomes the 11th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia! Napster! Freaks and Geeks! The Slim Shady LP! My fourth-place finish in the turkey leg eating contest at the Tribridge Renaissance Fair!
Daniel says he does like the Internet, but he still favors the G.O.D. Tom tells Daniel that Twitter better not be a porno site, and if it is, Tom will give him a spanking. He knows he's not Daniel's parent, and the creepy spanking is probably illegal, but he would have to offer some kind of violent reprisal. Tom offers a single rap to the mouth as an alternative punishment. Daniel can't properly assess his options because he's never experienced either. Tom asks Daniel if he thinks he could hold his own in a full-on fight with a grown-up in an A&P parking lot. The fighting area would be a 20-foot-diameter circle enclosed by shopping carts to entrap the combatants. Tom tosses the little creep for toilet mouth, which he may have picked up at Larry Flynt
University High Academy??
- Owen, a Man of the People, calls (starts at 33:44) to remind everyone about the Great American Bake Sale® this coming Saturday. Tom forgot to put any food on his porch for last week's USPS Stamp Out Hungrr collection. He just moved so he was low on spare canned goods, but he thinks Owen announced it on last week's show to be able to hide in the bushes and swipe some baked beans. Tom accuses Owen of taking the food back to the supermarket on behalf of his mommy to earn store credit. Owen laughs and does not deny doing this. Despite working for Fox News, Owen appears to be a charitable man, so Tom wants to know how he first got involved in fighting hungrr. Owen says he connected with the cause because everyone needs food and shelter. Tom asks Owen where entertainment ranks amongst life's greatest necessities. He plans to hold another bakesale to give every kid the chance to see Shrek the Third, brought to you by Sprite. In addition to the ticket, each kid will receive a child's size Sprite soft drink and a Sprite t-shirt. (If I were one of the kids, I'd hold out for some Shrek/Sprite knee pants.) Owen confirms that kids do indeed love the Sprite, and he thinks Tom's bakesale is a fantastic idea.
Owen believes that once you've locked down some food and shelter, entertainment is up there as a human need. Tom points out that a movie theater provides shelter for two hours -- more if you mill about the lobby pre-show and stick around for the closing credits. Owen suggests that needy kids could extend their stay even longer by sneaking into another movie. Tom GOMPs him for promoting an immoral act. He also says that his Shrek the Third drive is only for the benefit of rich kids. Co-sponsor National Amusements, Inc. doesn't feel that underprivileged children will be able to throw down for $11 Pretzel Bites, so they are not interested in their participation. Tom does a very brief Lenoesque stand-up riff about having to take out a bank loan to buy snacks at the movies.
- Hesh calls (starts at 37:57) for Mr. Scharpling, and he's in luck because Tom answered the line. He says that he originally intended to talk about Spider-Man 3, but now he's more intrigued by the Good Old Days topic. Tom hasn't seen the Spidey film that came out two weeks ago. He reminds listeners that Hesh is the boob who called last week to carp about how there hasn't been any good shows in 2007. Tom pretended he was sad and lured Hesh into the ultimate rope-a-dope GOMP. Hesh fell for it hook, line, and sinker because his pride clouded his mind. For a split second, he thought he was a hotshot arbiter of the W/L divide. Tom tells Hesh that he was shown up in front of everyone. And they all laughed. Hesh compares it to a scene from Carrie, but Tom disputes it because Carrie wasn't an arrogant blowhard who paraded through school telling everyone about her special powers.
Hesh disagrees with Tom's assessment of him because he has nothing to be arrogant about. Tom thinks that's a sad commentary on the state of Hesh. He also mocks Hesh's tardy Spider-Man 3 topic, sarcastically suggesting that they revisit The Punisher. Hesh asks Tom if he's referring to the 1989 Dolph Lundgren vehicle, cementing his status as a nerd. Hesh hails from
the rough South Side of just outside Chicago, and Tom envisions this soft-serve vanilly cone melting in the sun. Hesh says that vanilla is the correct flavor because he's the whitest man alive. (Oddly, I recently found out that Hesh paints his left hand black.) Tom wants to know how this weakling dares to give him what-for about poor shows. Hesh argues that Tom was asking for criticism by declaring the show a W. Hesh felt like it was his duty to be honest and contest the victory. Tom says tonight's show is an L because Hesh is boring. He doesn't even give him the honor of a GOMP. He just hangs up.
- Frederick Douglas, the 18th [sic] century abolitionist, calls (starts at 41:28) on behalf of America to promote The Best Show and its podcast. He's also mostly calling about the good times in the past. Mr. Douglas enjoyed the "biggie salads" that his family used to make in his aunt's house in the late evenings when he was a free man. The salads were made by combining biggie cucumbers, biggie peppers, biggie tomatoes, and little lettuce in a bowl. Olive oil and vinegar was then poured on top as an Omega-3-rich dressing. Mr. Douglas points out that the beauty of the salad is that all of its ingredients are biggie-sized. It is large enough to feed the American people when they are free.
Mr. Douglas begins coughing, and Tom asks him if he's suffering from some kind of lung-based rheumatism or "the vapors." Mr. Douglas says he's a smoker, having failed to quit numerous times. He recently switched to cigars because someone told him that they weren't as bad. Tom says he's also a smoker, and Mr. Douglas thinks that's good. Tom actually doesn't smoke because he's not a sicko. Mr. Douglas says that despite his habit he's been able to live a long life. He reveals that he will be around 500 years old when he passes away. Ancient Chinese Secret, huh? Tom wonders if he's a vampire, but Mr. Douglas attributes his longevity to Taoist exercises. He says that the Taoist master Li Chen-Yeung reportedly lived for 2,500 years due to his commitment to Taoist principles. Mr. Douglas says he could teach Tom th exercises, but Tom's more concerned about getting him a throat lozenge. Mr. Douglas says there were not such lozenges in his day, but Tom reminds him of the Omega-3 oils he put on the biggie salads. Mr. Douglas says everyone had olive oil back then. Touche!
Mr. Douglas asks Tom if he likes Big Star. Tom finds it odd that he was condemned for mentioning the modern lozenge, but Mr. Douglas is now referencing a 1970s rock band. Mr. Douglas says he's a fan, and he offers to sing one of their tunes. He also gives Tom permission to sing along. Mr. Douglas requests a background beat from Tom (denied) and does a croaking rendition of "I'm in Love With a Girl" that resembled a death rattle more than power pop. Stick to oratory, son. Tom cuts him off mid-verse.
- Jon in Lawrenceville, NJ, calls (starts at 45:48) to contribute to The Best Things You've Overhead topic from two weeks ago. On a Saturday night a few years ago Jon was walking with his friend Paul in Manhattan. A police officer walked past them in the opposite direction, and they heard his dispatch reporting on his radio that a suspect was last scene carrying a hamster in a birdcage.
Jon called last August to report that his wife was not on on The Best Show bus. He says that she's now getting slightly more on board with the program. However, Tom may have impeded the progress with his dissing of This American Life last week. Jon says that the rant made her feel like her radio show was fighting with his radio show. She apparently digs the yucky egghead shows, but Jon says he has caught her laughing out loud to Best Show content. His wife will also chuckle at TAL, in addition to getting emotionally invested in the stories in ways Jon cannot understand. Tom is also unable to explain the emotional pull of a nerd talking about a farmer's daily life. Jon says he finds the cadence of the show's contributors off-putting, and Tom defines it for him: being pompous. Tom wonders if their hushed, breathy tones are the result of a fear of microphones. He wants them to just TALK! Tom is also convinced that Ira Glass has a big-time temper when he's off the air, flipping over his desk in a rage, his big, old-fashioned microphone tumbling to the floor. He speculates that the source of this anger was receipt of a subpar vegetable panini. Tom bets that this is his sandwich of choice. The Pride of Mercer County thinks Tom may be right.
- Dylan the Labyrinth Guy calls (starts at 49:15) to take a break from cleaning and rearranging his apartment. I took that to mean he was moving his "Ludo Shrine" to the other side of the living room and putting up some newly-framed Jennifer Connelly pictures in his bedroom. Dylan says he likes to stick to movie/TV chatter so he recalls the Good Old Days of "Midnight Movies" like John Waters's Pink Flamingos. He doubts that Labyrinth would ever earn a midnight slot because it's not scary enough. [Insert David Bowie package joke here.] Tom adopts Dylan's POV and says that in the Good Old Days people would make movies featuring actors in life-sized Muppet costumes and Bowie in a spiked fright-wig. Dylan certainly agrees that Labyrinth is an awesome film with very intense costume design. He once again credits Jim Henson as being a very good creative creator.
Dylan asks Tom if he's ever seen the Henson-produced Dinosaurs. Tom saw it, and he thought it was terrible. Dylan's shocked to hear this. He predictably disagrees with Tom's assessment and argues that it's become funnier with age. Tom dismisses it as Family Guy B.C.. Dylan likes the comparison, and he thinks it's cool that the Sinclair family related to today's life as if it were B.C. Tom thinks Dylan will really enjoy the new Cavemen series, brought to you by the creative ad lizards over at Geico. Dylan says that concept seems a little ridiculous, but Tom assures him that it's tailor-made for him. Dinosaurs fandom + Family Guy fandom = Cavemen love. Dylan's excited, and he hopes there's an entire episode devoted to the caveman standing on a moving sidewalk. Tom is looking forward to seeing the GEICO cavemen watch Labyrinth. Dylan bets that they would be blown away by the crazy costumes and David Bowie's tight pants.
Dylan wins Tom over, and he wants to become a regular caller. Mike informs Tom that when he previously called to promote Labyrinth, he claimed his name was Bobby. Dylan wasn't sure if anyone would catch that switcheroo. Ha ha. You can't slip anything through, son. People recap these shows, you know. Dylan says he called as "Bobby" because he was GOMPed earlier in the evening as Dylan for using toilet mouth during a Griiiiindhouse call. He was afraid that Tom would dump him again, and he wouldn't be able to express his love for Labyrinth. Tom asks Dylan to repeat what he feared. Dylan now fears that Tom will do it right now. Tom says that he's not going to do it. Dylan is relieved, but then Tom gets him. Tom laughs at his accomplishment.
- Audrey calls (starts at 52:56) from San Francisco, and Tom congratulates her on the great job when Conan O'Brien took Late Night to her city a couple of weeks ago. Tom was particularly fond of how SF audiences would yell over every joke and punchline. Audrey wasn't able to get tickets, and she was embarrassed because the Chicago Conan shows were much better. Audrey tries to make excuses for the behavior by claiming that the bulk of the crowd were bridge-and-tunnelers from Fremont. Tom wants to know if Audrey identified these people as San Francisco fakes because they were wearing shirts. Audrey stood in line for an hour, and she says they all looked like they the slobs she sees at Oakland A's games. Audrey gets a bit uncomfortable with her Bay Area smackdown, and Tom points out that SF proper is only 7 miles, forcing people to the outlying areas. He laments that Conan was reduced to a Rosie O'Donnell-like audience atmosphere where he had to throw stuff at them to keep them happy.
Audrey thought the guests were pretty terrible, citing Randy Jackson and Robin Williams. Tom informs Audrey that Williams is the pride and joy of San Francicso. She doesn't seem to like the association with the manic comedian. Tom says that every time he's gone to SF, a cab driver has told him that Nash Bridges was shot there 41 years ago, pointing out the former residences of stars Don Johnson and Cheech Marin. Audrey tells Tom that she works in an office (really??), and her co-worker appeared in an episode of the series. She played a talkative journalist who got shot in the back by a baddie, and a DVD of her kill circulated at work. Audrey says she's not sure if Nash caught him because the DVD only contained the co-worker's clip. Tom lets Audrey know that they are bringing the show back with the older Andy Milonakis taking over the titular role from Don Johnson. Tom's not sold on the casting, but he thinks it will be a fun show.
Audrey says the reason she called was to talk about Sammy Hagar. Tom's not aware of any noteworthy Hagar happenings, and his ignorance causes Audrey to make the "pffft" noise. She usually gets her new from the Internet, but two nights ago she went to the corner store and saw a drunk, aging hippie come in. Presumably he joined the eight that were already in there. The hippie said that Hagar had just sold an 80% interest of his Cabo Wabo tequila brand for $80 million, and then he walked out. Tom gets rid of the moron for toilet mouth, embarrassing the people of San Francisco even more. At this point, he thinks the show is a stone-cold L. Audrey sent the show into the Disaster Zone -- a Presidio of Pain, if you will. Tom vows to take control of the bus instead of handing the wheel for Open Phone Snoozeday. Tom wonders if that's really who is out there. He's very concerned about the demographics of his listenership.
- Mike votes for the Good Old Days due to the absence of cell phones.
- Brendan from Parsippany calls (starts at 59:49) to say the Good Old Days were worse because there were only 10 TV channels back then.
- A caller says (starts at 1:00) the Good Old Days were much worse because the railroads were corrupt and big conglomerates controlled even larger segments of power. Tom is thankful that everything is now aboveboard and that we haven't had one family controlling the Presidency for 12 years. The caller thought Tom liked the Bush boys, but Tom says he goes a little more right than GWB. He was a Pat Buchanan man, but he bailed on him when he went soft.
- A caller says (starts at 1:01) he will ignore politics and give it up for the Good Old Days for having better music. He enjoyed the skiffle band Soup To Nuts and Van Morrison. Tom tells the caller that the presence of guys like Van Morrison means that the Good Old Days were worse. He fires again with Frédéric Chopin, and Tom realizes that he's Soup To Nuts minus the Soup.
- Tim, aka the guy who pledged for the naming rights to the upstairs call screener desk, calls (starts at 1:02) to say the Good Old Days were worse because they didn't have The Wire. Indeed. Tim agrees with Tom that television in general has greatly improved over the years. Tom points out that back then highbrow fare included stuff like The Jeffersons, Alice, and the terrible All in the Family. Mike sticks up for good shows like The Mary Tyler Moore and The Bob Newhart Show, but Tom requires more than just two shows in a 15-year span. Tim also thinks the cartoons are better now than in the Hanna-Barbera days of The Jetsons, talking skeletons, and pumpkins that sounded like Curly from The Three Stooges. Tom commends Tim for conducting himself with dignity, and he thinks he could teach Frederick Douglas about how to call a radio program. When FD called, Tom felt like he was at the Aspen Comedy Festival watching a one-man show by someone trying to get attached to a television series.
- Brett in Austin calls (starts at 1:04) to say he's still waiting for the truck with the good phones to arrive. He thinks the Good Old Days were
worse better worse because Jerry Falwell was still alive. Brett thinks he was a pretty awful dude, and Tom wants him to take that back. He says that while Falwell was a little too lenient on some political issues, he respected the man. Tom met Falwell three times at sports collectors conventions, and he discovered that the fallen Reverend was a big collector of Houston Oilers memorabilia. Brett says that he always rooted for the Texas Rangers baseball team when they played the old Houston Oilers football team. Tom continues his tradition of asking Austin callers about Harry Knowles, but Brett is not familiar with the portly Rascal rider. Tom gets rid of Brett for asking if Ain’t It Cool News is on cable television.
- A guy from a halfway house somewhere in New Jersey calls (starts at 1:06) to say the Good Old Days were worse because Tom Scharpling wasn’t on the air. Tom appreciates the sweet sentiment, and he wants to get the name of the caller's counselor so he can recommend an extra serving of JELL-O. The caller says he'll give Mike the information off the air.
- Laurie from Miami calls (starts at 1:07) to give an inside look at the city that just defended their title as the #1 road rage city in America. Tom congratulates Laurie, who takes great pride in her city's vehicular anger. Laurie admits that she is often full of road rage because of all the SUVs and Hummers crawling on the curb to get around her or running red lights at the crosswalks, terrorizing pedestrians. Not cool. Laurie says Miami will celebrate their ranking with a parade, and Tom hopes that someone drives angrily, constantly honking their horn at the car in front of them. Laurie says this is standard behavior on the streets of Miami. Tom says Jersey City didn't make the cut because its residents aren't wild animals. Tom wants to know the loudest music Laurie's ever heard coming out of a vehicle, and she notes that Miami is the home of L'Trimm, the local hip-hop duo of Lady Tigra and Bunny D who scored a hit in 1989 with the subwoofer jam "Cars With The Boom". Tom doesn't recall the single because he's more into old-fashioned music like "Winchester Cathedral" and "23 Skidoo". Laurie correctly guesses that Tom enjoyed the flapper music that Jerry Fabris was playing tonight before The Best Show. She's not a fan, and she says the Good Old Days were worse primarily because of flapper music. Tom is upset that Laurie took two shots at his lead-in, and he makes her apologize to Jerry so she can go out on a good note. Tom says that he's proud to have a legendary sound historian like Mr. Fabris on before him. Mac? Not so much.
- Bill calls (starts at 1:13) during his first-ever listen to vote for the Good Old Days. He appreciates that there was a certain innocence allowed during the old old days of I Like Pothead Ike. Bill was too young to form an opinion about McCarthyism, but he does have fond recollections of the post-WW2 / pre-Kennedy assassination era when candy was a nickel and gas was a quarter. Tom points out that it's all relative because your monthly salary was only $41. Bill says mothers would send kids to the store for cigarettes, and they'd be able to buy them no matter how young they were. Ah, the Good Old Days. Tom points out one unpleasant thing about this era: separate water fountains for black people. Bill says that Louisiana still has racism officially on its books, but Tom mentions that it's kind of being run out of places now.
- Pete from Middletown, NY, calls (starts at 1:16) to chime with a vote for the Good Old Days being worse than today because they didn't have moving sidewalks at the airports. Pete says he likes to move on his own accord, but he thinks the motorized sidewalks are a neat alternative for locomotion. Tom says that after sitting on a plane for seven hours, he doesn't mind a nice stroll through the terminal. Pete will agree to disagree on that own. Tom suggests hooking a go-kart to his set so he doesn't even have to get up upon landing. He can a little ride all the way to baggage claim. Pete likes the sound of that. Tom tells him to look into exercise and GOMPs him. The epitome of physical fitness has spoken!
- Tom decides (starts at 1:17) to do a five-minute Disagree With Tom segment. He will try to disagree with any opinion offered by a caller. Tom bans weirdo fringe stuff like arguing that Hitler was terrible, which would put him in the unenviable position of defending Hitler. This is actually a very easy one to pull off because Larry David has already done the research: Hitler didn't take any s hit from magicians.
A caller says that some drug dealers are good for the community. He also says that the CIA is responsible for supplying the drugs. Tom recommends that the caller contact the CIA for a new cell phone, and he argues that drug dealers are poisoning the community. They are not heroes, and the real world is not like New Jack City.
- A caller abandons (starts at 1:19) the Disagree With Tom format to say that she liked the Good Old Days when there was less advertising spam on e-mail, radio, and billboards. Tom is a bit offended because he enrolled in the University of Phoenix after seeing an intriguing pop-up ad. Tom thinks the caller should explore those pop-up windows to get a good price on an airplane ticket from Orbitz.
- A caller who sounds like a blue-tripping Pablo Fontana says (starts at 1:20) something about cooking food back in the day. Tom confirms that he's talking about cooking food and not garden hoses. The caller says he loved the Good Old Days when "they" had grilled chicken. Tom doesn't recall the ban on grilled chicken, and he thinks the caller can do better than that. He also wants to know who this all-encompassing "they" is. Tom imagines the caller sitting idly by while "they" (The Others? The Hills Have Eyes-style mutants?) first came to take away the grilled chicken. Then they came for meatloaf and stew, meeting little resistance. Tom thinks something might have gone down when they finally came for the sandwiches, but he can't remember the rest of the story.
- The Crame Dog calls (starts at 1:22) to see if Tom can effectively argue against this position: television sports coverage is worse now. He says that certain modern camera angles make him upset and nauseous. Tom says that everything he watches on ESPN Classic is so blurry that he can't even make out the action. He points out that you can barely see Willis Reed in the footage of his heroic entrance in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals. The Crame Dog takes it back at Tom by arguing that the lack of vision adds some romance. Tom says he would rather watch an episode of What’s Happening!! than a fuzzy Knicks classic. He was glad that he had a clean view of the Suns vs. Spurs game last night when Robert Horry checked Steve Nash into the scorer’s table. The Crame Dog says he would have seen the same thing in 1979, but Tom says it would have been captured by an overhead camera. He'd had to wait until the the next day's 11 p.m. news to see it again. The Crame Dog prefers more of the visual component to be left to the imagination, but Tom argues that a live sporting event is not a book. He wants to see what's actually happening. The Crame Dog wonders if we really need to see the clip of the Horry incident all day long on Sportscenter. Tom's solution is to simply shut ESPN off when you've had your fill of highlights.
- Amanda in San Diego calls (starts at 1:25) as she's walking her bike past a softball game. She's a little concerned that all of the female callers are starting to sound like the great, cheery Swiss Miss. Tom agrees that it's horrible when people are in good moods and sound positive when they call the show. Tom does an impression of a caller named Janet who sounds a bit like Ludo from Labyrinth to see if Amanda prefers that voice. She likes it because she talks like that sometimes. Tom wonders if she's excited about the Comic-Con that will happen in 19 months, but she's not a fan of the Convention Center. Tom enjoyed attending the Comic-Con a few years ago because there was a Padres game going on at the same time, creating the classic Jock Squad vs. Nerd Squad street battle. Tom asks Amanda to name the best restaurant in San Diego, and she goes with Pomegranate, which serves dishes from the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
Tom wants her to pick the city's best convenience store, and Amanda settles for the weak 7-11 that's within walking distance of her house. The Monmouth Beach, N.J. native favors QuikCHEK. Tom likes QuikCHEK because they make you feel like family. Tom had a 10-minute conversation with the guy behind counter at QuikCHEK, and as he left the store, he told himself that he could never go back to that location. Amanda says the employees of her local QuikCHEK were drug addicts, and Tom will not allow her to slander the fine people of QuikCHEK. Amanda points out that she was just slandering two specific drug-addled employees, not the entire institution.
- Taylor from Manhattan College calls (starts at 1:42) to report a potential celebrity sighting. He thinks he saw comedian Zach Galifianakis running in the woods around Van Cortlandt Park. Taylor chased after him, and the guy denied being Zach with a smirk. Tom suggests that it might have been the Zach lookalike from the Comcast commercial. Tom thinks that actor needs to shave the beard and show some dignity. Tom knows Zach Galifianakis, and this guy doesn't cut it. Taylor asks Tom if he thinks Zach would wear really bright 1980s-ish pants. Tom has no idea, but I finally figured it out. He saw Seth! I bet those pants were pleated and had a State Fair t-shirt stuffed into them. Taylor says that Tom's anti-Myspace rant last week somehow made him join the community. He claims he "friended" Tom, but Tom sets him straight. Taylor requested Tom's online friendship, and then Tom granted it. Tom orders Taylor to learn the Myspace rules before talking to him again.
- American Supercaller Dave from Knoxville calls (starts at 2:45) to save the day by giving Tom some much-needed inspiration. He says it's already been an exceptional program, and he's confident it's only going to get better. He serves up a Disagree With Tom softball: southern racism in the 1950s wasn't such a bad thing. Dave wasn't alive then, but he just wants Tom to be able to hit one out the park. Tom thinks this is a testament to Dave being a class act. He's humble, and he earned his lofty Supercaller status. When Tom was out with his tummy ache, Dave listened to some of the vintage podcasts. He heard a classic installment where Tom and the callers were in the zone. Dave points out that the episode contains many of the sound clips featured in the opening Best Show theme, such as Jeffrey Ludell's "diseased orangutan" line. He's also been dipping into the archives as part of his catch-up effort, and he reports that he's never heard anyone sing Eric Carmen's "All By Myself" four times quite like Tom did on the air. Dave says the fourth rendition was just as stirring as the first. He reminds listeners that Tom had lost the will to live after back-to-back calls from Petey and Captain Jack. Tom says those guys are takers, while Dave is a giver. Tom compares Dave to vitamin water with taurine, whereas Petey and Captain Jack are dehydrating coffee, providing only a temporary jolt.
Dave says his enriching properties are a southern thing. He points out that despite a history of racism, the region's residents have always been very gracious. Dave didn't care about the Kentucky Derby -- his sport is baseball. Knoxville has the Tennessee Smokies, a minor-league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, but he's always been an Atlanta Braves fan. Since his state has never had a pro team, his options were the Braves or the St. Louis Cardinals. To his credit, Dave was a Braves fan even when they were losing 105 games every year. Tom mocks Braves fans for failing to actually attend the games. Dave agrees that Atlanta is not a good sports town, and Tom says there are often more people on the field than in the stands. Dave's son starts chirping up in the background. Dave says he's anxious to be part of the show, but he must learn from daddy. When his son gets out of line, Dave punishes him by giving him a haircut -- an inch off for every transgression. Dave says he has a modified Owen Wilson surfer doo, so he whips out the clippers and Brylcreem. Cut it short and grease it down. Tom thinks he loves Dave from Knoxville. Dave returns the love and tells Tom to have a fantastic week. He cares about Tom beyond Tuesday night at 11 p.m.
If Hesh is a poison, Dave from Knoxville is a life-affirming elixir!
- Former American Supercaller Evan from Montclair calls to discuss his fall from Best Show grace. While he's on the upswing since his demotion, Tom says he's still on par with the guy who's in prison for ratting someone out. Evan points out that his wife also misdiagnosed Tom's pain, suggesting that he rely on herbal remedies. Tom was screaming in the emegency room 90 minutes later. Evan wants Tom to take a contrarian position to his preference for air travel in the Good Old Days. When he was a kid, Evan liked putting on his leisure suit to fly on the "Spruce Goose". Tom says he never understood the fascination with wearing a suit on a plane. While wearing sweatpants to jury duty is on one end of the sartorial spectrum, boarding a plane in the most uncomfortable clothing ever is at the other end. Evan says he once sat next to someone wearing pajamas, but Tom doesn't have to deal with any of the riff-raff because he hasn't flown in a commercial aircraft in seven years. He flies his own private jets, having studied under the tutelage of John Travolta. Tom is looking to acquire a second plane. Tom casts some doubt on Travolta's skills, wondering if it's wise to fly on a plane piloted by the guy who decided to make Wild Hogs. Tom asks Evan if the cruising altitude is 450,000 feet, and Evan says something about a Three Mile High sex club. Tom tells Evan to change the subject because he's not Al Goldstein, and it's not Midnight Blue the radio show. Tom hopes Goldstein is on the road to recovery because he's an American Hero.
Evan has been enjoying the show tonight, and he thinks the problem is that Tom is going up against the South Carolina Republican Presidential debate. Tom agrees because his listeners love debates that take place 35 months before the election. Mitt Romney’s ahead in the polls! Evan asks Tom what he thinks of Kucinich, but Tom doesn't know what that is. Evan wants Tom to check out the debate, but Tom tells him that he's not in some kind of 24-style control center. He would have to throw on a Fleetwood Mac album and run up two floors to watch it. Evan says the podcasts have changed his life, and Tom thinks his attempt to get back in his good graces is kinda embarrassing. The only Evan Tom cares about is Evan "Funk" Davies.
- Dan in Sweden via Hunstville, Alabama, calls from a submarine at 4 a.m. his time. He's not a Comedy Zone* Message Board person, but he is a graduate student. He gets to go to school for free, and Tom considers going to Sweden. Dan says the non-confrontaional Swedes would probably hate him. Tom thinks he could take over the country and get elected as the mayor of a city within four days of arriving there. He would get rid of the sitting mayor and yell at people to vote for him even if there was not an election being held. Dan thinks a campaign based on lower taxes would easily win them over. He says the best part of living in Sweden is the girls, although they don't like him. They prefer his exotic Mexican friends. Tom doesn’t want to know about this weird story. He thinks Huntsville is even more exotic than Sweden, and Dan says his hometown is known for having a bunch of rockets and stuff. Tom wants to know the worst part of living in Sweden, but Dan says "uh" for more than three seconds. Under new Best Show rules, this yields an automatic dismissal.
- A caller says (starts at 2:00) that he prefers the old days when little brothers did the bidding of their older brothers. Uh oh. It's Dom Scharpling, Tom’s older brother. Dom wants Tom to show him some respect by addressing him as "Sir." Tom is reluctant to use the title because Dom's his brother, not his father. Dom just wants Tom to say it once, but Tom refuses. Dom shows Tom disrespect by calling him a "little creep." He then sarcastically thanks Tom for his performance on Sunday during their Mother's Day brunch at Captain's Donuts. Dom says he didn't appreciate what he perceived as Tom flaunting his money by offering to pay for the meal. Tom counters by saying that Dom's standard approach is to conveniently forget his wallet when attending family gatherings. Dom confirms that he did not bring his wallet, but he disputes the fact that it's a recurring problem. Tom cites Danny's birthday, Sean's birthday, Easter, and the Valentine's Day family brunch as additional examples, and Dom says he learned the tactic from their dad, Roger Scharpling. Tom doesn't think their dad's history of bad behavior is much of an excuse. Dom argues that it's hard to shake the early programming of seeing your dad consistently forget his wallet. Tom recalls seeing their mother have to pay for brunches because their dad or Dom were moneyless. Roger pulled the stunt on Sunday, and Dom thinks that's great. He chuckles as he thinks about it. Tom stepped up and paid, a gesture that prompts Dom to ask him if he thinks he's a real fatcat. Tom says that he prefers not to be put in the position of paying for everyone after certain people do the "wallet pat" routine.
Dom insists that Tom thinks he's a big deal because he works in a cubicle at "Consolidummies", the derogatory nickname for Consolidated Cardboard adopted by Dom and his friend Benji. Tom apologizes for having a job. Dom asks Tom if he can believe that the Captain was going to toss him out of the eatery just because he wasn't wearing pants. Tom believes it and says he was embarrassed by Dom's attire. Dom wants credit for technically wearing "pants" -- they just weren't adult pants. He wore children's knee pants to brunch. Sounds like he was dressed for Colonial Days about three weeks too late! Dom provides the backstory of how he made a sartorial decision better suited for a 10-year-old. He spent Mother's Day Eve at the residence of Sheila Larson, the chick he's been doing it with. Dom wonders why the Scharplings never celebrated Mother's Day Eve, but Roger made them observe Father's Day Eve as well as Father's Day proper. Tom says that's just the way their dad did it. Dom still can't believe he made them serenade him with one of his original compositions, “Dad, You’re A Star”, every June. Tom thinks it's pretty embarrassing for Roger to write a song that he expected his children to sing as though they came up with the sentiments on their own. Dom sings a bit of the childhood tune ("Dad, you're a star/You know that's what you are") and gets sick to his stomach. He says he was lying in bed with Sheila, pondering her status as a MILF, when he remembered it was Mother's Day about 30 minutes before the scheduled brunch. Dom's only problem was that his adult pants were torn in the frenzy that was their lovemaking session. Tom makes the "d-d-d-d-da" noise to indicate that he is not interested in the details of said spirited session.
Since the ripped pants were unfit for Captain's Donuts, Dom says he was forced to borrow some pants from Sky Stalker, Sheila's son from her marriage to Corey Harris, the idiot from Mother 13 who climbed that mountain. Tom wants to know if Larson is Dom's current girlfriend, but he prefers the term "squeeze for this week." He likes to play it wide and open. Tom informs him that he's no longer 20, so he should consider committed relationships. Dom says one thing he's committed to is hating the Captain. Dom says the attempted ejection is part of the source of his anger, but he also feels that the Captain thinks he's cool because he has that one fake hand. Tom points out that he lost his hand while making donuts. Dom still senses that the Captain thinks he's above everyone due to the weird prosthetic. Tom says he hasn't detected any superior attitude coming from the Captain. Dom recalls the time he and Benji beat the Captain with his own hand because he wouldn't let them bring their Porta-Ghettos into the shop. Tom remembers it as a terrible incident, while Dom thinks it was a great event. Tom respects the Captain as a guy who lost his hand in the line of duty and still managed to quickly land on his feet to continue making donuts for the people of Newbridge. Dom says that he heard the Captain was a trust-funder. He thinks "they" are all trust-funders. Tom doubts the Captain completed the second grade. Dom suspects the hand, which is painted black, is actually made of ivory. Tom can't confirm its construction material, but he does think it's weird that the Caucasian Captain paints his fake hand black.
"That’s one small step for a baked man, one giant leap for the Dearborn, MI, police squad."
Dom asks Tom if he's heard the 911 call from the guy in Michigan who thought that he and his wife were dying after eating some crippling hash brownies. Tom's not familiar with it, and Dom says it's floating around the Internet. He actually saw it on Keith Oberlin's MSNBC show. Tom tells him that it's Keith Olbermann, and Dom wants to know why Tom's always correcting everybody. Dom says that everybody hates this Tom trait. Tom says it may be a bad habit, but he's just trying to prevent people from repeating the same mistakes. Dom's not sure what mistake he made, so Tom reminds him that he mispronounced Keith Olbermann's last name. Dom doesn't seem pleased and decides to continue with his story. Tom refers to a "tape", and Dom calls him a jerk. He says it's 2007, so the audio is captured and transferred over the Internet in digital .mp3 files not cassettes. Tom points out that Dom was very quick to correct his mistake, but Dom justifies it because he's right and Tom's wrong.
Dom says that the couple consumed the brownies, and the guy called 911 because he was so high that he was convinced that they died. He requested an emergency squad to rescue them. When Dom saw it on the news, it took him back to the time his buddy Benji OD'd on pot. Tom says he doesn't remember that at all, and Dom thinks Tom was away at camp when it happened. Tom says he's not surprised because Benji was not the smartest guy in the room. Dom takes offense to Tom disparaging his good friend. Dom says that he and Benji made pot butter and ate it like it was fudge. They didn't know that the butter was supposed to be used as an ingredient in the narcotic baked good, not a standalone snack. Dom says that Benji went under after eating chunks of super-concentrated weed butter. Tom's never heard anything about this, and Dom says Tom should consider himself lucky that he wasn't the one who would have had to tell Benji's parents that his final words didn't involve a message of love for them. Benji’s final words to Dom came in the form of a question. He wanted to know who was the better bassist: Journey's Ross Valory or REO Speedwagon's Gary Richrath. In his hallucinatory state, Benji apparently forgot that Richrath was a lead guitarist. Benji did recover from the overdose. Dom says those were good times, but Tom disagrees. Dom tells Tom that he stinks and calls him a "little dweeboid."
Tom is amused that Dom thinks he can still bully him. Dom says that he knows that Tom and dad never thought he passed mustard. Tom doesn't understand how someone who attended the same school could say "mustard" instead of muster". Dom thinks "mustard" means that you've got it, and he thinks Tom's sense of superiority stems from him quitting college on the second-to-last day. Tom tells Dom that his failure to graduate still upsets their parents. Dom says he had to drop out to get those Poison tickets. Tom points out that the worst part of the whole ordeal is that he didn't even secure the tickets. Dom did sneak into the show, and it was a great until he hit frontman Bret Michaels in the face with one of Benji's boots. After Dom whipped the boot up to the stage, Benji got thrown out and beaten up by a female security guard. Dom was bounced shortly after that hilarious beatdown. Tom wonders if that's all Dom has to show for his lack of college education, but Dom says he also has the case of Nutty Buddies that he stole from the concession stand. Tom jokingly suggests it was all worth it, and Dom says it depends on how you look at it. He still has the frozen treats in their parents' freezer.
Two members of the West Southbridge Burgundybacks practice for the upcoming Whip-Off
Dom says his job sweeping up at the Wiffle® golf ball factory isn't going that great, and he gets defensive when Tom mentions his CC office job. Dom wants Tom to consider the fact that he didn't want that kind of life and is happy sweeping for a living. Tom says that he hopes Dom is happy -- he's not rooting against him. Dom predicts that the Scharpling clan will all be asking for his autograph when he's holding that bronze belt above his head. Tom understandably wants to know how Dom will go about getting this bronze belt. Dom says it will be his prize for winning the 2007 Whip-Off. He's a player in the Eastern Part of American Belt-Whipping League. Tom had no idea there was an official league for belt-whipping, but he does remember once seeing Dom swinging a belt around his living room when he came over to return a movie. Dom was show about it back then, so he quickly stopped swinging when he noticed that Tom spotted him. He's apparently well past the shyness because he starts practicing live over the air.
Dom asks Tom not to tell their dad that he's whipping for The Belt Brigade from Nobridge, the start-up community out near where the Newbridge River was before they filled it with colored marbles and paved it over. The EPoABWL's season is nearing the semifinals, culminating in the Whip-Off championship. Dom says the goal of the sport is to get as many whips to connect with your opponent's haunches as possible. The matches take place in a massive plexiglass container that Dom compares to a Charles Chips cannister (lid included). Dom says that
dozens tens one set of nine people attend these Whip-Off events. Each whipper generally has one relative there for support. Dom says that some matches are over almost immediately if a player can't handle the first sting of the belt. He puts Tom into this category, estimating that his haunches would be blacked by whip marks in three minutes. Dom is made of stronger stuff, and he rubs his back nightly with sandpaper to further toughen his skin. Dom says the competitions are challenging because most of the players are black belts. Tom assumes this indicates the highest level of rank in the sport, but Dom was referring to the color of leather belts they use. He says there are some brown belts and a really weak team from Williamsburg that uses white belts. The same players also have a kickball team in Brooklyn. Dom doesn't play kickball, but The Belt Brigade will compete in a charity event this coming weekend to benefit "Tornado Todd" Hutchins's LifeChanges organization.
The special match will pit The Belt Brigade against the Newbridge Redfaces of the Northeastern Slap Fight League. Dom compares the mash-up of local sports to the time when André 2000 fought Muhammad Ali. Tom needs a second to digest this odd pairing and wants to review the sentence one word at a time. Tom stops Dom when he gets to "Andre 2000". He is forced to issue yet another correction. Tom informs Dom that he's thinking of Andre the Giant, the oversized wrestler/actor he somehow confused with Andre 3000 from Outkast. Dom thinks Andre 3000 might be a robot before remembering him from the Outkast hit "Boo Ya". Tom corrects him on the title and clarifies that his intended two-sport comparison was Andre the Giant's bout with Muhammad Ali. Dom wants Tom to guess who will get whipped at the charity event. Tom thinks the belt whippers will certainly connect, but the slappers may also land some good shots. Dom is a bit concerned that the slapfighters will attempt to take away their belts. Tom points out the likely strategy involving the belt whippers attacking from a safe distance whereas the slappers will try get in close to slap the whippers silly. The bottom line: Dom's worried. From what I've heard, Dom's fears are justified because Kevin, the Redfaces' morbidly-obese teen sensation, is having an MVS-level season.
Dom was listening to the show earlier and heard Tom mention the GEICO Cavemen sitcom. Dom says it's already his favorite show, and Tom's not surprised. Dom calls Tom "Dr. Snooty" and accuses him of making a house call. Tom thinks even Dom has to admit that the show looks stupid, but he thinks it looks great. While most people are sick of those stupid commercials, Dom says he wants to watch a half-hour of Cavemen antics every week. Dom wonders if this is the beginning of a trend of turning commercials into television series, and he has an idea for another one. Dom says he'd love to see that Oriental couple turned into a show. Tom prefers the term "Asian", but either way, he doesn't know what Dom's talking about. Dom explains that he desires a weekly series built around Mr. and Mrs. Lee from the classic Calgon commercial in which the detergent's water softener additive is dubbed an "ancient Chinese secret." Tom is not similarly excited by the prospects of adapting a 30-year-old advertisement, but Dom has already written the scripts for two 12-episode seasons of Ancient Chinese Secret, Huh?. Dom has given the couple the last name of Chan, and Tom gets him to admit that it was the only Asian last name he knew. Tom thinks that if Dom is going to create a show about an Asian family, he should probably have a broader knowledge of their culture.
Dom says he'll do some punch-up, but he wants to reveal the concept: the Chans are professional hitpeople with hearts of gold. He completely ditched the laundromat format of the original. Dom says that every episode will end with the dying victim asking the Chans why they shot him, followed by the Chans repeating the show's title/catchphrase. Dom thinks this is classic stuff. Tom wants to know why the reason for the kill is an "ancient Chinese secret", and Dom says that's just the Chans' thing. Dom is hopeful that they are going to order more scripts. They "they" in question are the owners of the television network operating in Dom's mind. Tom begins to doubt whether Dom has actually written out the 24 episodes. Dom requests a definition for "written". Tom asks Dom if there's a piece of paper or a computer file that holds actual letters put into words put into paragraphs and dialogue telling the story for the first two seasons of Ancient Chinese Secret, Huh?. Dom's answer is simple: no. The two seasons only exist in his head. Tom laments that things haven't changed, and Dom issues a cryptic "it's starting again."
Dom says that some guy gave him a lip balm that he just put on a few minutes ago. Tom knows it's "blue", so he tells Dom to wipe it off his lips. It's too late -- Dom says that his lips feel like boxing gloves and then he falls asleep. Tom's sad that his own brother is hooked on "blue". Like Philly Boy Roy last week, Dom somehow manages to redial and snore into the phone before quickly departing again.
- Tom starts a new topic: What is the piece of advice/warning you would give to yourself five years ago. Michelle calls from a car traveling in Harrison, NJ, to offer two pieces of advice to her past shelf. She's joined in the car by her giggly friend Kelly, who is serving as her personal studio audience of one. Michelle reports that Kelly has consumed a few drinks, so her laughter may be disproportionate to the comedic quality of the call. Michelle advises herself to go back 10 years and never pick up a cigarette. She's been trying to quit for two weeks, and she says it's the hardest thing she's ever tried to do. Tom thinks she should stop smoking, but I think she should just switch to lung-friendly cigars like Frederick Douglas. Michelle is troubled by how much she loves smoking because she knows it's bad for her. Tom wonders if she loves the great taste in her mouth, but Michelle says she's drawn to its association with looking cool. [Kelly's background cackles start becoming more intense.] Tom is concerned that Michelle's self-esteem has sunk to the point where she requires a gimmicky prop like she's Carrot Top. Tom recommends that she start trusting her own personality and mapping out her own sense of cool. He is certain that NOBODY thinks her smoking is cool because anybody can get cigarettes. Tom doesn't allow Michelle to reveal her second item, and he ends the call with some simple, forceful words of advice: STOP SMOKING.
- "Fred" calls to say he'd tell himself to stay off the dust. It was a bad idea. Fred begins a new riff that he promises to keep clean, but he signs off before he has the chance to hit Tom over the head with a thing of Ajax like a scene from a bad action movie.
- Kelly calls to offer some additional insight into Michelle's smoking habits. She says the only thing that has changed since Michelle began the effort to quit is her preferred brand. Kelly reveals that Michelle now smokes her cigarettes instead of buying her own. She doesn't appreciate Michelle's public fibbery, but Tom says that she's lying to herself more than anyone. Kelly starts babbling about the logistics of these cigarette handoffs, and Tom tells her to shut up. He's trying to pull out a W, not get caught up in an episode of My Super Sweet 16.
- John Benson calls to tell himself go back and have more fun in college. He's a sensitive dude, so he wishes he had more confidence during potential sexytime encounters. John Benson says he's doing his darndest to live his life to the fullest these days, but he does still chicken out on some stuff. Tom asks him to picture himself in 2017 telling his 2007 self to stick up for himself. John Benson thinks this may be the solution to all of his problems.
Junk H calls to return to 2002 to tell himself to keep his band together and not record that album with that guy who lost it on his 1980s computer. He wishes he kept playing guitar because in 2007 he's struggling to play the old songs. H says that the guy's elbow hit the delete button, erasing everything on his hard drive. The recording evaporated. H and Tom both think it's sad that the album is forever lost to time. Tom thinks Gore might have won the 2000 Presidential election if the album was heard by the American people. H says the lyrical content centered aroung global warming. Tom mentions that technology has finally caught up to the computer lab machines in 1986's Pretty In Pink. When Tom first saw the film, he didn't think the NASA computers could pull off the image transfers on display.
- Mike from Philadelphia calls to tell himself to be less nervous around the ladies and explore different people and places while in college. Tom thinks it sounds like solid advice.
- Rick from Philadelphia calls to say he's had a rough go of it with TV DVD sets, getting hooked on awful shows like the just-canceled Veronica Mars. He hates the program, but he's helplessly engrossed by the pretty girls and
David Spade George Segal that bald guy from Just Shoot Me. A friend of his recently became obsessed with One Tree Hill. Rick from Philadelphia 2007 would tell Rick from Philadelphia 2002 to resist the pull of TV DVDs. Tom thought the solution might be to just avoid The CW, but Rick says he also purchased the Miami Vice season 1 set. He admits that it's pretty great viewing, but he's concerned that it's preventing him from doing other things with his time. Tom advises consuming everything in moderation.
Rick says his romp through the first season of Miami Vice led him to see the much-maligned film adaptation in the theater (presumably the Ritz 5 before PBR burned it down). Tom wants to get in a time machine to save Rick from this horrible fate. He tells Rick to draw the line by selling the DVDs at the Philadelphia Record Exchange or grilling them at Pat's Steaks. Rick is bracing for the three months he will inevitably lose to Lost. Tom thinks a spine would help his cause, and Rick says he'll consider purchasing one at the Reading Terminal Market. He would ideally prefer to read a book or exercise. Rick's addiction includes plowing through the second season of Entourage even though he knew it was terrible from the get-go. He says he can't not be sucked in. Tom tells him that he's not a slave to his DVDs like the Labyrinth guy. He wants Rick to grow up and refuse to do the bidding of Disc 3 from the second season of Veronica Mars.
- Martin from Edison, N.J., calls to wish he hadn't looked for so many answers and accepted the advice of others. He feels that a lot of people didn't have their s hit together, but they were quick to tell him what to do.
- Steve calls to tell the college version of himself not to waste his time by studying education. He completed a full year of student teaching, but then decided he didn't like it and gave it up. Steve says he would have preferred to study English or creative writing since that's what he ended up doing. He thought teaching would be a good career move, but he was wrong. It was not. Tom salutes the teachers of America for doing noble work educating the youth of America, BUT he wants them to stop writing letters to Entertainment Weekly about Jerry O'Connell's exorbitant salary being symptomatic of a sick, unfair world. Tom doesn't think the economy can handle the strain of paying every teacher $1.2 million/year. He appreciates what they do, but he hopes they realize that they will never reach the pay scale of a TV star. Tom points out that if teachers commanded that kind of money, Tom Hanks and many other showbiz people would enter the field. He recites some powerful words from Class of 1984 to indicate that for once the tables have been turned: the teacha-teachas are the ones who have to learn.
Tom gives some of the highlights of the great Class of 1984: Michael J. Fox falling off a flagpole while high, an extended battle throughout the school where high school teacher Andrew Norris (Perry King) kills an entire gang one by one (including a grisly, TLS-y offing in the metal shop), and a climactic battle with the villainous Peter Stegman (current The Sopranos director Timmy Van Patten) on the roof as the school band toots it up below. Help me, teacha, teacha. Teacha, help me! The teacha goes to help him, but Stegman pulls out a switchblade to stab him. This was a bad move because he was lunging at Norris while still on his precarious skylight perch. Norris kicks Stegman, and he gets the rope wrapped around his neck. He falls to his hanging in front of the orchestra. Tom doesn't understand how school orchestras sound so good in movies. He says the Newbridge High orchestra was worse than the Langley Schools Music Project. Tom thinks those talentless wonders should leave it to the professionals and just sit in the audience. Not everyone can do it.
Tom does a rapid-fire Tom On ... to pull out the victory:
* Big 3-Day Music Festivals: No comment because the caller Dustin thought the segment was called Dustin On ...
* Pennsylvania: Tom likes the hearty people of Philadelphia, but he'd like to see them release some of their anger.
* NBA Playoffs: Tom loved the early exit by the Mavs -- he related to the underdog Golden State Warriors. He predicts a Suns vs. Pistons Finals.
* Heroes: Tom watched four minutes of it, and he's never going back there again. He knows that people will talk in hushed, eerie tones while waiting for that one special effect.
* The Arcade Fire's Neon Bible: Tom's only heard the two songs they played on Saturday Night Live. The band is absent from his radar for some reason.
* Mike Patton: Tom thinks he's one of the least-talented people alive. SWISS MISS disagrees, but Tom informs her that her opinion does not matta!
* Clifford: Tom declares the Short/Grodin laffer the best movie of the second half of the 20th century.
* Real-life heroes: Tom says it's hard being one of them.
A Hesh's Delight? Did that little creep do a gnome dance around his apartment? No! W! 17-0 in 2007.
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU: Thomas Paine calls to talk about his love of Grilled Stuft Burritos and perform a cover of Teenage Fanclub's "What You Do to Me", Owen reverts back to No Smokin' Joe to counsel Frederick Douglas on the dangers of cigars, and Dom calls back to talk about his new ABC sitcom pitch Consolidummies, starring Michael Rappaport, George Lopez, Rutger Hauer, Doug Benson ... and Judd Hirsch as Cyrus Dalrymple!
I'll leave you with my new fave drug freakout tune: "Song Sung BLUE". Wipe it off, Fonz!
One more thing:
"The problem is we keep trying to get back on the bus. Insteada just letting it go." -- Tony Soprano, offering some insight into the incorrigible Best Show haters