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At What Price?

"It was strange. Very strange. I've dealt with Stevie Blue. This was even stranger than Stevie Blue." -- Mike the Associate Producer on receiving a dead fish from a young boy dressed like Oliver Twist
"What am I supposed to do? Cook it tonight? Good old-fashioned fish-fry?" -- Tom, contemplating what to do with his unwelcome guest
"If you pull the plug, can I have your home phone number?" -- Dave from Knoxville, trying to maintain his connection with The Kid
"My name Basil? No. I'm not one of your guinea pigs. Am I in a cage? No. I'm not one of your guinea pigs. Am I drinking water out of an eye-dropper? No. I'm not one of your guinea pigs." -- Tom, holding off on an iPhone purchase until 2009
"Seriously. You didn't write The Bible. It's Clerks." -- Tom, putting Kevin Smith's debut in perspective
"Yeah, you might want to hurry on that one. Red State. Why don't you just call the movie Soccer Mom, time-stamp it a little harder." -- Tom, pointing out the expiration date on Kevin Smith's new horror project
"You know what? I got the microphone right now, you tub of goo. You fat bully. I'm comin' after you!" -- Tom, quitting the show to hunt down his Jersey nemesis
"If you are even the slightest bit off, you are off ... my phone." -- Tom, instituting a "Normals Only" policy
"Who doesn't like watching old kinescopes of Ernie Kovacs? Me. Actually, I don't. That stuff's pretty bad." -- Tom, denying the television pioneer New Jersey ambassador status
"He blew up that children's hospital Jersey-style!" -- Tom, admiring the panache of Trenton-born Gulf War commander General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
"You know what? I could be sittin' at home coloring in a coloring book if I wanted to." -- Tom, making alternate plans for future Tuesday nights
"Why would anyone ever want to leave New Jersey?" - Jack Nicholson in the Sean Penn cover story in the September 2007 Esquire
"Anytime Jason Lee does a kids movie, I'm there." -- Tom, giving into the cinematic hijinks of the skateboarding Scientologist
"Hitler. Enough with this Hitler guy. I don't like him. The jury's in. Thumbs down." -- Tom, issuing judgment on the star of The History Channel
"They kinda looked at me like I was from out of space. Like I was from planet Marzuk or something." -- Philly Boy Roy, lamenting his unrequited call-and-response during a performance of "Amish Nights"
"You know what I'm devout to? Air conditioning! I was like, 'Crank it up, man!'" -- Philly Boy Roy, looking for some relief during nem three-hour church services
"Well, they're nowhere as cool as you think they're gonna be. They took all my spank mags. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?" -- Philly Boy Roy, grappling with the strict policies of his new, surprisingly unhip community
"Alright, well I'm gonna puke and then pray for you tomorrow in church." -- Philly Boy Roy, bidding farewell to The Best Show

[TBSOWFMU - 8/14/07 / Podmirth / Video & Art Contest / Myspace / Fotpedia / Headquarters / S&W]

The Royal Purple - "The Wind"

( Click here to request Psychoacoustics for FREE!)

Eisley - "Many Funerals"

( Click here to buy Combinations)

Robert Pollard and His Soft Rock Renegades - "Kickboxer Lightning"

( Click here to buy Choreographed Man of War)

Nina Nastasia and Jim White - "I Come After You"

( Click here to buy You Follow Me)

Deadline - "close door"

( Click here to buy 8/2/82)

Rain - "That Time of Year"

( Click here to buy La Vache Qui Rit)

Foogayzee Limo Co. - "Back To Base"

( Click here to buy Red Medicine)

Petra Haden - "Don't Stop Believin'" (Journey cover)

( Click here to pre-order Guilt By Association)

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

The Kid returns after a much-deserved week off, but within minutes he feels the show slipping away from him. He calls for Mike to retrieve the Miles Davis catalog from the library. Tom normally threatens to play Pangaea when the show goes off the rails, so he's excited about the forthcoming release of The Complete On the Corner Box Set. The box set will provide all kinds of new, exciting ways to shirk his responsibilities at the station when under siege from chowderheads or stricken with another kidney stone. Tom really doesn't want to have another kidney stone. Tom admits to enjoying his week off far too much. Alas, we are closer to the end than to the beginning. Hesh and James were not a part of his last Tuesday night, which was a mutant-free zone. Tom is going double time on James tonight -- Mike the Associate Producer gets one caning every time James Runs Free. Tom is dreading the next two weeks because Mike will be away for undisclosed reasons. He's troubled by whatever Mike will be up to because he had a smile on his face when he revealed his mysterious absence. My guesses:

1. Heading up a "Dirty Tricks" operation on behalf of Mitt Romney.

2. Attending "Fat av Skratt : En Lukas Moodysson Retrospektiv" at the Swedish Film Institute / FOT meet-up with crimestick.

3. Trip to Los Gatos, CA., to lobby Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to replace all American films in the company's inventory with foreign fare.

4. Trip to Weird-O-Wood to do some punch-up for his buddy's scripts for Red State and Zach and Miri Make a Porno / Match Fight Tournament with Paul F. Tompkins and the cast of Ugly Betty.

5. Two-week Great Adventure reunion stint to mentor new employees, scrape gum off the pole near the log flumes, and shake down pot-smoking teens.

Tom fears it will be a free-for-all in Mike's absence, but he's putting down the hammer starting tonight. He spent his time off thinking about the L-ish past two weeks and consulting with his pastor, Rev. Ken Miller at Newbridge Episcopalian, about the future of the program. Tom says Rev. Miller doesn't know much about WFMU, but he's really into Hot 97, where hip-hop resides. Ultimately, it all comes back to one thing: Tom's driving the bus. He is the only licensed driver for The Best Show. James, CJ, and other wannabe pretenders to the throne cannot take the wheel under any circumstances. A lot of people think they can do what The Kid does every week, but they can't. Tom brings the goods. In recent months, Tom demanded that pre-topic calls be particularly interesting, but that's the problem with any new idea -- it takes the hoopleheads time to adjust. They were running wild across the show's first hour. Tom's not sure what "hooplehead" means, but he heard it on Deadwood. His 10-year-old nephew is now opening a saloon in honor of his hero Al Swearengen. I assume it will be in Newbridge Commons -- finally some competition for Los Amigos! Tom says they've completed the series and looped back to the first season to see if it will somehow turn into an old-fashioned, family-style western. Mike keeps telling Tom to get ready for season 3, episode 5. Tom may skip that one because he's afraid of what kind of hell might break loose. He suspects that Lukas Moodysson, Swedish purveyor of weird propaganda comedies that push the dissolution of the nuclear family unit in favor of surrogate hippie communes, directed the episode. (It was actually American Dan Minahan.)

Tom institutes a new qualification for pre-topic calls. You get 30 seconds to bring it and buy another 30 seconds. Since Tom pays out of pocket for every incoming call on his secret, exclusive line, he's pleased to have negotiated Vonage down from $150/call to only 5 cents/call.

- The first brave soul to step up is Evan from Providence, and he's literally on the clock -- a ticking sound is heard underneath his reveal that he is now a member of a Nielson family. He thinks this is the only honor that might be more prestigious than being able to vote as a member of the general electorate. He's ecstatic that his voice will finally be heard. While his new guardians can pull the plug at any moment, he's hoping he can stick around. Evan says his viewing habits could be tracked for as long as five years. Tom gives him another 30 seconds because he wants to know if he has a paper log or if they hotwired his television for ratings action. Evan just found out that they will soon be installing mechanical devices the size of a deck of cards to every mechanical device in the house. Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory : Charlie :: Evan's Nielson'd Up House : Judge Montgomery Davies. Tom tells him to do the right thing Fridays at 9 p.m.

Evan earns another 30 seconds, and Tom decides to just stop the clock to give him some ideas for his Nielson-monitored television watching. He thinks Evan may be able to spearhead a campaign to resurrect the just-canceled John from Cincinnati by boosting the ratings of the reruns. [Note to self: e-mail Evan about trying to bring back Perfect Strangers, Dream On, and Push, Nevada.] Evan says he already asked Nielson if he could save shows from the grave, and they made it very clear that this was not possible. [Damn.] He says he didn't want to argue too much because it took him a long time to get on the prestigious list.

Evan plans to go to bat for The Venture Bros., and he hopes the entire family will hold things down while he's at work. Tom would like Evan to show some support for CNN's Robin & Company< (5 a.m. - 8 a.m.), followed by all 12 episodes of The Colbert Report and The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Tom changes him mind because those two shows get enough ratings juice, plus he's tired of the rowdy, easily amused studio audiences the news laffers. They are so proud that they secured a seat that they'll howl at any joke coming from their beloved hosts. Tom likes both shows, but he doesn't think features like The Colbert Report's "Word of the Day" need to be met with screams of delight three seasons into their run. Evan can understand the vocal pride because he shares a similar feeling about having the chance to finally have his television vote counted. Tom feels this way about being a member of American Coaster Enthusiasts. Evan chuckles at Tom's enthusiasm for rollercoasters. Tom just received a new satin jacket from ACE. I'm not an ACE member, but I did recently subscribe to RollerCoaster! after getting a call from a nice telemarketer from Kern Publications. He also sold me on Perfect 10 Baristas, Dazzle, Forced Whirlyball Exposure, The Zoo (the official magazine of the rock band Scorpions), South Philly Fishmongery, and Armchair Neurosurgeon.

Tom asks Mike to go see what's going with a chowderhead