Wax On / Wax Off.
"He's like Adam Sandler a little bit, but not as good." -- Tom, refreshing Spike's memory on elderly comedian and white-hott film star Andy Milonakis
"You like World War II? What side were you on? You know what side I was on? Allies." -- Tom, joining the Good Guys in the global fight against the Bad Guys
"Well, it's kinda the same thing -- buncha jerks livin' all together. Yeh. Stinkin' up the place." -- Philly Boy Roy, refusing to distinguish between New York and New Jersey
"The Vet, you dunce. Philadummy. You're still a Philadummy after all these years." -- Philly Boy Roy, marveling at Tom's continued lack of knowledge about his beloved city
"I like vodka because it looks like wutter." -- Philly Boy Roy, finding a clear liquid he can enjoy without being readily detected
"No, it's when you don't got no money to pay for that stuff. For love sessions." -- PBR, explaining his impending Chapter 8 bankruptcy filing due to excessive credit card expenditures at Dockside Dolls
"I haven't procured a copy, but I will." -- Philly Boy Roy, suggesting a non-traditional acquisition of the buzzworthy new CD by The Hooters
"Shut up. I'll Shyamalan all over your face ... and your groin." -- Philly Boy Roy, threatening violence via the less-talented filmmaking brother
"How?! He takes just a normal phone call and weaves it into magic!" -- Kamal, contemplating the envious skills of his more-talented phone prank partner
"Guy's like vanilla ice cream laying out in the sun. Billy Crystal, he's like 5' 4" of vanilla ice cream." -- Tom, denouncing the soft-serve, one-day Yankee
"So it was like Adam-12 with cursing?" Tom, asking Mike to compare The Wire to other cop shows
"Does he look orange when you watch that show? I think they use like weird filters. His face looks orange every time I go past that show." -- Mike the Associate Producer, trying to figure out David Caruso's odd hue on CSI:Miami
"If Ratatouille taught us anything, it's that the average rat will eat anything." -- Tom on the unsophisticated pallets of movie theater rats
"The place you stayed, were people hiding suitcases full of money in the heating ducts. Was there a guy walking around with a cow killer?" -- Tom, determining whether John Junk's accomodations started with an "H" or an "M"
"You're gonna have to pretend to be ya brotha!" -- Tom as late-period Sir Anthony Hopkins, informing Chris Rock that he's about to go undercova in the Joel Schumacher classic, Bad Company
"You know what, I think it's time for Eric Idle to go shop for a coffin." Tom, adopting the persona of a ghoul from Charleston
"Think about the cats, people. Think about the cats!" -- Tom, asking listeners to avoid political commentary when LOLcatting
"Whaddya say to those people out there who say that your show might be a little lame, your comedy bits are, I don't know, old hat, your listeners are stupid, and that you in particular alternate between being an insufferable bore and an insipid loudmouth bully?" -- Linus, asking Tom to respond to some very harsh criticisms he found online
"Oh my god, that's so unintentionally hilarious." -- Linus, taking delight in the absurdity of the ancient cars and stupid wall phones depicted in The Karate Kid
"Well, we don't give ourselves 10s. I gave us a 9.8" -- Linus, defending his journalistic integrity when reviewing his own band
"But I'm Linus, and I write for Shovel.com." -- Linus, crying/laughing over Tom's criticism of an unwieldy sentence in a Black Kids review
"He left Earth pretty much. You're gonna leave Earth, too." -- Linus, marking Tom for a stint in a monastery or a barging
Death Cab For Cutie - "Pictures In An Exhibition"
( Click here to buy Something About Airplanes)
Why? - "Fatalist Palmistry"
( Click here to buy Alopecia)
The Long Blondes - "Here Comes The Serious Bit"
( Click here to pre-order "couples")
New Bomb Turks - "Youngblood" (Thee Headcoats cover)
( Click here to buy Pissing Out the Poison: Singles and Other Swill)
Shudder To Think - "Pebbles"
( Click here to buy Get Your Goat)
Versus - "Bright Light"
( Click here to buy Dead Leaves)
White Hinterland - "Lindberghs + Metal Birds"
( Click here to buy Phylactery Factory)
The Feelies - "What Goes On" (The Velvet Underground cover)
( Click here to buy Only Life)
Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun:
Guess what? The Best Show is back! 800-989-9368! Pledge! Tom tells Mike to put away the pledge cards because the two-week WFMU Marathon is ova. He's not sure he can do the show tonight, but he's excited to be here despite exhaustion from his championship performance. Tom held down nine hours of radio hosting last week and capped it all off by channeling James Morrison for a rousing rendition of "L.A. Woman" at the Hoof & Mouth Sinfonia finale at Maxwell's. He's not about to stop now because the buzzards are buzzing for more top-of-the-line radio. Tom jumps right back into the abyss of open phones.
- Spike cuts through the post-marathon afterglow by cackling like The Joker or some other mustache-twirling villain that will haunt FOT dreamscapes for weeks to come. He also shows unprecedented vocal range in a span of 10 seconds by downshifting to a whisper. Tom suspects that his doctor altered his prescriptions, but Spike says he doesn't do any drugs. He attributes his disturbingly chipper demeanor to the completion of a project. Tom thinks he finally got his ankle bracelet removed, but it was a different project. Spike's parole officer granted him access to a computer as a reward for good behavior, so he fired up Windows Moviemaker to produce a music-based DVD for a retiring co-worker at his "real job." Tom doesn't think this is really Spike because he's way too upbeat compared to his usual Droopy Zippermouth stylee. Spike claims that he's always upbeat and cackles again. Tom wonders if that is how it's going to be from now on. Spike says it is.
Tom wants to get an answer to the $94,000 question: did Spike pledge? Spike says he pledged on the first Monday of the marathon. (Will the Neil Numberman poster end up framed on a wall in the dungeon?) Tom gives him kudos for doing the right thing. Spike says he only pledges to keep good quality programming on the air. Tom reminds him that Lynn Samuels is not on the WFMU schedule, doo-wop is not heavily rotated, and the station generally avoids anything related to the Child's Play film franchise. (Michael Shelley did give a rave review to Seed of Chucky after seeing an advance screening in September 2004. He argued -- unconvincingly! -- that Don Mancini is a "misunderstood auteur", citing an essay in Cahiers du cinéma that I'm pretty sure he made up.) He informs Spike that there is talk of rebooting the horror franchise, and Spike thinks that would be lovely because he likes mindless violence committed by a demonic doll. However, Tom gives him some bad news: Chucky will now be voiced by portly man-child Andy Milonakis. Spike is familiar with the name. Tom says he's a comedian like Adam Sandler, but not as good. Spike recalls seeing the chubby little kid, who is actually 47 years old, on his MTV show. Tom points out that while Milonakis would be marginally talented for an 11-year-old, he's wildly talentless for someone closing in on the half-century mark. Spike confirms that he has no talent. Spike and Tom finally come to some common ground! Milonakis does not bring it!
Tom doesn't understand why Weird-O-Wood always ruins great movies with ill-advised casting decisions in misguided remakes. Spike says that is why he rarely goes to the theater anymore. (Another reason: his parole officer won't allow it.) Tom longs for the good old days of the film industry. Spike also desires a return to Jason chopping up horny teens with a machete. Tom was thinking more along the lines of historical epics like Gone with the Wind, although he hasn't actually seen that film. Spike hates it and doesn't think Tom is missing much. In a nutshell, the Civil War happens. Tom wants to know what eventually departs with the wind. Spike says it's Tara. Tom doesn't know who that is. Spike says it's the name of a slave plantation, and Tom wonders if it's like Monster House: The House That Eats. He asks Spike if Gone with the Wind is some kind of World War II picture. Spike wishes it was because while he doesn't do the Civil War, he can deal with WW2 movies. Tom says he aligned himself with the Allied forces in that military conflict. Spike wasn't born yet, but he also supported the Good Guys. Spike is a mature adult seven years from being old, but Tom thinks he's an ageless wonder. Spike thanks him for the compliment. Tom is spooked by the cordial nature of this call. Spike begins multitasking by making some grape juice.
Spike says his co-worker shares his affinity for old-timey music, so the DVD includes classic clips of doo-wop, Motown, girl groups, and surf from faves like The Orioles,
Destiny's Child, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Temptations, The Marvelettes, The Ronettes, and The Shangri-Las. Tom decides it's time to move, so he bids Good Guy Spike farewell by saying that we love him. He wants to go back to the previous, less-friendly version of Spike.
- A caller starts heartily laughing so Tom thinks it might be Spike again. The caller says he used to have a dungeon, but it's not Spike. It's Philly Boy Roy. He's amused because Tom's Senator Eliot Spritzer screwed up by engaging in illicit love-making sessions with a young lady in waiting at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Tom informs him that he is actually the Governor of New York. PBR disagrees, but he doesn't really distinguish between New York and New Jersey anyway. He thinks it's all just a bunch of jerks living together and stinking things up. Tom says the two states are different entities. PBR says they sort of are the same, and he wants to know if Tom is totally embarassed by Spritzer's downfall. Tom is mortified for Spritzer, but PBR thinks Tom should be mortified for his home state as well. Tom repeats that New York is not his home state. PBR repeats that it sort of is. Tom compares this dubious claim to saying that PBR's home state is sort of Delaware.
PBR becomes angry and promises to smash Tom in the face with his bat if he ever says that again. He wants Tom to guess where he got the weapon. Tom assumes it has something to do with the Phillies, but he's losing his edge because he guesses that PBR got it at a spring training game. PBR calls him a dunce because he got it at The Vet during a regular season contest. He can't believe that Tom is still a Philadummy after hearing so much information about the city and its culture over the years. Tom says he got the impression that PBR recently acquired the bat. PBR stole it when he was 10 years old even though they were going to give it to him as part of a Bat Day promotion. He was compelled to steal it because he snuck into the game and had to keep it rolling. Tom wants to know what "it" is. PBR says it's the thievery roll his dad, Philly Man Stan, taught him.
He also recently learned that you need a better code name then Spritzer's "Client #9." Tom says it's Spitzer, but PBR insists it's Spritzer like a lime spritzer. PBR has never tasted that beverage because he don't like nothing that don't got no alcohol in it. He and the rest of the Ziegler clan are notoriously anti-wutter, but PBR does like vodka because it looks like wutter. Tom laughs at PBR's pronunciation and suspects others may find similar amusement in his. PBR agrees because Tom has failed to say it correctly. PBR doesn't know why Tom is still laughing at him. He starts
polishing sanding the bat to increase the sting upon impact and leave more marks on Tom's face. Tom thanks PBR for considering the extent of the pain and damage he plans to inflict.
Tom remembers that since PBR entered the race for Mayor of Newbridge he has less of an aversion to coming to town to attack him. (When PBR visited the studio last June he had to wear a gas mask to protect him from the toxic fumes in the Stink City air.) PBR says he's been frequenting a Newbridge nightclub called Dockside Dolls. Tom assumes it's a strip club, but PBR prefers to think of it as a gentlemen's establishment. It does feature women in various states of undress, and a performer named Sheila has become a big PBR fan, referring to him as her "main loveboy." Tom suspects that Sheila is particularly enamored with his big spending. PBR says he obtained a credit card three days ago during a giveaway at UPENN. Tom points out that they just don't give away credit cards. PBR, who is doing janitorial work at the university, posed as a student to acquire the card. He asks Tom not to judge his employment. PBR's usual financial and legal adviser, Roy, Jr., helped him fill out the application. Tom questions PBR's decision to apply using his own name. He has already racked up $8,000 in charges against an initial credit line of only $2,000, which has not been extended. Tom informs him that he will have to pay his balance, but PBR calls him a dunce for not knowing about Chapter 8. Tom tells him that it's not a valid section of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. PBR says it's when you don't got no money to pay for love sessions. Tom is disgusted by the notion of accruing debts via Dockside dalliances.
PBR doesn't believe that Tom has never paid for a love session. Tom finds it hypocritical for PBR to judge Spritzer's session work when he's dropping $8,000 at Dockside Dolls. PBR doesn't have a problem with it. Tom says he judges the actions of both Spritzer and PBR. PBR says Tom is not permitted to judge him. However, he will freely judge Tom because he sounds like he weighs 700 pounds and wears gym shorts. PBR admits that he shouldn't talk because he's also wearing gym shorts. Tom says PBR's assessment of his weight and wardrobe is inaccurate. Tom is also not wearing tube socks that reach to his knees. PBR wants Tom to guess the colors of the stripes on the socks he's sporting. Tom gets green and white, but misfires badly with red, yellow, and black, confirming his status as a Philadummy. PBR says it's silver, completing the color trio of nem Iggles. PBR wants to know how long Tom has been on Earth. Tom says he doesn't study the secondary color of the team's uniform. PBR wants Tom to put call screener Rick on the phone. Tom says it's Mike, and he's busy in the other room.
PBR tells Tom that The Hooters have a new album that is attracting buzz on various Web forums. PBR has yet to procure a copy, but he's fired up about this eventual procurement. Tom notices that his word choice suggests that he is unlikely to pay for the record. PBR asks Tom to define "pay." He then outlines his procurement strategy:
1. Enter store.
2. Locate said CD.
3. Pick up said CD.
4. Look at said CD.
5. Pry security tag off said CD.
6. Create diversion (set fire to store).
7. Run out of said store with said CD.
PBR asks Tom to keep this a secret so he can also procure other CDs all around town using the same process: enter / pick up / look / pry / set fire / leave. Tom doesn't really see how theft and arson is preferable to paying $14 for a CD. PBR calls Tom a dunce because it only costs $10. He's currently working as a custodial engineer at UPENN, and Tom is glad that he has a formal job to earn money for his family. PBR says it is not a paying position and more like community service that he received as part of a sentencing. He had been on the straight and narrow until he got caught a month ago pawing a dancer named Sheila at Phillies, a gentlemen's establishment on the edge of Upper Roxboro and Manyunk. He was too embarrassed to mention the arrest during his last call. PBR says his victim was not the same Sheila who works at Dockside Dolls, although she had a similar appearance. Tom was not aware that Sheila was such a popular stage name for go-go professionals.
Dockside's Sheila Larson is PBR's favorite, and he believes they are in love with each other. PBR says Larson, who has been romantically linked with most of the male residents of Newbridge, declared her love for him right before he handed over his credit card to complete the final $500 transaction. PBR says the two of them danced very closely as a result. Tom asks him how things are going outside the confines of the club. PBR says they do not see each other. Tom thinks PBR can probably read between the lines. PBR says he cannot do so, which makes sense considering his past struggles with reading on the lines. Sheila told him that she has been too busy recording a CD that he financed. He says it's totally hip-hoppy, but he's not a fan of that music. Sheila calls him R-Daddy. Tom says Sheila is in for a rude awakening when PBR loses access to his credit card. PBR says Tom is in for his own rude awakening when he uses the sanded bat on his head.
PBR claims he is in the studio right now, quickly shifting positions so Tom cannot see him. He says he is now with call screener Rick. Mike tells Tom that PBR is not with him. PBR thinks the scenario sounds like something from an M. Morning Shylaman movie. He tells Tom to shut up for suggesting that Morning is the less talented brother. PBR threatens to Shylaman all over Tom's face and groin. He insists he's standing behind Tom and urges him not to turn around. PBR abruptly hangs up because Officer Harrups is coming for him.
Tom gives thanks to everyone who helped out with the marathon and gets right to what makes The Best Show special: topics. He gives listeners three options:
1. Who should get stuck in the trash compactor from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope?
2. Who should get bounced from a diving board into a pool full of molasses?
3. Who should get pushed onto the world's largest trampoline and launched into outer space?
Tom just saw the poster for the exciting new movie called Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He noticed that Harrison Ford looks like he's falling asleep. Tom speculates that Ford is watching a Lions vs. Cowboys game in the Rec Room following Thanksgiving dinner as he waits for someone to wake him up for pie. The bottom line: "This is the poster for your movie! Wake up!" The rest of the imagery fares no better. Cliched chase scene featuring natives? Check. Titular skull? Check. Cate Blanchett is also drowsy, and young Shia LaBeouf looks confused on his motorcycle. Tom doubts this is the best poster they could come up with to generate excitment for the spring tentpole. Tom has had enough of Harrison Ford on the big screen. He's ready to say it's ova because nobody wants to see Ford yelling about people giving stuff (e.g., his family, sandwiches, etc.) back to him in any more movies. The real topic: It's Ova!
- Ruby in Amherst, MA calls from an elaborate toilet paper roll phone system. He apologizes for the poor quality and wants to put Vladimir Putin on the world's largest trampoline. While he doesn't know him personally, Ruby gets the feeling that the exiting Russian President is a dangerous mix of greed and evil. Tom asks him how much he has in his wallet. He has $24 (he's no Gene Simmons!), and Tom says he can get a new phone for $10. Ruby admits to calling via Skype. Tom is shocked to find out that he was using Internet-based telephony. He GOMPs him because this is a professional show. Tom has no time for an amateur hour featuring someone leaning into his laptop microphone.
- A Canadian caller offers a follow-up on The Jerky Boy
s discussion from a few weeks ago. He says his little brother purchased an autographed picture with an "I, Johnny Brennan, am the least talented man in the world" inscription to send to the station as a gift. The request elicited a refund and an e-mail response:
Funny stuff, man. However, for legal reasons Johnny is not allowed to make off-color remarks about any of his characters or likeness as Jerky Boys Entertainment would let him go. We hope you understand this matter. Say hi to Tom and Mike.
Harry, Jerky Boys Entertainment
Tom thinks they should be sued for putting the word "entertainment" next to "Jerky Boys." He's certain that the entire JBE operation involves an office from The Spanish Prisoner, a cell phone, and a trip to the local library to check a Hotmail account. If only the suits were not holding this up. Tom considers what it must have been like for Kamal to realize that he was the less talented half of the duo. He imagines Kamal experiencing waves of envy while watching Johnny B turn a normal phone call into comedy magic. The caller says his Saskatoon-based brother fears that he will get pranked because he gave out his home address. Tom doubts that Johnny B can afford the roaming charges of a call to Canada. He is looking forward to Jerky Boys 2: This Time It's Personal (Alan Arkin Wants To Buy A New Yacht)
- Jack in Bloomfield calls to discuss the New York Yankees' recent signing of Billy Crystal to a one-day, minor league contract in honor of his 60th birthday. Tom compares it to the novelty of Eddie Gaedel, a 3' 4" man who popped out of a papier-mache cake and eventually played a game for the St. Louis Browns in 1951 as part of one of owner Bill Veeck's legendary publicity stunts.
Tom says he would not go easy on Crystal because when you stop into the box, it's go time. He would play some chin music and then rattle his helmet with a fastball to the forehead. Jack thinks alleged steroid user Roger Clemens would have no problem doing that if he was on the mound. Tom suspects that the ball might go right through Crystla if he was plunked in the back. He compares his soft body to 5" 4" of vanilla ice cream that has been laying out in the sun. While Tom doesn't hope he gets hurt, he acknowledges that injuries are a part of the game. He thinks the legit Yankees will hate having that jerk pacing around the dugout. Tom says half the team will not even know who he is beyond a weirdo they have to pretend to like. Jacks thinks some players may know him from his voicework in Monsters, Inc.. Tom GOMPs Jack for refusing to admit to being a Crystal Superfan.
- Julie from Cincinnati calls to say she wants to donate $1,000,000 to The Best Show, but she doesn't have it. She also wants to launch Dorvid and maybe Jason Grote into space. Tom's not sure how this became the actual topic. Julie thinks it's because he announced it on the air. Tom wants to know what inspired Julie to boot them from the planet because they seem like nice enough guys. Julie says that Dorvid became Enemy #2 when he said something mean to her. Enemy #1 is the person who doofusly agree with him, and Julie wants her voice to become a part of that person's nightmares. Grote's transgression was accusing Julie of lying about having read Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther. Tom has no time for playground squabbles that should be kept on the FOT Board. He only has 180 minutes, so he can't allow the show to be tainted by juvenilia. A bit later in the show, Mike argues with Julie and does not let her back on the air.
- Neil from Maplewood wants to send himself into outer space because it sounds like a nice vacation after the marathon. Tom thinks he may have to stop the show after one hour because it's a flop.
- Steve from North Hollywood calls to further widen the gap in the 2008 Rookie of the Year race. He impressed Tom with his debut call in which he came up with the well-received There Will Be GOMPs slogan. Tom says his voice is still scratchy from the marathon, but Steve says it sounds great to him. Steve paid attention so he knows tonight's official topic is It's Ova! Tom points out that the negative topics were just a tease, and then Ruby derailed everything by calling from his Juno hamburger phone. Steve cracks up at the quip, and Tom tells him it wasn't that funny. Steve wins him back by explaining that it was funny to him. He says he could barely hear Ruby and declares the trampoline space launch topic ova.
Steve says the dull Oscars are also ova. While he was rooting for There Will Be Blood, he thought it was good that it went down to Old Country for Old Men. Steve corrects himself and prepares for a week of mockery at his title gaff. Tom bans it and wants the names of anyone who mocks him. Steve suggests getting addresses, but Tom will just scold them from his radio platform. He will not come after them. Steve will. He says the highlight of the Oscars was Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová's song from Once defeating three gigantic Disney numbers in the Best Original Song category.
Tom's lowpoint was the Academy Honor Award for 98-year-old Robert F. Boyle. Tom blesses the old man for his long career in art direction and production design, but he had never heard of him. He was not impressed by the three-minute clip detailing Boyle work for Hitch, such as scouting an empty flat field for the scene where Cary Grant is chased by a crop duster in North by Northwest and doing early sketches of birds for The Birds. Tom's blood was boiling by the time he ambled out wearing a scarf he bought at a Jon Voigt yard sale. Tom was ready to give him a pass until he delivered a belabored, boring speech. He wanted him to get to the point and keep it short and sweet. Boyle thanked a guy who gave him a shot when he started out at age 16, and Tom thinks this man might have been Abraham Lincoln. Steve thinks he should have thanked the mentor's estate. Steve fell asleep throughout the show, so he instructed his friends to wake up for the awards.
Tom has some ideas for changing the format in 2009 to condense the Oscars telecast. He wants the technical awards to be read from a list and doled out from a cart that is wheeled out on stage. Estimated time: 3 minutes. Tom says that all nominees should get a UPC code on their forehead to project their speech onto a giant screen. Steve approves of the plan because people won't forget anyone or risk getting played off the stage by the orchestra. Steve did it again. The ROY trophy is his to lose. Tom does think he needs to dial down the charm two notches to shed his Eddie Haskell-ish suck-up tendencies. He appreciates that reigning ROY Eddie does not overdo his praise. Tom predicts that Steve will implode sometime in the next nine months and fail to go the distance.
- Supercaller Erika from Baltimore knows something that is ova: Home Box Office's The Wire, which ended it's five-year run this past Sunday night. As of Thanksgiving 2007 Mike had not seen any of the series, but then he went to town to find out if it was indeed the best. show. ever. Erika also watched all of it in the past three months. She thought it was great overall, although she was not as enthused about the somewhat polarizing final season. She felt it was too gimmick-laden and lacked the heart of the previous four seasons. Mike thought The Wire was a "good cop show" along the lines of Barney Miller, Hill Street Blues , The Rookies, The Streets of San Francisco. Tom wonders if it was like Adam-12 with cursing. Mike says it was a little bit like that.
Mike's HBO Rankings
2. The Sopranos
3. Rome (Season 1)
4. The Wire
Tom thought Mike was going to put Cathouse ahead of The Wire, but he's not a big fan of the documentary series about Dennis Hof's den of iniquity called the Moonlite BunnyRanch in Nevada. The ladies, wrangled by Madame Suzette (who recently banned me from their message board), have tea parties and good old family fun time. Then the crying starts.
Mike puts John from Cincinnati at the bottom of his list, although he has not seen Arli$$ or the nightly In Treatment sessions. Erika gives it a thumbs down. Mike did not care for the explicit Don't Tell Me You Love Me. I fast-forwarded through one episode and found its eroticism severely lacking. Erika and Mike think HBO is losing it other than miniseries projects like the John Adams and David Simon & Ed Burns's Generation Kill, a cynical take on the Iraq conflict adapted from Evan Wright's book. Tom will be unable to watch it since he's a Proud Patriot. Erika was a big fan of Six Feet Under, but Mike says it wasn't his thing. Mike likes action, which explains why he saw 10,000 BC twice this past weekend. Tom thinks it looks
cool stupid and can't imagine enduring the #1 film in the country. Despite a great opening weekend, it still has a ways to go to make back the $200 million production budget. Mike thinks the fake dinosaurs and saber-toothed tigers look like something from a video game.
He agrees with Erika that season 5 of The Wire was the weakest due to the newspaper storyline lacking the intrigue of past institutional examinations. He points out that instead of telling a self-contained story in one episode like most police procedurals, The Wire takes a more novelistic approach by spreading the narrative arcs out over the course of an entire season. The Law & Order and CSI franchises prefer to wrap things up in 44 minutes. Mike asks Tom if he's noticed that David Caruso looks orange on CSI: Miami. Tom does not watch the show, so he asks Mike if Caruso looks like one of Willy Wonka's Oompa-Loompas. Mike thinks they use weird filters to create the orange skin tones. Erika can't weigh in on this issue because she only watches Law & Order: SVU. Mike new favorite show is A&E's
48 Hours The First 48, a reality crime skein that follows homicide detectives in various cities as they search for leads in two murder cases per installment. Tom likes The Dog Whisperer, and he's determined that the dogs are going nuts because they are stuck in the house all day. The bottom line: walk your dog more. While Cesar Millan helps you with your dog, Jo Frost helps you with your kids. Supernanny gives Erika a migraine.
Mike gives The Wire a B+, and he thinks he made an enemy out of Jouster with his criticisms of the show. Tom loves the burgeoning feud. He plans to watch the show in late 2008 and then start arrogantly talking about how much he likes it. Tom expects to discover the true greatness that everyone missed the first time around, not unlike people who claim circa-1999 Led Zeppelin epiphanies.
- Paul from Staten Island calls from his apartment near the Verrazano Bridge, not the LemonTree salon. Tom gives Paul an imaginary $75 to go to any Staten Island restaurant. In this scenario, Paul would dine on the pecan-encrusted catfish at The Bayou Cafe on Bay St. Tom expected him to select one of the borough's 900 Italian eateries, but Paul says they are so commonplace that he would want something different for this special meal. If he wants an ice cream cone, he will, of course, head over to Sedutto's. Paul and Tom reminisce about the decaying Hylan Plaza shopping center (RIP, Toys R Us), although the movie theater is still going strong. It is currently exhibiting Nanny McPhee, One Missed Call, and Scoop. Tom would not be surprised if he was attacked by the undead in this theater. Paul tells a semi-funny story about a friend persuading him to see Freddy vs. Jason at Hylan Plaza. He was horrified to see tons of young kids, including a three-year-old in a stroller in the aisle, watching the film.
Paul thinks it's ova for Frank Miller after awful work like All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder. Tom thinks he may not like Miller at all. Paul is re-evaluating his older work based on recent atrocities. Tom notices that Spoony in the FOT Chat mentions a rat jumping on the armrest at the Union Square theater on 14th Street. Tom thinks the rat is likely addicted to junk food, losing its mind from a steady diet of Milk Duds. Tom learned all about the eating habits of the common rat in Ratatouille, one of his Top 3 films of 2007. Remy has an advanced pallet, but the rest of them will eat anything they find.
- Blake calls from the south side of Chicago, so Tom asks him if he's getting ready to eat a pizza topped with cucumbers and sweet pickles. Blake reminds him that those are the city's eccentric condiments for their famous hut dogs. He's not a fan of Chicago-style pizza because it is overloaded with cheese. Blake wants to go off-topic to right a wrong he committed during last week's marathon show. He intended to pledge for himself and his girlfriend, but his donation was only attributed to him. Blake was bitten by hubris, and it landed him in the doghouse. Tom rescues him by thanking Blake and Hannah for their generous offering.
- John JUNK 2.0 calls from California to tell a semi-funny It's Ova story involving the eccentric Madonna Inn in San Luis Guzman. Junk didn't stay in one of their theme rooms, but he was in the area (Pismo Beach) looking for hotels for a nice romantic weekend with his girlfriend. He was willing to step it up for a $90 room. Tom suggests just buying a tent and having an extra $30 left over. He doesn't like the story so far.
Junk says a lady who ran a nice hotel suggested that a nearby Motel 6 would be more suitable for young people without a lot of money. Tom wants to know if their hotel had people hiding suitcases full of money in the heating ducts or a guy roaming the hallways in his socks with a cow killer. Junk took her advice and headed to the Motel 6. After they got settled, they decided to get a drink at the Madonna Inn. Prior to leaving, a scary truck parked next to Junk's car and gave him the shivers. The back window was busted out and shards of glass lined the bed. Tom asks Junk about the bathroom supplies, and Junk confirms that there was only one big towel and one small towel. Tom thinks he's soft for listening to the old-timer behind the counter who sold him on cheaper accommodations. Junk admits that California has made him soft. When he lived in New Jersey, he was known as a free-thinking maverick who would pull the trigger and deal with the consequences.
When Junk returned from the Madonna Inn a SWAT team had surrounded the truck because someone was trying to commit suicide in one of the rooms. Junk and his girlfriend had to move to another Motel 6 three miles away and return the next day to get a refund for their original room. Junk has since decided that the quest for the cheapest hotel available is ova. Tom recommends staying in the boiler room or hotel supply closet theme room at the Madonna Inn. He wants Junk to write a letter to the Motel 6 corporate headquarters to inform them that they ruined a romantic getaway.
- Brian in Columbus, OH, was going to say HBO is ova, but Erika and Mike stole his topical thunder. He picks The Wire as his favorite HBO series. Brian says he'd like hatred of Ohio to be ova. While he may be overly sensitive because he lives there, he felt it was recently rekindled when Hillary Clinton defeated Borat Oblama in the state's primary election. Brian says that Ohio is not the only state voting for bad candidates. Tom points out that Ohio could have changed things in 2004 by not voting for another four years of George Bush. Brian says other states could have swung the election as well, but Ohio was simply the last one. Tom wants him to do door-to-door canvassing or refurbish an ice cream truck with a megaphone to help Ohio clean up their tarnished image this November.
Tom is a fan of the state, which has a lot of good bands and people. Brian says a fun day trip is Cleveland. Tom mentions the exciting opportunity to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to stare at Steve Vai's "Swiss Cheese" guitar. (They also just got Rudolph Schenker's Gibson Flying V used during the Lovedrive tour.) Brian has never been to the museum and has no plans to go. Tom thinks it might be time for someone to stop being such a snob. Tom visits the Statue of Liberty once a month and goes to the top of the Empire State Building every other month to avoid losing touch with all the awesome local monuments. Mike will join him on the next jaunt for a picnic lunch.
- John from Charleston calls in a voice that suggests he's hiding from someone. He says that he's alone in his bedroom drinking beer. John thinks it's ova for Jack Nicholson because it's painful to watch him keep playing the same character in movies. He didn't even bother with The Bucket List. John has an item for the top of Nicholson's Bucket List: "Do some shopping for a coffin." Tom doesn't like the entertain-us-or-die attitude. He thinks it's sick to wish death on someone just because they are no longer acting in good movies. Mike calls John's comment ghoulish, and Tom believes it rises to the level of ghoulesque. Tom starts doing an amazing impression of John from Charleston's call. He believes it's likely that John is living down the hall from his madre and padre. If he's only 17, Tom will send Officer Harrups over to arrest him for underage drinking.
Tom thinks Sir Anthony Hopkins has lost it since The Silence of the Lambs in 1991. He duped everyone into thinking he's amazing and hasn't delivered much since then. Tom was watching Joel Schumacher's Bad Company at work (Consolidated Cardboard's Wednesday "Lunch and a Movie" teambuilding event) and noticed that Hopkins no longer uses an authentic British accent. He does an impression of Sir Hopkins telling Chris Rock that he will have to pretend to be his twin brotha to demonstrate that he now sounds like an American guy who spent some time in England. Tom decides to do the rest of the show in the ghoul voice.
- Abraham calls, and Tom thinks he sounds stupid. He tells Abraham that he's sitting in his bedroom drinking a beer. Tom says it sounds like he should just shop for a coffin.
- Eric from Brooklyn calls, and Tom thinks he sounds like an idiot. Eric is just hanging out, and Tom is sitting in his bedroom drinking a beer. Eric says that Tom sounds like Phillip Seymour Hoffman as
Hannibal Lecter Buffalo Bill. He gets things back on topic by declaring that The Rutles are ova. Tom doesn't know what that is, but he thinks it's time for Eric Idle to go shop for a coffin.
- Dan from Jersey City calls to apologize for calling Tom a jerk last week. Tom thinks Dan sounds like a jerk and wants him to shop for a coffin. Tom drops the ghoul voice and goes back to The Rutles. He loves them, but he thinks their continued performances are due to contractual obligations.
- 2007 ROY Eddie calls to say that David Crosby is ova. It's been ova for a long time, but people keep trotting him out in documentaries about the 1960s as someone with valuable insight and wisdom into the era. Eddie estimates that he has spent 40 years in a drug stupor, so he doesn't really fit his idea of a sage. Tom finds it odd that Crosby talks about peace and love while being one of the most violent creeps ever. Eddie did it again. Tom commends him for being a class act and not going all Haskell on him. He thinks Steve from North Hollywood can learn from Eddie.
- Abraham from IL calls back to say the marathon brought him a lot of joy. He also thanks Tom for playing GBV's "Don't Stop Now", which is one of his favorite songs. Tom allows him to use the pronoun "we" in relation to The Best Show because he pledged, but he really doesn't like the way that sounds. Tom mistakes Abraham for the guy who refused to wash his bath towels. He's actually the guy who was talked out of pursuing his dreams by embittered character actor Richard Kind. Abraham says it was more complicated than the way he described it on the show.
He believes LOLcats are ova, but Tom gives it another two weeks. He suspects that Abraham is just echoing something that Richard Kind told him. Abraham does not approve of how the text accompanying the feline imagery has turned political of late. He thinks it makes Obama's supporters and the cats look silly. Tom agrees that the cats should not be used as a political tool because nobody really knows who they are supporting in the election. He urges LOLcat creators to consider the cats before using them to spread campaign rhetoric. Abraham did support Obama in his home state primary. He shifts gears to recommend Be Kind Rewind, Michel Gondry's ode to Passaic, NJ. Tom doesn't like Gondry's stuff. He loves it. Tom makes it clear that Obama is not designing these LOLcats. He GOMPs Abraham because he thinks that Richard Kind is still controlling him.
- Jess in Randolph takes a break from her math homework to find out if anyone has said that Gov. Eliot Spritzer is ova. Tom explains that he was trying to keeps things apolitical in his moment of intense crisis. He wants to show his family respect by not lampooning them on the air. Even though it was revealed that Spitzer has been using the Emperors Club VIP escort services for six years, Tom thinks he can get past it as long as he stays on message. He says it will only be a problem if he is found to have also used a competing escort service. Tom tells Jess that one of the listeners of this show is Client #10. He refuses to reveal the name. My guess: Josh from Miami.
Jess is going to college for a degree in Fine Arts, so Tom wonders if her math homework involves figuring out how much it costs to get into a museum. Tom went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art a couple of weeks ago, and Jess says they are having a good exhibit right now. Tom says he was very impressed with Rocky statue exhibit and asks Jess if there is also art inside the museum. Jess confirms that there is. Tom assumes that there are displays of other memorabilia from the Rocky films. Jess was referring to the Frida Kahlo exhibit, which Tom mistakes for a Fritos snack bar. He's looking forward to seeing the sled Rocky pulled in Rocky IV while eating Fritos.
- John from Charleston calls to apologize for being morose. He blames it on the rainy weather and apologizes to Jack Nicholson. Tom tells John that Nicholson is not listening to the program. He wants him to apologize to the human race for his ill spirit. John says he was just winding down after a long day, but Tom diagnoses his problem as being too soft-serve. He GOMPs the monster/bum for not pledging.
- Linus, the world champion blogger who called last February, checks in to get some quotes from Tom for a story about the WFMU marathon. Linus originally blogged at 18 Rabbits, which is still active, but he has also set up shop at The Fury of Linus.
He tells Tom that he has to put his pipe down before he can check some facts for his piece. Tom is surprised that a 23-year-old smokes a pipe. Linus thinks it's weird that Tom doesn't smoke any pipes because most of his writer friends do. Tom thinks it's a little affected. Linus says it is indeed very effective at livening up the room with a nutty aroma. He asks Tom if The Best Show was the second- or third-highest pledge earner last year. Tom says he's not sure of its place, but the show did well and even better this year. Linus gets Tom's permission to record the interview. He says that the grapevine rumors suggest that The Best Show kicked ass the past two weeks. Tom confirms that he is very happy about the show more than holding its own. Linus wonders if listenership is up for the station as a whole. Tom says the marathon brings out a wide variety of people who support the programming slate, reaffirming what everyone likes about the freeform format.
Linus asks Tom to give a rundown of the major players that stopped by for last week's marathon show. Tom lists Ted Leo, Ben Gibbard, and Patton Oswalt. Linus appears to make an "ew" noise after Tom mentions each person. He blames the sound on a weird breathing problem that has afflicted him since childhood. Linus follows up by asking Tom for a response to people who say The Best Show is lame, Tom's comedy bits are old hat, the listeners are stupid, and Tom alternates between being an insufferable bore and an insipid loudmouth bully. Tom wants to know who is leveling these charges against him and the program. Linus claims he read these criticisms in a few places. He thinks he bookmarked the sites while doing research for his piece earlier today. Linus says some of it was on the music website Shovel.com, and the rest is from a blog that he found. He admits that he wrote the Shovel piece and the blog post. Tom says he put it forth as though somebody else wrote it. Linus says he didn't think Tom would call him on it. He used to like the show, but now he hates it because everybody knows about it. He got off the bus when it became a little bit more popular than it had been the past few years. Linus excuses himself to light up his pipe again. He audibly puffs several times to get it going.
He says Tom used to turn him on to a lot of cool new bands, but now he just yammers and talks. When he does play music, it's always old stuff like Big Dipper and The Reigning Sounds. Tom says that Reigning Sound are a current band, but they are old to Linus. He is willing to listen to some advice on his playlists. Linus wants Tom to tell call screener Greg to go into the WFMU library to grab the EP from Wax On Wax Off, a new band from Greenpoint. Linus points out that their name comes from a cool old movie from the 1980s called The Karate Kid. He thought the film was unintentionally hilarious. He loves to watch old movies to see the hilariously stupid cars people had to drive back then. He recalls one scene in The Karate Kid where Daniel San talks on an old wall phone with a curly cord that goes from the receiver to the base. Linus thought it was so stupid looking and calls Daniel an idiot for using it. Tom says he's used that type of phone, which still exists today. Linus thinks that's unintentionally hilarious and feels so sorry for people who lived back then. The state of phone technology in 1984 seems so stupid to him.
Linus admits to never listening to WOWO's music, but that didn't prevent him from reviewing it online. The band's sticker, which is in the shape of a can of car wax, won him over. His girlfriend is their tap dancer, and the presence of that type of percussion has led some people accuse them of ripping off Saddle Creek band Tilly and the Wall. Linus says they totally have their own sound from what he's heard from others.
Another current Linus fave is The Well, Alright! from Red Hook. He gave them a 9.8 on Shovel. Linus says the band got their name from the 1980s band Kiss. Tom thought they started in the 1970s. Linus doubts that Tom is right, but he will look into it. He says the name is a reference to a tape circulating of lead singer Ace Frehley's between-song banter where he constantly said "Well, alright!" before launching into his next quip. Linus thinks the repeated phrase is unintentionally hilarious. Tom tells him that Paul Stanley is the band's vocalist, but Linus doesn't know who that is. Tom clarifies that he's the singer for Kiss. Linus thinks the guy with the makeup is the singer, and Tom says all four members wore makeup. Linus doesn't believe the drummer did. He thinks Tom is full of it for claiming the drummer applied cat makeup. Linus thought only two members wore makeup in the early 1980s, and then abandoned it before getting back together in 2000. Tom tells him that his Kiss timeline is off.
Linus says people compare The Well, Alright! to a cross between Park Slope bands Practice, We Talkin' About Practice? and Marry Me Soleil Moon Frye. Tom is not familiar with either band. However, Linus thinks
we they sound like a less rockin', more introspective From the Desk of Colonel Hap Hapablap from West Bushwick. Tom noticed that he said "we" before catching himself. Linus admits to being in the band. Tom thinks it's biased to write about your own band. Linus says all the guys at Shovel do it. He thinks it's acceptable because they don't assign perfect 10.0 grades. Tom thinks this is a generous and objective journalistic approach. He has seen some of his writing, including a review of the Black Kids' Wizzard of Ahhhs EP that was heavily linked throughout that blogosphere. Tom reads an excerpt:
The hype on this Jacksonville, Floreda-based five-piece quintet is palpable, but should be ignored on general principals. Their sound is a pathetically generic mish-mash of The Cure's limper moments melted with the ineffective funk of The Go! Team. Ultimately all that is left is a ponderous, plodding exorcise in futility that deserves to be criticized for the garbage that it is not the amazing music that it probably thinks it is.
Tom picks up on a few problem areas, including the redundancy of "five-piece quintet," "principals" instead of "principles," and "melted" instead of "melded." Linus wants to know why Tom is being so mean to him. Tom says he's just marveling at the quality of the review considering Linus bills himself as a good writer and a tastemaker. Linus says the errors must have slipped by Troy, Shovel's founder/editor. Tom thinks the final sentence is really unwieldy, but Linus thought it was brilliant. He says that Tom can't talk to him like that because he writes for Shovel.com. Linus appears to start crying. He wants to know why Tom is judging him while everyone else thinks he's good. Tom says he just thought it was poorly written criticism. Linus disagrees with that assessment. He reveals that he hated the Black Kids because they were mean to him. He went to one of their shows, and they did not give him a t-shirt. Linus doesn't like that Tom is also being mean to him. Tom tells Linus that the band probably didn't like getting a negative review that had no basis in the reality of their musical talent. Linus reiterates that he writes for Shovel.com and deserves respect.
Tom thinks he needs to understand the hypocrisy of not being able to take what he dishes out. While it clearly sounds like he's crying, Linus says he's laughing about his disbelief that the listeners pledged a lot of money. He thinks they sound dumb and poor. Linus is smart and became rich by working for his stepuncle Maurice Kern, the acclaimed philanthropist and owner of Kern Pharmaceuticals. He runs one of Kern's foundations that sets up kickball leagues all over Brooklyn and out in Silver Lake in LA. Kern donates the money from the proceeds of products like She Sleeps Now, a retooled version of the controversial Now She Sleeps, to fund the kickball initiatives. Linus says Kern figures he's six months away from legal trouble on the new drug. Tom's glad the profits are funneled into worthy charities.
Linus says he will donate $15,000-$18,000 to WFMU if Tom does something for him. He makes sure Tom is strapped in and wearing a helmet before receiving the request. He wants to hear The Band's Moondog Matinee in its entirety. Linus thinks it's a great record and will only donate the money after Tom plays it. He gives Tom his word, and the word of his stepuncle, but Tom can't assign much value to those words. Linus attempts to give his promise more weight by nothing that he's a published author. Tom points out that Linus had a meltdown just because he pointed out an unwieldy final sentence in the hatchet job he did on the Black Kids EP. Linus thinks the sentence makes perfect sense. He begins crying/laughing again because it's all so funny. Linus isn't sure if he's doing okay. Tom thinks he needs to get a hold of himself. Linus says he needs to hear Moondog Matinee in its entirety ... now.
Tom tells him to give Mike his pledge information off-air. If Tom doesn't follow through, Linus will give him a 0.1 in his review of tonight's program. Tom says that is unethical and motivated purely by a personal grudge. Linus appreciates Tom's ability to continually crack him up. Tom finds it hard to believe that people respect him as a music tastemaker. Linus says he heard that one of the guys in Black Kids checked into a monastery because of that review. Linus predicts that Tom will join him in dropping out of society, or he'll be so embarrassed that people will barge him. Tom thinks he can take the heat. Linus tells Tom that if he fails to play all of Moondog Matinee, he only has one thing to say to him: "Get barged."
Tom is surprised that Linus did not get his stepuncle to finance a run for Newbridge Mayor. Tom plays a pop gem from 1960s Swedish band Tages instead of The Band.
- Asterius calls from his car in Los Angeles to tell Tom that he was entertained by the marathon shows. He thinks Myspace is ova because he knows many recent college graduates who only have Facebook accounts. Esterius prefers Myspace, where he's amassed 999 friends. He selected Kyle, a cool guy he met at a comedy show, as the lucky person to take the prestigious 1,000th slot. However, he was in the midst of sending out political fundraising bulletins about the food crisis in Darfur. Esterius intended to usher Kyle in with much fanfare, so he decided he didn't want to dilute the importance of these messages with a bulletin trumpeting a milestone friend. Esterius confirms that Tom is one of his friends, and he does not have Fight Club as one of his favorite movies. He claims he never listed it in his profile, but I suspect that The Cramedog or BeBe Williams tracked him down and forced him to remove it. Tom asks him if he liked the film. Esterius says he did like it, but
- New listener John from Charlotte, NC, calls to say he's been enjoying what he's been hearing. Tom indicates that he tries and tries and tries to bring it by singing a line from "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones. John proves that he's new to the program by attempting an unauthorized singalong. Tom dumps him for not pledging.
- Asterius returns to review the manner in which Tom booted him from the air. He thought he was GOMPed, but he actually received the silent hang-up treatment. Tom tips his hat to him for supporting the station and tells him to hang in there like a champ.
Tom went to the Barnes & Nobles and saw Ghostface Killah's long-awaited advice book, The World According to Pretty Toney (MTV Press, 9 pages, $24.99). He was able to read the entire book in four minutes because the format was one sentence on a page (e.g., "Wipe the sleep out of your eyes.") followed by a funny image interpreting said sentence. Tom wonders if Ghost just dictated 30 life lessons during a limo ride. He's a big fan of his music, but he thinks he could have done better with his book. Tom noticed a lot of white space for footnotes and autographs. He has heard a five-minute sample of the hilarious audio version, but he refused to drain $25 from a gift card for a CD. Tom is interested in the Ghostface book with all the fun stories. Ghostface Killah: 1 Tom: 0. Paris Hilton: 2 Tom: 0. Tom is ready to erase the 0 from his score tally by getting On The Air ... (see sample chapter above) on the shelf as soon as possible. He will include a lot of filler, including Notes pages for readers to capture their own thoughts about Mike. One chapter will detail Tom's pre-show preparation of retrieving CDs from the library and wheeling them into the studio on a cart.
More to come:
TWBB "Milkshake" refs are ova.
Shirley Jones didn't write "The Lottery".
The cinema of Chris Guest is ova.
Petey's relationship is ova.
The GOMP of a 9-year-old.
Referring to SXSW as just "South-By" is ova.
More debate about "The Lottery" authorship and Amazon vs. Wikipedia.
On the Next ... Best Show on WFMU: Tom procures an advance copy of Sheila Larson's hip-hop album and reviews it unfairly, a ghoul calls to offer listeners a special discount on custom-made coffins, and professional comedian Todd Barry stops by the studio. It's gonna be another Hot March Night!
RIP: Ola Brunkert