Sean and Freud.
"The show is the show." -- Tom, issuing an important reminder amidst conflicting priorities
"The H-Man. Looks like I'm going to have to train him!" -- Spike, booking Tom's protégée for an appointment in the dungeon
"She doesn't hate men, she's just an idiot." -- Spike, refusing to support Katie Couric as Barack Obama's Vice-Presidential running mate
"What is this, Meatballs? Suddenly I'm Morty? Next day I'll find myself asleep out on a bed in the middle of the lake. I'm not Morty." -- Tom, terminating his brief employment as a weekend camp counselor
"You can hunt people in this mall." -- Tom, touting the paintball war zone in West Nyack's version of Heaven
"I WANT THESE CHANNELS OFF MY SYSTEM ... NOW! ... The little things in life SUUUCK!" -- Spike, demanding a la carte cable options instead of packages with fringe networks like ESPN
"I don't need to post on FOTChan to say: NO." - Ted, declining to hire Gavin Rossdale to produce the forthcoming Six-String Warrior
"The day I buy a CD from Starbucks is a day I open up a vein and bid this world goodbye." -- Jason, raging against the machine (unless they stock Stevie Blue vinyl)
"Yeah, like a big is a small, a large is a medium, and then the bigger's a large." -- Philly Boy Roy, running through Wawa's eccentric cup sizes
"I'll get it, I'll get it. Shush your face." - Philly Boy Roy, claiming that he will eventually be able to say mayluganadawiltonorial without Tom's aid
"Spend more time with my family?! Good God, no. I can barely stand them now! They're driving me nuts." -- Philly Boy Roy, maintaining his political aspirations as an escape from the long, hot Ziegler summer
"Everyone has satin sheets up there, right? Even the bums have satin sheets from what I've heard. I'm sorry: hobos." -- Philly Boy Roy, explaining the origin of NYC's little-known "Satin City" nickname
"Dad, make it stop shockin' me. I'm about to pass out." - Roy, Jr., begging his father to disable one of the punishments on Radio Hut's Music Group
"Okay, wait for me to go get another sixer of Yuengling from Wawa. I'll be back in like 40." -- Philly Boy Roy, agreeing to do it after completing an errand
"Oh my God, it's like you're David Coppertone or something. The Amazing Krestskin." -- Philly Boy Roy, marveling at Tom's ability to guess his brilliant SEPERATED AT BERTH headline
"Chocolatier? Why'd I be afraid of a chocolatier? I've been kicking chocolatiers' asses since I was a kid." -- Philly Boy Roy, denying that he is afraid of the Norwegians who have invaded Newbridge
"Okay, I won't even talk about the stabbins or the time I was selling 'shrooms ... at church." -- Philly Boy Roy, declining to further discuss the reasons he is persona au gratin with the Republican Party
"You never know. You never ever ever know, do youse?" - Philly Boy Roy, creepily suggesting that he will orchestrate Tom's murder from his throne
"The idea of you singing me a song is going to knock you straight back into the Stone Age with your comeback." -- Tom, warning Steve from North Hollywood against performing his Best Show mash-up of Queen's Flash Gordon theme
"I want this show to go off the air when it's still fresh. Yeah, like the way Happy Days did, you know what I mean? Happy Days got out while it was still HOT. Like Gunsmoke got out before they wore out their welcome. You know what I mean? Shows like that. You know, shows that didn't hang around too long. Right? Like The Secret Diary of Desmond Pa-feiffer. Shows like that. Get out before you burn people out." -- Tom, finding inspiration for his exit strategy
Volcano Suns - "White Elephant"
( Click here to tell Taang! to bring it)
fIREHOSE - "Brave Captain"
( Click here to buy Ragin', Full 'On)
Husker Dude - "Masochism World"
( Click here to buy Zen Arcade)
Redd Kross - "Burn-Out"
( Click here to buy Born Innocent)
The Geraldine Fibbers - "Seven Or In 10"
( Click here to buy Butch)
The Frogs - "Ocean Tide"
( Click here to buy The Frogs)
The Fluid - "Our Love Will Still Be There"
( Click here to buy Glue/Roadmouth)
Scala Girls Choir - "Teenage Dirtbag" (Wheatus cover)
( Click here to buy On The Rocks)
Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun before the Western world perishes in 2023:
- Tom takes a stab in the dark and predicts the next caller is a Goshen kiddie. He's right! The caller claims the show is crap because Tom just hangs up on people and proceeds to bash them for 20 minutes. Tom confirms this by hanging up on him in mid-speak. It will never never ever never ever not get old.
This is going to happen tonight. Yes, The Best Show is back for another Tuesday night installment, although it's been shifted to the submarine studio on the 41st floor of WFMU Towers. The host, Tom Scharpling, announces that tonight's episode is titled "So Long" because the current configuration of the program ends next week when his protégée, the H-Man, rolls into town to take over the reigns. He plans to gradually phase himself out of the show as the H-Man, who has college radio experience, hones his hosting abilities on the freeform tentpole. The newcomer will initially host every third week, then every other week, then Tom will do every third week, then he will only show up once every two months before it's all H-Man all the time. Tom misses Mike the Associate Producer because he's 150 feet away in a separate room instead of just on the other side of the glass.
Tom mentions that it's a sad day for a lot of people who visit the Friends of Tom message board. In a nutshell, a section of the board known as FOTChan, which allows members to post anonymously, has been causing internecine strife. Tom knows that it might be hard to believe that some people were abusing their freedom. He says that he can no longer have the nonstop toilet language and personal attacks linked to his family-friend brand. Tom was especially alarmed by the FOTChan filth when he perused threads with his young nephew, who was previously sucked into the adult worlds of edgy Home Box Office fare like the profane western Deadwood and the recently unrenewed sex skein Tell Me You Love Me. I think it's time for this kid to stop hanging around Uncle Tommy! The FOTChan fighting spilled over into Tom's weekend when he felt like a camp counselor in his worst nightmare: the message board interfering with the show proper. Tom reminds everyone that the show is the show. Mike heartily agrees. Tom points out that the board is a gathering place for fans that is intended as a nice compliment to the show. He says he will delete the entire board and not look back, if necessary. Tom wishes FOTChan the best of luck in its new online home, but he is parting ways with it. Tom asks Mike who is on Line 1 even though he knows the answer. He actually beats Spike to the elongated hello.
- Spike is concerned about Tom's plan to reduce his hosting duties down to once every other month. He suspects he is going to have to train the H-Man during this transition period. Tom is a bit unsettled by the notion of these disciplinary sessions. He asks Spike if he will call next week to offer his standard greeting to his eventual successor. Spike says he will proceed as usual. Tom warns him that the H-Man is rough around the edges, but he possesses a raw talent for radio. Tom is confident that he can mold him into a polished broadcaster. He informs Spike that "mold" can also be defined as the act of shaping something into proper form, not just the microscopic fungi that are overrunning his basement apartment. Spike seems to accept the alternate definition, but he denies being a basement dweller.
Tom asks Spike to indicate the reason he is providing the pleasure of yet another call. Spike says he's baffled that people are still talking about the Stinky LaBeef person. Tom thinks it's probably time to move on from Mr. LaBoof's car accident. Spike immediately shifts his ire to Swing Vote, the new Kevin Costner dramedy he refuses to see. Tom says that he can't wait to see it, and Spike asks him why. Tom cites two reasons: it looks hilarious and it's getting nothing but rave reviews. Spike isn't swayed by the trailers or positive buzz because he's just not a Kevin Costner person. Tom is certain that Swing Vote will eventually win the movie marathon and overtake Straight Up: The Dark Knight, Batman 2 as the summer's box-office champion. Spike doubts it, but he admits that he's not an industry expert. Tom thinks it's crucial for Disney to bump SU:TDK,B2 off IMAX screens so Swing Vote can capture audiences who are clamoring to see Costner's face projected 130 feet high. Spike says he's not interested in Costner's film in any image format. Tom tries to entice him with the prospects of Nathan Lane in IMAX. Spike says he doesn't' mind Lane, but Costner cancels him out. Tom runs down the star-studded cast: Costner, Lane, Dennis Hopper, and Stanley Tucci. Spike says it would be a better movie if they removed Costner from the equation. (Tom didn't even mention Kelsey Grammer and George Lopez!)
Tom recommends last year's arthouse slasher, Mr. Brooks as a Costner vehicle that Spike would enjoy. Spike says the genre matters not in this case. Tom mentions that the film also had some doo-wop elements, but two out of three is not good enough -- Costner outranks doo-wop and slashings for Spike. Tom wants to develop the mathematics of Spike to figure out all of the quirky >s and <s of his universe. Spike thinks this interesting project would do wonders for the show. Tom tries to think of what livens up a radio show more than math problems. Spike suggests discussions about music and other interesting topics. Tom takes this as his long-overdue cue to just start rapping with Spike. He says they often get caught up in all this other stuff instead of just kicking back and relaxing on the air. Spike thinks it sounds nice, so Tom asks him what's new. Spike reports that nothing is going on aside from the usual dungeon stuff. Tom remembers why he doesn't just rap. He realizes that he has put everything on a tight leash so Spike doesn't dominate the conversation with his more unsavory predilections.
Tom changes the topic to Spike's pick for Barack Obama's Vice-Presidential running mate. Spike suggests Joe Biden or Dennis Kucinich because they know their stuff. Tom heard that WNBC-TV news anchor Chuck Scarborough is on the short list. Spike points out that Scarborough is not a politician. Tom thinks he will offer balance to the ticket as a Washington outsider. Spike isn't sold, but he thinks it could be an interesting pair. Tom says that he would vote for Obama/Scarborough in November. Spike says he will vote for any Democratic ticket instead of the other person. Tom asks Spike which television personality would get him to jump off the Obama train. Spike says he would definitely vote for Obama/Patton Oswalt.
However, he would not support an Obama/Ernie Anastos ticket. Tom correctly assumes that Spike would be worried about having Anastos that close to the buzzer. He corrects that to button, but he thinks there should at least be some kind of buzzer attachment to the button. Spike agrees that the additional alert would be helpful in a crisis.
Tom asks him about four other possible VP choices:
Based on the negative reaction to Couric combined with his past rants about castration-crazed feminists like Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinhem, Tom concludes that Spike doesn't like women. Spike says he doesn't like women who are stupid and/or man-hating. Tom has never seen evidence that Couric hates men. Spike says Couric doesn't hate men, but she is an idiot who only does fluff pieces. Tom says he would vote for Obama/Ripa in a second.
Spike says someone on the FOT Chat is suggesting Obama/Howard Stern. Tom GOMPs Spike for monitoring the chat during his call to the actual show. He wants the chat shut down. Tom says he's already reeling from living in an alternate universe where Spike has turned into a blue-ribbon caller. He's somehow managed -- through sheer force of will? -- to rise to the top-shelf and become the gold standard. However, even the unflappable Spike falls prey to the lure of the chat. Tom doesn't care what someone in the chat is saying because it's bringing down the real show just like FOTChan. He knows that people are not drawn together by some amorphous message board like that motel in the John Coosack movie. Mike thinks it is called Murder Motel. Tom doesn't think that's it. He does know that the center of the wheel is right there in the studio, and fan offshots are the spokes. Tom says he's not trying to rain on any fun parades, but they don't take precedence over the three hours on Tuesday nights. He lays down a new Best Show Law:
1. The music of Tom Waits is terrible and unacceptable under any circumstances.
2. Respect must be paid to Ernie Anastos.
3. The callers need to be more polite to Tom.
4. Know why you're calling before you call.
5. When you're on Tom's court, it's Tom's ball.
6. No caller is bigger than the show (NEW!)
Tom wants to hear one person try to convince him not to detonate FOTChan. He considers logging into the chat and just reading from it for the rest of the show, giving Sploops and Regular Joe the keys to the bus.
- Regular Joe from Seattle assures Tom that he's not the Joe from Seattle who called last week to discuss the design of David Byrne's umbrella. He says it's a sad day because he enjoyed the FOTChan. While RegJoe thought it was a weird, strange place to hang out, he does agree that all of the fighting ruined the show. Tom says it should not have had any impact. RegJoe says that FOTChan had it's time, but now it's over. Tom wants him to count down from 10 to signal its destruction. He mentions that one of the final threads on FOTChan is entitled "I Like Porn, You Like Porn - Let's Share Links." Tom starts the countdown, but it won't actually be gone in the next 10 seconds. He is blowing it up because the animules could not police themselves. Tom decides that an official countdown gives it too much credit and unnecessary fanfare. He compares FOTChan to the two ferries in SU:TDK,B2, but people were pressing the buttons on the remotes to trigger the explosives.
RegJoe switches gears to thank Tom for fulfilling his request for ABBA's "Take A Chance On Me" (ft. Benson/Leo/Oswalt) at the end of the second Best Show 2008 WFMU marathon show. He says it blew his mind when he finally listened to it in the archives. Tom lets RegJoe in on a little secret about the FOTChan: he saw who everyone was the whole time. RegJoe doesn't think he did too much bad stuff. Tom says he was alright, and RegJoe is glad to get the Tom bump. Tom says there are a couple of people who did not fare as well. He knows who they are. RegJoe suggests a big reveal on the entire FOTChan archive. Tom says the mass unmasking is not even worth it. RegJoe will follow the FOTChan to its new incarnation because there is some undeniably funny stuff that came out of it. Tom tells RegJoe about another thing that is funny: his show. Tom likes the louder hang-up noise in the submarine.
- Steve from Fairlawn doesn't want to see the FOTChan explode. Too late. Tom wants to know why he shouldn't blow it up. Steve says FOTChan is like an unruly teenager -- you can't just throw it out of the house when it acts up. He proposes smacking it down once in a while. Tom informs Steve that he can throw it out of his house. Steve says Tom wouldn't do that as a parent, so he shouldn't do it as the online parent of the FOT universe. Tom says FOTChan is not an actual child no matter how hard Steve tries to evoke sympathy with his forced analogy. Steve admits to pulling on Tom's heartstrings. Tom GOMPs him.
Tom directs the FOTChanners to listen to the Radiohead song to realize that they ultimately did it to themselves. He will not accept the blame because he knows the identity of every last one of them. Tom has his finger poised above the buzzer/button to blow it up and never start again. Boom. It's gone. He still can't believe he became a camp counselor who was arguing in different cabins like scenes from Meatballs. Tom did not enjoy morphing into Morty Melnick, the frequently humiliated Camp North Star director. He expected to find himself asleep in a bed out in the middle of Lake Newbridge. Tom makes it clear that he is not Morty Melnick.
- Jake from Hoboken 07030 is a little bummed that Tom will be weaning himself off the show in favor of the H-Man. He's purely a show listener, so he doesn't know anything about the FOTChan brouhaha. Tom thinks it's time for the H-Man to slide into the slot. He also notes that Mike is unaware that the H-Man will bring his own Associate Producer. Jake thinks that is another bummer because Mike seems like a Good Guy. Tom agrees. Jake says that if the H-Man has Tom's endorsement, he will give him the benefit of the doubt and stay plugged into the show. He says that he had a feeling this sad day was coming.
Jake has a quick music-related question about the status of the supposed Taaang! re-issues of the Volcano Suns' first two long-players, The Bright Orange Years and All Night Lotus Party. Tom heard the same rumblings, but has nothing concrete to report. Jake says he currently gets his VS fix via The Best Show, so he hopes the H-Man will keep it going. Tom warns him that H-Man is not a fan of the band. While it will be a different show, Tom will not give the H-Man the keys to the Ferrari until he earns them. He views the H-man as a lump of clay that he will sculpt into an Adonis. Jake has faith that he will be in good hands.
- Dave from Winnipeg calls to make a case for the FOTChat. He never logs on because he feels like it's probably the venting channel for people who really shouldn't be on the air. Tom notes that Dave appears to be suggesting a farm league for listeners. Dave says that the minor league system will prevent these people from calling the show to discuss whatever they were chatting about. Tom says he will keep the FOTChat, but eliminate the FOTChan, the lawless, Wild West-style negative zone. Dave wonders if the obliteration of that outlet will give them an incentive to call the show. Tom responds by asking Dave if he thinks he's burning up the lines as some kind of Ultimate Caller. He GOMPs Dave for being a soft-3 out of 10 while expressing concern about keeping "them" off the air. Tom re-assigns him to the FOTChat to earn his stripes. He bets that the H-Man is hatching his escape route via an e-mail loaded with excuses (wants to spend more time with J-Wo?) about why he can't do the show. Tom doesn't blame him for bailing on the gig.
Tom took another trip to his beloved Palisades Mall in West Nyack, NY, which is not Mike's mall of choice. Tom recommends that he make it his mall because it's four floors of Heaven, featuring Starbucks, Old Navy, a pagoda with basketball jerseys for pets, Fatburger, and an arcade equipped with Dance Dance Revolution. Tom was also intrigued by a kiosk where you can get painted into a seat around a table with gangster legends like Tony Montoya, Tony Soprano, and Don Vito Corleone. He likes the idea of becoming a criminal, creep, and murderer just like these other glorified sociopaths. Tom asked the artist about the price, and it was only $120. (I'd pay upwards of $6,000 to get all Napoleon-like in the "Pie-Oh-My" painting.) Mike says that his pizzeria has one of these customized paintings. Tom clarifies that he doesn't actually own the restaurant.
While he didn't want to talk about it on the air, Tom does have an update on the contents of Mike's mysterious briefcase. It usually just contains an apple and an old newspaper, but Tom has been finding tattoo magazines the past few weeks. He also made a disturbing discovery when Mike was completing his usual pre-show duty of emptying out all of the garbage cans in the studio. He says that Mike's shirt sleeve went up a little bit to reveal a small tattoo of a calzone on his arm. Tom has no idea what he was thinking. He doesn't have a problem with people getting tattoos, but Mike is clearly not all there with this choice. Tom believes the tattoo parlor should conduct some mental acuity tests or at least ask the client several times if they really want an image of an Italian turnover on their arm forever.
Tom headed to Panda Express for lunch because he enjoys their bean curd-based dish. However, he was greeted by an empty steamer tray with the title card mounted above it for all to see where it should have been. Tom thinks they should take it down to avoid teasing customers. He gives a thumbs down to Panda Express. Tom followed up the culinary disappointment by seeing Hellboy II: The Golden Army, but he doesn't know why. He concluded that these superhero movies are suffering from being released alongside the new Batman picture. While everyone was raving about the amazing Iron Man two months ago, it would be considered a mere bagatelle if it came out now. Tom doesn't expect to see many Iron Man movies coming out after Batman movies. He says his pastor strongly advised him not to see the Hellboy sequel, but he couldn't help buying the ticket for a private screening. Tom says he doesn't know what to make of the movie, although he was playing Bejeweled on his cell phone at the halfway point.
After the Guillermo Del Toro creature feature, Tom went to Barnes & Nobles, to look for something to buy with his 15%-off coupon. He mentions that in addition to the bookseller, Palisdades has a paintball range for hunting other customers, a bowling alley, and an ice skating rink. Unfortunately, one of the best malls ever is sinking into the ground because you can't safely build a bowling alley and ice skating rink on the top floor while still maintaining structural integrity. Tom says there is a good chance it will collapse, but this is just another ride like the indoor Ferris Wheel. Tom is amazed that you could very well go to Panda Express, order a 2-item meal, and then eat it on a Ferris Wheel in this mall. He knows that some will question how they could possibly eat "Chinese food" on a Ferris Wheel unless they were at the Neverland Ranch or a Bowcraft Amusement Park. You can do it at this mall. Tom declares the first hour of the show the worst he's ever done.
As Tom floated past the graphic novel section, he spotted a kid sitting on the floor with a graphic novel that he was bending back like he owned it. Tom wanted to tell Stupid that it wasn't his book to crease. He then saw another, less brazen kid browsing with his sister in tow. She asked him if he was finding anything, and he criticized the B&N selection compared to the eight racks on display at Jim Hanley's Universe on Staten Island. Tom thinks it's silly to complain about the lack of specialty inventory at a mainstream bookstore chain. JH just sells comics, while B&N offers big, thick books written a long time ago with long words and no pictures. (Too bad Tom will never crack any of 'em!) Tom puts this kid next to Panda Express on the Thumbs Down List. Tom says he doesn't want to be here tonight. The stifling submarine was Strike 1, and Strike 2 was a weekend spent serving as the FOTChan camp counselor for untethered animules ripping on each other. Tom invites H-Man to come down tonight to take over the show because he has no juice here or in life outside the program. He says there are 5,000 channels on satellite radio, but nobody has ever knocked on his door. He's one of the juiceless. Mike recommends putting a topic on the table. Tom obeys his boss.
Tom often flips to ESPN's after-hours Sportscenter reruns for a recap of the night's action. He notes that the right side of the screen has tabs to replicate the experience of surfing the Web. The unclickable tabs chart the progress of the show, and lo and behold your eye inevitably drifts down to see the scores on the endless crawl. Tom laments that this SPOILS the drama of seeing how they roll out their highlight packages. He wants the crawl removed during all Sportscenter airings. Tom is not willing to place black tape or a strip of cardboard along the bottom of his TV to maintain the suspense. He admits that this doesn't bother him that much. Tonight's topic: The Little Things.
Tom gets an IM from Jodi saying that he's crazy for talking about jumping to satellite radio. She doubts that it would ever satisfy him. Tom compares this potential disappointment to the wildly satisfying experience of putting out fires all weekend. He says his lack of juice is so bad that the 33 1/3 editors had no interest in his Missing Persons book. They have previously rejected Tom's proposal for entries on Styx, Hanson, and Kriss Kross.
- Chris in NY says his biggest little thing is all the time he's spent waiting for receipts to print with one leg on the street and one in the taxi. At 20 seconds each, he estimates that he's been robbed of a good month over his lifetime. Tom instructs him to end the call with the the topic catchphrase: "Ahhhhhh! The little things!"
- Spike continues to amaze and mystify with another topic-based call after 8:30 p.m. He says he hates it when cable television providers take him for a ride with channels that nobody watches or needs. For example, he doesn't do ESPN. Tom admits that it's a fringe network that lacks widespread appeal. Spike says he watches movie channels, but avoid all sports, Disney, or shopping networks. Tom wants to hear Spike say "it." He gets this instead: "I WANT THESE CHANNELS OFF MY SYSTEM ... NOW!" Tom was hoping to hear the topic sign-off he just discussed with Chris from NY. Spike then unleashes his own variant: "The little things in life SUCK!" Tom wants to know what is going on. He thinks it's a sad state of affairs when Spike, who might be the only person listening, has the blue-ribbon is pinned on him. Tom believes that Spike would even admit to only half getting the show, but he's still bringing it. It pains Tom to say it, but he thinks people could benefit from studying the pages in Spike's playbook.
- Ben from Sandyston, NJ, has a problem with Little Things. He was talking to a nice guy with a MacBook Pro who insisted on adding the "Pro" at every opportunity. Ben says he was bugged by being constantly reminded that the guy had a more elite machine. Tom has a Mac, but he can't even remember the specific model to taunt anyone with it. Ben says that you've got to watch Mac people because some of them are snooty. Tom thinks that is putting it mildly. Ben adds a "Go Linux!" to his proper sign-off. He thinks the open-source kernel is totally better than the Mac OS. Tom doesn't appear to be thrilled about cheering for operating systems. He thinks they might be sports teams for nerds.
- James from Warwick, NY, claims to be THE James. Tom says goodbye to the obvious impostor.
- A female caller is bothered by people who think popular summer blockbusters like the new Batman are beyond critique. Tom is somewhat bothered by what sounds like a crummy Skype connection. She thinks there are a lot of deeper themes in SU:TDK,B2 that are worthy of discussion. For example, she believes that the film is blatantly reflective of the country's entanglement in the Iraq War with timely references to torture, surveillance tactics, and the Joker as ersatz terrorist. The caller doesn't think this undercurrent would be present if the film was not made in 2007. Tom says that is more of an analysis. She cedes the point and mentions that the film was generally entertaining. Tom can't take her phone anymore. He thought he was talking to WALL-E when he was breaking down.
- The real James calls and says it's no prank. Tom says goodbye because it is a prank, and he's not giving that sicko any traction. Tom says he has to get out of here. He thinks there has to be something else out there for him.
- Quality Caller Samir from Florida checks in to help turn things around. He's living in Tallahassee for the summer, and he doesn't like being asked to show ID at bars despite being 25 1/2 years old. Samir says he hasn't been asked at other establishments for 3 or 4 years due to his considerable height (Samir is 7' 5"). Tom thinks it's time to stop using the half age. Samir says he only mentioned it because his mum called the other day to wish him a Happy Half-Birthday. Tom thinks she must have a lot of free time on her hands if she's tracking the half years. He recommends that she looks into joining a book club. Samir says she's already in one. Tom says a second one might be a good idea. Samir says she's a lovely woman despite her hardcore approach to celebrating his time on Earth. Tom says it's not bad that she cares about her son.
- Spoony in Brooklyn calls to offer a little thing that he finds accidentally gross. Tom thinks it might be FOTChan. Spoony says he's glad it's gone because he avoided it. Tom is sick to his stomach about the poison leaking over into the show. He vows to shake it off. Tom says it's not helping that two phone lines are down in the submarine, plus he needs a fan to avoid passing out. Spoony says it sounds like Tom is suffering from a Little-Thing pile-up. Tom experiences some errant microphone stand movement, and he asks Mike to go get Pangaea from the library. Spoony says he doesn't want to attend an undanceable Pangaea Party.
He also doesn't want to be perceived as an iPhone basher, but the beautiful, smooth screens capture grease and fingerprints really well. When someone offers use of their phone, the light will often reveal a surface crudded up with prints. Spoony acknowledges that it's unavoidable, but he thinks people can wipe it off like Rambo using his pant leg to remove blood from his knife. He skeevs up like they are waving an old toothbrush in his face. Tom asks iPhone users to do the Rambo thing per Spoony's request. Tom thought he would be home if he closed his eyes. It's not over yet.
- A caller says he gets annoyed when he exits or enters a building with one of its double doors still locked. He thinks security should just unlock both doors while they are at it. Tom declares this the best call of the night. The caller asks Tom for his take on the chances for the USA basketball team to win the gold balloon in the Olympic games. Tom's torn because he would like to see them win and not win. He doubts the team can pull it together because they always fail to grasp the nuances of international-style basketball. The caller predicts that it will all come down to a Carmelo Anthony chokejob. Tom doesn't think that guy is much good. He condemns Anthony as a regular season star who flubs it in the clutch. Tom says he's clutch. The caller laughs. Tom GOMPs him for it.
- Laurie from Miami calls to apology for Tom's weekend work as a camp counselor. She wants to moveon.org. Tom says that some kids stole snacks from the mess hall and were hiding them in their bunk. Laurie adds that one of them threw Bug Juice in little James's toupee. She feels partially responsible for Tom's unpleasant experience.
Laurie says that she has a cell phone that works everywhere except in her actual house. If she wants to make/receive calls, she has to venture onto the patio. Laurie wants to ditch her landline, but she's tied down by a cloud of poor reception from T-Mobile. Tom doesn't know what that is. Laurie says it's not AT&T or Sprint. Tom asks her if she will make the jump to a new provider. Laurie says she's over a year into a two-year contract, and Tom advises her to pull the trigger because life is too short. Laurie thinks T-Mobile should fix it because she's in Miami (aka Party City), not out in the boonies. She is not on the scene now, but she's certain that someone is partying in Miami tonight. Tom asks her if it's generally Party City in the summer. Laurie says that Spring Break is the peak party season, but when you hit "the beach" (i.e., Collins Ave.), it's pretty crazy. She is concerned that this is a boring call, but Tom says she's just responding to his questions. Laurie says anything goes on Collins -- a creepy, FOTChan-y zone without any dress code. Tom doesn't like it, and neither does Laurie.
- Rock Star Ted Leo from Bloomfield calls, and Tom dubs him the Six-String Warrior. He asks Ted if he would consider that as the title of his next album. Ted says he absolutely would. Tom asks him to gauge the level of excitement his label, Touch & Go, would have for it. Ted thinks they would have a weird appreciation for the boldness of it. Tom believes there's a reason why the Didjits and Killdozer are no longer around. Ted says one might try to blame it all on file-sharing, but it's really the odd album titles. If Tom was a kid who liked to boost music, he'd probably dismiss Six-String Warrior as not being worth the double-clicking. He imagines the disgruntled blogger apologizing to Sendspace for rejecting the file it was illegally hosting.
Ted uses Starbucks as a prime example of a workplace environment that operates according to its own lingo. He points out that there is no logical reason why a non-employee should automatically be in tune with their lexicon. At Starbucks, if you explain your drink order using different words, they will call it out in the preferred lingo. Ted thinks this would be fine if they didn't roll their eyes and obviously derive such satisfaction from making you look like an idiot for ordering in plain English. Tom compares it to going to a diner in the 1940s. The customer did not have to order an "Adam & Eve on a raft" to receive two poached eggs on toast. He says this is just short-order cook slang that allows the staff to put on a little show. Tom has also noticed a lot of leaning going on at Starbucks. He thinks he might have more efficent visits if everyone was engaged in customer-driven tasks. Tom says that he often catches a kid hiding behind the food case while regaling his co-workers with boring stories about his life. Tom thinks he deserves the floor since he's about to drop $9.50 for a coffee. (A bit later in the show Therese offers some words of wisdom from her old supermarket boss: "If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.")
Tom wishes he had cued up "Little Things" by grunge pioneers Bush to play the chorus on a loop for the topic calls. Ted is not familiar with the tune. Tom asks him if he's a fan of the band and their frontman, Gavin Rossdale. He tries to offer a diplomatic response, but the gist of it is that he isn't. Tom asks him if he would consider Rossdale as the producer of the next TLRx album. Ted immediately goes on record against the hire, noting that he doesn't require the anonymity of FOTChan for this one. Ted says that he enjoyed FOTChan despite the crummy stuff that seeped in. Tom asks him if he'd feel differently if it was called TEDChan. Ted says he was just discussing this issue with his friend, Jodi. If it was his name and website, he couldn't let it happen. Tom thanks Ted for the call. He thinks he may have turned the corner.
- QC Greg from Baltimore says the intermittent beeping sounds emitted from machines drive him crazy. He gets flustered when he can't find the source of noises that turn out to be fire alarms, copiers, or smoke detectors. Tom notes the extremely shrill tone of carbon monoxide detectors. He demonstrates the sound with a high-pitched chirp-bark that often lulls you into thinking it's over. The noise continues for the remainder of the call. Greg says he actually exclaimed, "In the name of God, what is that infernal racket," after hearing an annoying sound at work. The voice of a consultant responded that it was just the sound of the copier.
- Julie from Cincinnati is surprised that Tom considers her a Quality Caller. She asks Tom if he's looking for happy or sad Little Things. Tom says she can opt for whatever works best. Julie says that she has a geeky job doing computery things, but she's not sure if her employer is the Geek Squad. She has a problem with people who can't admit their own mistakes and shift blame to others. Tom wants a specific example from her workplace. Julie's response deserves to be quoted in full:
Like if you mess something up and you have to blame someone else because they said something that like if they said A was B and you listened to them though A was obviously not B but you acted liked it was then that's an example.
Yes! Yes! Julie doesn't think Tom even knows what she's talking about. Yes! Yes! Yeeeees! Yes! Julie says her main point is that if you're wrong, just say it. Yes! She prefers people to own up to it and fix the trouble they've caused. Yes! Tom says life's too short to do otherwise. Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Tom's had enough of the affirmations.
- A stuffed-up QC Colin in L.A. says he's annoyed by people who insist on having long conversations via text messages. He thinks they should just call like a normal person instead of continuing to respond with more text. Tom thinks Colin is dead on the money.
- Jason from Jersey City is a little sad, but he doesn't want to talk about it. Tom quotes his countryman David Bowie to indicate that cha cha cha changes are coming. He adapts some of the lyrics to urge the FOTChanners to turn and face the strain of a revamped enterprise. Jason says that he called to respond to what Teddy said. Tom makes sure that he's referring to the discussion of Starbucks Speak, not his lack of interest in having Gavin Rossdale twirls the nobs for the next LP.
He argues that you can't fault the employees for having to spew terms that are dictated by corporate policy. Tom thinks Ted knows that. Jason says the eye-rolling is the result of every fifth person ordering a "small" under the illusion that they are striking a blow against the corporate machine. Tom says some customers may not be well-versed in the Starbucks experience. He avoids any problems by telling them how it's gonna be, how they are going to make his drink, and if they don't, he pours it on the floor and knocks over a rack of CDs. Tom says people have cheered him all seven times he's done it. Last week I sliced a barista's juggler vein with an iTunes digital release card for Cat Power's Jukebox because he didn't put enough Matcha green tea powder in my Orange-Mango-Banana Vivanno nourishing blend. I don't know if it garnered any applause because I immediately ran away to avoid a daystick-wielding John. Q. Law.
Jason asks Tom if he goes after particular CDs. Tom says he usually targets the Sly & the Family Stone tribute featuring Fergie's version of "Hot Fun in the Summertime." Jason says he recently saw an unappetizing Best of ska/raygay compilation Starbucks. Tom points out that the curators couldn't find enough raygay highlights so they had to pad out the 12-track CD with six selections from a completely different genre of music. Jason says the day he buys a CD from Starbucks will be the day he opens up a vein and bids this world goodbye. Tom asks Jason what he would do if he spotted a Stevie Blue CD on a Starbucks rack. He says he would ask them if they also carried Mochaccino-Covered Kisses on vinyl. He'd buy it on that format in a heartbeat. Jason doubts it will ever happen, but Tom thinks it could be a part of their new focus on more rootsy music. Tom believes that the average slob should be able to order a "medium" coffee without getting a real 'tude from the person behind the counter. Jason blames the customer because the employees have to deal with that all day. Tom thinks they could just find another place to work if it was such a burden. Jason thinks people could just as easily find another coffee shop if the nomenclature boths them that much. He argues that they don't want to correct people, but they are told to promote the in-house terminology.
Jason says that he used to say small, medium, large before he realized that it wasn't that clever. Tom thinks people who use the standard size names may just be uninformed. He points out that their money is still is green as the greenest tree in the U.S. Tom is proud that U.S. bills are as green as a fern in full bloom. He wonders if ferns actually bloom. Jason isn't sure if they are evergreens. Tom criticizes the yellow and brown palette of British money, but Jason says it's actually a combination of red and blue. He mentions that the old pound note was green. Tom assumes it was a sickly green, but Jason characterizes the hue as more emerald. Tom knows it was not the forest green of the dollar. He thinks the color should be named "US Money Green" because that's how awesome and valueless it is. Tom will give Jason his point to some degree, but he still feels for the uneducated Starbucks slob.
Jason thanks Tom for letting him win one battle. Tom tells him to stop becaues he doesn't see www.JasonChan.com going up. Jason doesn't know what he's talking about. Tom wants him to use that domain, but Go Daddy already got his 6.99 for a different location. Tom thanks Jason for everything and fills him in about a special exhibit (open to the public) at the Best Show Hall of Fame from August 29th through November 4th. Tom says the one downside to this run is that Mike is getting added as a member. He tells Jason that it's some other guy he hasn't met, not Mike the Associate Producer. Tom reveals that Other Mike is in fact AP Mike with a fake mustache (and Sgt. Pepper's suit?). Tom doesn't like it when he switches to this persona.
- Fido/Chris from Manhattan says he recently got exemplary service at a Starbucks ... in Toronto. Tom isn't surprised because if they drop the ball, people can just walk across the street to Timothy's World Coffee. Fido says he had that option in this neighborhood, but Starbucks brought it. He was at a conference in Buffalo, NY, so he decided to drive over to Toronto to visit an old friend and hang out in the city. When he reached the border, he had a pleasant, businesslike exchange with the customs officer. He asked Fido if he was transporting any firearms, explosives, alcohol, 'shrooms, 'cid, or tobacco, and then granted him entrance into Canada. Prior to returning to the U.S. he drove around Lake Ontario and made the mistake of coming in through the backwater Thousand Islands customs stop. Fido says the guy could not have been more surly, peppering him with questions about the purpose and duration of his trip and requesting the registration for his rental car. He thinks this was the exact opposite of saying, "WELCOME HOME." Fido says he's had similar experiences in airports. Tom tells U.S. border patrolman to lighten up. Fido says the guy may have just been having a bad day or trying to stave off boredom by harassing someone.
- Weirder Jon from Maplewood says the previous caller may have stolen his topical thunder because you can't hear the show while on hold in the submarine. He says that he is annoyed when he gets a plastic bag and receipt after buying a stick of gum. Tom says he always says, "Hold the bag, champ." WJ writes down this retort for future use. Tom points out that he's not an old lady who requires a parcel for a lone item. He is fine with using his hands and pockets to store his purchase. WJ says that back when he was eating meat, he went to Tom's favorite place, Five Guys (home of the toppings sandwich!), and returned the paper burger bag. He then saw the employee crumple it up and throw it in the trash. Tom can understand this because it's not like the bags were ever trees. He then remembers that the paper was made from trees.
- A caller refers to the Irish gentleman who was just talking about nem sizes and stuff of coffee beverages at Starbucks. He just wanted to invite him to come down to check out the three sizes currently offered at Wawa: big, large, and bigger. Tom says he wasn't aware that the store was using this terminology. The caller explains that a big is a small, a large is a medium, and a bigger is a large. Tom wonders if there is a size called "biggest." The caller says there isn't because it's a stupid idea. Tom apologizes for suggesting the silly fourth option. The caller doesn't think Tom will guess who he is in a million years. Tom thinks he knows it's Philly Boy Roy, and he's right. PBR giggles as he asks Tom if he's chewin' or bitin', a reference to the lingo of B.J. Bryson from N104-The Bridge. When Bryson called the show a couple of weeks ago he explained that "chewin'" means you're doing great, while "bitin'" means you're doing bad. Tom is not that amused by the query. PBR asks Tom if he's heard Bryson's radio program.. Tom says he heard a little bit of it in the past, but he's mainly just heard about Bryson's antics over the years. He's not a fan.
PBR is surprised that Tom is not a regular listener of the local station that plays old jazz and new country. Tom says he doesn't enjoy that bad combination of music. PBR believes that it's the best thing to ever come out of New Jersey. He also doesn't think Tom can deny that Bryson is definitely the best DJ of all-time. Tom says he can definitely deny that claim. PBR tries to get Tom to at least award Bryson top honors within the state. Tom says he actually likes his own radio work. PBR laughs at the notion and wonders what Tom likes about himself. Tom apologizes for touting his skills, and PBR assures him that no apology could be too big. Tom thinks his reaction was a bit rude. PBR doesn't think it was.
Back in early January PBR threw his miniature Dairy Queen Eagles helmet into the ring after claiming Newbridge residency via the P.O. Box he uses to receive his spank magazines. PBR says he will be returning to town next week (presumably with a giant clothespin firmly attached to his nose) to hit the old campaign trail for the mayugana ... mayudana ... Tom tries to help him out with the correct pronunciation of "mayubernatorial," but PBR tells him to shush because he will get it on his own. After a third misfire, PBR requests another line reading. He needs one more after a false start of "maylu ..." When PBR says "wilton" Tom realizes that he is not going to get there anytime soon. He advises PBR to just use the term election. PBR gives it a try and ends up with "elect-shin." Tom notes that he even had a hard time getting that out. PBR thinks Tom is nuts, and he wants to know what he's on about tonight.
Tom says that he assumed PBR called to end his candidacy. When he heard his voice on the line he thought he was about to drop out of the race to spend more time with his family, a popular reason for the multiple dropouts in the past month. PBR says that he can barely stand his family now. He's looking to get out of the house more because they are driving him nuts during this long, hot Ziegler summer. PBR doesn't think Tom will ever guess what Roy, Jr. is into now. Tom doesn't even make an attempt. PBR says the other kids in his street gang have acquired the Rock Band video game. Roy, Jr. loves going to their Center City clubhouse to play it all day. PBR says it kills him that Roy, Jr. isn't keeping it Roxboro at all. He has frequently informed his son that he's getting too big for his britches by hanging out near Jeweler's Row down Sansom Street with all these rich kids. PBR says some of their parents make upwards of $60,000/year. Tom confirms that PBR is referring to actual rich kids. PBR says that he's asked Roy, Jr. if he thinks he's like Todd Rundgren preparing to blow town for Satin City. Tom has never heard NYC referred to by this nickname. PBR says it's based on the fact that everyone has satin sheets up there. Tom laughs at the "interesting" origin story. PBR says even the bums have satin sheets from what he's heard. He apologizes for the slur and refers to them as "hobos." Tom appreciates his efforts to remain PC.
Anyhoo, Roy, Jr. wanted PBR to buy him Rock Band for the upcoming Son's Day. Tom says he's never heard of this holiday. PBR says it's a big thing in his household where the parents celebrate their sons eight times a year. Tom is amused by the frequency because he senses that it's another Roy, Jr. ruse. He correctly assumes that there were no such days when PBR was a kid. PBR says he's didn't find out about it until seven years ago. Tom asks him if he can remember who told him about it. PBR starts to think about it as Tom suggests Roy, Jr as the likely person. PBR says it was him. Tom tells PBR that his son is pulling
one eight over on him with this faux holiday. PBR doesn't think he is, but either way, he's going into big-time debt from buying all of the presents throughout the year. PBR keeps asking Roy, Jr. if he thinks his father is made of gold balloons. Tom is lost by the reference. PBR explains that these are the gold balloons that were located on the treasure ships back in the old days when guys wore nem hats, frilly shirts, and bone earrings. Tom says that he's thinking of pirates. PBR calls Tom a dummy for mentioning a baseball team. He doesn't think it sounds like Tom is an avid reader of history books. Tom says the baseball team is named after the actual seafaring criminals in question. He also points out that they acquired gold doubloons, which were coins minted in the 19th century. PBR doesn't think Tom knows what he's talking about. He agrees to disagree about the nature of gold items.
He says that Rock Band is very expensive, and he sure ain't gonna go down to The Gallery to put one on layaway. PBR doesn't want to give his money to any Center City retailers. He decided to give Roy, Jr. a game called Music Group, the Radio Hut version of Rock Band. Tom laughs at what sounds like a typical Radio Hut knockoff product. PBR thought it sounded like a cool alternative, but Roy, Jr. don't like it and won't play it.
PBR calls Roy, JR. an "ungrate" for his negative reaction to the gift. Tom thinks it sounds like a stance an ungrate would take. PBR says Music Group is like Rock Band except the guitars are constructed out of old ukuleles that Radio Hut likely bought in bulk. The buttons on the instrument were taken from Rick, the generic version of Simon that the chain marketed in the 1970s. Tom remembers Rick. PBR says he could never get past two buttons before his memory faded. He could only get half of a blinking button on Simon because he simply couldn't follow it. PBR asks Tom not to get him started on Rubin's Cube, Radio Hut's version of the popular Rubik's Cube. Tom agrees that it's best not to instigate a discussion of the mechanical puzzle. PBR says his attempts to solve it were embarrassing because he wasn't even sure how to hold the cube. Tom asks him how he thought he was supposed to address it. PBR says he could never hold it right so he always ended up throwing it through a window. He would often have to run a mile to find a window through which he could launch the offending toy. PBR says throwing the Rubin's Cube through a window was sort of his "thing."
PBR mentions that the music on Rock Band will stop playing if you make too many mistakes. However, on Music Group, you also get shocked for the same miscues. The ukulele guitar will then start oozing black ink all over the player's clothes. Tom now has a better understanding of Roy Jr's lack of enthusiasm for the second-tier version. PBR thinks the additional punishments are hilarious, but Roy, Jr. doesn't like getting shocked. PBR just tells him that he needs more practice. Roy, Jr. asks him to disable the shock feature because he's often about to pass out due to poor virtual musicianship. PBR agrees to do it, but only after he gets another sixer of Yuengling from Wawa. PBR giggles after mentioning that the trip takes about about 40 minutes. Tom thinks the delay is terrible. PBR says Tom might think his delight in his son's discomfort is an example of Seanandfreud. Tom thinks PBR is actually trying to use the German term Schadenfreude. PBR says he doesn't know what that means. He was saying three words: Sean and Freud, as in Dr. Sigmund Freud. Tom wants to know about this Sean. PBR says it could be Freud's son or nephew, but he really doesn't know. He also doesn't think Tom has been cracking many dictionaries. Tom admits that he probably needs to start hitting the books a bit harder.
PBR knows that Tom is in the infotainment business, so he wants to talk about a regulation he had yesterday. He got an idea that was so good that he decided to quit his job at Wawa. They recently rehired him to meet the staffing demands for Hoagiefest 2008, but it was at his old 1984 salary. Tom wants to know about the exciting finale at PBR's location. The promotion, which ran from June 9th through August 3rd, featured a different Wawa Shorti every two weeks at a special $2.99 price. PBR says that they brought out the meatball hoagies to make a big push to go out with a bang. Tom's glad that Hoagiefest didn't go out soft. PBR says mushrooms made it even better. Tom asks him if he was adding mushrooms as a topping to the subs. PBR says he was doing psilocybin mushrooms to enhance his overall experience.
Last night the whole famdam was gathered around the television to watch the Channel 6 Action News story about a family from Avington that was taking a cruise to the Bahamas, Jamaica, or some other island where they play music like The Hooters. Tom believes that PBR is thinking of reggae music. PBR thinks it's called Reggie in honor of Reggie Jackson. Tom says reggae pre-dates the emergence of the Hall of Fame slugger. PBR wants to write down the correct name. He spells it as "raygay," the latter portion being like you know what. Tom says that's correct, and he urges PBR to look it up to discover some new sounds.
The family headed into town, but a mix-up resulted in only the mother/daughter duo making back on the boat before it sailed away. The father and son got stuck on the island. PBR says that the greatest newspaper headline of all-time suddenly hit him. He thinks it will land him a job at The Philadelphia Inquirer. PBR doubts that Tom will guess the brilliant text in a million years. Tom guesses that it's SEPERATED AT BERTH, a play on the phrase "separated at birth" that substitutes the term for the location for docked vessels in a port or harbour. PBR is amazed that Tom got it. He thinks he must have magical abilities like illusionator David Coppertone or the mentalist known as The Amazing Krestskin. Tom says he got it because it's a crummy, obvious play on words. PBR argues that it's very smart. Tom doesn't think it's that smart. PBR says that Roy, Jr thought it was very smart, although he did make a face when he first heard it. PBR initially interpreted this as a smart, proud-of-you-Dad gesture, but now he remembers the accompanying eye-rolls. Tom says Roy, Jr. was zinging him a bit.
PBR says he quit Wawa because he was sure he'd get hired by the Inquirer as a headline writer or editor. Tom says that thinking he'd get a job based on the pun doesn't make much sense. He suspects that PBR really needed that Wawa job. PBR says his temporary unemployment will soon be over when he becomes the next mayor of Newbridge. Tom asks him if he's afraid of the mysterious acts of sabotage being orchestrated by the Norwegian chocolatiers. PBR says he is not afraid of chocolatiers because he's been kicking their asses since he was a kid. Tom says he was specifically referring to Tor Halversom, who appears to be trying to take over Newbridge through intimidation and violence that appears to include the severing of fingers and toes of former candidates, Merle Allin and Glenn Danzig. Halversom is also running for mayor on the ominous Chocolate, Machine Gun and Switchblade Party ticket. As soon as PBR hears his name he starts wildly stammering like Ralph Kramden from The Honeymooners. Tom thinks PBR is coming apart, but he claims he was just performing the introduction to "Surfin' Bird." The song just popped in his head, and he belts out a full verse and chorus. Tom finds it odd that the impromptu rendition coincided with his mention of Halversom. PBR denies stammering out of fear.
He asks Tom if he was aware that the Republican Party has withdrawn their sponsorship of his candidacy because there were things in his past that were deemed too controversial. Tom is not shocked to hear this. PBR says that party leadership was particularly distressed by his 1988 robbery of a Dairy Queen on Roosevelt Boulevard. PBR repeatedly told them that he did not take any money -- he was just after their stash of miniature baseball helmets. PBR says that he ended up with 4,000 helmets, but he shot the manager in the process. Tom says that hurting someone cancels out the fact that he did not steal any money. PBR says it was it was a little more severe than just "hurting." Tom asks him if he killed the manager. PBR wants Tom to define "killed." Tom asks PBR if the man is alive right now. PBR asks him to define "right now," and Tom picks today as the marker. PBR says the man is not alive. Tom doesn't even want to know any more about the apparent murder. PBR decides it is also best not to talk about any of the stabbins or the time he was selling 'shrooms ... at church.
PBR reminds Tom that he can't judge him for these questionable acts. He announces that he will issue swift judgment on Tom during his first day on the job as mayor. He gives Tom a preview. PBR will ascend his throne and summon Tom to approach him. Tom will then put oil on PBR's feet and wash them with his hair just like Judas did. Tom says that has nothing to do with modern-day governance. PBR repeats that this is exactly what Judas did to God on his throne. Tom thinks it's a foolhardy strategy to alienate someone with a radio platform for a possible endorsement. PBR asks Tom to endorse him. Tom says he is reluctant to do so after hearing about his plans for humiliating subjugation. PBR says the bathing ritual was pretty much a joke. Tom says he is not comfortable endorsing someone who is compiling loose threats about what he will do to him while in office.
PBR says he probably wouldn't do what he said he was gonna do, but you never know. He says his agenda will largely depend on whether he is drinking on the job. PBR predicts that he will probably be drinking. Tom decides to keep his options open at this point. PBR hopes Tom doesn't go the way of that DQ manager. He makes it clear that you never never know what might happen. Tom thinks that this is a terrible suggestion. PBR reiterates that Tom can never ever know what he might have in store for him. Tom doesn't like what he's hearing. He bids PBR goodbye because he's gone from cuddly to real creepy. PBR gets one more threat in -- this time using a rare quadruple negative -- before hanging up.
- Mark in Chicago calls with something that is kind of a Little Thing and also kind of a Big Thing. He says that his gentlemanly ways lead to his desire to raise the turlet seat prior to using the restroom. Tom gets rid of him because this is also kind of a Filthy Thing. He wonders if this is how they do it out in Chicago. Tom reminds everyone that they are not calling Al Goldstein's Filth Parade program. He says this type of content is why he sunk the FOTChan earlier in the evening.
- Nate from St. Paul says he doesn't like the sales techniques used at SuperAmerica, a Midwestern chain that gobbled up all the 7-ELEVENs to monopolize the local convenience store market. After completing a simple transaction for a bottle of pop or a Snickers bar, the cashier asks him if he wants to sign up for a SpeedyRewards® card. Nate admits this is trivial, but it still gets to him for some reason. He says that his experiences working a retail job in high school have made him generally averse to the concept of upselling customers. Tom says he's also not interested in joining a club after buying an 89-cent candy bar. Nate doesn't subscribe to the theory that it's worthwhile for cardholders to visit the store every day to rack up enough swipes to eventually yield an 8-cent discount. Tom wonders what is wrong with anonymity (apparently a lot). Nate says it's more ridiculous when you consider that it would require a Gene Simmons-sized wallet to keep track of 15 cards from various major stores if you are naïve enough to keep taking the bait. Tom hears him on this one.
- Steve from Winnipeg says he's bothered by waiters who ask you if you want a drink and then completely forget about your desire to actually receive said drink. He understands that they get busy, but that doesn't excuse them from following through with their offer in a reasonable amount of time. Tom thinks this is sick, and he wants these not-so-Amazing Krestskins to just write it all down instead playing macho head games. Steve mentions that they will often repeat things back to you incorrectly. Tom recommends using the discarded Five Guys bags to document orders.
- Ben from Toronto needs Tom's help with a Best Show-related Little Thing. He asks Tom to recite what he says when he picks up a call. Tom fears that he's being set up for mutany. Ben assures him that he's a straight-shooter, and Tom knows the T-DOT contains classy people. The one-act play begins:
Tom Scharpling: FMU, you're on the air.
Ben from Toronto: Is this me?
Tom can see how it makes Ben crazy, but he's willing to let people slide on this one because of the lag. Ben puts Tom in his place by reminding him that this is his LITTLEThing.
- Ryan calls from St. Louis, the supposed greatest sporting city in America. Tom guesses that title talk was started by people in St. Louis. Since Ryan just moved there a month ago, he can't really weigh in on this issue. Tom isn't that impressed by a city that has the Cardinals and .. the Cardinals. Ryan thought Cardinals fans were going
to be nice, but they were mean to him. He says that he's a Mets fan, and Tom finds it strange that he expected a warm reception. Ryan says he assumed that Midwestern values would prevail. Tom says residents of this FOTChan-y region are the most valueless people in the entire country. Ryan notes that if they understood sarcasm like residents of NJ, he could ridicule the hometown team sans rebuke.
He asks Tom if he noticed that the secret lair of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense moved from Newark to Trenton in Hellboy II. Tom was a little taken back by it, and he wonders if it will relocate to Camden in the next film. Ryan points out that they used the same establishing shot, so Tom suspects it was a blooper. He wants Kermit Schaefer to investigate the potential gaffe. Ryan thinks Del Toro's heart wasn't in it after the triumph of Pan's Labyrinth. Ryan's second Little Thing is the misfortune of finally posting his Fan Fiction Contest entry on the day the FOTChan grabbed all the headlines. He feels like he got gypped, but Tom tells him to cool out because people will still read it. Tom only accept the Hellboy II entry as a legit Little Thing.
- Christopher in Kansas City says he's not a big fan of the slideshows that run before the trailers at the movie theater. Tom is also not entertained by the five repeating slides that mix an advertisement for a local tanning salon with stupid movie quotes. Christopher said he recently saw a slide that offered a memorable quote from Tom Hanks in the decidely unmemorable The Money Pit. Tom asks Christopher if he knows what is going on the with Star Wars: The Clone Wars because he is not thrilling to the worst animation he's ever seen. Christopher believes that if they insist on raping the whole enterprise, they should at least attempt something that doesn't look make anime look relatively impressive. He points out that George Lucas is not averse to taking even more money from his easily duped fanbase. Tom approves of this entry.
- Powercaller Erika from Baltimore asks Tom how he's doing, and he says he's not doing good. He doesn't like tonight's show, the submarine studio, and what's happened to his website. Tom considers shutting the whole thing down, but Erika thinks it's still good. Tom gives more power to people who want to post 500 times a day, but it got in the way of THIS. He tells Erika that he has to juice up and get something else going. Erika thinks he has juice, but Tom reminds her that the editors at 33 1/3 and Marvel Comics want nothing to do with him. He laments that even Mike has more juice than he does. Erika says she likes Mike, but she doubts that's true. Tom mentions that Mike is showing everybody the fancy calzone tattoo. Erika is surprised that Mike didn't opt for an image of Disco Fries. Tom says the diner staple could very well be on his other arm. He prefers not to know about what else Mike is getting at Flamingo Diner, Ink.
Tom is thankful that the H-Man is coming to take the reigns of a sinking ship. Erika doesn't want Tom to go anywhere, but she is looking forward to H-Man. Tom thinks people will love the guy he pencils in as his official replacement. Erika says she would prefer the H-Man to be an addition to the broadcast. Tom says that if the H-Man brings it, he will never come back to the show. At this time next week he may be handing over ("It's all yours, son") the ABBA box to the H-Man. Let's hope the H-Man doesn't steal any fizzy-lifting drink during his stay. Tom thinks he may have to go on a Journey for Juice, roaming the Earth like Kwai Chang Caine in Kung Fu. Tom asks Mike if he would read a book about a guy who is globetrotting in a quest for juice. Mike says he won't read it, although he wants to know if Stevie Blue will pen a forward. Tom says Blue will be unable to write it because he's only up to the letter R. He still doesn't have all 26 down. Erika insists that Tom has the juice, but he says that the lack of comics or album dissections on his shelf suggests otherwise. He gets ill just thinking about the 33 1/3 book that Andy Milonakis is writing about an album by sock puppeteer Liam Lynch.
Erika says that she often e-mails a co-worker who immediately rushes from her office downstairs to respond in person. While she's friendly with this woman and likes to socialize, the frequency of these visits is a bit over the top, especially since these are generally just quick little questions. Tom doesn't like this sick and lonely behavior. He thinks it's rude to initiate a face-to-face meeting when receiving e-mail communication that clearly doesn't require it. Erika says she's often multi-tasking when sending e-mails, so the hyperactive person will arrive while she's on the phone. Tom thinks it's acceptable to respond to an e-mail in person if you happen to catch someone in the hallway en route to get some Nilly Cakesters® at the vending machine. In this scenario, it is acceptable to let the person know that the Frothingham account should be reopened.
- A caller believes that Tom will get a new supply of juice after taking a week off. Tom says he will still be in the studio for the H-Man's debut. The caller thinks the H-Man will bring him some of the elusive liquid nourishment, and Tom wonders if he's suggesting he will drain the H-Man's juice like a vampire. The caller says the H-Man will provide juice for Tom in a nice way that will not require any hostile acts. Tom considers asking the H-Man to bring him apple juice. The caller says it would be a reasonable gift in exchange for the privilege of getting on the air. Tom tells the H-Man to bring apple juice for him and Mike. He then whispers a follow-up in which he removes Mike's juice form his order.
The caller has an apple-related topic entry that occurs during his trips to the grocery store to pick up a snack while on break from work. He thinks it's troubling that a regular-sized apple costs $1.50 while there are 17 varieties of M&Ms for 75 cents/pack. The caller says he doesn't like being treated like some kind of aristocrat just because he wants fruit instead of chocolate candies. Tom agrees that you should not be punished for trying to eat healthy instead of slobbing it up with sweets. The callers assumes that seasonal fruit grown on trees should be less expensive than a manufactured food product. Tom says this is an example of how the world is rapidly changing. He predicts that 10 years from now those M&Ms will be considered the healthy food. The caller thinks Tom should consider getting some M&M juice. Tom will stick with apple juice since it's coming out of the H-Man's pocket.
- Mike from Hamilton, Ontario, says he's sitting in his room and drinking a beer, but he's not that guy. Tom thinks it may be time to go shop for a coffin (Coffin Corner at Palisades Mall has a lot of good deals) for his post-Best Show residency. He plans to give the H-Man the keys if he can at least deliver a half-good program. Mike is worried about this, but Tom says he'll like the H-Man because he's hungry. Tom is full. He had the fight beaten out of him, and he can't get back up. Mike doesn't recall Tom's fall. Tom give the FOTChan credit for the knockdown.
Mike says he's annoyed by people don't signal for lane changes and then drift in really slowly like they own the road during rush hour. Tom also denounces people who think they are re-enacting scenes from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on a desert road at the edge of Barstow. Mike experiences similar problems when people walk in front of him on the street and totally screw up his strut with their sluggish pace. Tom doesn't want to get stuck behind Yertle the Turtle, either.
Tom's F&LILV reference reminds him that he recently saw Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. He thought the documentary was all well and good even though he already knew most of the stuff. Tom enjoys HST's writing, but he did have a problem with the film's assertion that he was a Proud Patriot, much like he rejects the notion that pornographer Larry Flynt is a patriotic crusader for First Amendment rights. Tom doesn't think taking things right up to the point where you could get arrested qualifies you as a Man of the People. He notes that HST shot guns off in his back yard and then ran for sheriff of Aspen, CO, in 1970 with an eccentric platform that wouldn't be out of place in the Newbridge mayubernatorial race. Tom thinks everyone is a patriot by those skewed standards. Mike asks Tom if he thinks Mel Gibson is a patriot. Tom says he was The Patriot. He is certain that Mr. Flynt would have no problem turning a buck by invalidating the Constitution because he's ultimately just out for some kaysh. While Tom likes HST, he doesn't think the rest of the slobs are negligent in their American duties compared to a drug-soaked journalist on the Rolling Stone payroll.
- Andrew in Philadelphia continues to work hard after a slow start on the program. When he's eating in a workplace breakroom or cafeteria, he is bothered by the loudmouth who wants him to explain his lunch. The encounter is especially problematic if the food is something even slightly unusual like the Panda Express bean curd dish Tom mentioned earlier in the show. Andrew just wants to eat in peace, but people are turning around to get a peek at this exotic cuisine after he's been suddenly cast as the lead in Defending Your Lunch (Albert Brooks, 2010). Tom is with him on this.
- A caller greets Tom with the ill-advised "What's up there, bossman." The answer is not this guy staying on the air.
- A caller asks for Mike because the delay has him all mixed up. Mike says he'll put him through to Tom. Tom finds out it's Steve in North Hollywood. Tom reminds Mike that he told him not to let Steve through because he's still in full rehab mode following a brief and tumultuous ROY candidacy earlier in the year. Steve says that one of the annoying facets of L.A.traffic are the cars who come to a complete stop in the middle "suicide lane" after he gives them a good 300 yards of clearance to merge. Tom thinks Steve is working his way back, and Steve gets off the phone on his own. Tom suspects he sits around with Nate Hartley to workshop call ideas.
- Daniel in JC says pedestrians in many cities are increasingly ignoring any crosswalk directives as part of apparent suicide missions. Tom thinks they need to have more concern for the difficulty of operating a motor vehicle while dodging oblivious humans.
- Ben from Warren County hates it when the normal flow of conversation is interrupted by someone who quotes their favorite stand-up comedy bits. For example, Ben is talking about salad with a group of people, and then one goofball chimes in with a Dane Cook salad riff. Tom wants to know why he's eating with people who quote Cook. Ben says it's not by choice. Tom hears him. (He has no idea what he's talking about.) Tom announces that he is in the final half hour of the pre-H-Man era of The Best Show. While in came in like a lion eight years ago, he will go out like a juice-free lamb. He wants to close out the topic with two more calls.
- Ryan from JC wonders why WFMU still mentions East Orange in the station ID even though they've been in JC since 1998. Tom wishes he knew the answer.
- Monica praises Tom for a good topic because the Little Things do mean a lot. Tom informs her that she's calling in the stretch run of his final show. She heard him spouting off about that, but she didn't really understand what was happening. Tom informs her that he's training an up-and-comer named The H-Man as his heir apparent. Monica wonders if he's ready to run the gauntlet through the WFMU House of Blasé. She knows that Tom is aware of the staff's reputation for being kind and welcoming. Tom thinks he'll sail right above it all like Being There. Monica is looking forward to tuning in to hear this protégée. Tom explains that the H-Man started out as his enemy when he entered the radio battlefield on a college station. However, Tom listened to his show and began grooming him for the chance to bring it on a bigger stage. Since tonight is going so poorly, Tom will just give it to him. Monica disagrees about Tom's assessment because the topic is excellent. She does applaud his impulse to support the young ones under the "each one teach one" principle.
Monica has a Little Thing about credit cards that she'd like to get off her formidable chest. When she goes to Macy's to buy something as simple as a t-shirt or pair of shorts, the line is often clogged up by checkout clerks trying to push the opportunity to earn a 15% discount and Star Rewards® with a Macy's account. If the customer accepts the offer, it triggers a lengthy application process that involves digging around for a driver's license and the completion of forms. Monica says she just wants to buy the goddamn t-shirt. Tom longs for the days were you had to get the credit card at a separate Customer Service counter. Monica says she's also experienced infuriating checkout-line behavior during her rare trips to the local Jamba Juice for a 16 oz. (this size is known as "The Eiffel") Berry Fulfilling. She remains unfulfilled when some nincompoop right ahead of her whips out plastic to pay for a $4-$5 beverage. Tom draws the line at $10 for credit card purchases. He thinks that the customer should have to state "I'm sorry, I don't have any cash on me, can I use a credit card?" for single-digit tabs.
Monica completes the trifecta with a kissing cousin to all this meshugass: the request for a phone number when using a credit card. Tom thinks this is insane. Monica refuses to reveal her phone number or zip code to avoid ending up on strange mailing lists. Tom believes the store should conduct their own research if they are so interested in the personal information of their customers. He thanks Monica for a top-notch call. Monica says she will look out for the H-Man, but she doesn't want to hear any more nonsense about Tom ducking out of the station. Tom thinks H-Man will change the face of WFMU. Monica acknowledges that radio is a mutating entity that always needs new characters to come through. She thinks it's great for the staff and listeners to be tested by fresh on-air talent
- Ben from New Hampshire becomes the ninth Ben to call the show tonight. Tom asks him about the upside and downside to his name. Ben says he never really thought about it, but it does lend itself to some nicknames. He cites Ben Franklin as a potential nickname. Tom hangs up on him because his name wasn't really Ben.
- Evan from Montclair asks Tom how he's doing, and Tom says not good. Evan says "good, good" so Tom GOMPs him for not listening. He believes hearing without listening is a big problem for the show. Tom says he has to get out of here because he gives and gives and gives and gives. He wants people to give to him for a change. Tom is still upset about dipping into his own pocket to keep the stupid message board online as a venue for weekend-ruining squabbling.
- Eric from Manherst, MA, sees parallels between the H-Man/Tom radio situation and the Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers QB fiasco for the Green Bay Packers. After the end of last season, Favre lost his juice, but then he got the fire back during the offseason. Tom says he's done. He will do what Brett Favre did not do. Eric suspects Tom will get Favre-like sensations to get back on the field a few months after retirement. Tom says he will just take his lumps and ask WFMU to put him on overnights. He wants people to keep trying to convince him to come back to The Best Show.
- Matthew from Greenpoint says that Tom is not running out of juice. Tom says that some of his juice was drained when he bought a book at the airport. Matthew says writing a book is no big deal if Tori Spelling is doing it. Tom retrieves his copy of How to Get Rich: Five Secrets for Incorporating My Sick Values Into Your Awful Life by Felix Dennis, the British magazine magnate whose empire includes Maxim. The cover photo depicts Dennis sitting in an $8 billion chair between two weird gargoyle things. Tom reads from the Preface:
Can this book really make me rich? Why would a rich person waste time writing a book to help other people get rich? Two reasons: because I enjoy writing about something I feel I know about, and because I believe that almost anyone of reasonable intelligence can become rich given sufficient motivation and application. It also helps that I'm writing while sipping a very fine wine indeed) a Château d'Yquem 1986 if you really want to know), nibbling on conch tidbits, ensconced by a window that's one of the most beautiful views on Earth. Across the valley far, far below me, the palm trees fringe the fishing boats, and the yachts nod in the harbour. Beyond the bay to the West, a turquoise ripples out to a purple-and-pink horizon, heralding another glorious sunset. In the words of a Victorian poet, "How pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho. How pleasant it is to have money."
I am in Mustique, a tiny island in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean. More specifically I am in my writer's cottage, a new study-cum-library some distance from the main house built solely for one purpose: to permit me to write whatever I damn please in peace and quiet, which is usually poetry, by the way.
Matthew laughs at that tidbit of information. Tom reminds him that he's still in the weird letter-numbers of this tome. He can only imagine how arrogant it gets when Dennis advances to the normal numbers. Tom says that Dennis has already trumped Donald Trump's insane Think Like a Billionaire: Everything You Need to Know About Success, Real Estate, and Life, which he read as a goof, with just his prefatory remarks. Matthew tries to disabuse Tom of his dream because he would be in poor company. Tom says he's not making him feel better. Matthew has something for the topic, but it's too late.
- Steve in North Hollywood returns to try to convince Tom to stay on the air by singing him a song. Tom warns Steve that the performance will likely knock him back into the Stone Age with his comeback efforts. Steve tries to change Tom's mind by telling him that it's a cover/mash-up of Queen's Flash Gordon theme. Tom is willing to endure it, but he doesn't think Steve really wants to be stuck with Nate Hartley after a permanent exile from the show. Steve says he wants to cling to his current standing. He claims that Hartley just finished up a top-secret movie he shot in Iowa. Steve says the only evidence of the project are pictures of Hartley wearing a red football jersey. Tom thinks it's insane that Hartley could not even reveal any of his castmates or the director. Steve says he reviewed Hartley's IMDb page, but there was no trace of the mysterious project. Tom doubts this kid was in any such film. He believes that Hartley was just visiting his grandmother in Iowa.
Steve says he's been trying to get him into the show after his February appearance, but he's too busy running around with his crew and chasing girls. Tom is certain that Hartley has no interest in the show. Steve thinks he's just too rambunctious to realize that he should be interested in it. Tom thinks Steve is being polite. He decides that he doesn't even want the little creep from Drillbit Taylor listening to the show. Steve says he will still try to convert him into a FOT, but he will instruct him to never call. Tom wonders if his girl chasing involves billing himself as the more desirable "Middle Dork" from Drillbit instead of the "'Fat Dork" or "Super Dorky Dork." He suspects that Hartley also mentions the films $11 million opening weekend. Steve says he can no longer let him listen to the show. Tom recalls that Hartley came on the show like he was Russell Crowe. Steve admits that he tried to turn The Best Show into The Nate Show. Tom thanks him for the call, but his song will only do more damage in these fragile times.
- Jack from Costa Mesa, CA, is really nervous about the H-Man. Tom says he is wise to be wary of an uncertain future. Jack says that he's been recovering from surgery with a prescription of Vicodin and Tom Scharpling. Tom is glad that the podcasts help him, but he wants The Best Show to go off the air when it's still hot and fresh like Happy Days, Gunsmoke, and The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer. He looks to those shows as models for how to end things before you wear out your welcome and burn people out. Jack thinks the show could remain hot for another five years.
- Dave from Queens, New Yawk, says his parents threw him into a military school in 1966. He was one of about a dozen Jewish kids in a mixed bag of 175 kids. Tom asks him what instrument he plays in The Cynics. He then GOMPs the band's drummer.
- Kyle from Brooklyn says he's a new listener who doesn't want Tom to leave. He recently saw a cute little furry kitten in the hallway of his apartment building. Since the animal seemed very friendly, he started petting it to purring delight. However, the kitten proceeded to bite him after jumping into his lap. Kyle says the two gouges in his arm swelled to the size of a tennis ball the following morning. He waited in the ER until 2 p.m. to find out that he has to find out if the kitten has rabies. They said he could quarantine the kitten and then take it to the vet for testing. He finally located it, but he's still waiting for the results. Tom hopes that the cat and Kyle are not rabid. He is now convinced that he has to leave the planet on a rocket ship with Wings guitarist Laurence Juber on board.
- Matthew in Greenpoint calls back to say that he's not looking forward to Tom's protégée. He's met several local FOTs who enjoy discussing the residents of Newbridge who call The Best Show. Matthew says there is a large fanbase who will miss Tom. Tom says they will compensate for the loss by loving the H-Man.
- Matt from Upper Montclair 07043 doesn't like that Tom sounds depressed. Tom says there is no need to keep doing the show. Matt mentions the multitudes of people who love him and his show. Tom thinks there is more than enough content in the archives to keep them satisfied. Matt admits that there are a lot of weirdos who listen to the show, but there are also lots of normals who appreciate it. Tom says he can't do it forever like 60 Minutes. He's handing it over to the H-Man. Matt doesn't think anyone will listen to the new host. Tom is looking forward to being free at last. Matt is sad, and so is Tom because he has no juice. Matt argues that Tom creates his own juice with every show. Tom says he's got nothing left in the tank after "you people" took it from him. Matt doesn't like that Tom uses the phrase "you people" just because he's black. Matt says he's joking. Tom congratulates the racist bigshot from Upper Montclair on the nice move. He GOMPs him.
- Pete from Long Island thinks Tom has a real specific talent that he should continue to share on the radio. He compares it to how Chevy Chase thought he could do a late-night talk show despite being completely untested in that arena. Pete thinks the protégée is equally untested. Tom does not like the suggestion that his ability to branch out and do other things is on par with Chase. He's out of here. He's done. He will show H-Man how to work the board next week and then that's it. After eight years on the air, Tom bids farewell to his listeners: "Nice knowing you all. Have fun."
On the Next ... Best Show on WFMU: The future of radio as we know it. And lots of apple juice.
RIP Robert Hazard, Bernie Mac, and Isaac Hayes.
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