The H-Man Cometh.
No, it's not from the movie. Did that sound like Christine Baranski? Sick." -- Tom, assuring everyone that he played the legit ABBA version of "Does Your Mother Know"
"Oh, absolutely not." -- Spike, informing Tom that John McCain is not running as a Democrat
"Trust me, you want to convince people in Oklahoma to vote for Barack Obama, don't send a bunch of New Yorkers out there, people from the East Village going door-to-door." -- Tom, persuading Cynthia not to ruin the election by invading red states
"It's time to stop with the art. Seriously, people, there's enough art out there. The world needs ditch diggers, too." - Tom (via Judge Smails), getting his fill with a painting of Baby Stewie's murderous fontasies
"Let me, uh, God, what do you kids says, Goople it?" - Dr. Fred Meyers, attempting to research the status of Dire Straits
"Only if my TV set is off and there's a pornographic image on it, yeah." - Dr. Fred Meyers, confirming that his computer monitor is turned on
"Look you old chintz, you needed my help." - Dr. Fred Meyers, billing Tom at his usual $200/rate for an unsolicited 2 cents worth of advice
"You know that you are raw. You are a lump of clay. And I am going to mold you tonight. Will you let me mold you? Can I shape you? -- Tom, getting approval to sculpt his radio Adonis
"I can't understand you, WALL-E. Say Eeeee-vah. Say that." - Tom, dealing with Skype static during Jeff Weigand's anti-Maxwell's rant
"Not that you know of?! What are you all of a sudden gonna accidentally realize you know ventriloquism? That's the kind of thing you'd know about. You kind of set out to become a ventriloquist. Ahhh, what's going on here?! This dummy's talking and my mouth isn't moving!" -- Tom, speculating on the H-Man's dormant talents
"I definitely recommend it because they just add so much blood from necks, and it's all that good stuff. Cannibalism. It's amazing." -- The H-Man, bonding with Spike over the gloriously gory Sweeney Todd
"Oh, you roll. Jeepers! Oh my God, I didn't know I was talking to someone that actually rolls and had a pattern of rolling." -- Bryce, rejoicing about discovering a DIY doobie partner
"It varies between like intense concentration and something I don't really want to talk about. But as Conrad Bain says, 'Diff'rent strokes for people who are un ... uh ... alike.'" -- Bryce, describing Tom's facial expression while playing video games
[Many more quotes to come.]
"Get Off My Phone ... please." -- The H-Man, politely terminating a call
The Lines - "White Night"
( Click here to buy Memory Span)
Digital Leather - "Modulated/Simulated"
( Click here to buy Sorcerer)
The Intelligence - "Sailer Dive"
( Click here to buy Deuteronomy)
Finest Dearest - "Serious"
( Click here to buy Finest Dearest)
Oxford Collapse - "Back of the Yards"
( Click here to buy Bits)
Pas/Cal - "Little Red Radio"
( Click here to buy I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura)
Sic Alps - "Sing Song Waitress"
( Click here to buy U.S. EZ)
Mirah - "Don't Go"
( Click here to buy The Old Days Feeling)
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:
- Abraham from Illinois believes that LOLcats are ova, but Tom gives it another two weeks. He suspects that Abraham is just echoing something that Richard Kind told him at summer camp. 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 calls for LOLcat creators to consider the cats before using them to spread campaign rhetoric. Abraham did support Obama in his home state primary. Tom makes it clear that Obama is not designing these LOLcats. He GOMPs Abraham because he's still under the thumb of the embittered character actor.
Hi, this is Omar, alongside the lovely and talented Sheila Larson, from the Newbridge Civic Auditorium, and the house lights are about to go down for the appearance of a recap. Tom Scharpling is cry-whining, so it must be time for another Tuuuuuesday night installment of The Best Show on WFMU. It will likely be the last show he will ever host. Tom asks Mike the Associate Producer if the levels are good because the worst headphones in the entire station were left on the console. He does a mic check with the third-rate cans using the phrase "Pumpkin Pie" -- a move that would make voiceover legend Kendrick Martin proud. Mike gives the sound a hard-8 (known in the industry as a "Sydney") rating. As it often goes in life, one door is closing on the program, but another one is about to open. Before Tom hits Line 1 for the standard kickoff, he mentions that his protégé -- the Robin to his Batman -- will be here soon. The analogy is apt because the H-Man is coming in loaded with a mysterious superhero moniker. Tom is disappointed that he's just "Tom," although he once told PFT about his desire to use his own name to become a besuited-but-uncloaked superhero. He's taken the Boy Wonder under his wing and plans to turn a good chunk of the show over to him.
- Spike delivers his usual greeting, and Tom asks him about a private matter involving some electronic correspondence he sent him. Spike says his answer is YES. Tom celebrates and assures everyone that they be equally excited in a few months. (Is "Doo-Wop Dungeon" finally going on the WFMU schedule?!) He cites e-mailing Spike as a sign that up is down and left is right. Tom is amazed that Spike has gradually progressed from a mutant who hung up after inquiring about Debbie the Dominatrix to a blue-chip caller with a valuable playbook.
Spike says that he's looking forward to breaking in the H-Man. Tom is understandably unsettled by his intentions, and Spike unleashes a demented laugh that Tom will never ever never not get used to. He hopes this is not the last thing he hears before it all fades to black and he floats up up up to Heaven. Tom asks Spike what he's doing on this Hot August Night. Spike says he just got back from a lovely walk. Tom thinks this is very exciting. Spike confirms that he slipped into his tennis shoes for the stroll around the neighborhood. Tom asks him if he peered into any windows. Spike says it was just his usual boring little walk free of any below-board activities. Tom is glad Spike is telling everyone about it because kicking off a call with something already labeled wildly uninteresting makes for fantastic radio. Tom doubts he would ever do this to his beloved Lynn Samuels.
Spike admits that he discusses more important things when he calls Lynn's show. Tom is surprised there are topics more important than his tour of Queens. Spike says they talk about music (not just doo-wop), politics, movies, and celebrity gossip, such as who is worthy of having children. Tom wishes he could have these kinds of conversations with Spike. He wants to hear Spike's take on celebrity parents. Spike says Britney (too late), Jenny from the Bronx (too late), and Brad & Anjelica (exceeded their limits) should not be allowed to have kids. Tom joins Spike in denouncing the multimillionaire couple for adopting poor, homeless children so they might enjoy the rest of their lives. Spike clarifies that he's only talking about their biological children. Tom asks him who should have kids. Spike says people who rightfully deserve them, including people he knows who are unable to bear children for various reasons. Tom realizes that he has reached another dead end topic.
Spike says that when he talked to Lynn this afternoon they discussed the John McCain campaign ad that compares Barack Obama to two blonde airheads. Tom isn't sure if Spike is for or against Obama. Spike says that he's a devout Democrat and Obama supporter. Tom wonders if McCain is also a Democrat. Spike says he is absolutely not a member of that party, and Tom wants to know why. Spike explains that McCain is running on the rival Republican ticket. He considers them to be bad guys because they have no morals. Tom finds it odd that Spike would think that people who fought in World War II would lack a moral compass. Spike says that McCain supposedly fought in the Vietnam War, but he doesn't believe a single iota of that tall tale. He claims that McCain is making up his military service to gain the sympathy of the electorate. Tom asks Spike to call back later to talk to the H-Man.
He certainly doesn't want to go out with Spike making bizarre accusations seemingly lifted from Scooch's new The Horrible Truth About Senator Pizza "pamphlet," which is only available in a bin next to a lean-to in the woods behind the Old Lady Foot Locker. The extremely limited run of seven hand-numbered sheafs of looseleaf paper comes with a 7" (Purple Crippler wax; sleeve design by Darren Ploppleton and Pushead) of Deerhunter's "Pizza Love" cover b/w the Eat Skull original, "Fire, Why?" The controversial lidblower, already denounced as "disturbingly devoid of anything resembling the truth as I or anyone else knows it to be" by campaign manager Rick Davis, contains anonymous quotes claiming that McCain spent the 5.5 years he was allegedly a POW in North Vietnam researching slice elasticity, experimental toppings (e.g., julienned shoe leather, dandelion fronds, cedar chips), and zest-zing sauce ratios in a secret lair on the outskirts of Alexandria, Virigina.
Tom mentions that WFMU just completed the Radio Greats Weekend as part of the ongoing 50th Anniversary celebration. For example, The Cherry Blossom Clinic (3-6 p.m., Saturdays), hosted by DJ Terre T, got visits from Wildgirl, Danny Fields, and David Newgarden. Tom wonders why nobody called him to co-host with a great (Ronald Fuqua?) from the station's past. He considers this just another slap in the face by life and further proof that he's out of juice. Tom also transmitted an APB in an attempt to boost his 3,400 Myspace friend count up to 5,000, and it only yielded 30 responses. This is why he must hand over the reigns to the juicier H-Man. Tom says he sometimes feels like Will Smith in the movie where he battled vampires: roaming around Washington Square Park with nobody at his side (except, presumably, Dogmo). Tom vs. The World.
Since Tom will no longer have a weekly forum to share his views, he abruptly jumps to the Family Guy "art" exhibit. If the H-Man dominates tonight as expected, he will have to beg him for a five-minute segment in the reconfigured Best Show. The exhibit originally launched in L.A. and opened on August 1st in NYC at the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Paley Museum of Radio and Television). Tom wonders if we've run out of art to the point where a painting of the dog from an animated sitcom qualifies. He reads from the description of the filthily-titled "It's a Freakin' Art Show":
Twenty-one artists of the Lowbrow Pop Movement were challenged to take the show's characters, design, and sensibility as a starting point and literally let their imaginations run wild. The result is a wholly original and eclectic series of images in a variety of media that bear the unmistakable Family Guy imprint through the prism of each artist's entirely unique style and perspective.
Tom is not excited by the prospects of artists re-interpreting Family Guy beyond the realm of whatever one's older brother thinks of the pop culture mash-up. He doesn't think anybody wants to see people crack it wide open with paintings of the baby. Tom declares the show a disaster because he can't get any traction.
- Cynthia from the East Village is doing just dandy and wants to talk politics. Tom is ready to crack it open, but not before he confirms that 2008 is an election year. Cynthia says she's not originally from New York, and some folks in other parts of the country will not vote for Obama even though he plays a mean game of basketball. They don't even object to his affiliation with the Democratic Party. She reveals that they will not vote for Mr. Obama because he is a black man. Tom wants to make sure that she is really telling him that there are people who will discriminate against Obama. He asks Cynthia if she wants to go on the public record with her incendiary remarks without softening them by inserting the word "allegedly." Cynthia believes it's her responsibility as an American and Proud Patriot to inform New Yorkers who are living in a La La Land. She says that if the people of New York really want to elect the first black President, they will travel to Oklahoma to get the vote out. Tom asks her if she plans to organize bus trips to the state. She says she won't do that, but she will look into getting airplane tickets donated to the cause. Tom says that if she really wants to convince the people of Oklahoma to vote Obama this November, she should not send busloads of East Villagers to invade their turf with door-to-door canvassing. I think a Springsteen/Conor Oberst/R.E.M. show (catered by Mario Batali) at the Tulsa Civic Auditorium would be sufficient.
Cynthia tells "Sweetie" that she was trying to reach all the young people in the audience who come to New York from all over the country. She thinks this is a great opportunity for them get involved in the political process. Cynthia compares it to when the New York Jews (people of the Jewish faith, not the short-lived XFL franchise) risked their lives in the trenches of the Civil Rights War. Tom is no longer sure what side Cynthia is on based on the edge in her voice when she said "Jews." He asks her if she is anti-Jew. Cynthia assures him that she respects the fearlessness of those people. Tom agrees that they are special people. He then GOMPs the hatemonger. Tom initially thought Cynthia was on the right side of things, but she ended up sounding so hateful while articulating her positions.
Tom is glad that he's getting out of here after tonight. He says the H-Man will get the show even if he tubes out hard and bombs for two hours in the ultimate flameout. Tom asks Mike what he's laughing about. Mike admits that he's a bit loopy from having a few pre-show beers at the nearby Iron Monkey. He says that he was trying to numb the pain of losing his Associate Producer job when the H-Man takes over. Last week Tom mentioned Mike's bizarre calzone tattoo, and now he's bragging about some new ink on his other arm: a Microsoft Zune playing the "Red Band" trailer for Tropic Thunder, the new Ben Stiller industry spoof-em-up. Tom laments that everything is falling apart around him. Mike is showing up half in the bag. Spike is opening his call with the most boring store of all-time. The East Village is seething with political rage. 5,000 Myspace friends is just a pipe dream. He knows he has to bounce back.
He returns for another look at the Family Guy exhibit, which features a painting of Herbie the Dog. Mike thinks the family pet is named Snoopy, but Tom sticks with Herbie despite the resemblance to the famous Peanuts canine. Herbie is sipping a cocktail and looking depressed. Tom is not pleased with the reinterpetation of the Griffin baby (Reginald?) fontasizing about killing his mother with a knife. He wants people to stop making art because the world also needs a good supply of ditch diggers.
- A caller urges Tom to get into his "love location." Tom knows this is his former shrink, Dr. Fred Meyers, and this spot is presumably a psychological retreat similar to the "joyspace" he recommended two weeks ago. The retired Meyers says he's still Tom's doctor because he's in such dire straits. He's pretty sure that Dire Straits is also the name of a rock band. Tom says they were indeed a rock band. Meyers thinks they are still actively rocking, and he wants to "Goople" the information, as the kids say. Tom informs him that the popular search engine is Google. Meyers is having trouble finding the site because he's not even sure if his computer is turned on. Tom asks him if anything is displayed on the screen. Meyers wants him to define "anything." Tom asks him if his monitor looks like his TV set when that device is in the off position. Meyers says it's off only if his TV set displays a pornographic image when it's off. Tom says it sounds like his screen is turned on, but he's not sure about that image. Meyers confirms that he is using his own computer. Tom finds it odd that he was compelled to mention the adult content.
Meyers turns it off to focus on more important matters, such as Tom going off the rails again. He wants to delve into Tom's struggles with feeling like he's been passed over. Meyers asks him if it stems from his repeated rejections by the 45 book series, which Tom talked about every day for a year of therapy. Tom says the 33 1/3 letdowns are part of it. Meyers asks Tom why he thinks they passed on his ideas. Tom doesn't know because he thought he lined up a pretty solid pitch for a music group. He prepared a presentation for a book on the first EP by Welsh alt-rockers, The Alarm. Meyers recalls that Tom described the band members as having kewpie doll hair. Tom says it looked like they stuck their fingers in an electric socket. Meyers remembers that Tom always talked about his love for John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. He believes he should have picked one of their albums.
Meyers says the books are all beside the point because he's more concerned about the understudy who is coming in tonight. He asks Tom if he really wants to relinquish his show to the H-Man. Tom thinks it's time for the handoff, and Meyers knows that it's time for Tom to move on. He says that this is just his two cents, which, of course, translates into a charge at a rate of $200/hour. Meyers tells Tom that he will be looking out for that check soon. Tom says that Meyers called him, so he won't pay for any unsolicited treatment. Meyers says he determined that Tom needed help based on what he was hearing. He refers to Tom as an "old chintz" for trying to avoid paying him. Tom says that Meyers can't call him on the radio and then bill for that time. Meyers suggests that he just did. However, he may not need the additional money because He Ate My Fudge: In the Psycho Trenches with The Unfixable (Penguin) has been selling like hotcakes. Meyers says it has surged to #2 on the Amazon book chart in its first week of release. He informs Tom that people especially love the sections devoted to his story. Meyers reports that they can't believe Tom is not a fictional creation. Tom says he still needs to sort through all that stuff.
Meyers agrees that it's time for Tom get off the air forever. Tom thanks his former/current doctor for the horrible comment, and Meyers reminds him to look for an invoice. Tom says he's not quite ready to completely vanish from radio. Meyers says it sounds like Tom is suffering from his recurring problem with indecisiveness. He hopes Tom enjoys his final night on the air. Tom thanks him. Meyers blesses him and asks for $200 before hanging up.
Tom stopped at Panera Bread to use their free Wi-Fi and eat a nice
Hitler sandwich during his usual pre-show preparations. He says that he did a triple-take after seeing a guy who looked just like Jim Cramer, the punk enthusiast and stock market guru who hosts CNBC's Mad Money. Tom thinks Cramer is hilarious, but it's probably not the best go-to look for someone to adopt. He says the guy looked like he donned a costume complete with the exact shade of blue dress shirt that Cramer favors. Tom considers the possibility that this guy is trying to pass himself off as Cramer so he can go around telling people to increase the amount of Apple holdings in their investment portfolios. Mike begins drunkenly yelling about Cramer's book publishing and look. Tom wishes there was a way to find an image of him. He tells Mike to type "Jim Cramer" into a Goople Image search. Tom is Leg-end!
- A caller tells Tom not to get discouraged because he wants him to stay on the air. He thinks Tom is only half-serious about leaving show, anyway. The callers argues that everyone is taking August vacations instead of being glued to their radios. He thinks the phones will start to light up like Christmas after Labor Day. Tom says the phones are lit every time he shows up, but the low-grade callers are the real problem. Tom says this caller is not one of the offenders, but he gets rid of him anyway.
- Spoony says he just checked his e-mail to find a story about a huge inflatable "art" piece escaping a Swiss museum and wreaking havoc on the surrounding town. Tom wonders if it was an inflatable version of the dad from Family Guy. Spoony says it was worse than that. He's not entirely sure what is radio safe, but it was a house-sized mound of dog [deleted] titled "Complex S" by American "artist" Paul McCarthy. Tom gets what he's saying. He also wants to start reigning in the definition of the word "museum" considering they are housing pieces like this and, in the case of the Paley Center, screening episodes of Gunsmoke. Tom doesn't think a proper museum contains any television sets. Spoony reports that a sudden gust of wind ripped the sculpture from it's harness, and the wayward feces proceeded to down power lines and smash a greenhouse window before landing 200 feet away near a children's home. (No injuries.) Spoony thinks that even McCarthy would think his work sounds ridiculous if he read the stories of its path of destruction.
Tom considers introducing the H-Man to the world, and Spoony is ready to finally hear this guy. The H-Man tests out his microphones levels by fully honoring Tom's request to "say hello, H-Man." He acknowledges his little quip, and Tom wonders if it's 11 p.m. yet. Spoony says it's close enough. Tom asks Mike to venture into the WFMU library to retrieve Pangaea even though his vision is becoming blurry. Tom suggests grabbing whichever copy he doesn't fall through when lunging for it. It's time. One era ends, and another one begins. Spoony says he's getting the shakes from being the transitional call.
Tom is ready to get this started by officially welcoming his protegee/understudy to the program. The H-Man says that he's been counting down the days until he could finally show his stuff on The Best Show. Tom lays down some crucial guidelines: no foul language, no racial stuff, and no porno content. He informs the H-Man that he runs a clean show whose cinematic equivalent would be High School Musical 3: Senior Year. The H-Man understands the rules and intends to adhere to them. Tom knows that it may be difficult since he belongs to a generation where the glorified murder and horror of things like Grand Theft Auto reign supreme. The H-Man says he generally prefers softer Wii offerings, such as Super Smash Brothers Brawl, a fighting game featuring Nintendo luminaries like Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Tom notices that the H-Man slurred the game title, so he offers his first tip of the evening. He stresses the importance of clearly projecting his voice to the radio audience instead of just having a chat in the studio. Tom asks Mike if the H-Man is muddled in the mix and directs him to move an inch back from the microphone. He knows that the H-Man is a sad, formless blob of clay, but he gets permission to mold him into a radio Adonis. Tom thinks he needs a lively phrase to get into his first test call. He proposes a couple of options, and the H-Man prefers to use "You got the H-Man!" He does a quick practice run because his hosting is no longer a theoretical proposition -- it's happening right now. Tom tells the H-Man that he would be quaking in his Tevas if he really knew how many people were listening to the show. He thinks the H-Man if off to a good start, and Mike agrees that he sounded pretty good. Tom scolds the H-Man for thanking Mike and dispatches him to get the supply of apple juice he requested last week. The H-Man returns with two bottles, and Tom reviews the label to make sure they meet his criteria. The juice passes the test, and the lines are all lit up. Mike recommends Line #2.
- The Z-Man from Pelham, NY, says he's excited to be listening to the H-Man's big debut. He asks the H-Man if he's having fun so far. The H-Man says the traffic in the Holland Tunnel made for an interesting commute, but he's enjoying being in a studio that's a little roomier than his college digs. The Z-Man wishes the H-Man a good show and asks him to give his regards to Tom and Mike. The H-Man informs the Z-Man that he can address Tom directly. Tom has a brief exchange with the Z-Man before cutting him off.
- A caller asks to speak to the H-Man, but then he tells the H-Man to pass him over to Tom. It's Jeff Weigand, the bass player from the music group Volcano Suns. He wants to know who the hell this H-Man guy is because he thought he was calling a program hosted by a professional. Tom says he did call a professional broadcast, and the H-Man is just his understudy. Jeff laughs at the notion of this mentor-pupil session. He's a bit miffed that he has to deal with some kid on the air after sending Tom some exclusive audio files. Tom tells him to calm down. Jeff thanks him for the World Premiere of "Junior," a previously-unheard track from the forthcoming (Merge, Jan/Feb 2009) re-issues of The Bright Orange Years (1985) and All Night Lotus Party (1986). He thinks the tune sounded a lot better than the other crap Tom included in his opening set. Tom resigns himself to absorbing the abuse. He mentions that Weigand was part of the VSv2.0 lineup featuring Peter Prescott and Jon Williams after Steve Michener and Gary Waleik left to form Big Dippers.
Tom asks Jeff is he's really going to get on his case while calling from a bad Skype connection. He says he has no problem with it other than feeling like he's talking to WALL-E. Jeff is amused by the Pixar jab. He says he was attempting to ask Tom if he ever got some tapes from Gary and Steve. Tom says he did receive some VS odds and ends that he still needs to sort through. Jeff says he wanted to encourage Tom to remain on the air, even though he thinks the H-Man seems like a nice kid. Tom says his words carry added weight since he was in VS, but he reveals that his protégé is actually a 45-year-old man. Jeff asks Tom if he's kidding because his voice appears to crack like a 14-year-old. Tom thinks the H-Man may have some weird voice disease. He says he will try to address the cracking sounds at some point.
Tom refers to TBOY and ANLP as two of the most sought-after OOP records. Jeff says he will wait to see if the reissue sales live up to that billing. Tom believes the band was on a hott streak during this time, although Jeff suggests the heat has dissipated since it was 25 years ago. Tom knows people don't want to hear it, but he rates VS higher than Mission of Burma. Jeff says he doesn't want to go where Tom just went, although he does acknowledge that they were less arty than MoB. Tom adds that MoB did not play with Christmas lights draped over the drum set. He says that VS and Big Dippers are two of his all-time favorite bands, and Jeff appreciates the longtime support. Tom asks Jeff about the possibility of a VS reunion to commemorate the reissues: play the first two records, boom, and then disappear again. Jeff thinks "boom" is an appropriate term for a volatile reunion that will never happen. Tom announces his plan to launch another reunion campaign like his tireless -- and ultimately triumphant -- efforts to reunite Big Dippers. Jeff says there is absolutely no chance it will ever happen. Tom tells Jeff to watch what he can do.
He asks Jeff if he's still in playing shape, and Jeff asks for a definition of "shape." Tom wants to know how long it would take him to get ready to bring it on stage again. Jeff says the shows will not happen because the band members are all deeply flawed human beings who cannot be in the same room with each other. Tom says that Jeff has thrown down the gauntlet like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. He plans to defy the odds and win. Jeff knows that Tom is pretty amazing, but he can't win this bout. Tom refuses to give up. He expects to get deserved props from the stage when Jeff, Peter, and Jon hit Maxwell's next year. Jeff says that he wouldn't play the landmark Hoboken venue if Tom's grandmother paid him. Tom is surprised to hear these harsh words and wonders whether Jeff would rather book gigs at The Pyramid Club or The Spiral. Jeff tries to respond, but Tom cannot understand his WALL-E mutterings. He asks him to say Eeeeee-vah, the name of his Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator/love interest. Tom says he has to move on because his phone is conking out and the H-Man passed him a note about dumping Jeff for being a snooze. Tom doesn't think it's been a dud call, but the H-Man is in control. He hopes that Jeff will check back in as the reissues and reunion shows draw closer. Tom is determined to make these shows happen. Jeff goes silent aside from the clink of a drink. Tom suspects he's been hanging out with Mike tonight, but Jeff is not familiar with the drunken call screener. He's actually having a few drinks to celebrate his birthday. Tom wishes him a Happy Birthday and a great night.
The H-Man wants to ease into things with one more Tom-aided call before his solo stint begins. Tom says he'll be waiting in the wings if the H-Man needs any help. The H-Man sees this as Tom becoming his conscience like Jiminy Cricket. Tom considers this a zing that indicates the H-Man may truly be cut out for this. He apologizes to his Peter Pan and vows to make all his dreams come through. The H-Man says JC works for Pinnochio.
- Lady L from Miami calls to check on the apple juice quality because she told the H-Man to bring the good stuff instead of any Juicey Juice or Capri Sun. Tom says it's 100% straight-up apple juice. Laurie asks if it's the top-shelf Martinelli's brand. Tom says it's a Spanish product called Dolé. He thinks the whole night is worth it for the free apple juice. Tom has to get rid of the L Lady for her second use of the H-Man's real name. He assures the H-Man that he canned it before it got on the air.
Tom takes the opportunity to show the H-Man how his finger is always hovering above the important dump button. He has to be ready because he figures that all the callers are human/animal hybrids like the inhabitants of The Island of Dr. Moreau. The animal part will inevitably take over their body when they call the show. The H-Man says his dad has a similar opinion of the other drivers on the road. Tom, an expert on voice modulation, thinks the H-Man needs to add more assertive bass tones to be more authoritative on the air. He'd like to hear more oomph without it sounding phony. Tom also advises the H-Man to not be afraid to open his mouth more when speaking. The H-Man says he will work on this throughout the show. Tom directs him to ask Mike to bring him some water to eliminate any dry mouth. The H-Man addresses his new boss in polite terms, but Tom wants him to cut the "please" in favor of the more blunt "Get me some water, Mike." Tom reminds him that Mike is drunk and will not remember any of this. He even gives the H-Man the go-ahead to order some Disco Fries. The H-Man says he's heard about this regional diner staple, but he's not entirely sure what it is. Tom says it's fries topped with gravy and cheese.
- Power Caller Erika from Baltimore asks the H-Man how he likes his new station. The H-Man says he's still trying to got acclimated because the studio at his school is a tiny 2x2 cubicle. He thinks it's a nice change, and Erika notes that he's "movin' on up" in the radio world. The H-Man takes this as his cue to perform a brief, sotto voce rendition of The Jeffersons theme. Tom enjoyed the impromptu song and recommends putting the last 30 seconds on his demo reel. He wants the H-Man to resume his conversation with Erika.
Erika wonders if the H-Man has any big plans for The Best Show now that he's gripping the reigns for at least this evening. The H-Man thinks he will deliver a pretty good show with a topic, some additional riffs, and a music set. He senses that he sped up his speech during his response. Tom says he can just process the mishaps in his head without letting them travel to his mouth for broadcast. Erika congratulates the H-Man, although she hopes Tom doesn't leave the show. She suggests the H-Man as a co-host instead of a replacement because very successful radio shows often revolve around teams. Tom doesn't think anybody wants this show anymore based on the driftwood that lands spots on satellite radio. Erika doubts that Tom really wants these people as colleagues. Mike returns with the water, and Tom asks the H-Man what he says in response to the refreshment delivery. The H-Man reluctantly goes with "Thanks, Mike" even though he thought it might be a trick question. Tom says it was a trick question not unlike the time Captain Kirk had to solve the unsolvable puzzle on Star Trek. When faced with these kinds of predicaments, the only solution is to simply rewrite the rules. Tom thanks Erika for the call and asks her to take advantage of any openings when the H-Man moves into his own segments.
The H-Man feels like he's getting into the groove and starting figure stuff out. While some people want to know where the protégé is from, Tom will only state his origins as NOYB. Tom has him test out "Hey, this is the H-Man!" in a series of increasingly lower octaves followed by a really high one that is a total non-starter. The H-Man thought he sounded like an kid from the 1970s. Tom asks him to try a slightly deeper tone that emanates from his chest. Since he falls apart on "is", Tom wonders if he's confident that he really is the H-Man. He doubts the celebrity panel on What's My Line? would ever guess it was him based on the line reading. Tom realizes that the H-Man is probably not familiar with the game show from the 1930s. He explains that the contestants, such as Stevie Blue, would introduce themselves using different voices and undergo questioning by the panel to help them guess the real Stevie Blue.
The H-Man thinks subpar ventriloquist Edgar Bergen may have appeared on the show. Tom asks the H-Man if he has any special talents like ventriloquism. The H-Man says that he's not aware of any such skills. Tom wonders if the H-Man will accidentally discover that he knows ventriloquism when a dummy starts talking without moving his mouth. He thinks that people generally set out to master this form of stagecraft barring some kind of deal with the Devil. Mike wants to know if the H-Man can do any impressions. He says he can do a pretty good Vito Corleone from The Godfather. After preparing his jaw and face, he emits some raspy sounds. Tom asks him to go ahead and do The Godfather thing. The H-Man says it already came and went. Boom.
- Petey checks in with the H-Man, and Tom notices that he sounds a little medicated. Petey thinks Tom could know what is going on in his head to require whatever he may be on. Tom finds this troubling. Petey opens his questioning of the H-Man by asking for his age. Since he's 19, Petey assumes he would be the youngest WFMU DJ. The H-Man guesses that is correct, but he doesn't really know the rest of the staff. Petey gives the H-Man some 'tude for not being a regular listener of the station. The H-Man believes that Petey has a beef with him.
Tom asks him if the H-Man is right, and Petey says he tries not to have beefs with anyone. Tom informs him that he did not answer the question that was asked. The H-Man wants him to just say it. Petey admits to having a little beef with Tom's new protégé. Tom suspects that the beef is the result of the H-Man suddenly swooping into the Robin slot that Petey had his sights on for years. Petey says he never wanted to take over show, but he did want to be Tom's superhero sidekick. Tom bets that Petey was waiting for the day when he told him it's time. Petey doesn't know what would occur at this historic moment. Tom, who is becoming frustrated by the Pudge-like conversation, says he was referring to handing things over to Petey. Petey makes it clear that he just wanted to be Robin without any showrunning responsibilities. Tom reminds him that Robin must come down to the studio and take it. Petey says he could do that if it is one of the job requirements. Tom mentions that this is the first time Petey has shown any interest in the family business. Petey says he doesn't know what Tom means. Tom GOMPs him.
- A wheezing Spike from Queens calls back to administer the True Test for the H-Man. Tom says he will step aside to allow his understudy to talk to this notoriously enigmatic caller. The H-Man asks Spike how he's doing, and Spike says he returned to break him into his new position. The H-Man is aware of Spike's W.C. Fields-inspired hatred of everyone under the age of 25, and he thinks it would be nice if Spike made a rare exception in this case. Spike says young people irritate him, but he's willing to work something out with this particular 19-year-old. The H-Man hopes he can show Spike a different side of his demographic. Spike doesn't anticipate any behavioral problems because he's being trained by the best. The H-Man appreciates the vote of confidence from the renowned disciplinarian.
Tom whispers a suggestion for the H-Man to initiate a discussion of horror movies. The H-Man asks Spike if he prefers more recent fare or the older genre classics. Spike says he enjoys the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th series, but he's also a fan of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Lon Chaney, Jr films. Regardless of the vintage, Spike mainly wants to see lots of blood and guts. The H-Man thinks those films offer nice entertainment if you're in the right mindset to see someone's head get cut off. Spike says he's very amused by the comedies where horny little teenagers get hacked, chopped, and decapitated. The H-Man appears to approve of this strain of cinephilia.
The H-Man is a big fan of musicals, so he was wondering what Spike thought of the blood-drenched thriller Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Spike says he always wanted to see the original 1979 Broadway production starring Angela Lansbury. The H-Man only knows it from the soundtrack, but he thinks it's phenomenal. He informs Spike that the 2007 Tim Burton adaptation with Johnny Depp contains quite a lot of blood. Spike says he may eventually get around to seeing it. The H-Man definitely recommends the film because it features great neck gushing, as well as cannibalism. Spike says it sounds like his kind of movie. Tom mentions that he's listening to an improbable bonding session between Spike and the H-Man. He confirms that Spike is receptive to the H-Man's movie recommendation. Spike says he wanted to see the film, but he didn't want to pay $13 for a ticket. Tom thinks that sounds a bit steep even by NYC standards. The H-Man says the theater he frequents charges $10.75 for an evening show.
After a brief stumble, he steadies himself (with encouragement from Tom) by chasing the issue: the high ticket prices make him less interested in the theatrical experience. The H-Man says he and his friends combat this with a scam that involves sliding reduced-price child tickets underneath some adult tickets. He points out that if you are able to effectively space out the tickets, the ticket taker will generally just check the number of tickets. Rip and run! The H-Man estimates a savings of $10 if you're in a group. He realizes that he just gave away his trick, but he thinks it's always good to help out others. Tom likes the strategy and this successful call. He notices a change in Spike's voice that may be due to lozenge shiftage. Spike says he's just drinking water while making dinner in his kitchen.
Tom: Oh, drinkin' some water.
Tom: Warm water?
Spike: No. Cold water.
Tom: Hose water?
Spike: No. From the faucet.
Tom: From whose faucet?
Spike: My faucet.
Tom: Yours. Now when you say "your faucet," do you have like a jug in
the sink? Is that what you're talking about? That like you fill up somewhere else?
Spike: No. No, my---
Tom doesn't issue a GOMP, but he's had enough of Spike for the evening. The H-Man is pleased with his first semi-solo performance. He says that he tried to give it up to Spike because he was looking forward to his call. However, he was a bit dissapointed that Spike didn't greet him with "Heeeeellllooooo, H-Maaaaaan."
Tom is ready to operate the board so the H-Man can start driving the bus. He mentions that he always has to do everything from soup to nuts -- launch the Internet connection, fire up the archive DAT, line up all the music -- without any assistance. (As Tom revealed last week, Mike does empty all the garbage cans.) The H-Man thinks it sounds overwhelming. He's glad that he works with a partner on the college station where Tom discovered him. The two broadcasters developed a friendly rivalry that Tom compares to the buddy movie, 48 Hrs. The H-Man is not familiar with the 1982 Nolte-Murphy action-comedy. Tom has better luck making a connection by referencing the Ratner classic, Rush Hour. He casts the H-Man in the cool Chris Tucker role. The H-Man wonders if his partner in the radio adaptation will be a non-English speaker, but it will actually be Tom.
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While he's not here to criticize the H-Man's college program, Tom does want him to shuttle his inept partner as quickly as possible. He gives the H-Man the option to take or leave his advice: accuse his co-host of harassment to convince the Dean of Students to throw him off campus. Tom thinks this is a good plan because the H-Man won't even have to endure a confrontational break-up. The Dean will simply expel the guy from school, and his job at the station will be simultaneously terminated. The H-Man declines to consider this plan or an alternate option of framing him for drug dealing because he can't do that to a good friend. Tom reminds him that radio is a business. The H-Man believes that his friend is a valuable part of the show, especially since he's better at selecting music. Tom thinks he just has different tastes. The H-Man says he's more adept at dipping into the bins to pull out some good bands. Tom notices that the H-Man is getting looser, livelier, and seemingly operating without a care. He wants him to take a deep breath, hold it, and release to further aid his relaxation. Tom abandons his request to then shake it off because that would be weird. With the transitional period complete, Tom aka Momma Bird announces that it's time for the Baby Bird to leave the nest. The H-Man agrees that the avian analogy is appropriate in this context. He looks forward to unveiling his topic and fielding calls.
Tom asks the H-Man to talk about himself while he carts up the music for his inaugural set. In addition to his radio duties, the H-Man recently joined the Kappa Delta Phi fraternity -- a good group of guys who do a lot of community service work, such as cleaning up the town. The H-Man isn't sure he wants to mention the name of this town. Tom advises against it. He never wants the H-Man to forget that the listeners are animals. The H-Man says he doesn't play a specific type of music on his show because he likes a variety of things, particularly oldies from the 1980s and earlier. Tom signals the H-Man to introduce his twofer: "Panic" by The Smiths and "I'm a Pirate, You're a Princess" by Texas-based electro-poppers, PlayRadioPlay!
The H-Man switches things up with a topic inspired by his brief rivalry with Tom. When he first entered the radio ring, Tom wanted to take him down before embracing him as a worthy protégé. Over the past two weeks the H-Man thought about how your views on a person can often change based on a particular moment or encounter. For example, the H-Man wasn't into the late Heath Ledgère's heroic, pretty-boy roles in the early portion of his career. He changed his opinion on the actor after seeing his amazing performance as The Joker in Straight Up: The Dark Knight, Batman 2. The H-Man assures everyone that he will not SPOIL any of the film's plot points. He wants to hear from listeners about other celebrities or pop-culture that underwent similar re-evaluations -- for better or worse.
Before he takes the first call, The H-Man wants to riff on some current events. Two Saturdays ago the late driving bloomer finally took his five-hour pre-licensing test. The H-Man thinks the marathon session was possibly the most boring and horrifying experience of his life. He chuckled at the instructor's silly name, Al Cinnamon, as he sat next to two high school friends in the freezing cold training room. The H-Man says that Cinnamon exploded into insanity much like the frequently agitated comedian Lewis Black. He started yelling about how everything the students heard about driving from their parents or other elders was a bunch of garbage. The H-Man took a 25-question test and had to deal with Cinnamon hurling common sense concepts right out the window. Tom whispers some advice about the need to put a finer point on the good topic concept of going from hating Ledgère to becoming his biggest fan. A title emerges: About-Face.
- Joe from Seattle asks the H-Man how he's handling his newfound power. The H-Man says he's trying to get into the whole mix and not have too many gaps of silence. Joe thinks he's doing a great job. Back in the day he was a huge Jack Black fan from his work in Tenacious D, the self-proclaimed greatest band on Earth. He attended a D show and approached Black afterwards to get an autograph. JB went through a group of 5 or 6 people before getting to Joe. Black looked at his face, did the pssssht/hand gesture wave-off thing, and walked away without signing. After getting ditched for no reason, Joe retaliated with an About Face of his own. The H-Man understands the disappointment of admiring a celebrity from afar and then being disappointed when you get the chance to meet them. Joe says he seemed like a cool guy, but then he burned him in public. He had to settle for an autograph from Kyle Glass, the classically-trained bald man who plays lead guitar for the D. The H-Man refers to Glass as "good 'ol KG." Tom asks Joe if he's a big Kyle Glass fan. Joe says that he became one after the unpleasant Jables incident, and he still has half a dollar signed by Rage Kage in his wallet to prove it. He tells the H-Man to have a good show.
- A caller announces that he also thinks Kyle rocks. It's Bryce, and he has a contribution for the topic. He didn't like Woody Harrelson on Cheers, but he did an About Face when he found out something about him that made him kind of like him more. Bryce wants the H-Man to guess what it is. The H-Man correctly assumes that it involves Harrelson's well-known activism on behalf of legalizing hemp products. Bryce asks the H-Man what Harrelson likes to do with the product. The H-Man isn't sure he wants to get into it on the air. Bryce is disappointed that Tom won't discuss Harrelson's initiatives. The H-Man says that Tom is actually taking a step back for this segment. Bryce mentions that he was about to commend Tom on finally getting rid of the modulator that makes his voice go lower. The H-Man says he didn't know that Tom used any devices.
Bryce believes he's talking to a medical practitioner named "Dr. H," so he asks for a prescription. The H-Man says he doesn't have a doctorate. Bryce notes that he doesn't need any doctoral to dispense what he needs. He's sad that Tom is gone because he was his only friend on the radio after N-104 DJ B.J. Bryson held a Bryce Bites rally last week. The H-Man is sorry to hear that Bryce was the latest victim of the legendary promotional stunts. Bryce says Bryson got mad after he sold him some stinkweed. He explains that he had to move his low-grade stash because he needed the good stuff to get baked prior to an important job interview. The H-Man is skeptical about the wisdom of doing drugs before such a meeting. Bryce says it was appropriate because he was going for a position at a new local rag called The Newbridge Weed Enthusiast Fortnightly. The H-Man says he now better understands Bryce's approach. Bryce says he arrived as baked as Buzz Aldrin when he went into space. The H-Man was unaware that the astronaut was high during his missions. Bryce has a little tidbit for Dr. H: Aldrin is not his real last name. He reveals that it's Aldrich. Bryce isn't sure why he'd be ashamed of that. The H-Man speculates that Aldrin rolls off the tongue a little more easily. The pre-interview strategy paid off because Bryce was hired as "The Roving Smoker" for TNWEF. The H-Man congratulates him on landing the gig.
Bryce pitches a new "Celebrity Smokeout" section, but the H-Man is hesitant to be a part of it. Bryce plans to visit exotic local locations to smoke out with the crème della reese of Newbridge's biggest celebrities, including Dr. H. Bryce predicts that Dr. H is headed for major stardom that will surpass anything Tom ever achieved. The H-Man thinks this may be a double-sided compliment. Bryce says it was a full-on compliment because he's getting the same feelings from Dr. H that he got when he first heard Chris Barron's voice. The H-Man says he doesn't know who that is. A shocked Bryce summons Tom to take Dr. H to rock school. Tom says that Barron was the lead singer for the Spin Doctors. Bryce shortens the band name to just "Spoctors." He says that he experienced similar feelings the first time he ever smoked weed. As with Barron and now Dr. H, Bryce knew it was going to be a huge thing in his life. He asks the H-Man to celebrate by smoking with him. The H-Man says that's not how he rolls. Bryce had no idea he was talking to someone who not only rolls, but appears to have some kind of established pattern of rolling. The H-Man tells Bryce it was just an expression to indicate his desire not to smoke. Bryce asks Tom if there is enough room in the studio to contain both of their egos right now because it doesn't seem like it. Tom says they are holding things down. Bryce starts getting mad, so he pauses to take what sounds like a monster crippler hit to regain his composure. The H-Man thinks he knows what is going on.
A calmer Bryce returns to the phone to ask Tom and Dr. H if they have ever seen Take That Money and Run. The Woody Allen picture doesn't ring any bells for The H-Man. Bryce says he screened it on Sheila Larson's TV set last night when he was looking into her window. The H-Man sarcastically suggests that this cinematic peeping is not creepy at all. Bryce says his current schedule is Larson on Mondays, the Harrups household on Tuesdays, and then Wednesdays with the Scharplings. Tom is not pleased to hear about this. The H-Man tells Bryce that it probably wasn't a good idea to admit that on the air. Bryce thinks it's cool that Tom still eats off those Hogan's Heroes TV trays. Tom now realizes that he really is spying on him. Bryce also finds it weird that Tom dines while watching tapes of himself playing video games. Tom denies this charge. Bryce tells Dr. H something even weirder: he's never even seen the video game screen -- just a super-tight shot of Tom's face. The H-Man wonders what kind of expressions Tom is making in the footage. Bryce says it varies between intense concentration and something he'd rather not talk about. He lets it slide by quoting the Drummond family patriarch, Conrad Bain: "Diff'rent strokes for people who are unalike." The H-Man thinks this is a little too revealing for public broadcast. Bryce asks Dr. H to find out why Tom forgoes a fork in favor of just a knife and a really small teaspoon. Tom doesn't want to talk about his utensils usage.
Bryce knows that Tom frowns upon smoking out, but he hopes Dr. H will join him. Tom says that the H-Man can make his own decision. The H-Man declines the offer. Bryce wants Dr. H to at least do an air hit while playing "Holy Man" before he hangs up. The H-Man doesn't think he has the track with him. Tom isn't exactly sure what it is. Bryce refreshes his memory with a hint that it's from Pacific Ocean Blue and features a little TH. Tom chuckles with the recognition that Bryce is requesting the unfinished track on the re-issue of the 1977 Dennis Wilson solo album. He thinks that Taylor Hawkins, the drummer from the Foo Fighters, was the natural choice to provide the missing vocals. Bryce assigns him the nickname "Tay-Haw." He thinks Dr. H is so much better than Tom was. Based on what he's heard, he thinks Tom is definitely gone after tonight. Bryce signs off with "Long Live Dr. H" and expresses his love for the new Best Show host. The H-Man is glad to have another supporter.
Tom wants the H-Man to reset the topic before going back to the phones. The H-Man reminds listeners of his post-Joker About Face on Ledgère after being unimpressed by his early work in films like A Knight's Tale. He says that while you could call these "chick flicks," he doesn't want to file them under that category. The H-Man realizes that he's getting derailed on a tangent, so he's ready to take another call.
- Joey from warm Arizona says he had a Ledgère-like experience with Sir Ian McKellen. He hated the British thespian's acclaimed work as the lead in Richard III and his Oscar-nominated turn as director James Whale in Gods and Monsters. He saw a flicker of promise in McKellen's performance as a Nazi war criminal in Apt Pupil, and then it finally clicked when he harnessed all of his acting skills to effectively pretend to be Gandalf the Wizard for the duration of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The H-Man agrees that he delivered an amazing performance in these commendable films.
Tom interrupts for a moment to let the H-Man know that he can exert his authority if a caller is a snooze. Joey suspects that Tom is referring to him. Tom doesn't know where anybody would get the idea that this call is a total snooze. The H-Man says he will just take this advice for future reference during the rest of the show. Tom recommends taking charge if he starts to feel like he's dying a little inside from listening to someone drain the precious commodity of the public airwaves. The H-Man agrees to give Tom the high sign to dismiss such a caller.
Joey senses that it's time for him to go, but he does want to add that McKellen was also good as Magneto in X2: X-Men United before he leaves. Tom wants him to continue the conversation about his Gandalf the Wizard fandom. Joey believes that McKellen deserved an Oscar nominations for his memorable line readings, such as "You ... shall ... not ... PASS." He thought McKellen looked perfect for this part after being miscast in previous roles. The H-Man thanks Joey for calling and asks him if he has anything else to say. Tom assures him that Joey has nothing left to offer. He reveals that he actually was talking about him during his GOMP tutorial. Tom claimed he wasn't, but he couldn't have been talking about him any more in terms of wasting everyone's time. He proposes that the H-Man signal him with a finger sliding across his throat. The H-Man counters with the idea of throwing his hands in the air as part of an "Eh?" gesture. Tom doesn't think that is definitive enough for these purposes. He opts for a thumb over the shoulder like a baseball umpire calling someone out.
- Justin from Pelham, NY, offers the first negative About Face of the evening. He says that he never considered Vince Vaughn to be an amazing actor, but he did like him in comedies like The Wedding Crunchers. Justin did a total 360 and even reached a point of hatred towards the Frat Packer after exploring more of his filmography. The H-Man requests a specific example. Justin says that Vaughn just keeps playing the same exact character in every movie. The H-Man can see how someone could question Vaughn's range as a performer. Justin bolsters his point by quoting the baby from Family Guy: "Oh, Vince Vaughn is on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Here's my summary of every Vince Vaughn movie: Oh, I'm incapable of loving another person. Oh wait, no I'm not. The end." I guess Stewie never saw Clay Pigeons! Justin says his films never really gross (who are you, Peter Bart?) that much, but he gets a lot more credit than he really deserves. The H-Man goes silent. Tom reminds him to thank Justin for the call.
TO BE CONTINUED ... THE H-MAN WILL GET HIS RECAPPING DUE!
On the Next ... The Best Show on WFMU: Hammerhead. Bob. Thor. Chief Ray Ploppleton. Mike the Associate Producer. Sleepy Jeff (if he's alive). Ziegler. Ramone. Palfner. Fontana. Tompkins. Brimstead. Paul from the Double-C. Meyers. Halversom. Live from the just-completed Newbridge Debate Pavillion, Tom Scharpling moderates the 2008 Mayubernatorial Debate!