Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Has anybody seen Tim’s tambourine?

Growing up fat, one catches a lot of television. A lot. Some programs, which could easily be passed over to the casual viewer, don’t escape the attention of those passionately devoted to the ‘tube. If it was on, chances are I caught it – even if the quality of its storyline & production value don’t merit any critical commendation. One program that will never leave my memory is the 1986 television adaptation of the Jill Murphy children’s book, The Worst Witch. Originally produced for U.K. television, The Worst Witch enjoyed substantial airplay on HBO in the 80’s.

Now, this was more of my little sister’s kind of program. The story is about a young student at a witch academy who must endure the ostracization of schoolmates and the distrust of the school faculty. Learning to be a witch and coping with adolescence can be so trying. Mmm, the precursor to Potter?? I wonder if Murphy’s lawyers (or solicitors or barristers or whatever) had anything to say about Rowling’s success. But I digress.

Girls, girls!!!Well, to tell you the truth, it’s not really good. In fact, it’s quite bad. But before I sell you on never seeing it, I should share with you its positives. First, Charlotte Rae. That’s right, Mrs. Edna Garrett herself. I keep waiting for Mrs. G. to call out for Tootie or little Arnold Jackson-Drummond. Rae is so classic in everything, including her recent comments in the press, throwing down the gauntlet to Joan Collins. She may be going senile, but she will live on through Family Guy references.

The best Bond girlAlso, Witch features Dame Diana Rigg (The Avengers, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Great Muppet Caper). Like conservative pundit Tammy Bruce, I have a thing for Emma Peel. I guess I was born 40 years too late. Interestingly, the lead role is supplied by a young Fairuza Balk (Waterboy, American History X), as a harbinger of her breakout role in The Craft ten years later.

Anywho, to get to my point, the show-stealer is legendary Tim Curry, who plays the quasi-Dumbledore-ish “Grand Wizard.” The G.W. is revered by the witch community, who has accorded him rock-star status. When he arrives for Halloween, he breaks into song for all of the young witches. Now this is quite possibly the greatest thing to be shown on Home Box Office in the 80’s (next to Fraggle Rock and Video Jukebox). Really, this is the only part of the movie you need to see. Just watch below and don’t bother with the rest.

But this got me thinking - What all has Tim done? Let’s see, there was Dr. Frankenfurter, of course - the role he created and is immortalized for (although I don’t really get the fascination with Rocky Horror), plenty of theatre work, and there are countless voice-over parts in animated features and shows. But everything else is supporting/character roles. I mean this guy is British for crying out loud (that’s significant, because, to quote Kevin Smith, “the Brits invented acting”).

He’s been nominated for Tony’s, Emmy’s, a Razzie, and he’s actually won a Daytime Emmy. I think he’s a fine actor, if not a great one. He’s the reason behind many people’s fear of clowns, as he brought to life the evil Pennywise in the television adaptation of Stephen King’s IT. But to think he’ll never win an Oscar, it’s kinda sad – like sad in the way that Raul Julia's film legacy ended with Street Fighter. I think Curry is far better than just another character actor. See below to see why. No, scratch that - watch IT to see why. Watch the video below to see cheesy 80's British television.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Because Hospice cares..."

from FoxNews.com

Hospice Helps Dying Man Lose His Virginity

[London] Thanks to a church-run hospice, one disabled man was granted his dying wish: to lose his virginity. 22-year-old Nick Wallis, who has muscular dystrophy, had hoped to experience sex before he died. After telling staff at the Douglas House hospice in Oxford of his wish, they decided to help him, reported London's Daily Telegraph. (Click here for read the original story.)

Nick Wallis: Muscular Dystrophy won't stand in the way of my dreams!Wallis had hoped to form a relationship through which to experience sex, but it just never happened. "I had hoped to form a relationship when I went to university, but it didn't happen. I had to recognize that if was to experience sex I would have to pay for it out of my savings. My mind was made up before I discussed it with anyone else," Wallis said.

"I found an advert from a sex worker in a magazine for the disabled," Wallis said. "The initial contact was by email and then by phone." It was arranged for the prostitute to visit Wallis' home while his parents went out.

"It was a decision two years in the making and I discussed it with my carers and my parents. Telling my mother and father was the hardest part, but in the end they gave me their support," Wallis told the Telegraph. The hospice staff consulted a solicitor, clergy, and health care professionals before agreeing to assist Wallis.

Sister Frances, the founder of the hospice, described Wallis as "delightful, intelligent and aware young man." "I know that some people will say 'You are a Christian foundation. What are you thinking about?' But we are here for all faiths and none," she said.

"It is not our job to make moral decisions for our guests. We came to the conclusion that it was our duty of care to support Nick emotionally and to help ensure his physical safety."

Wallis said the experience was not quite what he had hoped. "It was not emotionally fulfilling, but the lady was very pleasant and very understanding. I do not know whether I would do it again. I would much rather find a girlfriend, but I have to be realistic."

Wallis made the decision to talk about his experience as part of the BBC documentary series about life inside Douglas House and its associated children's hospice, Helen House.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Global Warming, your days are numbered...

from MSNBC.com/Newsweek:

An Unlikely Alliance
Elite scientists and evangelicals put aside their differences to save the Earth.

Jan. 17, 2007 - A group of 28 scientists and evangelical Christians today announced their commitment to working together to address global and environmental climate change--an issue that they say is pressing enough to trump any theological differences between the groups... (read more)

"Congressional liberals and hollywood celebrities hail the collaboration, touting 'We'll be okay as long as Bush doesn't cause another hurricane.'"

What happens when God teams up with science?
Pollution gets its butt kicked, that's what.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Finding Nemo:

Martha Stewart wannabes looking to bring life to the smallest room in the home now have the chance — with a toilet that doubles as an aquarium.

The aptly named Fish 'n Flush is a see-through aquarium wrapping itself around a conventional toilet tank.

"We wanted to develop a product that had a dual purpose — to serve as a proper, fully functional toilet and also as a source of entertainment and conversation," said Devon Niccole, marketing director of California-based designer AquaOne Technologies, which has just started to selling the tank.

The aquarium toilet tank sells for $299.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Those Cheating Gators...

A-ha!!! I knew something was up, I figured they were cheating somehow - they couldn't do it on their own, Florida just ain't that good. Last night in his interview with Fox Sport's Chris Myers, UF receiver Dallas Baker inadvertently showed his secret after he removed his jersey. Florida had a "12th man" involved. The cat's out of the bag - I'm on to you now, Gators...

Buckeye fans may be crying foul once they have
learned that the Lord was invoked against them.
photos © AP/John Bazemore; Fox Sports (inset)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Twisted Jeanie

So I'm flipping channels this weekend and I caught bits and pieces of Saturday Night Live, which was a rerun of the November 11 show with Arec Bardrin. I flipped to it during the musical performance, and instead of changing the channel (which I always do - I haven't watched a music performance on SNL since Technotronic performed "Pump Up the Jam" in 1989), something caught my eye and I stayed put. The musical guest was Christina Aguilera, er um, my bad - I should say "Xtina." And when I say something caught my eye, no, it wasn't like that. (For this night, she was on the opposite end of the spectrum from her "Dirty" video, donning what appeared to be close to a zoot suit.) Rather, it was this yellow mass attached to her head. I quickly thought "Gee, that's some fluffy hair..." before I realized it was a wig that Dolly Parton herself wouldn't be caught dead in. But instead of scoffing and changing it over to Wrestle Birmingham on WTTO, I kept watching. For some reason this was familiar. Déjà vu? I don't know, but I something about her hair & make-up made me "wanna rock." I wonder if Dee Snider's attorneys were watching...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Andy Del Gramatica?

I've always contended that Cuban-American acting great Andy Garcia moonlighted as a football player. Garcia's alter-ego for 16 years was former NFL placekicker & current Birmingham radio personality Al Del Greco. Upon seeing Del Greco's career winding up, the great thespian undertook the creation of a new identity, and in 1999, he created Martin Gramatica.

Can't you just see Gramatica assassinating Joey Zasa in The Godfather Part III? (click to enlarge)
Garcia juggled the three identities for two seasons, but retired the Del Greco character in 2000. Gramatica's future is questionable after the 'Boys performance this weekend. I can't wait to see who Andy's going to come up with next...
(Espn.com's "Page 2" contends that Gramatica is actually "The Great Gazoo" from The Flintstones.)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Here: be David Caruso in Jade...

Well, CSI: Miami is now dominating the syndication circuit. Like what David Wolf did to the Perry Mason/Dragnet genres with all of his fifteen Law & Order's, the CSI creators (Bruckheimer & co.) are doing the same to the Quincy, M.E.- style crime genre: milking it for everything it's worth. I'm just waiting for CSI: Birmingham starring Dennis Franz to start production.

So what makes tha 'Miami different from its counterparts, you ask? Well, apparently Miami has a permanent Simpson/Bruckheimer lens filter which makes the city orange all day long, all year 'round. Also, this show is superior right off the bat, as "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who is the show's theme song. But most importantly, Miami has Horatio Caine, played by David Caruso.

Caruso has made this show my new guilty pleasure (move over, Rocky Balboa). It's nothing but pure cheeseball goodness, as Caruso's superior acting constantly delivers great one-liners (usually puns) in his pursuit of the bad guys, each one accompanied by a dramatic removal-slash-donning of his sunglasses.

Caruso's thespianic resources are exhausted in each episode, including his signature pose (standing w/ hands on his hips, with one hip cocked forward and blazer blowing in the wind like a superhero's cape) and his standard "begin-the-line-looking-away-then-finishing-it-as he-moves-his-eyes-toward-you-followed
-by-the-rest-of-his-head" move.

I encourage you to watch it, as the captivating story lines always have Caruso/Caine leading his band of Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew’s, defeating the bad guys with DNA evidence. Turn on your TV now, chances are it's on at least one channel. Here's a sample of all the cheeseball glory that is David Caruso:

I don't think a football is a very good Xmas present...

What I want for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time. I think everybody should have a Red Ryder BB gun. They are very good for Christmas. I don't think a football is a very good Christmas present.

What's your worst Christmas present ever? I can't think of mine, I don't guess I've ever gotten anything that terrible... I got a toilet seat last year, but that was kind of a joke. I've heard of some terrible ones, though. A friend of mine got an "Ab Lounger" workout seat one Christmas. Yeck.

Another terrible, yet actual product, which made the top-ten-worst-presents this season is the The Man Catcher Voodoo Kit.Nothing says "I think you are reaching the point of desperation" more than a gift of voodoo charms meant to attract a mate.

Or how 'bout The Handi-Cleanse Personal Bidet? While personal hygiene is important, the exact method that your friends and family use to freshen up should be left for them to decide.

There's also The Razorba Back Shaver. There is only one way to remove your back hair without enlisting the help of another person. It is called the Razorba, a strange invention and horrible gift idea. A related factoid: each Christmas, over 1,000 Americans purchase a nose hair trimmer as a gift.

Can you top that? Feel free to chime in.