Sunday, July 22, 2007

"Dumber than mud"

Have you heard the one about the Cleveland City Councilman who wrote the angry letter to a thug? If not, check out these links (link #3) and, I suppose, watch Hannity on Monday as I'm sure he'll want to belabor a certain aspect of this story and the dangers of political correctness. Not my cause. Instead, check out this letter. Check out the use of quotation marks?
Look, is this blog grammatically correct at all times? No. But if I was a city councilman and was writing a letter, you can bet your sweet bippy my letter would be proof-read. Darn it, people! Learn to use our language.

I wonder if this guy is a "English-as-the-official-language" guy?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Stuff I'm hearing, reading, seeing, and feeling

Blogs live on this stuff. Why should mine be any exception? In fact, I've noticed my local newspaper columnists have blogs where they tell me "5 songs I'm listening to this week" and suddenly that has become their column. This is journalism? I guess when you can't come up with original, creative stuff or your own, talk about other people's work, right? So, here I go . . .

Seeing . . .
Saw Ocean's 13. They could make 50 of these movies, and I'd see them all. The Ocean movies are equal parts cool, entertaining, clever, and stylish. Each time I watch another installment I think to myself (a) why can't I be that cool, (b) why can't I be that good-looking, and (c) I need a personal stylist so that my wardrobe and my hair - especially my hair - look that good all the time. I think Clooney, Pitt, and gang might actually make 50 of these movies. I'm pretty sure they could've shot that movie over a weekend out in Vegas. No big sets. No stunts. No explosions. Just a buncha dialog delivered by a buncha cool guys. Oh, and my favorite part - they gave Super Dave Osbourne
a part. How great is that!!?!?!? The years have not been altogether kind to him, but apparently Clooney is. I love how these movies pay such respect to the original coolness of Sinatra's Ocean, but that they also pay homage to guys like Carl Reiner and Elliot Gould, and now Bob Einstein (aka Super Dave Osbourne). If I ever make a movie or a sitcom you can bet I'll find a way to include Alan Thicke (and not his no good, falsetto singin' kid), Michael Gross, and Adrian Zmed.

Hearing . . .
Yellowcard just released a new CD - "Paper Walls." A couple songs can be streamed at their site. They're no Fall Out Boy, but they're pretty good.
Paste Magazine has a push for Over the Rhine. This is a Cincy band, named after the 'red light district' in downtown Cincy. Greg F. used to hang (aka: party with) these assholes. Over the Rhine to make 21 cities swoon . . ."the folk cabaret duo responsible for inciting a little-documented movement of evening gown-adorned women draping themselves across pianos is setting out for a fall tour. " Stream their music at their site. Pr' coo'.

Actually, this CD-music listening thing is going to have to stop. My current listening is Steve Winwood - a result of a discussion regarding the timelessness of certain artists and how their 80s offerings could easily be 2007 offerings and you couldn't tell the difference. I made the point that the artists referenced were NOT the artists that could actually pull this off and said that would be like saying that the work of Steve Winwood or Rick Astley could be contemporary in any era. I was argued with passionately that Steve Winwood is not a punchline of any joke and his CD, "Back in the Highlife" was dropped on my lap, post haste.

So, today I'll go from Steve Winwood to the new They Might be Giants, and then onto my Idol faves, and then I'll probably dig a little of the new Crowded House, some Gogol Bordello
, and I won't even get to Over the Rhine.

This will be the last "what I'm hearing" feature. Instead, I'll tell you some music that really got my attention. That current artists is Gogol Bordello.

This Steve Winwood ain't half-bad. But it's not quite half-good. Kinda reminds me of some late 80s Genesis-slash-Phil-Collins-solo-work ...and I stand by my claim that the sound is distinctly 80s.

Watch Greek tonight on ABC if you missed Episode #2. I'll be watching
A Boy Named Charlie Brown with my kids while consuming make-your-own-pizzas. Yum.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

America's Got Greek

Allow me to steal a few cliches ..."writing what you're thinking" ... "I catch what falls through the cracks." What else? How about this as a mission statement?
"Wasting my time on the internet so you don't have to."


For the 7 of you who read DonniEgo, the site and its creator(s) are considering a name-change. A couple reasons for this ... "donniego" is not only a clever way of combining my name and my "ego" is also the Polish version of Donnie (which I wasn't aware) ...BUT, "donniego" is also a Slavic word in some Slavic language and I don't know what it means. A name change isn't exactly imminent. But probably will happen. Oh, and the other reason? "Donniego" doesn't mean anything and, if ever I wanted to be published or marketed, I should have a better name.

OK. Onto the entry.

The Apprentice will be back on NBC. This time as The Celebrity Apprentice. I think this will further destroy a show that is mostly-completely-destroyed. My friend at ANFTSJ thinks it will give the show a boost. Personally, I like to see wanna-be-pseudo-celebrities embarrass themselves weekly on TV. I don't like watching has-been-celebrities try being funny, faining humility, and awkwardly going about "winning" a game show which won't pay as much as the checks they get from their old show's syndicated re-runs. Yes, if The Apprentice gets Rosie O'Donnel, that could be good. But that can't happen, can it? I'm sure we'll be treated to celebs with ex-reality-star status and the Joe Rogan-slash-Kathy Griffin caliber. As I told ANFTSJ, a TV-junky like him or me will watch. But will our Moms? Will our co-workers watch? Probably not. And will the show be good? He argues it will likely be both a train-wreck and awesome at the same time. I think I'll stop watching by the second week. We'll see.

Update: I got my Docksiders for my birthday. I'm happy. Please! Someone! Invite me to a backyard BBQ party asap. I'm dying for an opportunity to wear them. Or, if you are making an 80s-movie (preferably with a frat-guy character), call me for an audition. These shoes, khaki shorts, and a blue blazer with gold-buttons will be perfect.

Speaking of frats, there's Greek. I've gotten mixed reviews from those of you I've browbeaten into watching. Some say its un-entertaining. Well, I'm here to say, "you're wrong!" The show is clever, the characters are like-able, and some of the college things are dead-on. Do you know how many times TV has failed in trying to depict college and college life? 90210? Saved By the Bell: The College Years? Growing Pains? These shows wreaked of middle-aged sitcom writers challenged with writing their aging stars into a college atmosphere. Somehow, being completely wrong about high-school is OK with mass audiences. Highschool, for whatever reason, is about the same now as it was in the 80s as it was in the 60s. And whether its Happy Days, Growing Pains, 90210, Saved By the Bell, Never Been Kissed, She's All That, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, or High School Musical, as long as you have some good looking kids and a few funny lines, you'll be all right. But writing college, historically, has proven more difficult.

BTW, - High School Musical 2 will air Aug. 17 on the Disney Channel, and, yeah, I'll Tivo it for when my teenaged nephews and nieces come visit, for them to watch ..."them" I said.

Greek is nailing it. The Ultra-Christian roommate is the story of countless freshman across this country's great University landscape. The prep frat is preppy, but not too preppy. The laid-back frat is exactly like my old frat. No, I'm not kidding. And my frat brothers would agree. When Casey (Spencer Grammer) had sex with her old boyfriend as revenge on her boyfriend who cheated on her and then had to walk through the formal room where all the guys were blowing off class, playing video games, they heckled her. That was like watching an old movie of my frat. Don't get me wrong, I can write the ending to the show already, but that's OK. Sometimes predictable and fluffy is necessary on TV. I love this show. Unlike many shows attempting a similar story, I suspect this show has one or two ex-frat boys on the writing staff.

Just a couple more thought provoking links to check out. I'll have more on these topics, soon.
If you didn't catch Greek on Monday, set your Tivos for Friday on ABC. Then, Season Pass this show.

Look for future posts where I'll explain why I jumped on and then off the America's Got Talent bandwagon quicker than Paris Hilton jumped in and out of the philanthropic world, I'll finally review some American Idol CDs (Elliot Yamin, Daughtry, Clarkson, McPhee, Hicks), and I'll tell you what else I'm keeping track of on the web.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hope for the Summer

Just when I was about to get to reading those books because the wasteland that is TV was even too wasteful for me ...along comes Greek and America's Got Talent.

I realize I'm a Hoffman-come-lately on Talent, but until now I dismissed it as a horrible Idol-esque concept. It's one thing to watch marginally talented singers perform weekly. As I've mentioned before, its like a modern-day-variety show . . . and the world needs them more now than ever. It's another thing altogether to watch a serial-Gong Show. It just didn't make sense. If your "talent" is whistling the Star Spangled Banner with your belly-button and a tire-pump, that's great. I want to see that. But how do you come back week after week with that act? Juggling on a unicycle is juggling on a unicycle. Show me all the acts and crown a champ. This might take a few weeks of auditions ...but is there really a need for a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round ala Dancing With The Stars or American Idol. I thought not. Awe, shucks, but then I went and got hooked.

Speaking of variety shows and needing them ...

NOTE: This is Tom Jones came out on DVD last week. Even Tom Jones had his own variety show. We all know about the Osmond's, Sonny & Cher, Dean Martin, The Brady Family, Carol Burnett, and Lawrence Welk. So, how is it that the greatest singer-performer of the last 5 decades didn't get his press on this DVD release? I'm going to own this and I'll let you know how it is. Here's a sneak-pre-review: It's the greatest f'n thing that ever lit up my cathode ray tube. Why any TV shows were even made since TJ's variety show went of the air in 1971 is beyond my comprehension. WARNING: Watching this 3 DVD boxed will ruin you for all other TV shows.

That's my review, and I haven't even seen the show.

Then there's this show Greek on ABC Family. Not sure how a show on that channel got onto my radar, but I gave it a shot. Basically, it lacks the coolness of Revenge of the Nerds, Animal House, PCU and Old School as far as frat-movies go, but it totally nails the Never Been Kissed, Legally Blonde, Can't Buy Me Love like-able, cheeziness. Some of the gags are really good. The Hitler Youth-type rooommate is very good. The not-preppy frat is spot on. As a former frat guy, their post-Rush-party-bid-voting, their banged up couches in their formal room, and their applause during the walk-of-shame is EXACTLY like real college. Lots more to come on this show in a future post. Let this post simply serve as a notice to my readers ...CATCH THE ENCORE PRESENTATION OF THE SHOW'S PREMIERE THIS FRIDAY NIGHT ON ABC AND ABC FAMILY.

I don't have a lot of "required viewing" of you folks, and I don't send emails pimping my blog often, but this show was THAT GOOD.

Happy Birthday to me Greek.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I'm Going to Barbecue University

Guess what? Nope. No. Guess, again. OK, I'll tell ya. I don't often publicize it, but I'm a Borders Rewards Member. I'm not tryin' to sound "braggy" ...but, hey, I'm a member.

Recently, I got an offer to submit a written description - 250 words or less - of my "best grilling experience" for a chance to win a spot at the prestigious (it must be, right?) Barbecue University. I've often scoffed at the idea of continuing my education, but even I can be persuaded that an advanced degree might be worth it. What follows is my submission ...hey "ego" is right in the title of this blog, people. Deal with it.

To Whom it May Concern at Borders and Barbecue University:
Like so many men in their mid-30s, that elusive grilling-dream-come-true story had eluded me. Until a few weeks ago. I've often watched Bobby Flay, Steven Raichlen, and Bob Rainford and marveled at their grilling prowess. I've thought, "I can grill like that...I just need a shot. Put me in coach!!!" Queue a going-away-party for our neighbors. My opportunity was finally here. Fajitas were the call. Steak and chicken. And a rice side dish. Thirty guests were mine to impress. Drinks were chilled, sides were brought by neighbors near and far, and laughter and conversation filled my backyard. Now all that was left to do was create the main entree and "WOW" all in attendance. I grilled. I flipped. I misted. I marinated and seasoned. I cut and filleted. I brought rice to a boil on the seldom used side-burner. The neighbor men folk were amazed. The women swooned - well, not really. And in the end, though my equipment may be meek, my efforts were lauded by everyone. The fajitas were magnificent. I was proud. I had, until that point, not yet tasted the sweet nectar of hosting a backyard party. Hamburgers and hot dogs were all I knew. Now that I have truly hosted and grilled, I want more. Borders? Barbecue University? Make my dreams come true. Help me to spread backyard BBQ happiness to generations of friends and family.
Yours Grilly,

Monday, July 02, 2007

Goin' Larry King on ya, again

Because I don't have American Idol twice-weekly to keep me focused, I can't blog.

Sad, really.

Some random stuff, however...I just heard on the radio that the baby from Nirvana's "Nevermind" CD is 17."Nevermind" came out my senior year highschool-slash-freshman year college ...I don't ever want the year 2011 to come because that will mean that CD is 20 years old(er) and ...well ...then ...I will be, too.

I wonder if more milestone moments happened pre-17-years-old or post-? I often lament my accomplishments (or lack thereof) and think I've wasted many years where I could have been making millions, writing bestsellers, and making multiple appearances on Leno, Letterman, and O'Brien.

A joke I wrote ... Frenchman Tony Parker won the MVP and his team won the NBA championship, and South American Angel Cabrerra won the US Open this weekend proving once again that immigrants are entering this country and winning the sporting events that Americans simply don't want to win.

"Glengarry Glen Ross" + Disney's "Oliver and Company"

Apparently this movie is known mostly for one scene ...the Alec Baldwin scene. Which is a great scene (see following post). The rest was desperate, grasping, and angry. The worst side of sales as a career. I finished the movie wishing I wasn't in sales. Then I watched the Alec Baldwin scene again and ended up watching almost the entire movie again and saw the movie as a perfect reflection of just about every sales team I've ever been a part of. The angry-no-one's-helping-me-guy, the shouldn't-be-in-sales-guy, and the desperate-old-my-career-life-has-passed-me-by-guy. And most brilliant of all was Pacino's-no-nonsense-lots-of-bullshit-guy. All I've ever heard of with regards to this movie was Jack Lemmon this and Alec Baldwin that. Screw that. Pacino made the movie.
"You never open your mouth until you know what the shot is."-Ricky Roma

Next up, Disney's Oliver and Company. Ever wonder why the Disney franchise kinda took its lumps in the 80s? See this movie. But actually, don't see this movie. A poorly planned story, non-catchy songs, and gun play make this movie a complete abomination. Disney usually sets the standard and all other animated ventures follow - and usually fail. In this case, however, I'd rather watch A Land Before Time again and again, in Spanish. Bad, bad, bad. Yes, I said gun play. Numerous scenes where the villian threatens a guy with a gun or plays with his gun as a show of dominance. What is this? Reservior Dogs?

And so concludes my weekend of cinema.

Glengarry Glen Ross speech

"You never open your mouth until you know what the shot is."
-Ricky Roma