Wednesday, January 31, 2007


What would we do without the internet? I ask that question probably three or four times a week. Thanks to ye old information superhighway, I've been able to catch up on one of this year's hottest TV shows, Heroes.

I didn't purposely avoid the show when it debuted. I just wasn't intrigued enough to watch it. And with a show like this, once you've missed four or five episodes, it's hard to come in during the middle of the season and understand everything that's going on. It's possible, but certainly not the best way to go about it. There was no way I was going to wait until the season ended, plunk down a chunk of money for the season 1 DVD, either.

Over the last few months, great reviews and big ratings continued to pour in, and I began thinking that maybe I had missed out on something big. Then I found Fanpop. This site is great. It has full episodes of current shows, links to articles, fansites, etc. There's a lot of stuff here. I went to the Heroes spot, and found complete episodes of this first season. Withing a few days, I was caught up, in more ways than one.

What a fun show. There are hardly any dull spots -- although I'm now getting a bit bored with Parkman and his old lady, and the Nicki/DL drama -- because there are so many characters and plot lines, the action usually is fast-paced. I don't know how long they can keep this going (at least one more full season, as NBC has renewed it for another year), or where these storylines are headed, but I'm glad I decided to hop on the ride. If you haven't, check out those sites, grab some popcorn, and catch up.

For a more behind-the-scenes look at the show, here are a few more links for you...

Beaming Beeman is a blog from one of the director/producers of the show. There is usually a new post on each day a new episode airs. A lot of behind the scenes stories and pictures. A fun read, and an interesting look at how the show is made.

Also, with this most recent episode (Chapter 13: The Fix), NBC has posted the entire episode with commentary from Greg Grunberg and Hayden Panettiere, who play Matt parkman, and Claire Bennet.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Top 100 Guitar Solos

Eddie Van Halen turns 50 today. I was a pretty big Van Halen fan way back when. During my high school years, back in the cassette era, I had four bins that each contained about twelve cassette tapes. I used those bins for my favorite groups at the time. Van Halen was one of them.

They weren't quite at the top of the list -- they actually shared a bin with my Metallica tapes -- but they were in my Top 5. The other three bins went to Led Zeppelin, Rush, and Genesis by the way.

One of my favorite concerts was the Van Halen show I saw in October, 1988 (The OU812 tour). I never had a problem with the Sammy Hagar era, and I enjoyed the David Lee Roth stuff, too.

Now there's talk of a Van Halen reunion with David Lee Roth. Michael Anthony won't be there, but the Van Halens will, all three of them...Alex, Eddie, and Eddie's son Wolfgang!

I always appreciated Eddie's guitar playing, but was equally impressed when he'd get behind the keyboards (an instrument I play) and crank out some memorable chord runs in many of their hits.

Of course, I was most impressed with Eddie because he got Valerie Bertinelli.

But I digress.

With Eddie turning 50 today, I thought it'd be a perfect time to point you in the direction of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos Ever. The beautiful thing about this list, is that there are video links for the Top 20, and several others as well.

Just go to the page I linked for you, and you'll be able to figure out the rest.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Hoping for good Bears coverage

It's too bad Bears coach Lovie Smith didn't have his magic Comcast remote control like he does in the commercial, so he could have paused his pending Gatorade shower just in time to move out of the way, and move someone else under the diluge.

So the Bears win, advance to the Super Bowl, and surprisingly, I'm not too upset about it. Maybe I've matured as a sports fan. Maybe deep down I was glad to see the team that knocked my Eagles out of the playoffs eliminated as well. Maybe I was just dilusional after nearly slicing off my thumb trying to open a can of pizza sauce during the third quarter back at the Williams' compound.

Don't get me wrong, I was rooting for the Saints yesterday, and was upset that the Bears won. However, I got over it rather quickly. It's not as bad for me this time as it was in 1985 when I was SICK of the Bears and all of the coverage they were generating, in Chicago, and all over the country.

I can't imagine if the Patriots would have won yesterday as well. That would have left me with two teams I generally dislike in the Super Bowl. Usually every year, there is at least one team that I like more than another playing in the big game, but had New England won? Wow, that would have been tough.

I'm sick of the Patriots, too. They've won too many times, and always seem to make the big plays, etc. They're too good. I know, I'm just jealous of their success. So, that said, I was happy the Colts finally got over the hurdle and reached the Super Bowl. Great game to watch, too. As the final seconds were ticking down, I kept waiting for CBS to pan the crowd showing disgruntled Patriots fans. Since Dean Tambling was at the game, I was hoping for a shot of him sulking in his Tom Brady jersey.

Didn't happen.

So, in two weeks, I'll head to my brother's house for a day of card playing, beverage consumption, and football watching with him, and several of his friends. It will undoubtedly be a Bears room. My bro is an Eagles fan first and foremost, like me. But unlike me, he has warmed to the Bears over the years. Hard to blame him, since he was actually born in Illinois.

So I won't go too crazy with rage if the Bears win the Super Bowl. I won't show up at my brother's in a newly purchased Peyton Manning jersey, or even a Manning fake mustache or wig. I won't even cheer loudly if the Colts score, or make a big stop defensively, because I'd hate someone else to rub it in my face if my team was getting it handed to them.

Nope, in fact I may even lend some support to the hometown team this time around. You read that correctly. I very well may be rooting for the Bears. Why don't I just make a proclamtion right now concerning the Monsters of the Midway, and their big showdown with Indy in less than two weeks:

I'm picking the Bears...

to cover the +7.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The New James Bond: Hanks, Tom Hanks

Well, not quite.

But if Hanks were to play James Bond in the next installment, I bet the preview would look something like this very well done mashup...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

24: Bauer Power

It's nice to have Jack back, isn't it? Sure, there are plot twists that are hard to agree with, the all too familiar multiple levels of villains, and unnecessary romantic subplots (yikes, a Chloe love-triangle?), but for thrills, chills, and spills it's hard to ignore the high-octane excitment of 24.

The season could have ended after episode four's concluding bomb explosion, and I would have been satisfied. What a great one-two punch to close out the hour. First, Jack taking out Curtis with a shot to the neck (couldn't he have just pumped one into his leg? I know, not as shocking), then the bomb is detonated near L.A. There's still 20 more episodes, too!

So now that main villain number one has been killed, we'll escalate to the next level (Dr. Romano from ER?). Then after he's taken out, there will most likely be four or five people above him handing out orders as well. No big deal, I've come to expect that. They gotta fill 24 episodes somehow.

I'm already tired of the Regina King (Wayne Palmer's sister) character, but I'm sure that will payoff big down the line.

I'm also tired of Chloe, but then again, I haven't liked her from the beginning. At least she looks more attractive this year.

And, so far, no Kim Raver (Jack's girlfriend Audrey). This is a good thing. However, since The Nine has been cancelled, I'm sure we'll see her eventually.

While we're discussing 24 for a minute or two, I thought you'd enjoy some 24 parodies that I stumbled upon.

Here's Conan O'Brien's take, entitled "60". They were originally individual clips that were each one second long. This clip is a montage of those clips. Very funny.

Here's one from the Nobody's Watching guys.

Here's a cute one that I first noticed around Christmas time.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Paula Abdul: "Straight Up," and on the rocks

Nothing gets me ready for an upcoming season of American Idol than a slurring and stuttering Paula Abdul. This gem -- which includes a William Hung sighting -- comes from a Seattle news show as Abdul was being interviewed to promote Idol's upcoming season which begins next week.

This was a morning show, and Abdul was in New York. Still, even with the time difference, Paula obviously is under the influence of something, and it's not even lunch time.

I can't decide whether Abdul needs help, or needs more screentime.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Eye of the Tigger

You may have heard about, or read the story about the boy who claims Tigger punched him at Disney World. The link includes an option to view the video evidence.

I agree with the news anchor -- I'm still waiting to see what Tigger does that is so wrong. It doesn't look like a purposeful punch. Certainly not a forceful one.

Right before the "punch" you can see the boy say something, then it looks like Tigger tries to get the kid's arm away from him, the boy starts to lose his balance a bit, then the "punch" comes in. Who knows what was said?

The family -- who is going for a battery charge against the dude inside the costume -- claims that Tigger locks the kid's arm around him, pulling him closer, then "clocking" him in the face.

Hey, Tigger is a bit unpredictable. After all, he's loaded with vim and vigor. He's bouncy, trouncy, flouncy pouncy.

The investigation is ongoing.

Monday, January 08, 2007

On To New Orleans

Now that's a good weekend of football. And no, Eagles kicker David Akers is not having the Heimlich maneuver administered in the picture to the right. That's Akers after kicking the Eagles into the second round of the NFC Playoffs.

The guy that needs the Heimlich would be him.

Akers' kick capped off a great day spent at my brother's house watching that game, as well as the New England victory over the Jets. It was my brother, Rick, a few of his friends, and me. I've had the chance to hang with those guys the last couple of Januarys for football and cards.

I'm not much of a card player. Maybe that's why they always seem so glad to see me. All kidding aside, I actually did pretty good yesterday. I won a few pretzels at the table, and thanks to some top notch handicapping, I made a couple of nickels on the football games, too.

The playoffs are going according to plan. Cowboys out with a humiliating defeat. Eagles knock off the Giants in dramatic fashion. Now we just need an Eagles revenge win at New Orleans on Saturday night, and then the traditional one-and-done for the Bears, and then Philly is hosting the NFC title game on January 21st.

Sports is funny sometimes. Just a month or so ago, I wrote about the sad state of Philly sports which included this bit of wisdom about the Eagles...

The Eagles, who have been one of the top NFL teams this decade, are for the second straight year, dealing with a season ending injury to their quarterback (who also was throwing up in the huddle in a game this season -- the game they lost on a last second 62-yard field goal). So, safe to say I don't hold out a lot of hope for their chances.

Well, safe to say I wasn't the only one with that opinion. No one thought they'd make the run they've made. That's part of the beauty of sports. Six straight wins, the only team remaining from their division, and riding an emotional high thanks to a cinderella run of unexpected playoff success.

Until next week of course, when they'll probably get their butts handed to them by a well-rested Saints team, playing at home where they've already beaten the Eagles this year, and now that our stud cornerback is out with an elbow injur---- ok, ok. I'll settle down now.

Yep, I'm a Philly fan. Confidence schmonfidence.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A (Re)cut above

There's been a bit of a phenomenon online for the past year or two -- recut movie trailers. You've probably seen a few. A movie's trailer is edited in a certain way that gives it a whole new feel. Psycho as a love story, Groundhog Day as a slasher movie, or Taxi Driver as a romantic comedy.

Most times, these are very well done, and highly entertaining. Wikipedia has a nice list of many of the recuts that are online.

Here are five of my favorites...

The Shining

This one won an award back in October, 2005, and is credited with being the recut trailer that helped launch the phenomenon.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

One of many using the Brokeback Mountain theme. This one works pretty well

A Christmas Story

Renamed "A Christmas Gory" in this trailer of a holiday classic

Mary Poppins

"Scary Mary" looks like a much better movie, doesn't it? And I have to admit, with the headphones on and the music playing on this one, I got a chill on the back of my neck.

The Sound Of Music

Usually when Megan wants to watch this movie at home, the fact that it's nearly four hours long is enough to scare my socks off. This trailer doesn't help.

Julie Andrews -- Horror movie queen!

Feel free to add some of your favorites in the comments section.