Thursday, May 25, 2006

Yet Another Wacky "Lost" Theory

Hello to the Lost fans who googled their way over here today!

Wow…what a week! 2 hour season finales for Desperate Housewives.. 24 and Lost.. All in four days! Boy are my eyes bleary! 24 did pay homage to Edgar in the final episode…(plus we found out that Chloe was once married to a young version of Richard Dawson?!), the finale was pretty good.. not as violent as usual… but quite dramatic nontheless especially when Jack Bauer kidnapped The President! Wow.. What guts!…

The DH finale was better than usual… although it borrowed a lot of storytelling styles from Lost by utilizing flashbacks to move the story along…. But Lost seems to be getting all the attention since nobody knows what the heck is going on.. It also makes you wonder about ABC’s tolerance towards some of its employees. Keep in mind that the two actresses who play Ana Lucia and Libby were pulled over for DWI a couple of months ago. After their trip to the pokey… their characters were killed off and the actresses found themselves on the unemployment line.

They are not the only 2 female ABC employees who have been “punished”. ABC News, just months after announcing with great fanfare that Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff would anchor an innovative newscast with live updates for different time zones along with a podcast… have given Liz the ol’ heave ho. Vargas is pregnant (her husband is Marc Cohn, the singer who did “Walking in Memphis”) and as she gets ready to depart for maternity leave… she was told NOT to come back to World News Tonight since Charles Gibson will take over as anchorman starting Monday. The recent selections of Morning News Stars Katie Couric and Gibson to anchor the 630 newscasts show us that the ratings war is on!

Woodruff is still not well enough to come back to anchor the news after he sustained head injuries in Iraq. And as far as ABC is concerned……how dare Vargas allow Cohn to slip one past the goalie and get pregnant while Woodruff is still out? This leaves the newscast anchorless! Oy the chutzpah.. Cohn couldn’t walk in Memphis to a Walgreen’s and obtain some jimmy hats? So… ABC bids her adieu as she leaves for maternity leave, and takes away her high profile anchor gig. She claims her dr. told her to “cut down her workload”….but it looks like ABC has set the women’s movement back many years with this “punishment”! Don’t you think she would still be anchoring if she hadn’t gotten pregnant? And by the way, what is the real story on Woodruff? His condition has been as guarded as Dick Clark’s was in 2005 after his stroke!

Now time for me to join the other bloggers and toss in my Lost theories...

I think the writers have been inspired by The Village, The Truman Show, Survivor, and Total Recall. In a nutshell, I think this island is an experiment to see how different types of people will get along living in a biosphere. This self contained environment occurred to me in the season finale when the Password was “What did one snowman say to the other? You smell like a carrot”. This tropical island might be within a cold weather atmosphere since not only do we have the snowman reference, but we also see that the island is being monitored by men in a very cold snowy atmosphere! By the way, the snowman joke was ok, but the funnier joke was told on the Sopranos Sunday where a guy carrying a duck comes home to his wife and says “This is the pig I’ve been screwing”.. The wife says “that’s a duck”. The husband says… “I wasn’t talking to you”

And there are two interesting Lost quotes worth examining further... (This sounds like an ArtScroll publication.. only my Jewish homies will get that reference!) Walt telling his dad “They’re pretending” and “Henry Gale” saying he is “one of the Good Guys“.. So thats what happened to the old WMCA djs!

I think there are 4 different groups involved here.. The surviving tailie(s) , the regular gang, The Others, and the dudes from Dharma..

THE LOSTIES - Participants in an experiment where they have had some false memories implanted into them and they don't remember their true identities. Hence these flashbacks are NOT the character’s past.. but are actually the implanted memories. This made up universe only goes so far,. which is why there is a lot of overlapping between different characters in the flashbacks… Plus implanted memories can explain why Locke was cured of his paralysis and Rosalind is healthy after being ill for so long prior to arriving at the island. It also explains Jin’s pregnancy after she “thought” they were unable to have babies.

THE DHARMA-ITES WHO RUN THE SHOW - we don’t see them… but this Penny woman might have some involvement.. They set up this whole wacky experiment to “monitor” its participants. But who is being tested? The castaways who punch a code into a computer every 108 minutes or the people who were supposed to monitor the button pushers and write their entries in notebooks that were then sent out in those bank drive-up tubes. The tubes all ended up in one gigantic pile in the middle of the island where they just sat uncollected.

THE OTHERS - or as Henry Gale calls ‘em the “Good Guys”… I have always thought that The Others are not really the bad guys but may be the original settlers on the Island who have been bumped over by the Dharma group and now they have some involvement in this grandiose project (sort of like the American Indians who run the casinos.. ok you took our land. but we will own the casinos).

THE TAILIES - Bernard, Ana Lucia (RIP), Libby/Elizabeth (RIP) and Eko (RIP??) - I think they are the really really bad guys….. death row inmates who are participating in this experiment and their implanted memories might be the opposite of who they really are. Libby instead of a shrink is a criminal who killed her husband and later was confined to a mental hospital.. That might be why she was so eager to give Desmond her late husband’s boat… Perhaps, Ana Lucia is a cop killer.. Eko is a priest killing drug kingpin, and Bernard was involved in a racist hate crime... yet now he thinks he is married to a black woman! Their seems to be an expendability to those tailies.. after all what kind of experiment would allow its participants to be shot dead? Incidentally, I still don’t believe the plane “crashed”… I think they think it crashed and keep in mind they have only shown the crash in flashbacks.. The very first scene in the first episode took place after "the crash" when Jack opened his eyes. After all what are the odds that Eko and his “brother” were both in plane crashes on the same island? What are the odds that 2 members of the Kennedy family would both be involved in bizarre late night car accidents?

DESMOND - This one is is a bit confusing though…Is he part of the experiment? Or was he really stranded there for 2 years? Or does he think he killed a guy after helping him press a button for 2 years?. I get the feeling he was not implanted with the memories, but he is confused with time and really has not been stranded there for that long. But if his memories are real…including his meeting the disguised Libby … What is his ex fiances involvement? Did she use her millions (as she said with money you can find anyone) to track down the Dharma Island since she is involved with the Arctic guys who are monitoring the island? Or is her dad one of the people running the whole shebang and he arranged to get the former prisoner on the island and she wants her man back no matter what Daddy says? Incidentally, when they showed the 2 guys calling her… it was the first time a scene took place outside the island that was NOT part of a flashback. And she has the same photo on her nightstand that Desmond has.. Maybe his memories are real! Or, maybe Patrick Duffy is in her shower?

THE WALT AND MICHAEL FAMILY - What experiment allows a minor to participate? And how did he end up on the island with the “losties” before the “Good Guys” rescued him? And is he really Michael’s son or is that too a false memory on Michael’s part? What does Walt know? Maybe his parents allowed him to participate only under certain conditions… which is why he gets voted off the island while everyone else has to stay.

Then there was the little comment by Walt... when he told Michael…”They aren’t who they say they are.. They‘re pretending”….. Maybe the young kid got a bit confused because the guy’s name isn’t Jack but it is actually Matthew Fox PRETENDING to be Jack. Ok.. That’s a joke… But seriously, I don’t think that was referring to The Others.. but instead to the fellow castaways… Perhaps, Walt saw some of them at some point as they prepared for the experiment and now Walt perceives them as pretending to be other people... That knowledge might be why The Others let him go.. especially after they asked Michael if Walt had been in places he shouldn’t have been. Unless of course he was caught peeping into some of the actress’s dressing room.

THE THREE WHO ARE NOW WITH THE OTHERS - I wonder what the common thread is… maybe the 3 are just a decoy and The Others true motivation was to get the kid off the island. If this was Survivor.. these are the 3 I want on my team… Are all 3 linked by not being who they think they are? Were they involved in some kind of criminal activity? Or right doing? I don’t know much about Sawyer (I didn’t watch much of the 1st season) but wasn't he part of a scam in his flashback?.. And maybe the bad mistakes by Jack’s dad were really made by Jack? Or perhaps the guy Kate was handcuffed to might have been a criminal she was bringing to justice and not vice versa? We already know that Desmond spent some time in jail, and that some other characters like Locke were accessories to other crimes. Could this be an experiment to see if criminals and good people can live together in a free society if their memories are somehow erased? Who the heck knows? Some bloggers on other sites have a theory that the 3 are like the characters in The Wizard of Oz.. (the scarecrow, tin man, and Lion) and each seeks brains, a heart and courage. Dorothy's last name is Gale (like Henry Gale), and Gale also traveled by hot air baloon just like Dorothy when she left Oz.

Well we won't find out anything more till the fall so I am now going to go enjoy my summer. The mp3 is loaded with my summer music and my pool opens this weekend! Have a Happy Memorial Day! Don’t drink and drive… your boss might be like ABC and fire you! For that matter…. You may want to abstain from unprotected sex too!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rockies and Tigers and Reds Oh My!

Well folks, the 2006 baseball season has reached the one quarter mark.. so its time for the Nate’s World Blog to take a look back at the first quarter of the campaign. Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching, and we just had the first weekend of interleague play. which means some teams are starting to show what they are made of.. There have been some pleasant surprises.. And we will see if we are still on track with our original pre-season predictions.. (see the columns from the end of March in the archives)

Interesting sports weekend we just had… The Mets were one Billy Wagner choke job from sweeping the Yankees.. Barry Bonds cracked his Ruth tying home run.. But most people were focused on the injuries suffered by the horsey Barabaro. Amazingly, there were vigils outside his hospital room as doctors tried desperately to save the Kentucky Derby winner. All the kings horses and all the kings men paced the hospital as doctors tried to put Barbaro back together again. And as the masses gathered outside in a vigil, some are hoping Barbaro might feel well enough to giddyap over to the next room to watch a boxing match with Hal Holbrook.

2006 has been pretty good for the Rockies, Tigers and Reds. All 3 teams have been pleasant surprises so far, and all three could possibly make the playoffs. Also, the Red Sox have done better than I thought.. (although the decision to trade Bronson Arroyo to the Reds was a big help to the Reds rise to the top..) and if the Blue Jays continue to show improvement, the Yankees with a decimated outfield and a washed up Randy Johnson just might miss the playoffs.

So what contributed to these three teams success this season? It seems like the Reds made a couple of sharp trades, while the Rockies and Tigers embraced a new philosophy about how they will run their ball clubs. The Reds acquired Arroyo and 2nd baseman Brandon Phillips and along with their young infielders Edwin Encarnacion and Felipe Lopez.. and slugger Adam Dunn they have gotten off to a surprisingly good start. The NL Central is quite the competitive division, and with a rotation led by Arroyo and young Aaron Harang.. The Reds have a chance to make some noise this season.. And if the Astros have indeed slipped a notch.. The Big Red Machine has a decent shot at contending for the Wild Card.

The Rockies finally decided to dump their veterans and take the young players route. Now they finally have a supporting cast for Todd Helton with the emergence of youngsters Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe, and Garrett Atkins. The pitching has improved with young Jeff Francis anchoring a decent staff with Aaron Cook, Jason Jennings and Josh Fogg. They also have a nice bullpen with Jose Mesa pitching well as a setup man for Brian “Don’t call me Tito” Fuentes.. the first pitcher in franchise history worthy of being picked up by a Rotisserie team. This might be the Rockies year since no other team in the division has really stood out.. although the Padres have been able to put together a bit of a hot streak. Nonetheless, the Rocks are in first place at the quarter point.. And they looked damn good sweeping the Blue Jays over the weekend. Who knows? They might win that weak division.

The Tigers meanwhile were so awful a couple of years ago, they elicited comparisons to the 62 Mets. Jim Leyland took over as mgr this season, and now their rotation of Mike Maroth, Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson seem to have matured, and having that nut-job cameraman-attacking Kenny Rogers’ veteran presence has helped turn this team into a force to be reckoned with in the AL Central. Magglio Ordonez seems to have woken up from a 2 year sabbatical and Chris Shelton has evolved into a valuable offensive presence in the Tigers line-up. They have done quite well.. but the Indians are starting to snap out of their slump, and who knows how far the Tigers can go having all those games against the Indians and The White Sox.

Looking back at the Top 14 teams of 2006 (see the columns from the end of March)... The only one of those teams that looks like it won’t contend in the NL are the Cubbies. The injury to Derrek Lee has been a season breaker.. Kerry Wood is back from the DL and Mark Prior should be back soon.. But it might be too little too late.. Although the young pitcher Sean Marshall appears to have good stuff. Marshall is the 2nd Cub to have a dad with the last name of Marshall. And who sports fans was the other one? The answer is Pete LaCock, the son of…. Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall! Can you imagine how much fun Paul Lynde would have had if Marshall had kept his given name Peter LaCock?

The other NL teams from that list seem to be doing ok.. The Mets are in first place.. Although the rotation needs some help… (Maybe the Kris Benson deal wasn’t such a great idea after all?)… Incidentally my fellow met fan homies Paul R and Nessim have been emailing me back and forth because I defended the Mets when they made the Kazmir for Zambrano deal in ‘04. Back then, I felt the Mets needed to make a move to compete for the wild card. They traded for Benson and Zambrano yet missed the playoffs.. And keep in mind, Zambrano entered the ‘05 season with a career record of 10 games over .500. Not bad for a pitcher who had been on a crummy team. Obviously 2 seasons later.. The D-Rays got the better end of the deal… Ok fellow Met fans... Lets pout for a few minutes and then we will get over it and move on…. By the way the Mets have 2 openings in the rotation… could there be another Kazmir type deal coming involving one of the young studs on the farm?

Speaking of studs on the farm.. I just called the Barbaro hotline… he is still recuperating! Back to the NL East..

The Phillies have rebounded from a slow start.. And the Braves are having their usual warm weather surge. The Cardinals are in great shape as Albert Pujols is cruising towards another MVP, and possibly dethroning the much hated Barry Bonds’ single season Home Run record. The Astros are a bit streaky.. By the way they have a pitcher named Wandy Rodriguez who has a groin pull… and his protective cup affects his ability to move around. Therefore, he doesn’t wear one when he pitches.. Which means he is one comebacker away from a lengthy trip to the DL and getting the new nickname “Squeaky”.

In the AL.. I think the Yankees may miss the playoffs.. The Red Sox look a lot better than I predicted, and if the Blue Jays can get the injured Gustavo Chacin, and AJ Burnett back to the rotation soon.. our neighbors to the north might move into one of the Top 2 spots in the Amercan League East. The Central Teams are also following form.. The White Sox haven’t lost a step and now they get Jose Contreras back from the DL, and the Indians seem to have righted the ship after a shaky start.

The one AL surprise? The LA Angels.. 10 games under .500 after the weekend sweep at the hands of the cross town rival Dodgers. The division is weak. And the Halos still have a shot.. But they better not fall too much farther off the pace. I’m sure the Angels fans are thrilled with the World Baseball Classic, since their ace, the 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon seems to have gotten injured while pitching in that kooky tournament. And as we head to Memorial Day weekend.. He has yet to win a game!

By the way speaking of the Dodgers…. for those who get the baseball package isn’t it amazing that Vin Scully announces the games all by himself without a color commentator? He is just an incredible living legend! He is also piped into the clean! men’s room at Dodger Stadium as I found out during one memorable Dodger game after I ate something there that upset my tummy!

Click here to hear my favorite inning of Scully's network career!

Here is a pic of me at that Dodger game from the early 1990s… while Darryl Strawberry was batting...

Incidentally, I don’t get the baseball package... Just the free games. I watch enough TV as it is. Especially this week with the 2 hour finales of Desperate Housewives, 24, and Lost! Thanks to DH, I learned that Paul Revere was never President and high school kids stretch out their hoochy mcscoochy sessions by distracting themselves by naming all the Presidents. Hmmm.. Bush.. Clinton… Bush…. Not too distracting..

By the way, later this week I will comment on the Lost season finale chock full of my opinion on what is really going on there.. And then next week to commemorate the 29 year anniversary of the Star Wars release.. I will have my comments on Return of the Jedi!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Top 14 Talk Show Hosts Part II

Today as we present part II of our list of the Top 14 Talk Show Hosts.. it occurs to me that ABC is becoming a very relevant network even though Desperate Housewives has lost a bit off its fastball. Lost and Grey’s Anatomy are getting a lot of water cooler attention… and Monday night I even watched the GA season finale and taped 24!

Who is kookier? The women on GA or the looney tune Karen Golding who was arrested for stalking Union County Democrat big shot John Cryan? Golding says she had dated him for 2 years.. He admits to no physical relationship, yet compares her to the psycho in “Fatal Attraction” Golding got caught red handed entering Cryan’s unlocked car.. and the story made career ruining headlines when Golding called her pal Governor Corzine to post her 5000 dollar bail. To the multi-bazillionaire Corzine… it was a mere bag of shells. But that got Golding in the paper, and a lot of attention. The day after her arrest, her office was raided and computers were confiscated.. and as a result, she lost her job.

And what was she doing in Cryan’s car?? Before you think of something lascivious … Sunday’s Star Ledger reports that the police said she wrote Cryan a letter asking if he needed support since that day happened to be the one year anniversary of his father’s death. Hmmmm… maybe she’s kooky.. but at least she‘s thoughtful. By the way, investigators anonymously told the Ledger that the confiscated computer revealed some sexually charged emails going back and forth between the 2... Yet Cryan says… the 2 were never involved. Hmmmmm

But how does she rank among the Grey’s Anatomy mashuganas? Izzie’s infatuation with her patient and her boneheaded heart stopping idea to stop his heart so he would move to the top spot on the Casey's Top 40 Heart transplant list instead of another patient on Sunday’s Grey’s Anatomy… now that’s a true nut job! All the single women on that show are crazy! And you can throw Dr. McDreamy in with the rest of ‘em for his decision to reconnect with Meredith instead of his much hotter, more mentally stable wife! But after the whole Izzy- Denny storyline reached its stunning climax.. I half expected the cast of South Park to jump out and yell… “Oh my God! They Killed Denny!”

Now back to the list… picking it up at #7!

7. Mike Douglas - Whaddya think, I used to turn off the TV after Match Game in the afternoons as a kid? Heck no.. it was the Dinah Shore Mike Douglas doubleheader in the days before Channel 2 had 5pm newscasts. Mike cracks the list as a nice guy host who knew how to put on an entertaining show every afternoon… with a different co-host every week!

6. Merv Griffin - Not only a great talk show host.. But a great success in many other ways too! He’s actually one of my heroes. Lets see… he created Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.. And of course Dance Fever.. where Wayne Gretzky met his gambling ring leader wife.. So if it wasn’t for Merv… Gretzky’s name wouldn’t have been dragged through the mud! Merv’s show was great… every night on Channel 5 and he had all the great stars too! And all he had to do was sit there and say Oooooooo! He is also an incredible businessman selling one of his casinos to Donald Trump for a huge profit! Way to go Merv! He just released a dvd with clips from his show.. And he looks exactly the same as he did when I was a kid. He just appeared Thursday Night as a guest on #3‘s show!

5. Oprah - Have you noticed people don’t name their children after her? Oprah is Oprah.. She gets the big stars.. She lets that no talent buffoon Tom Cruise play on her couch.. (Did you see Tuesday’s Law and Order SVU.. They really showed what a true moron Cruise has turned into!) Oprah even handles the regular every day topics including a gastroentologist who did a fascinating show last year about a topic that apparently isn’t a regular every day occurrence for some.. I feel bad for those people… Is there anywhere else to read the comics each morning? And what’s the deal with the character in For Better or For Worse who cheated on her husband? These are the freaking comics! I don’t want to see infidelity there! Even Andy Capp’s wife stays loyal.. Although I’m sure Mr. Wilson has some serious fantasies about Dennis the Menace‘s mom! Oprah has been the Queen of Daytime for close to 20 years now.. But what is the deal with this Steadman fella?

4. Donahue - His innovative show handed Oprah her career and her billions… and was the king of his format until The Protege unseated The Mentor. Since he paved the way.. He ranks higher than Ms. Winfrey… He could talk about any variety of topics.. And he kept a stranglehold on the format till Oprah came along. He even survived a bizarre live show where audience members as a hoax fainted on live TV.. Nonetheless, Phil held his own as the audience members kept dropping like zombies, He made a comeback in 2002 on MSNBC, but the show didn’t last long. It also premiered the same day I started dating Trophy Wife! Check out this clip from a Donahue episode from the early 90s.. Look at the guy sitting in the audience with the tie. Hmmm.. He looks very very familiar.. Click play to see the clip!

3. Larry King - He is the linchpin to CNN’s prime time lineup. Some feel he has slipped a bit.. And sometimes he is not as sharp as usual.. But his show is THE best show on CNN and he is THE best host on any of the all news networks.. (With Wolf Blitzer a close 2nd). There is always something interesting going on with Larry… and he doesn’t allow himself to get overly swept up by these crazy Holloway and Duke Lacrosse topics like some of the other hosts do. His exclusives are pretty good.. Especially recent episodes involving Tammy Faye Bakker and Deep Throat Mark Felt… He just had David Blaine last Wed. night even though I still don’t know why he is popular. Trophy Wife called a pal during 24 last week and the friend couldn’t talk because she was watching …. David Blaine! Huh? Anyway, Larry is THE Man.

2. Letterman - While we are in legends territory.. He is my generation’s Johnny… even though he will never quite achieve what Johnny had. He has been on in Late Night for 24 years now.. And even though I don’t watch him as much as I used to… every time I see him.. I see a host who gives 100% and doesn’t sell out his sharp wit to get ratings. Its his show.. His shtick.. His pencil through the window.. And that’s the way it is. (Why does that woman always call him Mr. Carney?) Even though he was bitterly disappointed that he was stabbed in the back by Leno for the Tonight Show.. he has turned Late Night on CBS from a dead zone of boring crime shows into a major money maker. He also revitalized the whole block in NYC where the Ed Sullivan Theater is located.. Even though the growing popularity of the area made rent too costly for Sirajul and Mujibur! Truly a legend….. But always will be #2.

1. Johnny - He was the best.. Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky all rolled into one! Johnny dominated the talk show field for all the years he was on. I don’t know why he got so upset that Joan Rivers got her own show.. But the intensely private Johnny kept most of his thoughts and opinions to himself. But for the time he held court on The Tonight Show… he was the King of Late Night television, and I don’t see how anybody will ever dethrone him from his mantle….

And there you have it.. My Top 14. Check out the article from MSN. They listed the top 12.. But unlike them, we did not include Arsenio and Larry Sanders.. Incidentally The Larry Sanders Show gave 24’s Chloe her first big break! Would Sanders interview David Blaine? Don’t hold your breath!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Top 14 Talk Show Hosts Part I

I recently got an email from blogging legend and former radio co-worker Dangerspouse with the subject line…. “Who Are These People?” Without even opening the email, I knew that "these people" were going to be relating to pop culture or sports! I've known the Danger-man for many many moons… and when it comes to TV and movies and sports and all the other stuff that fill this blog.. he lives happily out of the loop. The article from MSN was a list of the the best talk shows hosts… and that is the topic of today’s column.

The night Johnny Carson hosted his final show.. I had a little party and we all watched as the King of Talk Shows bid adieu after a remarkable run as The King of Late Night. He said he would be back in some form down the road.. but that that was the last we saw of Mr. Carson.. (aside from a few cameos with Letterman…) During that party while we all crowded around the TV, Dangerspouse sat in the dining room, and happily read a book!

I must admit that I don’t watch talk shows as much as I used to. I seem to be more hip to how staged and scripted the guests have become .. Plus with all the cable channels and now the NHL Playoffs.. who has time? Oh wait a minute.. I can't see the hockey playoffs because I don’t get the OLN channel!! And the new set-up only gives local channels the rights to 2 games in the 2nd round.. and no games in the subsequent rounds. What a truly dopey move for the post lockout NHL to hook up with a cable channel that nobody gets!

Back in the old days.. I used to love talk shows and tried to catch as much Johnny, Merv, Mike, and Letterman as humanly possible. I liked seeing the actors being themselves which is why as a young kid I used to watch all the celebrity game shows like Match Game, Hollywood Squares, Tattletales and Celebrity Sweepstakes.

Their article has some oddball rankings.. So without further ado - here is my list of the top 14 Talk Show hosts!

THE WILD CARDS.. I'm too young to rank them but they deserve mentioning.. .. Pre-Johnny Tonight show hosts Steve Allen and Jack Paar. Both were on before my time so I never got to see them hold down the fort on The Tonight Show. I have seen Steve Allen on a number of shows, and he is credited with many of the man on the street bits that Jay Leno has blatantly stolen! However, I am not familiar with Paar’s work.. so just to be fair I will give them a wild card pick to be inserted wherever you feel is a fair spot.

NOT RANKED - BUT NOTEWORTHY - Talk shows that used to be on Channel 9! When I was a kid, Channels 5, 9, and 11 used to air all the syndicated reruns. But… 5 and 11 got the good shows.. And the lousy ones went to 9. Likewise, Channel 9 had a run of talk shows that could not ever run anywhere else. One was Kiner’s Korner, the Mets post game show with announcer Ralph Kiner… Then there was the all time classic Joe Franklin Show… a late night party with the oddest assortment of guests. When Joe ran out of questions, he had one guest question the other one.. A typical exchange went like this…

“Hello my friends, this is The Joe Franklin Show sponsored by Streit’s Matzo… Morris Katz, the worlds fastest painter is here, along with blind singer Tom Sullivan… Tom.. Maybe you have a question to ask Morris about his painting…" Morris would then proceed to paint a tree in 60 seconds while babbling about how happy he was to be on The Joe Franklin Show, his childhood in Warsaw, and a Polish weather forecast.

Later in the 80s, They also had the Morton Downey Show and of course the Richard Bey Show, the precursor to today’s fine shows hosted by Jerry Springer and Maury Povich. By the way, with all these paternity tests his guests take, and the recent tabloid allegations,... some of his producers may be guests giving him a paternity tests. Of course these woman who accuse him of having affairs, knew he was married.. Even the Amish know he is married to Connie Chung! Anyway .. Lets get on with Part I of the list..

14. Jerry Springer - We are gonna start the list with some controversy. Springer’s wacky carnival of stupidity continues to chug along and gives us a glimpse of what red neck America looks like. Most of the show is staged.. I caught an episode recently with this young guy who had no legs. He wore a t-shirt that was tied at the bottom to keep himself from being arrested for illegal exposure. Instead of sitting in a wheelchair, he could walk on his arms, and moved along pretty quickly! The shtick was he was hopping around in a hotel getting caught on camera in bed with other guests' girlfriends! Then after he was caught.. he would chase the boyfriend, who was so shocked to find his woman in bed with this guy... and stunned to be chased by this legless guy sleeping with his woman. The whole premise was so bizarre… yet wildly amusing as is the rest of Jerry’s crazy festival of wackiness. The show has made him a multi-millionaire and it sure beats being the Mayor of Cincinnati.

13. Leno - I don’t like him. He gets big ratings. He’s been on for many many years so he gets points for longevity. The fact that he beats Letterman in the ratings show you can't account for taste. Pretty interesting that his announcer is Stuttering John.

12. Regis - The only host whose talk show AND game show made the top 14 lists on the Nate’s World blog! He’s been holding down that goofy show for 20 years with a variety of annoying co-hosts… the last few years with Kelly Ripa after Kathie Lee bolted to enjoy life with Frank Gifford.

11. Conan - The little engine that could. His premiere in the early 90s as the successor to Letterman was savaged by the critics.. But he persevered and his show chugs on.. And he has now been on in the NBC 1230 slot longer than Letterman.. which just goes to show that Letterman got an earlier spot quicker than Conan. Nonetheless, he will move up to The Tonight Show when Leno moves on. Thank God!

10. Jon Stewart - My heart feels he should rank higher. I used to love his old talk shows that were on MTV and in syndication. Nonetheless, I just cant seem to get into The Daily Show.. I watch too much TV as it is.. And I just don’t have the time to watch another show with any regularity.. Especially in the 11 o’clock hour when I watch Chuck and Sue and The Family Guy… (just got back into those crazy Griffins after GSN took Match Game out of the 1130 spot!)

9. Dick Cavett - Gotta balance out the craziness of Springer with some intellect. He along with Tony Randall were probably the truest renaissance men of our generation, and Cavett was able to handle any kind of guest. His plodding methodical dry questioning was quite entertaining, and it was clear to those watching that he was the smartest man on the stage. He once dropped an F-Bomb on a live Imus show.. I almost fell out of my car when I heard it!

8. Tom Snyder - The King of 1230 in the morning.. First hosting the Tomorrow Show, and later The Late Late Show on CBS.. He even anchored Eyewitness News back in the 80s. The eyebrows.. The cigarettes.. The crazy laugh and his little world of inside jokes that only he found funny.. (“Hey we’re also on the radio… let’s have a simultini!”)

Tune in next week for the rest of the list!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Nate Night on TLC

Monday night was “Nate Night” on TLC. As I was settling into my Monday night tv viewing... I noticed that back to back episodes of programs airing on TLC featured minor characters named Nate who actually turned out to play pivotal roles in both programs.

Monday nights usually start out for me with 24.. it sure won’t be the Devils Monday night since I don’t get OLN and apparently they won’t be on FSNY till Game 5! 24 has slipped a bit this season since Edgar's death.... (could "Edgar dropping dead" be the term that replaces "jump the shark"?) This past Monday's episode did pick up a bit as Jack stowed away on a plane in search of the tape that proves the President is a bad guy. (In real life, 6 years of newspaper articles prove our President is a bad guy!) Jack spent the whole hour within the confines of the aircraft. First, he knocks out the air marshall and then he drags the wrong guy to the luggage compartment before Chloe calls in to tell Jack that the bad guy is actually... the co pilot!! Incidentally the pilot is played by Richard Gilliland... who is married to Jean Smart (who plays the first lady) and also acted with her on Designing Women back in the 1980s..

Chloe however is turning into the star of the show.. She was forced out of CTU because of insubordination.. even though head honcho Karen now realizes that Chloe and Jack might just be right about the President being a bad boy! Chloe ends up at a hotel bar.. hooks up her high tech computer system and is all set to save the world, when... she is approached by a drunken prospective suitor who meanders over from the bar. Unfazed, Chloe invites him to sit next to her.. and with a straight face.. zaps him in the arm with a taser. (At least she didn’t cut it off with a light saber; good thing George Lucas doesn’t write 24). And, while the Poor Drunk Guy was lying there.. Chloe was doing her thing! Only on 24!

By the way “Lost” has now surpassed 24 as the show with the most shocking twists after Wednesday’s episode when Michael gunned down 2 of the “good” characters. Or were Ana-Lucia and Libby really “Others” as has been rumored? Talk about your “whatcha talking about Willis?” moment. I’m sticking with my theory… all of the Lost peeps are willing participants in a big experiment with this Dharma group and they have been implanted with false memories (shown in “flashbacks”) and amnesia about their involvement with this project. That explains the cures for cancer and paralysis.. I also think the “tailies” are all “Others”.. which may explain why Michael gunned down the 2 chickies.

Anyway, after the intensity of 24.. I usually need some brain candy to recuperate so I have been switching over to TLC for Shalom in the Home with Rabbi Shmuely Boteach. SITH (Shalom in the Home.. Not the sith from Star Wars!) features Shmuely counseling a family but it drags too long.. and if they do an hour show.. they should do 2 families... Shmuely travels around in a little camper (stocked with kosher food I’m sure!) and sits there watching closed circuit TVs of the family in crisis... Then he dispenses his advice.

I used to watch CSI Miami at 10pm , but David Caruso's horrible acting just got to be too much for me.. Also, since seeing her in Breast Men... any TV acting involving Emily Proctor is just anticlimactic. For some reason.. last Monday I wandered on back to see what was going on with CSI. Cute little plot: a couple of murders on a randy cruise ship... and for the most part Caruso wasn't doing too much overacting compared to a typical show.. although his oddball little love affair with his colleague's ill sister is just a tad shmaltzy.

One cool twist to CSI Miami.... do you notice how the Law and Order shows (except Criminal Intent) always start with some irrelevant characters minding their own business and whammo… they come across the big crime scene that launches the episode. You never see those characters again.. They’re just Law and Order pre opening credit filler roles.. a notch above "extras" in the acting stratosphere. CSI Miami had a scene like that a month or so ago involving a couple who were throwing money around while being chased by cops on a drawbridge.... which when it draws reveals a dead body… which led to the plot of that program. Well, a couple of weeks ago, the pre-credit couple were the subject of an entire episode which started with the brief scene we saw in the beginning of that earlier episode but continued on with the perspective on the money tossing couple! Nonetheless, its a bit much to watch Caruso after a full hour of 24!

So last Monday... having watched CSI.. I opted to watch the midnight repeat of Shalom in the Home. The show featured a Jewish guy who met a chic from Turkey.... he converted to Islam (I can just see Shmuley cringing at the pre production meeting hearing about that scenario!)... The couple has 2 kids.. but now they don't get along. Shmuely went to visit them.. and yadda yadda.. the guy was adopted.. felt left out.. the kids came along.. and now he feels left out because the kids get most of the attention. Shmuely shows up in his space ship.. takes them rock climbing... and oy gevalt... the jew-turned-muslim has tattoos! Where is the Aish Foundation when you need them? How much of his lower lip did Shmuley bite off on that one.. considering he was once a Lubavitcher?

How does a Nate fit into the episode? Well.. the wife has had the baby sleeping in the bedroom and the tattoed hubby was forced to the guest room. No way Jose says Shmuley... Out went the baby..and it was time to add some spice to the marriage! Shmuley arranged for the wife to get a massage at a spa by a guy named Nate... but Sneaky Shmuley is soooooooo sneaky... How sneaky is he? He is so sneaky he knocked the husband out with a mallet... gave him another bris and sent him to Lakewood to study Talmud!....

No just kidding,... Ol' Shmuley took Nate out of the room.. and the massage was given by the hubby instead... After a while the wife realized what was going on.. and the couple got to re-ignite some of their passion... while Shmuley watched on a closed circuit TV and realized he would be going to Hell for looking at a topless woman getting a massage. I really admire Shmuley because he puts aside his personal feelings on a lot of these issues...(intermarriage.. tattoos.. topless women) for the sake of bringing shalom to the home! Good for him!

After SITH... another show came on afterwards.. about this huge 700 lb guy named John something or other. I’m gonna ruin the ending by telling you they get you attached to him and he dies at the end. This guy is so huge he cant get out of bed.. and spends the whole day perched on his side. He is married! to a woman who has a heart of gold but a mouth missing many teeth. She stands by him... (he was only mobile during the 1st year of their 7 year marriage)... and even takes care of his sister.

John gets evicted from his apt.. so his family decides to send him to the midwest to a nursing home that rehabilitates the morbidly obese. He goes there.. gets caught with a hidden stash of candy.... but sadly dies before he can even get settled in. He even jokes with a cute nurse about washing her back... but in the context of what should be a lascivious comment.. you realize that this guy wouldn’t be able to do anything even if the nurse re-enacted some of the movies that he was probably watching when the cameras weren’t rolling!

John meets another fella there... named Nate! Nate came there a few months ago.. He’s a younger guy in his mid 20s.. (John is in his late 30s) and they become friends.. Nate plays the gee-tar.. and visits John in his room where they sit and chat. Nate has already lost a lot of weight.. maybe 100-200 lbs... and still has a ways to go. After John dies.. Nate drives from Ohio to John's hometown in MD where he sings a truly beautiful song at a memorial service... By the way.. John was cremated.. I too was curious who the lucky pall bearers were gonna be.

The program does have a bittersweet ending. Nate ends up meeting a very cute girl who is a single mom and it looks like they are going to end up together. The end of the show shows Nate and his little cutie with her kid playing at a playground.. and you can't help but root for Nate to end up better than John did.

The show ended at 2am.. and after 2 hours of Nate night on TLC.. the best part of it all was... I ended up missing Rita Cosby! Yippee.. A night without Duke Lacrosse or Natalee Holloway! If only they could figure out what the heck was happening on Lost last Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Who's Your Daddy?

Well I have finally done it.. I have seen "The Empire Strikes Back" and with my own eyes witnessed one of the most talked about scenes in movie history... Darth Vader cuts off Luke Skywalker's arm... (After Obie Won Kenobie pulled the same stunt on Darth in SW III) at which point Darth reveals to Luke that he is indeed his poppa.


Just kidding.. I only knew that because I chose to watch the movies in chronological order and this was revealed in the 3rd movie.. BUT... for those who watched this scene in the movies it was truly the biggest "Whatcha talkin' about Willis?" moment since that “extra special” episode when Arnold found out that Gordon Jump's character was a pedophile. Sorta in the category of the unaired Family Affair episode where Jodie walks in on Uncle Bill and Mr. French and found out that Mrs. Beasley was more than just a little ol' rag doll.

The Empire Strikes Back, released in 1980 was quite futuristic. The aforementioned Luke... fresh from losing his arm to his padre, ends up getting a hand transplant.. a surgery not performed until approximately 20 years after the movie was made! And when R2D2 tells C3P0 about a ship sabotage operation he heard from another computer..... C3Po admonished him with the timely…”Don’t you know better than to trust a strange computer?”. Imagine that... computer viruses, spyware, internet problems..,.. all prophesized in The Empire Strikes Back.

The Empire here are the bad guys led by Darth Vader and backed up by The Emperor aka Bad Boy Palpatine, who was not played by Ian McDiarmid in the original, but actually was dubbed into the dvd, instead of Clive Revill who played him in the movie! McDiarmid who stole the show in Star Wars III actually plays the role in Return of the Jedi, but when that was filmed in the early 80s he was made up to look older.. but lets not jump ahead here... I read this on IMDB and I’m kind of curious to see how this is all going to work out.

To me, the bad guys shouldn’t be called The Empire.. That word always evokes happy thoughts.. Empire State Building, Empire Chicken, Empire Carpet, Empire Mortgage, etc. Once again,... Darth is fighting the battle.. but he knows he needs to win the war. Sonny boy Luke is caught in a tug of war between Darth's evil and The Good of the Force. Even though his mentor Obie Won is dead (killed at the hands of Darth Vader... or was he?), Luke still sees him.. Because in a John Edward-esque twist, he can now speak to the dead! Obie wan reaches out to him and tells him where to go for Jedi training by my homeboy Yoda!

My man Yoda then makes his 1st appearance... in the early movies he was a puppet... After initially meeting Luke he acts more intoxicated than a Match Game panelist... But, as it turns out it is all an act.. and after the silliness of their first meeting, Luke realizes that Yoda is giving him what he needs to earn credits for Force 101. But his sixth sense soon tells him that he may need to leave training camp for a more important mission.. kind of like the players who left their training camps to go play in the World Baseball Classic... only to find out it was not such a great idea... .like Bartolo Colon for example. In this case Luke.. not Bartolo senses imminent danger for Princess Leia and Han Solo.

Initially, our friends are hiding out at the icy planet.. but when Darth realizes that Luke is there.. he invades it.. thus beginning the 2 hour hunt for Luke.. the linchpin behind an Empire victory... or defeat... Luke, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca.. along with droids c3po and r2d2 all manage to escape virtually unscathed... and while Luke and r2 go to Yoda-land, the rest continue on their merry way. However Han and Leia with amor brewing in the air, have to dodge Darth’s Keystone Kops Army…. They also need to duck an asteroid storm to do so… and end up in a real life game of the early 80s video game “Asteroids”. (Thankfully the graphics in the movie are far more advanced than the plain ol' ones in the Asteroid game!) Ultimately, they run into danger at the hands of Darth Vader.. And ol’ Luke has to leave Yoda to rescue his friends.. in what is actually a trap set by his own pop. No Father’s Day card for Darth.. That’s for sure…

Poor Han Solo.. On the run from Jabba the Hut. he gets caught by bounty hunter Boba Fett (who was seen in the 2nd Star Wars movie when his dad Jango Fett created the clones) Han is frozen alive… and in his last moments of consciousness Leia tells him.. “I love you”… Han slyly replies… “I know”,… not very compassionate.. Especially when you consider what an emotional basket case his sidekick Chewbacca is. (What would Shmuely Boteach say if Han and Leia were on his new reality show Shalom in the Home?),…. .

The key moment in this movie is the battle between Luke and Darth Vader… who doesn’t catch on till this movie that he is actually Luke’s dad. Didn’t the name “Skywalker” give it away? Didn’t he realize that Luke was adopted? Didn’t he wonder where Luke came from… or are those adoption records sealed? The infamous confrontation actually begins with Luke telling Darth…”I’m full of surprises”. Uh maybe not this time Luke… Anyway, yet another arm is lost… (Luke uses his light saber to de-arm a polar bear in the beginning of the movie.) What happened in George Lucas’s childhood that he has this obsession with losing arms??

Darth also tries some mind games to get Luke to cross over to the Dark Side.. by employing the same logic used on him in Star Wars III. It doesn’t work on Luke though… which shows Darth that young Luke is emotionally stronger than young Annakin. (Luke was well taught by Yoda not to give in to anger… or else he would end up on the dark side!) Darth also has an odd relationship with his military.. brutally killing a general every time he messes up. He does look the other way at the end when Luke and Leia get away.. mainly because it was r2d2 who saved the day… and of course as we know from SW1, r2d2 was a childhood friend of … Darth Vader!

The special effects are fantastic.. even by today’s standards.. even though this movie was made 25 years ago. The fight sequences are incredible.. Both on land and in space… The Empire is made to look like inept Nazis.. While to me at least the fledgling good guys remind me of the Israeli Army.. Despite the odds, they always come out ahead…. Also, the music composition is perfectly scored with the ominous Darth theme playing each time just moments before the heavy breathing wack-o appears on screen.

On a scale of 1 to 4 bladders meaning how less likely you would be to leave in the middle to go to the bathroom…

I was going to give The Empire Strikes Back 3 and a half bladders.. BUT… since I already knew the Luke - Darth twist… I am going to give it an additional bonus half bladder because the shock of that plot twist dramatically improves the quality of the movie.. Therefore ladies and gentlemen….

The Empire Strikes Back,…. Is a 4 bladder movie!