Thursday, September 20, 2007

Charles Schulz Documentary To Air on PBS in October

A date has been announced for "Good Ol' Charles Schulz", the latest installment in the PBS networks American Masters documentary series. Break out the pizza and root beer for October 29th, 9 PM EST.

A new, 90-minute video biography of Charles Schulz will air October 29, 2007 as part of the PBS series American Masters. The documentary, titled "Good Ol' Charles Schulz," was created by Lumiere Productions, a New York film production company, who have produced a number of award-winning and critically acclaimed documentaries, and have worked hard to make the documentary as in-depth as possible. In part, they worked with David Michaelis, whose 650-page biography of Charles Schulz will be also be published in October.

Here's the description from Lumiere's website:

"Charles M. Schulz always insisted he was ordinary and boring. But his ordinary life—like those of the Peanuts characters he created—was in fact chock-full of drama: mundane cruelties, transcendent hopes, and the daily collisions of insiders and outsiders. Interviews with those who knew him best (including the real-life Linus and Little Red-Haired Girl) will propel this feature-length documentary, the first American Masters tribute to a comic-strip artist."

While the show is scheduled to air on October 29 on most PBS stations, check your local listings to verify the time and date of broadcast.

Should make a wonderful visual companion piece alongside the Michaelis bio.

Don't Make Me Bite Ya Face

Has it been a tremendous time recently for hip hop interviews or what? The genre's growing increasingly moribund, but less than a week after Chad "Pimp C" Butler defends the right to eat cake while advising against also taking a slice of pie, Nas has some words for Bill O'Reilly.

I thought that the O'Reilly/Nas thing was done with some time ago; Virginia Tech benefit concert is announced, Nas is slated as a performer alongside such offensively innocuous acts as Dave Matthews and John Mayer. Uh oh, though, Nas is a rapper who has lyrics in some songs dealing with guns. I mean, he had a song with a chorus that went, "I got mine, hope you got yourself a gun" and another track with a hook of, "They shootin'!/Aw, made you look".

It's situations like these that get Bill O'Reilly off. Guns? Recent controversy? Black man? Hip hop music? And down he swoops, like the culture vulture he is, spouting off obvious points very loudly. He brought up not only the above lyrics, but also Nas' prior arrest on gun charges. Additionally, he insisted on pronouncing the man's name as "Nazz" instead of the correct "Nahs".

At no point did O'Reilly refer to Nas' poignant, breathtaking "I Gave You Power" (a song wherein he raps from the viewpoint of a well-worn firearm). Nor did he recite with any great horror and disgust the lyrics to John Mayer's "Your Body is a Wonderland".

Bill vs. Hip Hop is a predictable battle; he took on Ludacris and coerced Pepsi to drop the rapper from an endorsement deal. Likewise, Snoop Dogg and his scheduled guest appearance on a Muppets Christmas program. But this particular shit-sling session is not going to established plan. First, Nas performed at the Sept. 6 concert without incident, and he has not sat back on his clear victory:

Whenever he wants a debate, I'll go through it. I know Bill O'Reilly's test scores. I know what he did, what he's trying to be ... I'm a psycho. I'm an American psycho. [Addressing O'Reilly:] "Come to Queensbridge, [record your show] out there. Come to Jamaica, Queens [New York]. Do a show in Red Hook [Brooklyn, New York]." ... I ain't got no time to talk to a uncivilized savage. This man will go through all kinds of extremes for publicity. I will tell him I'm an American psycho, I'm his worst nightmare. "They Shootin' " is just the beginning.

I don't downplay nothing, that's who I am. When he wants to come holla at me, be ready for Hannibal Lecter. He don't deserve an intelligent explanation. I'll bite his nose off! He wants to talk to me like a animal? I will be — but only to him. With everybody else I'll be a gentleman, including his wife. That's right — I'm crazy. That's how we should be to him. He isn't here to help us, and we don't need his help.

If Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to VA Tech, he's gonna come dressed like the Terminator? [O'Reilly] would never say that about Arnold Schwarzenegger. But he'll say that to me because he's ignorant.
I'm reeling between hilarity, thrill, and disapproval on this one. I think it's brilliant--and I mean Sinead-ripping-up-the-Pope brilliant--that Nas considers Bill O'Reilly a lovely side dish with fava beans. I agree with his "fuck those who want to fuck us" attitude; never has O'Reilly's program been a fair forum, and the people he squarely sets himself against should not treat him with the common human deference he seems devoid of giving others; but this whole "American Psycho" business is tossed-off bravado and promises a showdown that cannot possibly live up to its hype.

I bet Bill loves him some Huey Lewis and the News, though.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Emmys--The Awards That Double As Murder Weapons



I can't even describe my glee. "30 Rock", the best comedy series on TV, actually won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series. This stunner is the only thing that makes up for Alec Baldwin's loss in the Best Actor category.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hip Hop Music and Homophobia--A Week To Remember

On the side of virulent intolerance is Ja Rule. I am every bit as stunned as you to receive this confirmation of his "alive-ativity".

we need to go step to Paramount, and fucking MGM, and all of these other motherfuckers that's making all of these movies and we need to go step to MTV and Viacom, and lets talk about all these fucking shows that they have on MTV that is promoting homosexuality, that my kids can't watch this shit. Dating shows that's showing two guys or two girls in mid afternoon. Let's talk about shit like that!
Offering a rebuttal is Pimp C, member of Southern rap legends UGK.

It’s no gay-bashing with me. It’s just, be proud of what you are, instead of hidin’ in the closet. And if ya fuck boys in the ass, then don’t be tryna fuck with the girls, too, poisoning the pussy population wit’ ya shitty ol’ dirty-ass dick.

So Pimp C is not a gay-basher?
I’m not a gay-basher, because gay people buy my records. Why would I be offended by your sexual preference, unless I’m in the closet? If ya like boys, go get all the boys ya want. And whatever you did that you ashamed of, don’t do it no more.

Small steps...small steps.




Friday, September 14, 2007

I Can't Believe This Year's Top Chef May Be a Woman Who Makes Love to Onions

Casey Thompson has pissed me off in so many special ways on this season of Top Chef: Miami. From haughtily explaining the amuse bouche to her suspicious knack for befriending superior competitors who are eliminated not long after their BFF status is established (two so far; one more and Casey's an FBI-certified serial killer!), from somehow managing to turn the spotlight onto herself when another chef is sent home ("The very talented and inspiring chef Lia is going home! Look at me, I'm so sad and yet somehow so pretty!"), to dropping ebonics in the kitchen and who can forget the relay race--


Add in her dual resemblances to Jennifer Aniston and Ann Coulter and, well, you have a reality show villain for the ages. The Subtly Annoying Bitch.

She has won two consecutive challenges now and been rewarded with a Macintosh laptop and two business class tickets to anywhere Continental Airlines flies. Whereas Sara Mair won the "Restaurant Wars" a few weeks back for leading a team that included a sweaty chef with a head fulla titanium and a hyperactive jerkass to victory while making what looked to a be a lovely halibut, and received a hearty "wow, you excelled without falling back on your specialty, cheese!". Actually, she didn't even receive that.

Casey is looking like (read: being edited to look like) one of the two finalists. This cannot stand. I am not obligated to root for a woman as Top Chef if she happens to rub me as a self-pitying attention whore who stumbled into some decent dishes recently. Neither of her wins have been decisive to this viewers mental palatte; dare I say, her most recent win for a veal and cauliflower airplane dinner was a flat-out affront. Hung's Chilean sea bass looked much more appetizing. And who the hell eats cauliflower on a plane?

And speaking of Hung...it's almost certain that he'll make it to the top 2. The entire season I have alternately loathed/tolerated this maddening little spark plug of self-ascribed awesomeness as he's performed under expectation yet always had the good fortune to be around other chefs who fucked it up even worse. The very real possibility of a Hung/Casey final means I may very well have to root for this douchesack. (Spell check be damned, that's one word in my book.)

All this angst towards the ascension of a woman who should have been gone 5 episodes into this season, when her Texas native self made undercooked chicken dressed with castor oil in a Latin food competition while a chef with no Latin experience made a merely "bland" trout-on-polenta dish and got sent home. I'm not going to accuse the Bravo network of rigging the competition, easy as it would be to do. Just how nice for their show to have its first-ever female champion. A female who looks like a Friend and thus appeals to a large segment of the viewership. Just sayin'.

Hung for the win, huh?



I am so with you, Lia.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Peanuts Is Timeless, Pt. 4--Oh You Mad 'Cause They Stylin' On You



New York's Fashion Week is over. I was so not there, despite the increasingly desperate emails from Marc Jacobs that threatened to destroy my Internet with a weird virus that made all the text appear in Swahili. Methinks he needs more time in rehab.

"Snoopy In Fashion" cuted up the runaway Friday night...as expected. Nipping asshole fashion talking heads in the bud was the fact that all the designs modelled will be auctioned off on Ebay next month to raise money for Dress For Success, a nonprofit that provides clothes and support to low-income women looking to make it in the workplace. Further lip-zipping cred was provided by the designers whose job it was to reimagine the Peanuts world via cloth: Isaac Mizrahi, Betsey Johnson, Pamella Roland, and the celebrity touches of Whoopi Goldberg and Elizabeth Hasselbeck. In attendance: Tim Gunn (now "helping" women become more fashionable on his new Bravo show), Bijou Phillips, and Zooey Deschanel.

By all reports, the show was a hit. But what about the report of a diehard Peanuts freak with a growing, yet still rather-cautious, sense of personal fashion? So glad I asked.

Here we have Mizrahi's take on the classic Chuck look. Very sparkly gold, but he was smart to not futz with the zig-zag design. That makes the dress immediately recognizable and stylish. That model's mom needs to pack her some more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, though.

Kristen Chenoweth made this li'l number inspired by Sally. Who I have never seen in the strip wear anything like this. Oh, I mean, it's a dress. So it's got that going for it.

The Snoopy dress designed by Hasselbeck was the only design roundly not cared for, if bloggers are any sort of reliable sources. Thankfully, I can say that my derision towards this offering is not prompted by my view of Hasselbeck as a watered-down Ann Coulter (which is the equivalent of diluted urine). What is going on with the lower half? What is that supposed to be? Not dog paws, that might have saved it. And no need for the skirt at the bottom. Makes it look like 4 different dresses going on at once. While Snoopy is famous for being many different personas, such as the Flying Ace, Joe Cool, a vulture, etc., note that he had the sense to be one persona at a time.

I dig Liz Claiborne's clothes, and here's her take on Lucy Van Pelt. The sky-blue is perfect; Liz really went simple here, but not simplistic. Only complaint is I don't think it looks that striking on a girl with blonde hair.

Heatherette made a wedding gown out of Snoopy plushes. I am speechless. I am going to rob a bank to buy it.

The reimagining of Woodstock, pt. 1. Both the outfit and the photo are on some Life magazine shit.

Red and black Chuck, can't go wrong. This is one I could actually see wearing in public.

Flying Ace vs. the Appetite. I have a thing for aviator caps and goggles, I just think that look should explode onto the scene. Besides Pat Benatar in the "Shadows of the Night" video, which women have really stepped up and said, "I need this useless accessory in my life and on my head"? Not enough of us, goddamnit.

Betsey Johnson, you a fool for this one, girl. Are the recurring "6"'s a nod to fondly-remembered peripheral character 5? I hope so. And please note the Snoopy hanging off the right elbow. Love it.

Pigpen by Laura Bennett. Dust around the shoulders and all. Fuck it, it gets points for guts, even if it looks like someone melted chocolate all over a trash bag.

Who is Jeremy Scott? Someone who thought way too hard and has way too little talent.

Allright, enough zig zag spinoffs. It's become tired. On the bright side, that Peppermint Patty remake on the right is so abfab that Edina Monsoon just fell into some bushes outside my house.

If you're going to plaster a dress with Snoopy, you might as well make it a Snoopy holding a heart. Snoopy in mid-dance would have been overkill, and would have resulted in the catastrophic demise of Fashion Week.

Never underestimate the appeal of a blockhead on a suit.

Um, I said "on" a suit.

I wouldn't pay for this ensemble at all, not even with the money from a Snoopyopoly game. The scarf is much too wide, and that bag doesn't work on...any...level. Maybe if the model put it over his face?

Laura Bennett's Woodstock number. Screams FUN, which I think was kinda the point of this show. Bright and fun and stylish...fantastic! I can just imagine Woodstock flitting around in the air chirping madly while I'm looking at this dress. You expect less from anyone with B-E-N-N as the first four letters of their surname? Whoopi Goldberg probably relived Sister Act when she cast orbs upon it. The hat is perfect.

Oh ish, it's a black Snoopy! Just dress in black and walk down with a matching Snoopy, it's so crazy!

(In all seriousness...I want that Snoopy doll.)

"You will lose...I must break you."

She's...dressed in...Linus' blanket? We're reaching the dregs here.

Lucy? I love this design, actually, but how is it Peanuts? What makes it stick out for this show? This is interchangeable with any other individual designer production of the weekend.

Well, generally speaking, this show appears as though it was the great success Charlie Brown never was. I liked more pieces than not, as it seems many of the designers got into the spirit. The ones who didn't...you know who you are, and you're going to Hell.

Finally, you can view the entire kabob at this link. I would have loved to have been there, grooving with Tim Gunn and calling Kim Gordon up on her cell to berate her for her absence and threaten sticker revocation.


Friday, September 7, 2007

Some People Were Just Raised to Drown Things!

Yeah, so, my mom's going to be putting forth her views on the Mike Vick story soon. Then after her, the large homeless man who always sits outside the Black Cat club in DC. With that, all of America will have had a voice re: the most disturbing story concerning dogs since Jenna Bush's arrest for underage drinking.

(Ah, I'm so much better than that! But hell, it's a Friday and amiability is out the winda like a mota memory.)

I've sat on this for awhile; I like Whoopi. She's a Peanuts freak like me. Even has a Woodstock tattoo. Most tellingly, she was a friend of Charles Schulz, and I mean a true friend. If someone says they were a friend of Schulz but they didn't call him "Sparky"...not a true pal.

But I cannot defend any of this:

"You know from his background this is not an unusual thing for where he comes from," said Goldberg. "There are certain things that are indicative to certain parts of our country."

Well, of course. That's kind of what gives America flavor. It is in fact the reason no one ever makes good on their blustery promises to move to Canada. Take Milwaukee. I have been there enough times to know this for sure: no one there is ever sober. The destitute people there drift in and out of comas as they rest on car hoods, and the successful people get to call in sick to work if they score blood alcohol levels of less than .014 on their breathalyzer/bottle opener. The natives could immediately identify Patrick and I as outta-towners due to the fact we could walk relatively straight lines and actually recoiled in horror when asked whether or not we considered Brett Favre the Second Coming.

Goldberg, in her half-minded defense ("half" comes from the fact she got the words out coherently) of Vick, indicates the Southern region of this country as a place where dogfighting is routine. I would not disagree. I would also say that another deeply-embedded Southern tradition is racism. And not that garden-variety "prejudice" y'all Northerners walk around with...this is blatant, top of the line, Gordon Young-approved hatred. They don't say "wow, isn't Barack Obama so articulate?" They say, "I can't believe a n****r could really get into the White House". Now, is this true of everyone in the South? Course not. But I say that to say this.

Whoopi Goldberg's statements indicate flexible morality. She states that if Vick were from New York and committed such atrocities, she would not give him a pass or come to his defense. Ah, so it's a disgusting act only if you weren't raised to know that it was. Mike Vick, I mean, yeah of course making dogs fight and killing them is wrong. But he was raised that way! Man, Jesse Helms...sure, he's a hateful man. Walking detritus, even! But look at when and where he was born. I mean, you gotta feel for a guy like that.

Or not. Neither Vick nor Helms stayed in hermetically sealed environments. Both men have lived enough life (or too much life, in the case of Mr. Helms), and have travelled far enough in that life, and met enough people outside their milieu, to get a grasp on the myriad differences that exist among all people. More to the point, Mr. Vick must have learned at some point that his "hobby" was illegal. As he "learned" that pitting dogs against one another was a "sport."





Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Top Chef: Miami--The Midterm Report

The only reality show your semi-faithful blogger can be arsed to cast her assisted orbs upon is Top Chef: Miami. I have never watched a single episode of American Idol or Survivor. At any point. Ever. Oh, I'm always hip to the particular dramas and comedies of either show, thanks to our good buddy "cultural osmosis", but as far as experiencing these zeitgeist moments firsthand, I have not even a slightly twisted interest. All the shows of this stubborn genre have struck me as uselessly exploitative, lowest com-denom, misleading, and creepy. I can go to my annual family reunion for my proper fill of all that, thanks.

So why TC? The answer is simple and thus instantly comprehensible: it's about food. Not people singing Christina Aguilera ballads or engaging in a fierce tug-of-war for the right to wear a shark fin atop their head for the needed advantage in some contrived "challenge".

But leave it to good ol' Patrick...

One Friday afternoon, as we chilled villainous at his home, he switched the TV to the Bravo network. Before my eyes were a handful of folks dressed up in chef gear (well, minus the hats) standing before a table of judges. It seemed Patrick's mom got him hooked on Top Chef last week with the debut episode of the third season and he was desirous of catching the second episode, which he'd missed earlier in the week. My general unease over things in this life embraced and championed by Patrick's mother aside, I gave in. Luckily for all involved, this second episode involved a BBQ "challenge", wherein the 14 remaining chefs were required to russle up the yummy for some Miami snobs. In case you've forgotten, or never in fact knew, everyone is a winner when BBQ is involved. Well, everyone except the chef who got kicked off at the end of the ep.

The competition is now down to 7, with a new installment due this Wednesday, 10 PM Eastern. I have, much to the shock of any and all who have dutifully endured my circuitous rants against the phenomenon of reality-based entertainment and its concurrent ill-effects on the historically writer-friendly medium of television, been a devoted viewer. Honestly, I haven't been this emotionally invested in an hour of TV since the last season of Hill Street Blues, when I kept hoping for someone, anyone--even Goldblume--to blow Norman Buntz' goddamn head off.

Let's look at, first, the 8 who have come and gone from the Bravo kitchen.

CLAY (eliminated in ep. 1)



AMUSED DOUCHE: The Southern, aw shucks-type fucko with a back story that Flannery O'Connor rejected for her fiction as too weird: his pops was a chef who committed suicide when the pressures of the profession became much too much to bear.

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: Was incredibly funny, which of course meant he was doomed to never be taken even two ounces of serious by his competitors or us at home. Also quite a bit cute, no?

YOU NEED MORE BACON: Flat out, Clay had a chance to rep lovely for a region of the country, and a style of cooking, that is treated with chuckling derision by established foodies when they're being nice. He failed demonstrably. Hopefully, his out sized humor and graciousness will not depart from him and result in the unfortunate gutting of some poor soul who thought repeatedly referring to Clay as "Cletus" at Food Lion would be too freaking funny.

SANDEE (sent home in ep. 2)



AMUSED DOUCHE: Self-taught chef nearing 40 years of age. More to the point, a lesbian with a fauxhawk.

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: Gregarious personality and untrammelled creative urge in the kitchen makes for one chef that left way too early. Bravo, producers!

YOU NEED MORE BACON: Booted after the "high-end barbecue" challenge, when judges deemed her poached lobster "not barbecue". She put it on a grill, for Christ's sake. Meanwhile, Joey's decidedly non-high end drumstick and Howie's Sandpaper Meat Delight went unpunished.

MICAH (blessedly removed from our televisions on ep. 3)



AMUSED DOUCHE: Was from South Africa, then wasn't. This subterfuge rather blew up in a bitch face. Oh, and she so so missed being with her daughter, Matilda. It's so hard being a single mom with a nationality crisis.

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: Named her child after the British Bulldogs mascot...maybe! I like to think so, anyway.

YOU NEED MORE BACON: During the awesome "Family Favorites" challenge, Micah talked smack about America--the very country she pretended not to be from! Actually, all she did was introduce her reimagined meatloaf with the fateful words, "I know you Americans like to put ketchup on things" which caused judge Ted Allen's birdcage door to fly open with great fanfare and a flaming yellow canary came forth to announce to one and all that xenophobic meat towers aren't even worthy to double as poop in a forthcoming Pink Flamingos remake.

CAMILLE (gone for good in ep. 4)



AMUSED DOUCHE: A lot of viewers found her, uh, "hot."

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: Um...a female chef. I am contractually obligated by the presence of ovaries to support the women in this thing.

YOU NEED MORE BACON: Except she isn't really that hot, or that good of a chef. She earned her ouster via fucking up a pineapple dish, which Top Chef has taught me is the culinary equivalent of fucking up at suicide.

LIA (completely shafted in ep. 5)



AMUSED DOUCHE: Sous-chef at NY's famed Jean-Georges. Along with Tre, one of two chefs amid this year's crop actually approached by the TC producers to compete.

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: Delightfully cute, right down to the rosacea on her cheeks. When her "reinvention" in the Fam Faves challenge was judged to be craptacular, she salvaged all by venturing forth the now-legendary line, "I guess I just didn't understand the complexity of franks 'n beans." The judges laughed, and America swooned. Did I mention Lia is a former literature major? Fuck a Micah. Reading a Bazooka Joe comic gave her a headache.

YOU NEED MORE BACON: Lia was screwed over by all who conspire to keep those of us with less-than-porcelain skin off the airwaves. You heard me! Or read, rather. The clock struck "get the hell on" during the Latin Lunch challenge. Out of her element. the unflappable Lia valiantly put forth a trout polenta dish. Dubiously Latin, and apparently mushy, it should still have received a pass from the judges for not just giving up in the face of an unfamiliar style under a severe time limit. Especially considering that her BFF on the show, Casey, lives in fucking Texas and made a chicken and rice dish that was undercooked and decorated with some coffee/molasses "mole substitute" that looked like motor oil and per the judges, tasted even worse than that.

JOEY (freed in ep. 6)



AMUSED DOUCHE: Big fat Italian-American from New York. Nicknamed "Pickles". 'Cause he so obviously eats 90 of them daily. Cusses bunches.

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: Once invited Hung to kiss his New York-approved ass and then told Howie to man up after Joey told the judges he felt Howie should be eliminated at the barbecue challenge--despite not having tasted Howie's dish.

YOU NEED MORE BACON: A visit to his Myspace page reveals that he hates to read (unless it's cookbooks!) and he doesn't know how to put pictures up that are any larger than thumbnails. He doesn't grasp simple instructions delivered evenly and calmly very well, and will never live down the fact that he was the chef eliminated when Rocco Di-goddamn-Spirito was the guest judge.

SARA N. (made a stylish exit in ep. 7)



AMUSED DOUCHE: AKA, "the short, Asian Sara".

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: Way too nice and way too green with the colors still. I hope she continues to develop her kitchen skills while maintaining the sweetness that causes gay men to flock to her with Professor Higgins intentions.

YOU NEED MORE BACON: Episode 7 was a classic bait and switch by the producers: convinced that they were going to spend a late night partying in Miami, the chefs were instead deposited at adjoining roach coaches to prepare snacks for drunks. The three women remaining had no choice but to ply their trade in very unprofessional "night-out" clothes. Sara was the most immediately flustered of all the chefs over this chicanery, and she never recovered. While I feel for her disappointment (and the fact that she had to share a coach with Howie), she deserved her ticket back home for being a whiny pouty grumpy beeyotch who put ice in the milkshakes. I shit you never, this woman made milkshakes and put ice in them. Them shakes is s'posed t' be thick, honey. Like sucking a wrench out of the mud, ideally. Dilution of a milkshake is actually a felony crime in 3 states, and Sara was lucky to escape with only a bruised ego.

TRE (made the internet cry with his departure in ep. 9)




AMUSED DOUCHE: The muscular black chef with a brilliant smile, affable personality, and superlative cooking chops. An early favorite for the win.

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: You know who Tre didn't get along with? No one. Furthermore, he won 3 elimination challenges with such drool-pool dishes as...cheese grits topped with bacon-wrapped shrimp! After that, he seemed damn near unstoppable. But then came the two-part "Restaurant Wars". Tre fans, try not to get too discomposed as I kick the truth about your idol.

YOU NEED MORE BACON: The RW challenge comprised two episodes. During the first, Tre was named Executive Chef of Restaurant April and wasted no time in bragging in the individual interview segments. In fact, he guaranteed victory for his team of Casey, CJ and Brian all while laughing loudly and arrogantly. After a draw was declared for the first run-through, Tre further dug a hole by proclaiming he could make bread pudding "in my sleep", refusing to replace a dish on the menu that got shit on by judges, and centering the new courses around a salmon pesto that looked like he decided to get innovative with some fresh afterbirth he found laying around.

His exit has led to pronouncements on blogs nationwide; namely, concerning the "transparent idiocy" of the TC judges--who, you will remember, voted a Tre dish tops of all entries in three previous challenges--and the patently "unreasonable" policy whereby judges consider only that challenge when determining what lackluster performance to send home. In other words, what you did one or two episodes ago doesn't count for shit if you try and feed people placenta pesto. Inevitably, I even came across a couple comments suggesting racism on the part of Bravo in giving Tre the boot. Uh, no. The case of the Jena 6, that's racism. This is Tre being on a team with a woman who seduces onions, a one-nutted giant, and the one and only Seafood Boy--and still fucking up worse than any of them. Consider that before you go decrying this cruel cruel world.

All of which leaves the remaining 7 hopefuls. (Ooh, this section is brought to you by the Glad family of bloggers! I typed this on a GE keyboard and the spellcheck was provided by the great folks at Lean Cuisine!)

HUNG



AMUSED DOUCHE: Oh that Hung! From the very first time we saw him, when he claimed to be a Certified Professional Asshole, he's been so desperate to be hated. Ooh, I don't hold my tongue for anyone! I sharpen my knives with smug! When one combined his self-absorbed attitude with his early promise (QF win, placed in the top 2 for the first Elimination Challenge), it was hard not to envision a time in the near future when I'd be watching the show with gritted teeth and steaming ears as this diminutive little snork alienated his fellow chefs and whipped up some divine concoction, thus rendering him impervious to any petty criticisms as he steamrolls towards his coronation.

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: But then, in one of those developments, that makes me think there might be some divinity at work here, Hung started to suck. Dish after dish brought him before the judges for admonition; his Quickfire challenge offerings were uniformly poor and denied him challenge immunity week after week. Then, it got a little despairing (but only a li'l). Quickly, though, it became hilarious once I realized this arrogant snot was insisting on godhead status in the kitchen in spite of the consistent "assness" of his creations. And instead of praying to the first ten gods that popped up after a Google search for Hung to get the boot, I felt part of me would die if he left. Whose comeuppance would I savor like a salmon with delectable BBQ glaze? Also, he almost accidentally stabbed Casey with a knife as he ran around in the kitchen like some meth-addled Robin. That counts for something.

YOU NEED MORE BACON: Well, he's made it this far. And with Tre gone, his confidence is back with screaming vengeance. He stands a very real chance of winning the overall competition, and if this should occur, well...be forewarned that no children will be spared my squalling wrath.

CASEY



AMUSED DOUCHE: Looks like Jennifer Aniston. Is female. Befriends other chefs only to have them wrenched from her arms (see Lia, Tre).

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: Honestly, the only reasons to root for her on my own end are she's a woman and she may befriend Hung and/or Howie very soon.

YOU NEED MORE BACON: She has never made one dish I thought looked all that great shakes (hell, even Sara N. pulled that off with her Vietnamese BBQ) and during the Quickfire Relay Race she singleknifedly screwed her team by dicing onions with all the speed of a heavily-sedated widow. All the while, Hung is breaking down chickens with such ferocity I believe he was Jack the Ripper in a prior existence.

BRIAN





AMUSED DOUCHE: Seafood whiz who looks like B-52 Keith Strickland. I am the only one I have seen who has noticed this resemblance. Last name is "Malarkey". Some people are born great.

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: His single elimination win was at the storied BBQ challenge, when he unleashed one of the top 5 tempting dishes of the year with "seafood sausage." Oh, that BBQ challenge! I can just see myself several decades down the line, telling other peoples grandchildren about what a magical hour of television that was.

Apparently his marriage is an, um, "open kitchen"
. His wife's Myspace touts membership in a group that seeks out willing participants for "male-female-male" threesomes. Now that's some seafood sausage.

YOU NEED MORE BACON: Or beef. Or anything other than seafood. I really can't believe a blatant one-trick pony has made it so far, and if he makes the final four off of a seafood-dependent repertoire, he'd better have something amazing up his sleeve, like "black tiger shrimp in orgasm sauce with secret o' happiness salad".

CJ



AMUSED DOUCHE: Had testicular cancer a couple years back and lost a ball to the neighbors yard. Is tall. Like, Thurston Moore tall.

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: CJ has a snarky sense of humor that brooks no loyalties. During the first RW judges table, he gleefully cosigned disparaging remarks against teammate Brian while in the same room with him. Overcompensation? Or is CJ the ultimate free spirit? Is losing a testicle a gateway to true contentment in this chaotic universe?

YOU NEED MORE BACON: "Cruel Jerk" and "Cuntish Jackoff" are just two of the things "CJ" stands for, according to the Interweb's many Tre supporters. See, it's become conventional wisdom that CJ just stood by in the second Restaurant Wars and let his boy Tre get smashed by a Greyhound to save his own underwhelming self. Never mind that Tre was the exec chef and he cooked bullshit food, or that he was resolute that he could handle the pressure. Oh no, he couldn't be culpable, let's name CJ the douche.

Mind you, I can't defend Solo Ball too much. When the guest judge demanded to know why CJ--as team assembler and sous chef--didn't have Tre's back as their kitchen basically was falling into the crapper, CJ could not actually respond but rather look over to his right and (way) down at Casey for--what, exactly? How can she pretend to speak for you? Bitch cuts onions like a heavily-sedated widow and you want her to construct some fantastic Robert E. Lee backstory for you on the spot? One Ball, please!

But in the end...CJ is a genius. If Tre cooked to his potential, their team would have won and minna tanoshiku. And if, by some unimaginable tear in the space/salmon continuum Tre blew it, well, he is the executive chef. Ya see?


SARA MAIR



AMUSED DOUCHE: Makes her own cheese. Like anything else matters after finding that out.

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: Went from hated to celebrated after winning the "Restaurant Wars", namely for keeping nemesis Howie and fireplug Hung in line in the kitchen. While Casey and the other Sara were whining about not getting to party and having to make food whilst decked out in they skimpies, Sara M. was shown on camera saying, "Who gives a shit?" Meanwhile she's wearing a dress that would allow her breasts to crush ants if the need arose.

YOU NEED MORE BACON: Leadership in abundance, but inconsistent with the dish selection. Hampered also in her quest to be named Top Chef by that whole "peeing while sitting" thing.

DALE



AMUSED DOUCHE: Gay chef from Chicago. Like the dearly departed Sandee, insists on rocking the fauxhawk. Doesn't have time to "dick around with a conch".

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: Deep into the season, Dale soundbites are like finding the Hershey Special Darks in the candy bowl: scintillating treats with unusual (and addictive) flavor that leaves you digging for more. And more there will be, 'cause man cannot live by the Mr. Goodbar wisdom of Howie alone.

Has the good sense to offset the fauxhawk with a red bandana. Great color and keeps him from sweating into the food. As far as his cooking, has yet to win a big one (um, shush) but aside from his questionable leadership in the dessert team fiasco (he got Camille booted and he knew it), his offerings have looked very tasty. Who can forget Dale using instant mashed potatos and rotisserie chicken for his dumplings?

YOU NEED MORE BACON: Dale is fun, funny, and talented but he also frets too much and takes things immediately, wrenchingly to heart. But he is smart enough to know when and what he needs to improve. Case in point: as front-of-house for his restaurant, he did little in the kitchen and concentrated on making the interior design decisions. This led to the unbelievably ill-advised placing of scented candles at the tables, among other sins. When he escaped what he felt was a certain elimination, he resolved to take a more active role in the kitchen as well as maintain a friendly FOH presence.

Of all the chefs remaining, he is the only one I see without a fatal flaw. Do not be shocked to see him win it all.

HOWIE




AMUSED DOUCHE: Understand this, Howie isn't here to make friends, and if he's gotta be an insufferable prick, he will be an insufferable prick. He's a fat bald sweaty stubborn bull in that kitchen, and you either respect the Howie train or get off the tracks!

WHO YOU CALLIN' SUCCOTASH?: With two Elimination Challenge victories, he is the only one of the remaining chefs with more than one under his belt. So clearly, there's some talent there.

YOU NEED MORE BACON: Until the Restaurant Wars, no team with Howie as a member was the winning team. Remember that. This man is such a cancer I don't doubt he has CJ's ball hidden away somewhere, the bastard! The many transgressions of Howie don't stop with lack of team spirit, oh no. He also: sweats into his food; especially doesn't like girls being let into the clubhouse; looks like an especially sinister turtle whenever he deigns to smile.

But the event that cemented Howie as number one Season 3 douchesack was during the Sara N. elimination. Already it was obvious as soon as the losing team came before the judges that Sara was going home, as soon as she opened her mouth and said that cooking in her "party" clothes left her feeling "demoralized". As soon as Sara said that, the sight of her exiting the kitchen with her knives packed one last time actually flashed in my head minutes before it actually appeared on screen.

But when Sara started to implicate Howie as a factor in her lack of assertiveness, he immediately went on the offensive, referring to her as "the baby of the house" and standing by unapologetically as the tears flowed even more copiously. That's called "twisting the knife", and it takes a real self-absorbed assclown to do it with such relish. To top it all off, when a sniffling Sara, sitting with the other chefs awating her fate, proclaimed, "Apparently I'm the baby of the house", Howie tried to cover by saying, ""If that's how I came across, that's not what I was saying". I love when reality show participants forget that they are being filmed pretty much fucking always, and this "I was taken out of context" shit won't fly.

Howie knew enough not to even get up from his seat when Sara said her goodbyes, and I somehow sense he'll get a similar treatment when he's told to pack his knives or even better stick one in his forehead. Which hopefully will be tonight. Please, Jebus, tonight.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Killing the Delirious Drama For Michigan Football

This afternoon in my life was marked by spiralling pigskin.

Patrick: "Appalachian State just scored on Michigan. 7-7. That is not gonna look good to voters, if they let a team like that stay close."

Me: "Uh, yeah, but the final score's gonna be 42-10, so Appalachian better enjoy it."

I said this out of no particular yearning to see either team win or lose; rather, top 5 title hopefuls in the frequently-predictable world of NCAA Football don't lose to Division 1-AA teams, no matter how accomplished that "other" team might be.

Except when they do. Even better, Notre Dame got their golden boy Irish asses handed to them by Georgia Tech, 33-3. That even made Lucky the Celtics leprachaun weep copiously into a Killians.

Also, my second year as a Fantasy Football owner started off spectacularly, as the 10-team league I am a part of held its live draft today. Whereas I picked 9th in a 14-team league last year and ended up finishing third, I was absolutely gobsmacked to receive the top overall pick. Naturally, I selected Redskins running back Clinton Portis. Yeah...with a gun to my head, maybe (and I mean that better be like a Paris Gun). I snatched up LaDainian Tomlinson, and the rest of my team shapes up thusly:

Carson Palmer
(Cin - QB)

Larry Fitzgerald
(Ari - WR)

Santana Moss
(Was - WR)

Chris Chambers
(Mia - WR)

LaDainian Tomlinson
(SD - RB)

Willis McGahee
(Bal - RB)

Antonio Gates
(SD - TE)

Tatum Bell
(Det - RB)

Matt Hasselbeck
(Sea - QB)

L.J. Smith
(Phi - TE)

Michael Turner
(SD - RB)

Joshua Cribbs
(Cle - WR)

Jeff Wilkins
(StL - K)

Baltimore
(Bal - DEF)

Denver
(Den - DEF)

Champ Bailey
(Den - DB)

Brian Urlacher
(Chi - DL)

Chris Hope
(Ten - DB)

Bart Scott
(Bal - DL)


Chad Greenway
(Min - DL)

The maddening horror of my wide receiver corps aside (having a fantasy team with a starter from the Redskins not named Chris Cooley makes me break out into sweat-shudders), this promises to be a top notch squad in a hard-fought league. I mean...LT. Balto D, my starters for the second straight year. Being the only female coach in the league again. This is my soap opera.