Thursday, January 06, 2005

Ch-Ch-Check It Out

Just checking in for the first time in '05. Tomorrow night is my company's holiday party. The last few years, we've held it after the holidays because everyone's schedules were so busy in December. Should be a good time, seeing everybody all dressed up because normally we all dress casually in the office. My biggest wardrobe challenge every day is picking a T-shirt to go with my jeans: Do I go with the 1992 Mudhoney shirt (which I did today), the race shirt, or the free dot-bomb shirt from my Webnoize days? Ah, decisions, decisions.

From the wild and wacky world of the criminal courts, here's another shocking ruling. They overturned the murder conviction of a woman who drowned her five kids because a psychiatrist for the prosecution erroneously testified that she got the idea from a "Law & Order" episode; turns out there was no such episode. Does that change the fact that she killed her kids?

Well, at least you can always count on some moron filing an idiotic lawsuit. This clown wants to be paid because watching a "Fear Factor" stunt made him sick to his stomach. Hey dumbass, it's "Fear Factor." It's supposed to be disgusting.

I used the holidays to catch up on my DVD viewing before I started watching the new ones I got for Christmas. I had a blast with the SCTV Vol. 1 box set, which featured the first season that SCTV expanded to 90 minutes on NBC way back in the spring and summer of 1981. I had already been watching the show, which I consider the best sketch comedy show ever (I give it a slight edge over Monty Python, mainly it was Canadian and I have a sentimental attachment), for a few years on syndication in Canada. It was a half-hour show then and was already hilarious, but when they moved to NBC they started coming up with even better stuff. Each cast member was great in his or her own way: Eugene Levy, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas, Catherine O'Hara, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Martin Short (who joined during the NBC era), and Harold Ramis (who was only on the show for one season in the early days). It was amazing to me that some of the shows I was watching last week I hadn't since they originally aired. SCTV stayed on NBC for two years and then moved to Cinemax (which we didn't have because by that time, we'd moved to Kingston, NH, where cable TV wasn't introduced until 1985, for Pete's sake) through 1984. All of the cast members have notably gone on to bigger (but not necessarily better) things: Candy had a somewhat successful movie career until he died 10 years ago,;Short has made many movies and had a few talk shows; Flaherty was in another short-lived classic show, "Freaks and Geeks"; Martin has appeared in movies and on Broadway; O'Hara has been in several movies, including the "Home Alone" series as Macauley Culkin's mom; Moranis made a lot of movies, including the "Ghostbuster" series and "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"; Thomas was on "Grace Under Fire"; Levy is probably the most notable one right now with superb turns in Christopher Guest's "Waiting for Guffman," "Best in Show," and "A Mighty Wind," as well as the "American Pie" films; and Ramis has starred in one of the greatest comedies of all time, "Stripes," and the "Ghostbuster" series. Even though it was totally overshadowed by Saturday Night Live, and it seemed like I was one of a cult who watched it when it was on, SCTV has had a major influence on the comedy writers who came after it. I highly recommend it for those of you who haven't seen it, and I can't wait to get Volume 2.

Now I'm working my way through the Freaks and Geeks box set, but I'll pontificate on that some other time.

The new Ted Leo and the Pharmacists' CD, Shake the Sheets, is simply amazing. Although his voice may be an acquired taste for some (his voice has been compared to that dude from Dexy's Midnight Runners), Leo writes anthemic rock songs that are a mixture of the Clash and Thin Lizzy. This is his third great album in a row, following 2003's Hearts of Oak and 2001's The Tyranny of Distance. Did I mention he's a kickass guitarist as well? I still can't believe I haven't seen him live yet, but I will one of these days, dammit.

Nice gold medal for Canada in the World Junior Hockey tournament. They won in convincing fashion Tuesday with a 6-1 thumping over the Russians, who just a few nights earlier took out the USA squad amid much taunting and preening. I managed to catch the last two USA games on ESPN2 last weekend, and was I hoping for a Canada-USA final so it would be aired on American TV, but no such luck. Last year, the tournament was on the Center Ice package, but nothing's happening with that this year given the lockout. Speaking of which, the NHL cancelled its January 14 board of governors meeting, where many had speculated the league was going to call the season. The NHL claims the meeting was called off because there had been no talks; meanwhile, members of the players' union are telling the press that no counteroffer is in the works. And Wayne Gretzky is worried that both this season and next will be lost. The clock is ticking. Me, I'm getting ready to catch some college hockey. Next Friday, I'm going to see Boston University play Boston College. And with the NFL playoffs this weekend and the baseball season not too far off, I'll be just fine.

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