Thursday, January 29, 2009

Charles Widmore from "Lost" to Bail Out U.S.?

It's clear the U.S. economy is deep in the crapper, and with hundreds of billions of dollars not solving the problem, it's clear that only one person can come to the rescue: Charles Widmore.

Charles who, you say? Charles Widmore is the mysterious, obscenely rich mogul who's pulling a lot of the creepy strings in ABC's "Lost." Sure, he sponsors round-the-world sailing races and buys the very priciest single-malt Scotch, but that's run-of-the-mill billionaire stuff.

No, Charles Widmore can buy rare documents from a 19th-century slave ship, and what's more, carry out a massive diversionary campaign to find his true treasure: that mysterious South Pacific island that is home to the afore-mentioned slave ship, random polar bears, Others, Other Others, and a large quantity of Dharma Initiative Ranch Dressing. And, of course, the island can travel through time and space (which must wreck havoc with the ranch dressing's expiration date).

You see, Charles Widmore so badly wants the rest of the world to believe that Oceanic 815 was lost at the bottom of the ocean that he staged an elaborate fake crash scene on the bottom of the ocean. This is no mean feat; it involved buying a jetliner, filling it full of corpses (apparently these can be bought on the black market), and then having it placed at the bottom of the sea.

What price might Charles Widmore exact for agreeing to bail out the U.S. Treasury? Well, maybe the U.S. agreeing to give his hated son-in-law, Desmond, a one-way trip to the International Space Station. Or maybe a few of the U.S. Virgin Islands so that he can experiment with trying to send them through time and space? I hear St. John is nice this time of year (polar bears not included).

So how about it, Charles? You bail out our economy and we'll give you a Desmond Hume space shot and a few sunny islands? Tell you what, we'll throw in some of that specially aged Dharma Initiative Beer, too...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Senator Oprah?! ... and Other Odd Tales from Blago TV

Soon-to-be-impeached Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has packed up his show and is taking it on the road... literally. His impeachment trial (he's accused of trying to sell former Sen. Barack Obama's Senate seat) begins today in Illinois, but Blago is appearing on TV elsewhere ... one of the morning news shows, and later on, yes, The View.

It's been like Blago TV the last few days, all Blago all the time, as the disgraced governor appears on one TV program after another to profess his innocence. And at each point he's been dropping bizarre comments comparing his situation to all kinds of historical situations.

One of the latest revelations is that Blago says he was considering naming Oprah Winfrey to fill Obama's seat in the U.S. Senate. Huh? Maybe Oprah would make a great Secretary of Book Clubs, or could use her vast fortune to pay down the national debt, but a U.S. Senator?

Among the other odd events in the Blago scandal:
* he says his impeachment trial is "rigged and fixed"
* Blago compared his arrest to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor
* he likened himself to historical figures including Gandhi and Nelson Mandela
* his lead attorney resigned a few days ago, saying of the governor, “I never require a client to do what I say, but I do require them to at least listen”
* Chicago mayor Richard Daley has said that Blago is "cuckoo"

This dude seems totally whacked out. Will somebody please tell governor Blagojevich to put the crack pipe down and slowly back away?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

James Taylor's Eye Patch - What's Up with That?

Anybody who's seen James Taylor on TV lately has noticed that he's sporting a new accessory on his head... no, not a toupee, but an eye patch on his left eye. So what's up with that? Did Sweet Baby James forget that "National Talk Like a Pirate Day" was several months ago? Is he trying to Go to Pirates of the Caribbean in his Mind?

Apparently it's nothing of the sort. I saw a brief bit of Taylor's appearance on the Larry King Show Saturday night and was surprised to see that black eye patch. Fortunately, guest host D.L. Hughley asked what countless viewers no doubt were wondering... Why are you wearing an eye patch?... and The Handyman replied that he had fallen down (maybe he's not so handy when comes to walking?).

Taylor didn't explain the nature of the accident, and Hughley didn't pursue it. But it's a bit of unfortunate timing, since James Taylor is making a number of public appearances these days in the lead-up to his performance at today's inaugural concert on the national mall.

But if he decides to hang on to that eye patch, he's got a head start on a fun Halloween costume.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fantasy Island's Ricardo Montalban Dies at Age 88

Ricardo Montalban, the actor known as the proprietor of TV's Fantasy Island, has died at the age of 88. He also starred in movies including Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. He also appeared in the Spy Kids movies. You can read more about Ricardo Montalban's death on the People magazine Web site.

Since I never watched Fantasy Island much, my exposure to Ricardo Montalban is mostly from his much-lampooned car commercials for the Chrysler Cordoba, during which Montalban would mention the "seats available in rich, crushed velour... or soft, Corinthian leather!"

He would later add in the commercials, "I like what they've done to my car!"

Rest in peace, Ricardo... hopefully in some soft, Corinthian leather.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

2009 Improv Everywhere No Pants Subway Ride - This Saturday

If you'd like to feel the breeze of a New York City subway platform on your bare legs and will be available this Saturday, you might want to take part in the 8th Annual No Pants Subway Ride, an event put on by Improv Everywhere. As the name says, the event involves numerous people riding a given New York City subway train wearing no pants (people of both sexes are welcome). The No Pants Subway Ride always evokes curious looks from other train passengers, especially since the participants are instructed to behave as if there was nothing unusual going on.

The 2009 No Pants Subway Ride takes place this Saturday, January 10th. Get all the details on the event at the 2009 No Pants Subway Ride Web site. There you can find all the instructions for the event and decide if it's something you want to do. You can also find photos from previous No Pants Subway Rides.

The No Pants Subway Ride is put on by the public performance group Improv Everywhere, which has held numerous memorable events in the past. One of more well-known events occurred when the group had participants walk through Grand Central Station and then freeze at the same time, and stay in their frozen pose for several minutes. (If you haven't seen the video of this, check out the Improv Everywhere Web site... the reactions of the other people in the Station are priceless.) On another occasion the group enlisted people to act as bathroom attendants at McDonald's.

At the Web site you can also get on the Improv Everywhere mailing list and find out about other events you may want to participate in.

Introducing the MacBook Wheel - No Keyboard, Just One Big Clickwheel!

The Onion has done a great send-up of the Macworld conference hysteria with this report on the MacBook Wheel (video below), a laptop computer that has no keyboard and instead has a big iPod-like clickwheel to provide input.

Why bother typing out a sentence when you can accomplish the same thing with a few hundred clicks of the wheel?

And as one Mac fan blurts out, "I'll buy almost anything if it's shiny and made by Apple."

Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Wacky News Update: Thor Scares a Burglar, Blue Man Group Starts a Preschool, and More

It's a new year, and that means new wackiness from the beautiful people as well as everyday folks, as these examples show...

* Man Dressed as the Norse God Thor Scares Off Burglar: A Scottish man dressed as the Norse god Thor came home from a party and scared away a burglar who'd broken into the man's home. Thirty-eight year old Torvald Alexander went to a New Year's Eve costume party decked out as Thor (he has a Norwegian name), and returned home to find a thief in his home. The six-foot-tall Alexander chased after the intruder while still wearing his red cape and winged helmet.

* Blue Man Group Launches a Preschool in New York: Performance artists Blue Man Group have extended their brand beyond the music CDs and t-shirts: they've opened their own high-tech preschool in New York City. As you'd guess, the Blue Man Group preschool seeks to merge traditional preschool learning with technology and a big helping of fun and play.

* Thousands of Shoes Dumped on Miami Highway: Enough shoes to fill up Imelda Marcos's closet were dumped on the Palmetto Expressway in Miami on New Year's Day by person or persons unknown, snarling traffic for hours.
The shoes appeared on the southbound lane of the Expressway shortly before 8 a.m. Friday, and included everything from work boots and sneakers to bath slippers, beach sandals, and even roller blades. Authorities closed down traffic to collect the shoes, cause long traffic delays. Police have no idea if the shoes' appearance is just the result of a truck losing its load or some kind of social of political commentary, such as a reaction to George Bush having shoes tossed at him at a news conference in Iraq.