Archive for October 2004


Behind the Scenes: Extreme Makeover

On Monday night at 8 p.m. on ABC (check your local listings out west due to football), there’s a behind the scenes special on this week’s episode of EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOMES EDITION.

Here are my questions. I’m curious to see how many of these they actually handle:

  • Do you really want me to believe that you show up at someone’s house without warning on a Sunday morning at 7:30, yell into their house through a loudspeaker, and have them rush out of the house awake and fully dressed the next minute?

  • Do the families really leave twenty minutes later in a limo for a week’s vacation? Don’t any of these kids go to school?

  • Do you really want me to believe the design team comes up with something that afternoon?

  • Do you then expect me to believe that construction begins the next day based on those designs?

  • Do you expect me to believe that Ty finds a contractor on Monday morning and has him take a taxi to the house with a team of 100 workers right behind him?

  • Will we ever see a special looking back on the dream homes we’ve seen built? MONSTER HOUSE does it, and quite often we see the owners changing back some of the more crazy parts of the house. In EXTREME MAKEOVER, kids rooms are always designed around the kid’s interest of the moment. We know kids. They change wildly from month to month, let alone year to year. How many have repainted their rooms, ripped out the themed stuff, or are just unhappy with it now?

Look, the show is a lot of fun, even with all the maudlin bits. (“We’re not just changing a house. We’re changing a life.”) But my intelligence is a little insulted by the idea that rebuilding a house in seven days takes less than 24 hours’ planning, and an afternoon spent in Sears. I want to know what REALLY happens. How far in advance are these homes picked? How do they maintain the element of surprise for these families? Surely, they need to come into the house to measure, inspect, and create plans. Then, it takes appearances in front of the town council to get the building permits.

Right now, all the promos for the show indicate that they’re not really pulling back the curtain at all. They’re showing us cut scenes and cute funny stories that happen in the madness of building a house. I hope I’m wrong here, but somehow I doubt it.

So go ahead, Ty — answer my questions. Surprise me.

See Ashlee cry on 60 Minutes

Assuming CBS isn’t busy concocting some new lie to derail the Bush campaign, this will air tonight:

CBS News | Exclusive: Ashlee Snafu On Tape | October 29, 2004�18:06:18

When Ashlee Simpson ran off the “Saturday Night Live” stage last week after her lip-sync gone awry, 60 Minutes cameras were there to record her embarrassing exit, and the reaction from show creator Lorne Michaels and other shocked SNL staff members. The exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the incident will be part of a Lesley Stahl report about the making of the venerable comedy program, to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Stupid Stupid Stupid

The DVD boxed set for the first season of 24 contains an introduction to the season from Kiefer Sutherland. This introduction is on the last disc, just after the final four episodes.

Stupid stupid stupid

Firefox Awareness raises $250,000

Slashdot | NYT Firefox Campaign Raises $250,000

This is impressive. They wanted to raise some money to place an ad in the New York Times celebrating the 1.0 release of Firefox. I’d say they more than met their goal.

I, sadly, forgot to contribute. Ah, well.

Coolest summer job ever?

NASA – High School Student Sets Sights on Saturn

During the summer months, most high school seniors would welcome the chance to sleep late or go to the beach, but Jessica Luttkus spent her time planning the perfect photo shoot of Saturn.

She works with the JPL in plotting the perfect photos of Saturn via the Cassini spacecraft.

For the first time in many a moon, I have hope for our future now.

Fix it at home

Wired News: You Broke It, You Fix It

If something goes wrong, Apple dispatches a spare part, and the owner performs the do-it-yourself repair, from swapping out a faulty hard drive to installing a new flat screen. The new iMac is perhaps the most user-serviceable machine on the market. But Apple is not alone in outsourcing repairs to customers.

It’s a new method for repairs. The computer manufacturers are making it easy enough for you to open up your machine and replace parts on your own. This is a great idea on many levels. The more familiar and comfortable users are with their machines, the less problems they may have to bother me with. ;-)

Comments shut off

The spammers are striking again, to the tune of 150+ spam comments in the past 24-36 hours. They haven’t let up. Due to this, I’ll be shutting off comments on all stories older than 5 days tonight. So if you had anything you wanted to so about any stories before Monday or Tuesday, speak now.

The comments will open in full again in a few days once the bad bad people have gone away.

On winning the World Series

One man’s minute-by-minute recap of the Red Sox victory: Page 2 – The Nation’s destination: Destiny

Our announcers for tonight: Joe Buck (son of the famous Cards announcer) and Tim McCarver (longtime Cardinals catcher). Why not just go the whole way and have Ozzie Smith, Whitey Herzog and Dizzy Dean as sideline reporters? And where’s Al Leiter? Did McCarver have him liquidated?

And it just gets funnier. Wait, I have to quote one other thing:

7:04 — One-out double for Renteria, one of those Latin guys who’s listed at 29 but probably went to high school with Roberto Clemente.

One last update from Various And Sundry HQ: No monkeys have flown out my butt yet. And no pigs-with-wings sightings. Impressive.

(Thanks to Shawn for pointing this out to me. Sadly, he’s so antediluvian he doesn’t have a web site I can link his name to.)

The Ashlee Simpson iPod

Apple – iPod Ashlee Simpson Karaoke Edition

Like no other, iPod Ashlee Simpson Karaoke Edition stands out. Virgin white, it features the new Apple Fast-Forward Click Button and, on the flip side, complete how to use instructions. Available for just $349, it comes with enough money to use a pay phone for calling your daddy, your agent or both, when you get caught lip syncing live on national television. We have also included some Kleenex for those special times when your entire fan base realizes your nothing but a talentless hack.


Oni Press – Buzz

There are few discs I was as excited for this year as the box set of the first complete season of the WB’s turn-of-the-century television program, Popular. Ostensibly a high school show, Popular was one of those entertainment moments where a creative force comes out of left field to redefine the genre. Not in any safe marketing way, either. Popular took the old-style high school drama and wrapped it around a modern body, breaking down convention, spitting in its face in order to shine it up and make it something new.

I need to hit the lottery soon. This show sounds like so much fun… But I need the time to watch all this stuff. GILMORE GIRLS comes first. Then I have ANGEL. Two seasons of HOMICIDE. 110 hours of TiVo to fill up…

Pop Culture Overload stinks.

ABC gets annoying

I had a TiVo message today warning me that ABC has decided to hop the NBC bandwagon of annoyingness. They’re staring some shows with “non-standard times.” Those include LOST and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. If you’re recording ABC’s more popular shows, be on the lookout for that. It might screw up your plans…

Ringtones are big business

Billboard Bows Ringtones Chart

Billboard is launching a chart gauging the commercial popularity of ringtones. The Hot Ringtones chart will debut in the Nov. 6 issue of the magazine as part of a new Digital Entertainment special section.

This is just one more thing I was obviously born a few years too early to get.

First of all, my cell phone doesn’t ring all that often. That’s by design.

Second, most of the time, it’s attached to my belt on vibrate mode.

Third, I don’t care what the sound is that comes from it when it rings and it’s NOT on “silent” or “vibrate.” I’m picking it up too quickly to listen to a song.

But, hey, to each his own.

From the “Still Holding Your Breath?” Department

Coming Soon! – Latest News

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have hired Jeff Nathanson to rewrite Indiana Jones 4, reports Variety. Aside from writing the “Rush Hour” films, Nathanson also wrote Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can and co-wrote The Terminal.

More Ashlee Snark

We here at Various and Sundry continue to take questionable interest in the Ashlee Simpsons meltdown on live TV over the weekend. This time, USA Today’s Whitney Matheson takes her swipes at the pop princess wannabe: – Hey, what’s Ashlee doing today?

Warner Home Video Classic Catalog

Yellow Layer Failure, Vinegar Syndrome and Miscellaneous Musings by Robert A. Harris

Although almost a household name to the minions of laserdisc aficionados during their reign, George Feltenstein’s work is just becoming known to the newer and much larger DVD audience, who will shortly be viewing him as the laserdisc audience has in the past, as one of the heroes of the home video world.

I’ll recommend the interview if just for two parts. The first part of the interview is a look at Feltenstein’s career path, and history with LaserDisc and DVDs.

After that, skip to Page Two and look at the question about the Looney Tunes DVDs. It’s nice to know those shorts have a chamption in Feltenstein behind the scenes. He’s doing it right for Warner Bros.