Friday, June 30, 2006

Let Your Geek Flag Fly

I am not a geek. However, there are a few things that I will gladly geek out for. The Backstreet Boys. Bowling. MySpace. But when one thinks "geek," one usually thinks of that giant nerd magnet known as Sci-Fi. I'm not a huge sci-fi fan. I can't get into bizarre sorcerer role-playing games or obscure comic books. I don't even like a lot of science fiction movies and TV shows, because they generally focus on aliens or robots, neither of which really interest me. Sci-Fi stories also have a consistency problem. I've seen a lot of flicks and stories that start out with a cool premise but the whole thing completely deteriorates halfway through, leading up to a truly ridiculous ending.

There is one bit of Sci-Fi fare that stands apart from the rest. One show that I'm glad to get my geek on for. Submitted for your approval - The Twilight Zone.

Who doesn't love this show? People with no imagination, that's who. I seriously don't trust people who don't like TZ. I don't. They are people with no appreciation for creativity and probably giant cynics who live to suck all the fun out of everyone else's lives. Of course, this is just my opinion. But I'm entitled to it.

Rod Serling was a total genius, and that's not a word I use lightly. TZ's influence can be seen everywhere, from The Sixth Sense to The Simpsons. It's all about taking reality and shaking it, twisting it and standing it up on its head. And what else is TV for, if not to escape reality? TZ helps us all do just that. And as frightening as it might be if it truly existed, how many of us haven't secretly wished that there really were a Twilight Zone? I know I have. And in my Twilight Zone, I'm hanging out with the young Cliff Robertson having a bizarre, but great time.

Obviously, the show is a bit dated. With all the whiz-bang special effects that are in all the movies and TV shows now, some of the effects in TZ episodes are pretty cheap, if not laugh-out-loud funny. But, just like I don't trust people who don't like TZ, I don't trust people who like a movie or show purely for the effects. Sure, great FX are impressive and really punch up a great story, but if the story isn't there all the visuals in the world can't save it. (Put a diamond necklace on a piece of crap, and it's still a piece of crap.) With a great plot in place, cool effects are not necessary. Bad ones might be slightly humorous, but they still won't take anything away from the story. So, to people who say that The Twilight Zone sucks because of its outdated FX, you're tragically missing the point. Go to a KISS concert. Hang out at Universal Studios. You'll see lots of stuff on fire and you won't have to do any thinking.

For the rest of you who enjoy some thought-provoking, well-written TV entertainment, you're in luck. If you're new to TZ, or if you just haven't seen it in a while, the annual 4th of July marathon is coming up on the SciFi Channel. It runs from July 2 - July 4, so you all have plenty of time to play with your inner dork. The full schedule is a bit long, so I will just give you a list of some to watch for, including my personal favorite episodes and "classics" that no new or old fan should miss. Thanks to the Twilight Zone Cafe for compiling the schedule into a nice, neat little format.

07/02/2006 10:30 AM "A Passage For Trumpet" - One of 4 episodes starring Jack Klugman, and my favorite of the 4. Just a sweet little tale of life wasted and life renewed.

07/02/2006 12:30 PM "Twenty-Two" - This is one of those I was talking about where the effects are seriously groan-worthy. The female lead is also a horrifyingly bad actress. Still, this is one of those classic horror stories. A great, familiar urban legend given the TZ treatment.

07/02/2006 01:00 PM "The Little People" - One of many episodes that follow the "total jackass gets his comeuppance" plot. Who doesn't love that? And Sheriff Lobo is in this one!

07/02/2006 03:30 PM "Stopover In A Quiet Town" - A popular episode with one of the classic TZ twists. The lead actors could be body doubles for Rich Hall from Not Necessarily the News and Heidi Sweberg, who played George's fiancee, Susan, on Seinfeld.

07/02/2006 06:00 PM "The After Hours" - My 2nd favorite episode and a bona-fide classic. Lovely Anne Francis gets a bit lost in a department store when she goes shopping for a thimble. Talk about the times changing. Really, who buys thimbles anymore?

07/02/2006 06:30 PM "One For The Angels" - I think I've seen this one the most times, because SciFi seems to air it every other night. It's a good one though. Sweet and kind of humorous.

07/02/2006 08:00 PM "Living Doll" - I'm Talky BeckEye and you better watch this episode or I'm going to kill you. This episode was the inspiration for one of the best Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes, "Clown without Pity."

07/02/2006 08:30 PM "It's A Good Life" - Can you say "classic?" I think you can. And you better like this episode and think good thoughts about it or Billy Mumy will turn you into some freakish cornfield decoration.

07/02/2006 09:00 PM "Time Enough At Last" - Another classic. Burgess Meredith stars as the cute old guy who just wants people to leave him alone so he can read. Meredith also stars in 4 episodes. Now, I love Burgess. I've always wanted to adopt him as my grandfather. However, I've never been a giant fan of this episode. I find the ending unreasonably harsh. You tell me.

07/02/2006 09:30 PM "The Howling Man" - A rather polarizing episode among TZ fans. A bit of weird, religious drama, but I dig it. Very atmospheric.

07/02/2006 10:30 PM "Night Call" - Gladys Cooper is the shiznit. When I was little, this episode scared the crap out of me. I still get a little creeped out by the disembodied voice on the other end of the phone. Another urban legend-turned-TZ ep.

07/02/2006 11:30 PM "The Midnight Sun" - For me, this is the most original premise ever done during the series. With a lot of episodes, you can kind of guess the twist, but I never saw this one coming.

07/03/2006 01:30 AM "Come Wander With Me" - This episode gets trash-talked to death by many fans. It's not the greatest episode by any means, but I think it's a really interesting and unique storyline and has kind of a cool, creepy feel to it.

07/03/2006 02:30 AM "Printer's Devil" - Burgess again! This is one of the hour-long episodes from Season 4. This is my favorite of the hourlongs and also my favorite Burgess episode. It's amazing how much Burgess's devil resembles his Penguin from Batman. They smoke in quite the same fashion.

07/03/2006 03:30 AM "On Thursday We Leave For Home" - Fantastic episode. Another one-hour, starring another of my prospective adopted grandfathers, James Whitmore. Of course, he wasn't quite that old back then. But remember James as Brooks Hatlen in The Shawshank Redemption? Stop crying, of course you do. His character in this TZ suffers, what I feel, is an undeserved fate, but some people think he was a big jerk who got what he deserved. Those people are heartless.

07/03/2006 10:30 AM "Ring-A-Ding Girl" - A very underrated episode that I love, love, love. Good acting, good twist, great ending.

07/03/2006 12:30 PM "A Kind Of A Stopwatch" - My favorite!! One of the first episodes I ever remember seeing as a kid and one that left a big impression on me. A lot of movies have tried to copy this, most recently Adam Sandler in his "remote control that stops the world" movie.

07/03/2006 01:00 PM "People Are Alike All Over" - A classic with a funny twist. Roddy MacDowell stars, but not as an ape. Or is he? No, he isn't. Or is he??

07/03/2006 02:30 PM "Elegy" - Astronauts land on the wrong rock. A kindly old British fellow makes sure they pay for it, as nicely as he possibly can.

07/03/2006 06:00 PM "Long Distance Call" - More Billy Mumy. This time he spends way too much time chatting with his creepy, dead grandmother.

07/03/2006 07:00 PM "A Penny For Your Thoughts" - A classic, comedic episode in which Dick York develops special powers.

07/03/2006 08:00 PM "To Serve Man"
07/03/2006 08:30 PM "Eye Of The Beholder"
07/03/2006 09:00 PM "Nightmare At 20,000 Feet"
Three classics back to back. Of the three, "Eye of the Beholder" is the best. Everyone loves those Pig-faces. "To Serve Man" is still a good one, but it's one that really relies on the twist, so after repeated viewings it's just not quite as enjoyable. I've never felt that "Nightmare At 20,000 Feet" was so deserving of it's classic status. William Shatner reacting to the monster on the wing is fun for a while, but his other TZ, "Nick of Time," is much better. For some unknown reason, that stellar episode was left out of this marathon.

07/03/2006 10:30 PM "Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?" - I think this can be put in the classic category now, even if it isn't as widely known as the above three, or "Time Enough at Last." This is definitely in my Top 10. One of those great "let's all point the finger at each other" episodes.

07/04/2006 08:00 AM "Death Ship" - An hourlong episode starring Jack Klugman and Artemus Gordon from Wild Wild West. Sorry, his real name escapes me right now. This is a good one that deals with the whole time-space continuum thingy.

07/04/2006 09:00 AM "A Game Of Pool" - Hey, it's Jack Klugman again! Here, he's oddly coupled with big man, Johnathan Winters at the billiard hall.

07/04/2006 12:30 PM "The Hunt" - A lot of fans hate this episode. It's one of my favorites. But, I love dogs and this is all about a man and his dog and their devotion to each other. It's so sweet.

07/04/2006 01:30 PM "Dead Man's Shoes" - Not really one of the finest episodes, but it's probably one of the most recognizable and one of the first ones I ever saw. When I was little, I was so afraid to try on my grandmother's old jewelry for fear that I would be possessed by her. I was a weird kid. This one has great, jazzy music throughout. I would love to have groovy music playing every time I walked down the street.

07/04/2006 02:00 PM "And When The Sky Was Opened" - Ohhh, this is one of the best. Probably my #3 favorite. First of all, Rod Taylor...hello!! He's a hottie. The other 2 guys (including Timothy Hutton's dad, who looks JUST LIKE him) aren't bad either. More astronauts in trouble. People who need stories wrapped up into neat little packages with everything explained won't like this. It's an awesome, surreal trip through the Twilight Zone where nothing makes sense. Viewing tip: Watch out for Rod's complete flip out, where he can't even seem to think straight enough to say anything but, "You're're're CRAZY!!"

07/04/2006 02:30 PM "The Last Flight" - Kind of a cool, underrated trek through time. Also includes one of the most unintentionally funny last lines ever.

07/04/2006 05:30 PM "Shadow Play" - Dennis Weaver stars as an inmate on death row. Or is he? Sort of. Another good exercise in trying to figure out "what is real and what is fantasy?"

07/04/2006 08:00 PM "The Dummy" - A young, adorable Cliff Robertson faces off with a hunk of wood. This episode is further proof of the absolute fact that dummies are creepy.

07/04/2006 08:30 PM "The Hitch-Hiker" - A classic episode with a great twist. If you like this, see the old movie, Carnival of Souls.

07/04/2006 09:00 PM "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" - More finger pointing! A terrific episode with a nifty message, that is only slightly marred by some serious overacting. (Check out the guy with insomnia. He seems to have at least slept through acting class.) Sheriff Lobo shows up again as the voice of reason, and that lispy Kellerman guy from Dirty Dancing is the town jerk.

07/04/2006 11:30 PM "What You Need" - Good, solid episode with one of the biggest jerk villains ever. Don't worry, he gets his. Viewing bonus: check out that hot baseball player in the diner!

07/04/2006 03:00 AM "Nothing In The Dark" - Gladys Cooper again, this time in a classic fan-favorite where she plays an old woman afraid of opening her door. She's no dummy though...she lets Robert Redford in the house!

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on the show, favorite episodes, etc. And no matter what you do this long weekend, be safe and have a great time!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

More News To File Under: Even Less Shocking than a Dead Battery

Britney Spears poses nude for the cover of Bazaar.

Wow. I can't believe it. She always seemed so shy.

Here is Britney in the cover shot, in all her newly brunette, knocked-up glory:

Hubby, K-Fed, went along for the photo shoot and really wanted to be in the picture, but ended up getting cropped out. Being the scoopster that I am, I've found a copy of the missing pic:

I know, I know...that's really horrible Photoshopping. (Mainly because I no longer have Photoshop, but this lame knockoff, Photo Impression.) So, I didn't have the real photo. It's a re-creation. Unsolved Mysteries does that all the time.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Eye Boogers

Like the goop that's always accumulating in the corners of our eyes, the following news items are curiously fascinating:

Angelina Jolie Preparing to Make "Cheaper By the Dozen 3" - In other words, even though she just pushed out a puppy of her own, the big-lipped wonder is already planning to adopt another baby. Angelina and Brad aren't sure which country they want to adopt from this time. They've already hit up Ethiopia and Cambodia, so might I suggest Swaziland? The Swazis never get any good PR. Or maybe they could just look to the good ol' U.S. for a baby who could use a new family. Sean Preston, perhaps? They could always change his name to something much weirder if that would help.

Now Taking Bets on How Long This One Will Last - Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have announced that they will break up the recent streak of celeb divorces by getting married. Hard to say if they're trying to turn the tide or if they're just getting in the queue for the next slew of break-ups. See, now I feel bad. I can't really pick on Nicole and feel good about it. I like her. The poor thing had to put up with Tom Cruise. I'm glad she found a man who won't have to wear lifts to their wedding.

Paul McCartney Turns 64 - And he thought when he was sixty-four he'd be losing his hair. His locks are lovely as ever. Unfortunately his new wife is no longer needing or feeding him.

Jessica Simpson 'Bares All' in Maxim - Every time I've logged on to Comcast in the past week, I've seen this stupid headline. Is this supposed to be news? It's neither interesting nor surprising. She's on the cover in a bad wig with her boobs nearly falling out of her dress. Wow, what a shocker. I will admit that the snippets of her interview that have been released are mildly amusing. #1 - "A guy with a great imagination sends me through the rafters." Hmm, like a guy who can imagine that she's not a complete simpleton? I guess Nick did okay for a while, but then her intense stpuidity sent him through the rafters. #2 - "I love to kiss with my eyes open because I can take in the entire situation and know if I'm enjoying it or not." Yeah, that's a little creepy. Besides, it just sounds like she's always looking for either a camera or a hotter guy while she's kissing someone. Nice. #3 - "I didn't drink for, like, three months or something." (Referring to her "regimen" while filming Dukes of Hazzard.) Well, that's like, totally impressive. Lindsay Lohan couldn't do that. Unless she had enough coke to keep her mind off of alcohol.

Tizzaylor Hizzicks, Yo - American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks, joined Snoop Dogg for a duet of "Gin and Juice" at a recent Birmingham, AL concert. Further proof that Snoop is ALWAYS high. It's a theory of mine that harmonica generally makes any song sound better. However, that does not include rap music. Harmonica and rap go together like scratchin' and opera. I like Taylor, but come on.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Feels Like the Fifth Time

Not sure why it's taken me nine days to write about it, but I went to see Pearl Jam (time #5, as the post title suggests) on June 1. I'm nearly positive that this show was the best I've ever seen them - making it even stranger that it's taken me so long to write about it. I've just been buried under a pile of work and feeling a bit lazy in my spare time.

This was the concert that almost wasn't for me. I totally forgot that they were in town, because I was still pouting about missing the Irving Plaza show in NYC. Then I was at work that Thursday (June 1) and saw online that they were in New Jersey that night and the following Saturday. I have NO money, but immediately decided that I had to go. I rummaged around on different websites looking for tickets, and found a dude on Craigslist who seemed on the up and up. The face value of tickets were about $60-$65 (including the Ticketmaster "rape" fees and charges) but this guy said he bought his from a "broker" (the euphemistic term used for "scalpers" up here) and they were $130 each. I told him I couldn't pay that much and would give him $70. Being that it was the day of the show and he hadn't unloaded it yet, he sold it to me. Yay, me. I drive such a soft bargain.

It was kind of weird going to a concert by myself, but it was also such a seemingly grown-up thing to do. And really, it was better being solo because I didn't have to worry about people trying to talk to me while I was trying to focus on the music. I hate when people go to concerts and talk through the whole thing. You can sit home and listen to a record for free and do that crap. When I'm paying to see a live show, I want everyone to just shut up - unless they're singing along or going "wooo" or "yeaaaaah" or some other acceptable crowd noise. "Eddie, I want to have your children" is also acceptable, but only if it's coming from me. All those other bitches just need to quit.

I won't bore everyone with a detailed description of the show, since I gave a rather lengthy report of my somewhat nightmarish trip to see them in Philly last year. I'll just say that the Continental Arena kicks the Wachovia Center's ass. The sound system was amazing. The band sounded really crisp and clear, almost like listening to a record. Eddie's vocals weren't muffled or drowned out by the music either - a vast improvement from the last time I saw them.

There was only one minor issue - I think it was Stone's amp that came unplugged at one point - right in the middle of "Alone," an old, unreleased song that everyone (including myself, of course) wanted to hear. The roadies fixed it pretty quickly and then they picked it up right where they left off. It took nothing away from the show. It was kind of funny that none of the band members acknowleged it or that Eddie didn't bother with any banter while the problem was being fixed. I think Ed was pretty drunk on the wine though. Poor guy did a jumping rock star move before the 2nd encore and he actually fell pretty hard on his side. He kind of limped offstage, and was still limping when they came back for the last encore. Hey, that's rock 'n' roll.

The set list was fantastic...absolutely NO complaints from me. I mean, I could always use "I Got Id," which they didn't play, but I still won't complain. Here's the full list:

Main set: Severed Hand, Corduroy, World Wide Suicide, Do The Evolution, Marker In The Sand, Given To Fly, Dissident, Even Flow, Army Reserve, Immortality, Green Disease, Not For You, Alone, Jeremy, Why Go, Life Wasted, Rearviewmirror

Encore 1: Wasted Reprise, Man Of The Hour, Come Back, Footsteps, Once, Alive
Encore 2: Last Exit, Comatose, Leatherman, Glorified G, Leash, Baba O'Riley, Indifference

How kick ass is it that they could end on a slow, moody song like "Indifference?" Not too many bands have the balls to do that or actually pull it off, especially right after a high-energy encore set like that. But it was a perfect capper to the evening.

If there were any disappointments, one was that I missed the traditional pre-show warm up song with Eddie. I heard it was "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." I would've certainly enjoyed that, but I had limited time to get from NYC to NJ, change and get out to the Meadowlands. I also missed opener, My Morning Jacket, who I wish I could have seen. Eddie also did a song with them, apparently. Drat.

But forget all that. Highlights for me were:

* "Severed Hand" as the opener, which is currently battling for the title of "my favorite from the new record." There were a lot of green lasers shooting around during that song, which was a bit of a surprise. PJ shows are usually always pretty visually simplistic, but this time there were a lot more bells and whistles. Not crazy KISS pyrotechnics or anything, just more than I'm used to with them.

* "Corduroy" is my favorite PJ song, and one that I missed from the last show. Great to hear it again.

* "Dissident" is one of my older faves, as is "Leash," which was awesome to hear. I hadn't heard "Why Go" in AGES and I don't think I've ever heard "Glorified G" live. That's one that I like, but I will often skip through it when listening to Vs. I really have to be in the mood for it. It sounded SO much better live though, and gave me a whole new appreciation for that song.

* Always good to hear the famous trilogy - "Footsteps," "Once" and "Alive." I think that order is backwards though, isn't it? I'm pretty sure it goes: "Alive," "Once" and "Footsteps." I wonder if whoever compiled that setlist (I got it from had it wrong or that's how they actually performed it? I could swear Eddie announced them all in order. Maybe it was in order of when they were recorded. Whatever. They're all good songs.

* "Come Back" was the one song I was dying for them to play, and they did. That is the other song locked in the "favorite battle" with "Severed Hand." I think this one has a slight edge. It's beautiful, and certainly the most soulful song Pearl Jam's ever done.

* They didn't play "Blood!" Yay!

* I was entranced by Eddie's little dance. He does this thing where he sort of just bounces back and forth, shifting his weight from foot to foot. The bounce gets slower or faster depending on the beat of the song. It is definitely a tribal, mating ritual. It's a pre-sex dance, no doubt. It worked for me, anyway.

This ended up being longer than I had intended. Is anyone surprised?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

D'yooo Like Ma Baby?

How many signs of the Apocalypse are there? This one might be the last, as it's sliding in right under the 6/6/06 wire.

Note to Anna Nicole's neighbors: Add Social Services to your speed dial.
Note to Social Services: Start hiring.


Who Does This Broad Think She Is?

My photo
I am a winsome muse who was sent to Earth to inspire an artist to turn a vacant building into the world's coolest disco roller rink. We fell in love along the way, and I foolishly gave up my immortality. When the disco craze ended and all the roller rinks were shut down, that lazy bum wouldn't get a job. We broke up and I was stuck on Earth with nothing to do and no one to inspire. So, now I write a blog.

What Do Others Think of BeckEye?

"You're like an idiot savant of terrible garbage entertainment." - Falwless

"You're my hero." - Candy

"Get yourself a life. Better yet.....eff off." - Ann Onymous

"There's no one like you." - Klaus Meine