I Want My DVD: Vol. 2

Since I have very little exciting to share with you, it seems like as good a time as any to present the second installment of the wildly popular "I Want My DVD" feature here at Tinsel and Rot. Exciting, no? (NOTE: Previous question was rhetorical.)

The early 1990s were an important time in television history, mainly because it was during these years that the teen soap opera started to blossom. "Beverly Hills, 90210" was certainly at the front of the pack, but there was also the far superior "Degrassi Junior High/Degrassi High" series and even the widely forgotten "Swans Crossing," which, sadly, me and my best friend at the time watched fairly regularly (I don't think I realized this until right now, but IMDB tells me that Sarah Michelle Gellar was the lead...fancy that).

But there was also an early trailblazer that aired on Nickelodeon, one that was best experienced in the gorging session that was the frequent "Fifteen Weekend" on Nick.

Yes, I speak of Brooke, Ashley, Matt, Dylan, Billy ("Van Wilder"'s Ryan Reynolds), Arseman (only time I've ever heard that name), and the rest of the gang on "Fifteen," an awesomely overacted half-hour teen soap that Nickelodeon imported from Canada. And, of course, like its Canadian brethren "Degrassi," that meant a fair share of "aboot"s in each episode. And it also meant that there was the requisite moody, kinda hot girl to please Young Me. "Degrassi" had Caitlin, and "Fifteen" had the breathy Ashley (played by Laura Harris), who always seemed to be on the brink of throwing herself in front of a car.

I don't think she ever did, but I wouldn't know, because, sadly, I cannot refer to my "Fifteen" DVD boxed set. Because there isn't one. And the only way to watch an episode is to either get somebody on the Internet to make some copies for you or watch the one, poor-quality episode available on YouTube . A true shame. (On a side note, I found an episode at the end of a videotape a few years ago, and it was a cause for much rejoicing.)

Let's go, DVD makers of the world. Give me that "Fifteen" boxed set. It's aboot time.


The Joy of Lists

Earlier in the summer, I submitted my Top 50 pop/rock songs after 1950 to Will at godihateyourband as part of a quest to name the Top 100 songs after 1950. I spent way too much time thinking about it--making lists, remaking lists, setting up rules (country music was eliminated from my list because, well, just because). Thank God for deadlines, as I clearly could have spent the better part of the year putting the list together. And that would've totally cut in to my "Rock of Love" watching.

Anyway, the Top 100 has now been unveiled. Check it out. And below is my Top 50, complete with my disclaimers before and after. If you want me to defend anything, just let me know.

I feel obligated to note that I intentionally eliminated country songs from the process just to make it slightly easier for me. So, apologies to Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Harlan Howard, Cindy Walker, Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Jerry Reed, Tom Russell, Joe Ely, and any number of other writers in the country genre that would've made the cut if I hadn't imposed my restrictions. I imagine they are all heartbroken, or at least the ones who are still alive are.

1. Crying--Roy Orbison
2. It Makes No Difference--The Band
3. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right--Bob Dylan
4. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On--Jerry Lee Lewis
5. Like A Rolling Stone--Bob Dylan
6. Good Vibrations--Beach Boys
7. I've Got Dreams to Remember--Otis Redding
8. Be My Baby--The Ronettes
9. Spirit in the Sky--Norman Greenbaum
10. 25 Miles--Edwin Starr
11. Dry River--Dave Alvin
12. Keep Your Distance--Richard Thompson
13. Baba O'Riley--The Who
14. Tush--ZZ Top
15. I Fought the Law--Bobby Fuller Four
16. Save the Last Dance for Me--The Drifters
17. Twistin' the Night Away--Sam Cooke
18. Won't Get Fooled Again--The Who
19. Irene Wilde--Ian Hunter
20. Will You Love Me Tomorrow?--The Shirelles
21. A New England--Billy Bragg
22. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?--Elvis Costello
23. Papa Was a Rollin' Stone--The Temptations
24. Funk #49--James Gang
25. Promised Land--Chuck Berry
26. Poor Poor Pitiful Me--Warren Zevon
27. Travelin' Band--Creedence Clearwater Revival
28. Sympathy for the Devil--Rolling Stones
29. And Then He Kissed Me--The Crystals
30. Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?--The Ramones
31. Tracks of My Tears--Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
32. God Only Knows--Beach Boys
33. War--Edwin Starr
34. Green Onions--Booker T and the MGs
35. Goin' Up the Country--Canned Heat
36. Dance to the Music--Sly and the Family Stone
37. Born to Run--Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
38. Mas y Mas--Los Lobos
39. Fortunate Son--Creedence Clearwater Revival
40. God Give Me Strength--Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach
41. I Can't Turn You Loose--Otis Redding
42. Bridge Over Troubled Water--Simon and Garfunkel
43. Let's Go Crazy--Prince
44. Misirlou--Dick Dale
45. American Girl--Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
46. Bernadette--Four Tops
47. Summertime Blues--Eddie Cochran
48. Get Back--Beatles
49. Sunday Sports--Bottle Rockets
50. Castanets--Alejandro Escovedo

The above list was accurate on 3:07 p.m. on June 25, 2007. It is subject to change at any point thereafter.


Grin and Bear It

Tinsel and Rot made its first trip of the season to Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium last week to see the Atlantic League First-Half North Division Champion Newark Bears take on the perpetually homeless Road Warriors (they literally have no home stadium and are owned by the league). The evening was a salute to the 1937 Newark Bears, widely considered to be one of the greatest minor league teams of all time. The 1937 Bears were a Yankees affiliate and boasted future major leaguers Joe Gordon, Charlie "King Kong" Keller, and Babe Dahlgren, among others. The 2007 Bears, affiliated with no one, are perhaps slightly behind in the Future Major Leaguers category.

In any case, part of the salute was a cap giveaway to the first 1,000 people to come out to the game. Since I couldn't really recall a crowd of 1,000 at any Bears game, I figured it wouldn't be a problem. I was wrong. Though I got there at 6:30 for the 7:05 start and found, in a generous estimate, about 200 people in the stands, I was informed by the guy at the information booth that all the hats were gone. I confirmed that the giveaway was for the first 1,000 fans. He said it was.

"So, there are 1,000 people here?," I asked.

"Yeah, I guess so."


"There are a lot of people in the suites."

I debated arguing that each suite could have 75 people in it and there still wouldn't be 1,000 people in the stadium, but I figured it was best to just let it go and enjoy the game in the hat I came to the ballpark with.

The Bears are managed by former major leaguer Wayne Krenchicki (above), who seemed nice enough to the fans before the game, posing for a picture on the dugout steps for one fan, but got a little bit ornery as the game went on. After a fan told him to get somebody up in the bullpen during a rough first inning, Krenchicki yelled back that he'd have to get used to the pitcher, because he was staying in for four innings. A few innings later, as the pitcher continued to struggle, one fan implored, "C'mon, coach!" Krenchicki yelled back, "Shut up!" And he may or may not have added an "asshole." The guy in front of me said he heard it, but I was too busy laughing to hear if he did or not.

I imagine Krenchicki's mood improved by game's end, as the Bears were able to rally back from five runs down to win 11-8. Go Bears.

In addition to the cap giveaway, the team was also auctioning off the retro jerseys the Bears were wearing. Since there weren't that many people at the game (or at least, the people in the suites hid in the dark and didn't come down to the concourse level), I figured I'd check out the bids at the silent auction. The minimum bid for each jersey was $60, so I figured I might be able to go home with a jersey and support the Bears, who despite the cap snafu, I actually like to support. So I put in a bid for the #7 jersey (for no other reason than #7, Marcus Nettles, was having a good game, and it was one of the numbers that they could confirm was worn by one of the 1937 Bears). When I checked back a few innings later, I discovered that I had been outbid. But I also noted that the #15 jersey didn't have a bid. My lucky number is 15, so I figured it was worth a bid. Plus, the guy wearing #15, Corey Smith, had just grounded out to third and let out a hearty "Fuck!" that could be heard throughout the stadium after doing so. My kind of guy.

As I bid, I discovered that this wasn't really a silent auction. Instead, it was a silent auction and then a live auction. That made absolutely no sense to me, but neither did 1,000 hats being distributed to 200 people. So I returned for the live auction, was the only bidder for the #15 jersey, and am now the proud owner of former first-round draft pick Corey Smith's signed, gameworn #15 jersey. I got to go on the field to get my jersey from Mr. Smith and after signing the jersey, he said, "Here, you can have the hat, too."

And, so, I finally got my hat.

Dreams do come true in Newark.


Superbad is finally here

I'm not gonna post the trailer again or any of the other clips available on the Internets, but I do feel obligated to point out that the damn funny "Superbad" makes its way into theaters this weekend. With all the hype, I'm guessing that you know that already. I'm actually glad I saw a preview before the hype machine went into overdrive, so now I can read reviews and articles and not worry about anything being spoiled. In fact, I can spoil it all for you!

But I won't.

Anyway, it's a funny movie. The reviews I've read seem to agree, but a few have criticized it for being juvenile and "not having enough heart." Like that's a bad thing. Heart's overrated. And there are plenty of places to find it if that's what you want. But if it's laughs you want, "Superbad" is for you.


Phil Rizzuto RIP

Tinsel and Rot takes a brief respite from relentless bashing of the New York Yankees to mourn the passing of the rare cool Yankee, Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto, who passed away Monday night at the age of 89. We don't like to admit fondness for any Yankee, but only a completely heartless human being would be unmoved by the Scooter's passing. Even if you didn't admire him as the type of ballplayer who, by all accounts, fought hard every game, you would have to admit that there was probably never a more entertaining guy in the broadcast booth. From the constant cannoli talk to the "Holy Cow"s to the unabashed fear of lightning, Rizzuto had it all. Plus, there were those Money Store commercials.

The autograph shown above was one of the first baseball autographs I ever got. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see Scooter in person. I had a little league game the day he was at a baseball card show in Staten Island, so my mom went to the show and got Scooter to sign my American League book (since that game was no doubt an embarrassing loss for my team, I clearly made the wrong decision). As I recall, she also gave him a copy of the seminal sports publication Sig-Dasz Sports, which I coauthored with my friend Donnie Daszkowski. I think I watched a few Yankees games in the days that followed to see if he mentioned it on air. He didn't, but I was still happy to know he had a copy. Hope he liked it.

Godspeed, Scooter.


Great Moments in Overheard Conversations

Wednesday night, I went to the excellent (and free) Soul of Gospel show at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park (featuring the McCollough Sons of Thunder, shown above). But that wasn't all the entertainment for the evening. To wit:

Great Moment in Overheard Conversations #1

I was up front for the first half of the show and then wandered around a bit after trailing the McCollough Sons of Thunder around for a good picture. I eventually parked myself in the back of the park, which is filled with rows of folding chairs during the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors series. A few rows in front of me, two guys and a gal were talking, which, as you know, I usually find loathsome in a concert setting, but, hey, they were in the back and not really directly in front of or behind anyone, so I was willing to cut them some slack.

The older woman a row behind and about ten seats over was not as generous.

She went over once to, I assume, harangue the bespectacled gentleman in the group. I couldn't hear any of the conversation, but she was clearly upset and he was trying to respond as his two pals put their heads down. Eventually, the woman felt she had made her point and went back to her seat.

But then five minutes later, after they continued talking, she got back up. And now she was furious.

"Why would you talk during any concert?" I heard her scream, as her arms shook mightily in the air. Then the guy, I guess, tried to explain himself again. But, as he did, the woman came to an important realization.


And as she walked out of the park, she was still shaking her head, yelling, "FRENCH! BAH!"

Apparently, not a fan of the French.

Great Moment in Overheard Conversations #2

I must be slightly more delicate with this one.

As I was walking back to my humble abode from the PATH train, my path crossed with two guys; I was walking up, while they were walking across. And as they walked across, this is what I heard one of the guys say (without the asterisks):

"...I licked her a**hole and she farted in my mouth."

Oh yes, he did.

Summer in the city(s)...it has its moments.


Last Week in Baseball

Maybe it's because I had two weekends in a row where I wasn't running around to get to concerts (Jimmy Sturr ends the streak this weekend) or maybe it's because my fantasy baseball team has finally climbed to over .500, but I've been delving hard into baseball these past few weeks. And, it's been a good time to do so--especially last week. Here's a recap of what I consider the most interesting moments:

*Tom Glavine gets 300. Good for him. I've always liked Glavine, even when he was with the evil Braves. And it's not just because he sent me back two signed baseball cards when I was a kid (or at the very least had the decency to have a ballboy sign the cards and send them back to me). First of all, he's as big into hockey as he is into baseball, which is the mark of a true man. Second, he's just been a quietly consistent pitcher. No flash, no fist pumping, no heat. Just good, smart pitching (and a little help from those umpires who call strikes on borderline, corner-of-the-plate pitches). Third, I don't know a damn thing about his personal life. Never even saw his wife or kids before the chase for 300. Don't know any of their names. Don't want to. Which brings us to...

*A-Rod hits 500. Every time A-Rod speaks, I get that same sort of soulless vibe that politicians work decades to cultivate. Look, he's a fine player and a great hitter. But he just strikes me as a giant douche. And it's not just the pinstripes; I've always felt he was a creep. And so, when he said after the game on Saturday that he wished it were possible to shake the hands of all the people who supported him at Yankee Stadium, my first thought was "Well, you know, it is possible. Surely, he has a free couple of days in the offseason to just sit in the Javits Center (or any other giant building he could rent with his millions of dollars...I'm just going with the Javits Center because it affords him easy access to an afterparty at Scores) and just shake people's hands. No fee, no attempt to get them to buy a children's book that he "wrote." Just shake hands, pal, maybe pose for photos. It's not impossible.

Sorry. I just don't like A-Rod. He can sign with the Mets, hit 1,000 home runs, and I still won't like him.

And speaking of people I don't like...

*Barry Bonds hits 755. Whoopee. The guys on ESPN2 were going a little overboard, no? Save a little for 756. That's the one that's actually historical. I don't remember ever seeing Aaron's 714th. So, tone it down, guys. You're not the next Milo Hamilton just yet. I also liked watching Bonds admire a home run that didn't really clear the fence by much. But why start being respectable now?

At least Bud "I Will Show No Emotion" Selig is making Bonds a slightly more sympathetic character. Hell, Selig almost makes Gary Bettman look cool. Listen, MLB, either you're happy or you're not. Pick one. You can't have it both ways.

And if Bonds wants to solidify his place in history, what better way than to follow the trail being blazed by Charlie Hustle?

*Pete Rose curses in front of kids, brags about seeing Joe Dimaggio naked. Say what you will about Pete Rose, but he rarely lets you down in the crazy department. In an attempt to top his marketing of the "I'm sorry I bet on baseball" autographed ball (also available on a t-shirt for the cost-conscious), Charlie Hustle made an appearance at a baseball camp for 7- to 14-year-olds. where, according to attendees, he dropped a few curses, joked about how he saw Joe Dimaggio in the shower and saw more of him than Marilyn Monroe did, expressed dismay that Marge Schott didn't leave him any money, and declared "if you get second place, you're just losers" (well, I'm with him there). Quite a man. Hard to believe he hasn't gotten in the good graces of Major League Baseball yet. C'mon, what more does he have to do? Move in with the two Coreys?

*Guy busted for impersonating Steve Karsay. In a week full of great baseball stories, this was the grand slam. As reported in the New York Post (and followed up the next day), a guy was busted after spending TWO YEARS pretending he was former Athletic/Indian/Brave/Yankee/Ranger Steve Karsay, whose 32-39 career win/loss surely ought to give him carte blanche for the rest of his life. And therein lies the genius of the story. A guy was able to just do whatever he wanted for two years simply by saying, "Hey, I'm Steve Karsay." To wit, according to the Post article, "The bogus ballplayer was spotted last winter at the Stand-up New York Comedy Club on the Upper West Side, where he interrupted the show by hopping over the bar, making out with a randomly chosen woman, and skipping out on his $100 tab, authorities said." Awesome! Karsay was relieved that the imposter was caught, telling the Post, "I'm glad they caught the guy. You never want your name smeared." Yes, thank God Steve Karsay's name has been returned to its unsullied state.

In related news, Hi, I'm Mackey Sasser.

*And finally, Wednesday of last week was spent at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, where the Staten Island Yankees lost to the Oneonta Tigers 5-3 in 11 innings (we had to bail just as the Tigers took the lead, because Denino's beckoned). The stadium was pretty empty and the scoreboard wasn't working (apparently struck by lightning, according to the guy in front of us), but it was still a good time. I was even chosen to be one of the Tamron Photo Fans of the Game, which meant I got to take pictures with a nice camera for a few hours. See some of the results here. Unfortunately, they couldn't publish all 50 or so that I took.

Go see the Baby Bombers play, wouldya (the San Diego Chicken will make an appearance at Friday's game)? Don't let the Cyclones get all the local minor-league glory.