November 28, 2005


  1. . . . Some guy in the subway was blowing it on his saxophone this morning. I felt like stuffing my newspaper down the tube of that horn. Noise pollution.
  2. SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS. Last week was a wet one for the morning talk shows. Matt Lauer and Al Roker of the Today show were standing in a shallow part of the new Georgia Aquarium and later Al did the weather in a dingy holding green buckets full of fish food. On the same day ABC's Jim Avila (he looked fit) was in a wet suit fooling around in the Dead Sea on Good Morning America. And later in the week CBS Early Show national correspondent Tracy Smith was at the aquarium, in the water with a wet suit on, interviewing Ray Davis, zoological operations director of the new fish tank.
  3. A baby boomer friend of mine said she heard two cuts from Neil Diamond's new bare basics album, 12 Songs (produced by Rick Rubin), and thought it was dreadful. She groaned.
  4. WHAT WAS SHE THINKING? Lee Ann Womack, who won three CMAs (Country Music Awards) last week, looked like someone dumped about 10 pounds of blonde wig on her head. She had that same look the weekend before on a Broadway Meets Country show in New York. So obviously fake. But maybe she was channeling Loretta Lynn and it was a reflection of her winning album of the year, There's More Where That Came From, which was an homage to the country sounds of the '60s and '70s. Someone said she looked like it (the wig) was straight out of the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum.
  5. . . . And can Jon Bon Jovi just go away? Would somebody work on that? (He showed up on the CMAs; sang a duet with Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles. Everytime you turn around, he's there, like Bono.
  6. WALK THE LINE. Pretty darn good. Joaquin Phoenix plays Johnny Cash, the legendary Man in Black, and Reese Witherspoon plays the love of his life, June Carter. Movie runs through the standard biopic routine but there's good acting and both Jaoquin and Reese do their own singing. Before seeing the movie that didn't sound like a good idea. But it works. And it's good. Phoenix has the Cash mannerisms down, especially when he's slinging and playing that guitar. And Reese sounds good too and is full of bubbly personality that doesn't grate. It's a fun movie.
  7. Naomi Judd, Wynonna's mother, started her new morning talk show, Naomi's New Morning (sounds like a new feminine hygiene product), on the Hallmark Channel Sunday. She describes it as "a one-hour heart-to-heart communication." Oh, not just a regular talk show? Of course not. And the first one was to feature, among many other guests, Colin Powell, "talking about his prostate." That was nicely phrased.
  8. Tim Russert had New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on his CNBC interview show a week or so ago. It was chummy. She's been in the news because of her Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide book. I caught it late one night last weekend and a couple times the video/digital tape got stuck and the audio fell out when she was talking and you lost some of what she had to say. They ought to get better tech help at that cable net; somebody should have quality-checked the show before it went to air, for crissakes.
  9. . . . Dowd laughs a lot when she tells stories or vignettes. She seems like fun but watch out. She's known for her acid tongue.
  10. Madonna's new album, Confessions on a Dance Floor sounds pretty good and yes, it is all mixed together like a DJ would do it, by DJ/remixer Stuart Price. To my tastes though, I think many cuts would benefit from harder mixes. So I guess that would make the album a re-remix. They have them, don't they? The synth beats aren't quite enough for me. But altogether, a decent album.
  11. . . . The CD booklet has all kinds of pink/purple-hued pictures of her wearing pink underpants (not bikini), on all fours, stretching and contorting on a mirrored dance floor. Her hair's red and in one picture she's reclining on her back with her legs up in the air over her head with the caption, "I'm at the point of no return."
  12. . . . Wonder what daughter Lourdes and son Rocco think of mommy in poses like that?
  13. Hanalie, dog in the neighborhood who is not forgotten (I left the poor thing out of the column two times in a row), had an accident. She peed in owner Sally's bed. Sally said she did that because she's jealous of Gidget, the bare-eyed cockatoo. But Hanalie still rules the roost, she insists.
  14. SHE DIDN'T GET THE ROLE. American Idol Fantasia Barrino lost out to Jennifer Hudson, another former Idol contender, for the coveted role of Effie in the to-be-filmed movie Dreamgirls, the story of a three-girl Motown-style group similar to the Supremes on their way to stardom. Along the way, though, their manager (shades of Motown's Berry Gordy) wants to kick Effie (shades of real life Florence Ballard) out. The Effie role was played on Broadway by Jennifer Holliday whose tour de force performance of And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going brought the house down every night. Word on the street was that Fantasia had it based on her audition tape but it didn't come to pass.
  15. President Bush looked pretty comfortable in his jeans in that picture of him taken while he was on the phone talking to a U.S. soldier on Thanksgiving from his ranch in Crawford, Tex. The jeans looked like a relaxed standard fit and definitely weren't low-rise. No belt on, so he especially was in a cas(ual) mood. Add to that a short-sleeved snap button western-style shirt and you've got the package.
  16. There's a new silicone breast implant they're calling the Gummi Bear because it has that consistency and they're liquid-y so they don't leak.
  17. Cinderella Man has been re-released. Did they do that in order to garner good press for Russell Crowe, who was in New York last week for his sentencing for angrily hurling a cell phone and hitting a hotel clerk in June? He didn't get it. Quite the opposite.
  18. IS JACK KEVORKIN STILL ALIVE? Someone asked this. Answer is yes. The suicide assister is in jail and in "grave medical shape," according to, and his attorney is asking that his sentence be ended. He's in the clink for euthanizing Thomas Youk, a Detroit area man who had Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) and whose death was shown on 60 Minutes.
  19. . . . And there's a book in all this. The Life of Dr. Death is being shopped around to publishers.
  20. A magazine ad in Newsweek for the new NBC Nightly News Netcast, which is now available on the, shows anchor Brian Williams-or is it Fox News's Brit Hume?-seated at his laptop with his specs on, looking much like Hume. I did a double-take. They oughta re- think that one.
  21. The new Nightline starts Monday, Nov. 28. One-third anchor Terry Moran will be reporting all week from Iraq and the other two-thirds, Cynthia McFadden and Martin Bashir, will be in New York. (Wonder if Michael Jackson will be watching Bashir from Bahrain?) So unless you want ABC to put on another comedy show, watch it, said Ted Koppel, who stepped down from the show last week after 26 years. NOTE: It will air, however, after Monday Night Football (approx. 12:30 a.m. ) so it won't premiere in its regular timeslot at 11:35. A little unfortunate.
  22. Ellen DeGeneres did her show last week from New York. The set looked good with a window view of Central Park South. But the chairs must've been designed for Shrek. Anyone who sat in them looked shrunk, like Lily Tomlin's Elizabeth Ann character on the old Saturday Night Live.
  23. DANCING TRAFFIC COP. Yeah, we saw him, over in the West Bank a week or so ago. Doing his thing. How many times have we seen this? Every city's got one. Show me something original.
  24. "Thank you, Lara. We'll see you Monday," said Bob Schieffer on the CBS Evening News to rising news star Lara Logan who was in Baghdad for the upcoming, resuming Saddam Hussein trial. So let's see if, in fact, she makes the show lineup on Monday or else Schieffer's word maybe doesn't carry much weight.
  25. Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewife Lynette Scavo) plays a transsexual--man who becomes a woman (Sabrina 'Bree' Osbourne)--in an upcoming indie movie called TransAmerica. She (he) finds out he fathered a son who is a teenage runaway hustling on the streets of New York and the two hook up. Advance word is that she's does a great acting job and the film's supposed to be really good.
  26. A woman's wig flew off her head in the stampede when a Wal-Mart opened up on Black Friday. She grabbed that thing fast. (Didn't catch the store location)
  27. STOP IT ALREADY. That obnoxious Paul McCartney song, Wonderful Christmastime (1979) is being used again for Washington area radio station WASH-FM/97.1, your "home for the holidays." The musical onslaught begins.
  28. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) was talking about Iraq and was questioned by Tim Russert on Meet the Press about a closed-door briefing he had with the military about the troops there. Warner said he liked to get his information not just from the administration but from other sources. It was a serious discussion. As a follow-up I wish Russert would've asked him what it was like to be married to Liz Taylor. They were married once upon a time. She doesn't look so hot lately.
  29. "It's a cold morning in Washington. Even the geese have goosebumps," said News4 meteorologist Tom Kierein one day last week. He's always good for corny.
  30. ENOUGH DAYS AND TODAYS FOR YA? "I'm Kristine Johnson. Thanks for watching Early Today. This, your first stop of the day, today, on your NBC station."
  31. RENT. If you like film musicals then go see this. About a group of young artists in New York in the very early 90s struggling with love, life and AIDS and told in a rock opera style. It all takes place in one year, hence the lead song, Seasons of Love which has the refrain, "525,600 minutes." The play won a Tony and a Pulitzer for writer Jonathan Larson. I know the critics pretty much panned the movie but I thought it was pretty good. Granted, it takes place back then and New York City is no longer like that depicted in the film. But get away from that. The cast sings everything. Yes, it's a bit dramatic in parts. But what play isn't? Yes, the actors are older than their early 20s. So what? And what if the street scenery is not altogether accurate for the time? Who really cares about that? The movie succeeds and the music is terrific. The audience applauded at the end in the theater I saw it in.
  32. LIKE THIS: "I'm Magellan, I'm so gellin'. (Ad for Dr. Scholls' Massaging Gel Insoles)
  33. She Bangs, She Bangs Ricky Martin admits in a Q&A in Blender magazine that he's videotaped himself having sex but he always deletes it before going to sleep because "... I don't want to be like Pamela Anderson! If I am having sex on camera, they better pay me!"
  34. So how many people had a turducken for Thanksgiving? (A turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, believe it or not.) "All birds are boned so they can fit neatly inside each other, and each bird contains a different stuffing. It's a Cajun thing," says cooking expert Kim O'Donnel of Sounds like they might taste better than a tofurkey? And did anyone have one of those?
  35. MULTIPLE OFFSPRING. Now kids who were conceived by a sperm donor have to worry about later in life possibly marrying their sister or brother. And "donor-conceived siblings" are locating each other online now. (What doesn't happen online?) Excellent, thought-provoking piece all about this in a New York Times article (Nov. 20) by Amy Harmon.
  36. I can still hear Link Wray's Rumble (Cadence, 1958) in my mind. That 1958 instrumental became his signature hit. It had a sinister, creepy, stalking sound to it and was banned from some radio stations because it was thought to encourage violence. Then he had more of a rocker called Raw-Hide (Epic, 1959) and after that came Jack the Ripper (Swan, 1963). That was a good song to do the Dirty Boogie, a dance popular in Baltimore back in the day.
  37. MORE TV GUIDE COMPLAINTS. People are griping that the listings are worthless and want to know where they can get detailed ones for regular broadcast stations/networks since they don't have cable. (Not everyone does.) They want to know specifics-not that a show is on but what the episode is about. And I don't blame 'em.
  38. UH . . . Blame It On the Bossa Nova-Eydie Gorme, on Columbia, 1963. She and hubby Steve Lawrence each had individual record hits and sang together on many 60s/70s TV variety shows and were frequent guests of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Where are they now? (Probably Vegas)


© Rocci Fisch/Random Thoughts

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