The Year in TV (2010)

2010 is almost in the history books, so here are my thoughts on the year in television, beginning with a list of my 10 favorite new scripted shows of 2010. Remember that it’s a list of new shows that debuted this year. So you won’t find long-time favorites like Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Dexter on this list, nor will you see limited-run miniseries like The Pacific and The Pillars of the Earth on the list either.

After that, there’s a list of runners-up and several “awards” of dubious distinction.

My Top 10 New Shows of 2010

10) Outsourced (NBC) &#45 It took a few episodes for this show &#45 about a man who is sent to India to head the call center of his novelty company after the rest of the American employees are fired &#45 to gain traction, but its charm has grown on me. I have problems with the main character, Todd Dempsy (played by Ben Rappaport). He still seems to be completely ignorant of Indian culture (if you were being transferred to another country, wouldn’t you read a few books on it, or at least spend five minutes on the country’s Wikipedia page?). I also think the TV series is a bit more… cavalier and stereotypical than the movie it’s based on. But it’s still worth watching.

9) Human Target (Fox) &#45 This show has the best action sequences on TV, hands down. Many of the show’s first episodes were like mini action films, with a new one beamed into my home each week. But Fox isn’t happy with how the show is doing ratings-wise, and has strong-armed the showrunners into adding needless characters and cutting costs. Indira Varma (Niobe from Rome) and Janet Montgomery are pretty, but not only do they not add anything to the show, they actually distract from the show’s former “cop buddy” kind of theme. I’m not too impressed changes, and if it keeps up I won’t be sad when Fox cancels it.

8) Covert Affairs (USA Network) &#45 Man, does USA have a lock on great light entertainment or what? No one would ever accuse Psych, Burn Notice or Covert Affairs of being “deep” or “meaningful”, but as far as mindless television goes, no network does it better. Affairs has outlandish plots and plenty of deus ex machina endings… but it also has kick-ass action sequences and a pretty blonde lead in Piper Perabo. I’m hooked!

Christopher Gorham and Piper Perabo in "Covert Affairs"

7) The Walking Dead (AMC) &#45 After the disaster that was Rubicon, AMC needed a hit with this show, about a group of strangers who band together after a viral outbreak causes most of the human race to turn into zombies. I initially watched the show just because it was set in Atlanta… in fact, I used to drive on the road seen in the show’s promo poster every day when I worked for my dad. I really came to care about the characters as time went on. But the season finale of this show was just plain awful. It was so bad that it pushed this show several places down the list. It was so bad that I honestly don’t know if I’ll be back when season 2 comes.

6) Sherlock (BBC Wales) &#45 Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat’s re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes as a modern detective was sheer genius. Although longtime fans of Basil Rathbone era Holmes cringed at the thought of Sherlock using a mobile phone, it was refreshing to see a new take on the characters, especially one that has Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman) as someone who is actually smart, instead of the buffoon that Nigel Bruce often played him as. The only problem with this series is that there were only three 90-minute episodes. We’ll have to wait until next spring or summer for the next three.

Continue reading “The Year in TV (2010)”

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-12-19

  • Man, Chad Hennie sucks. #
  • Larry Miller is still alive. And the Steelers and Falcons won today, so that's good, too. #
  • You know it's cold when you go to a football game and the line for coffee is twice as long as the beer line! #
  • Reason #16 Your Car Smells: GRANDPA. Enter Conan's #20PinetreeAirFresheners Sweepstacular @ #
  • Wow: Carson Palmer has thrown more pick-sixes than Tom Brady has thrown interceptions in 2010! #
  • Feelin' so fly like a CZAW SportCruiser #
  • Oh my gosh! HOW COULD I have forgotten NASCAR's birthday yesterday? (/sarcasm) #
  • Reason #17 Your Car Smells: That hitchhiker in the back seat. Enter Conan's #20PinetreeAirFresheners Sweepstacular @ #
  • R.I.P. Blake Edwards #
  • IMPORTANT: my address is going awayin 5 days; pls update your address books to my address. Msg me for details. #
  • IMPORTANT: My address is going away; please update your address books to my address. Msg me for details. #
  • Random thought: NASCAR sucks #
  • Oh-wee-oh-wee-oh #
  • Reason #18 Your Car Smells: PICKLES! (Don’t ask) Enter the Chevy Cruze #20PinetreeAirFresheners Sweepstacular @ #
  • Loco Moco for dinner… Ono! #
  • Reason #18 Your Car Smells: PICKLES! (Don’t ask) Enter the Chevy Cruze #20PinetreeAirFresheners Sweepstacular @ #

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Last Night’s Dinner

You know how you sometimes make dinner based solely on what ingredients you have lying around? That was dinner for me last night. I knew that I had rice, eggs, and a couple of hamburger patties… so I threw this together:

loco moco

It’s called loco moco, and it’s a popular dish in Hawaii. You just make a base of white rice, then put one (or more) hamburger patties on top of that. Put one (or more) fried eggs on top of the burger(s), then pour brown gravy over the whole thing.

It ain’t pretty, but it’s amazingly delicious! It would normally be served with a side of Hawaiian macaroni salad, but I haven’t found a good recipe yet. Can anyone help with that?


Since I’m in a musical mood this week, how about this:

She & Him are an indie band consisting of actress Zooey Deschanel (sister of Bones star Emily Deschanel) and Matthew Stephen Ward (who goes under the stage name M. Ward). I wasn’t all that impressed with their first album, Volume 1, but I’m really digging their new disc, Volume 2. Have a gander of the video for the song “Thieves”, from the new album:

Zooey doesn’t have a great voice, but it’s quirky, like her personality. The first album was kind of boring… but the new one is much more interesting.

Every kind of AWESOME there is!

As a young adult, my two favorite Atlanta bars were the County Cork Pub and Churchill Arms. Both were located in Buckhead, and were actually across the street from each other. But they were very different watering holes.

The County Cork was a loud, rambunctious Irish bar, with college students packed in like sardines. The Cork served cold Guinness and had a self-service popcorn machine that popped up all the free popcorn you could stuff in your mouth. On weekends the bar usually had an actual Irish musician on stage, singing drinking songs from the British Isles, tunes so ribald that soldiers and sailors would blush when they heard them.

The Churchill Arms, on the other hand, was much more sedate. When I hung out there in the early to mid 90s, the average patron was probably in his late 40s. There were singalongs of old British songs on Friday nights, but other than that, there was no music in the pub… just older people talking, drinking and smoking, or perhaps playing darts. In the winter months, it gave me great pleasure to sit on the raggedy leather sofa by a roaring fire, drinking ale and smoking cigars.

But all things change. The County Cork lost their lease, moved to a different location, and eventually went under by trying to appeal to a more “upscale” crowd. The older couple who owned Churchill Arms gave it to their children, who took over the empty space next door and added pool tables and loud music, turning it into a frat bar.

So you can imagine my joy when I found this clip on YouTube. It’s from a 1985 North DeKalb Community Television (public access) show called Club Scene, with host Brian Smith. Smith says that the show is dedicated to showing people Atlanta’s other bars, “places you might have never noticed”. And one of the clips is about Churchill Arms!

Have a look:

Wow! What a fun (yet cheesy) trip in the Wayback Machine! I never knew the Churchill Arms was modeled after a genuine English pub, and it’s cool that the original is still in business!

I never saw the barbershop quartet at Churchill Arms, but I remember the lady playing the piano… although the lady I remember was English, and I always thought it was the owner’s wife. Speaking of, I remember owner Arthur Mitchell as an older man with grey hair… and I’ll never forget the St. Patricks’ Day when he gave me an armload of free St. Pat’s swag. I had partied hardy at the County Cork for a few hours and went to Churchill Arms to escape the mob and cool down. The Arms’ clientele wasn’t one for wearing Bushmill’s buttons, Harp Lager beads or giant foam Guinness hats, so Mr. Mitchell loaded me up with all the free stuff I could carry! Good times, good times!

And man alive… was Brian Smith a total hipster or what? I bet chicks totally dug that guy! And yes, I’m kidding, folks.

There’s another clip of Club Scene visiting the legendary Stein Club; check it out after the jump!

Continue reading “Every kind of AWESOME there is!”

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-12-12

  • YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!!!! BEAT THE RATBIRDS!!! Who's in first place in the AFC North, suckers?? YES! YES! #
  • R.I.P. Dandy Don… 🙁 #
  • Duran Duran's new song is FREE on iTunes here: #
  • Sad. Just saw Taylor Nichols (from the Whit Stillman films "Barcelona" and "The Last Days of Disco") in a Time Warner Cable commercial. 🙁 #
  • Reason #13 Your Car Smells: Salsa malfunction. Enter the Chevy Cruze #20PinetreeAirFresheners Sweepstacular @ #
  • Reason #14 Your Car Smells: Kitty’s got a secret litterbox. Enter Conan's #20PinetreeAirFresheners Sweepstacular @ #
  • Woot! Free tickets to the Panthers game this week! GO FALCONS! 😉 #

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Friday’s Unrelated News Roundup

Here’s a bunch of random, unrelated stuff I’ve been meaning to post over the past couple of days:

– Move over, Bhut Jolokia! Gerald Fowler, a British pub owner and pepper enthusiast, has cross-bred three types of peppers to create the Naga Viper, a pepper that beats the Bhut Jolokia – the former “world’s hottest pepper” – by 300,000 Scoville units. The new pepper comes in at 1,359,000 on the Scoville scale, or around 270 times hotter than an average jalapeño, which ranks at a relatively wimpy 2,500 to 5,000 on the Scoville scale.

– This is the saddest thing I’ve read in ages: the Holy Thorn Tree, an ancient tree in Glastonbury, England was cut down by vandals this week. According to legend, the tree was created by Joseph of Arimathea, who had come to England after Jesus had been crucified. He stopped on Wearyall Hill, stuck his walking cane (which allegedly belonged to Jesus) into the ground and went to sleep; when he awoke, the cane had sprouted into a tree. The original tree was cut down during Oliver Cromwell’s time, but residents had saved some cuttings, which were used to create new trees around Glastonbury. The current tree was planted in 1951. The tree is (or rather, was) something of a genuine mystery, because the species, Crategus Monogyna Bi Flora, really did originate in the Middle East, and the tree was ancient when Cromwell’s folks cut the original one down. Every year, cuttings from this (or one of the “daughter trees”) are taken and sent to the Queen, were they sit on her dinner table at Christmas time.

– Strangely, Microsoft hasn’t said much about this, but the Xbox 360 has been the best selling game console in the United States for six months in a row! And I can remember when the original Xbox was just a rumor on message boards… who knew it would one day kick Sony’s ass?

– The latest AccuScore projections are out, and they give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 99.3% chance of making the playoffs and a 78.6% chance of winning their division (the hated Ravens are given an 87.8% chance at the playoffs and a 21.4% chance of taking the division from Pittsburgh). And, on this page, Doug Farrar discusses the fastest receivers in the NFL; Brandon Lloyd gets the top slot, barely inching out my main man Mike Wallace.

– A&E canceled their new reality show The Hasslehoffs after just one episode. That seems pretty harsh, given David Hasslehoff’s popularity and the fact that it’s basic cable.

– ACS: Law is a British law firm that’s trying to make copyright infringement a business. They’ve sent out tens of thousands of letters demanding that file sharers pay them $1,500… or legal action will follow. The theory being, of course, that people would willingly cough up the relatively small $1,500 fee instead of risking far more money taking it to court. After months of threats, the firm finally filed its first cases in the UK this week, and it was a complete disaster… for ACS:Law!

– The site created this map of the United States by entering each state’s name into Google and posting the first entry from the search giant’s autocomplete feature. I’m especially fond of the result from the state of Georgia! 🙂


Tumblr is a microblogging platform. It falls somewhere between a full-blown blog (like WordPress) and a microcommenting site (like Twitter). Imagine, if you will, a Twitter site where you could totally customize the layout and embed videos and pictures in your feed.

Anyway, many of my favorite Tumblr blogs are almost nothing but pictures. Suicide Blonde, for example, is almost exclusively pictures of pretty celebrities, fine art and kitschy home decor.

The problem with these picture-heavy Tumblr blogs is that the people who own them often post 20-30 pictures a day… or more. If you subscribe to their RSS feeds, your inbox can get clogged with posts, and getting the pictures you want to download is a core: click on post #1, click on “View Article” to open the page in a web browser, click on the picture to enlarge it, then right-click and save the image. Repeat 100+ times to clear out the RSS feed.

Thankfully, someone has com up with a better way. Gettumblrpic is a free tool for Windows that allows you to download as many pictures from a Tumblr blog as you want: just download and unzip the program and run it. Enter the Tublr hostname into the “Tumblr Blog:” box, choose how many pages of pictures you want to download, then click the download button.


It’s much easier to use Gettumblrpic to download the pictures from the first ten pages of a Tumblr site and sort out which ones you want after their downloaded than go through the whole RSS song and dance. Give it a try… I think you’ll like it!