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In a nutshell:
"Shoot-fire, them dang Vikings is...itching to fight in a war that's...a symbol of a treasure so rare and decadent that not even the queen can afford to...go for four hours with multiple partners while testing disease-free... After suffering a heart attack...it's heartening to discover that the 59-year-old...tattoo-laden Allen Iverson...can play with up to six people, meaning...he opposed President Jackson's war on the national bank but supported the administration in the nullification conflict with...a 'reckless' exotic dancer who kicked him in the head."
TODAY'S PLANNER STILL BELIEVES IN SANTA CLAUS
Although Its Version Isn't so Much a Jolly Fat Man as a Hot Chick With Plenty of "Goodies"
Well, it's the last day of November and we just have one thing to ask: Are you really ready for December? Ready for the slippery slide into the holidays? Ready for the crush of holiday parties, over-indulgence and guilt—not necessarily in that order? Have you steeled yourself against the constant sonic onslaught of cheery, jangly holiday tunes? Is your waistline properly prepared for the requisite expansion? As of today you only have 24 shopping days left till Christmas, 25 till Kwanzaa or Boxing Day (take your pick) and only nine before Chanukah begins. So, we ask again: Are you really ready for December? You probably oughta do like we do and just start the drinkin' now.

GUY WITH THE GOGGLES' NFL PICKS OF THE WEEK
PITTSBURGH -7 over Minnesota

Shoot-fire, them dang Vikings is implodin', and it ain't gonna git no better this week. The dang Minnesota dee-fense couldn't stop my grandma, and she's old. They got no hope of shuttin' down The Bus. I'll take them dang Heinz 57 Steelers.

Dallas +8 1/2 over WASHINGTON
Dang Gawd almighty, I hate the Redskins. The danged ol' Cowboys have won eight in a row over this here pathetic team. Throw in the bonus of Washington being the Sports Illustrated cover boys this week, and they got no chance. Fuck the Jets! Die, Al Davis, die! Eat me, Ricky Leigh!
(Year-to-date: 8-8)

TRAKIN'S PICKS TO FLICK
Behind Enemy Lines
(20th Century Fox):
Is there a new movie without Gene Hackman in it? This film, set in mid-'90s Bosnia, was originally slated to come out next year, but was moved up after testing well, apparently providing the clear-cut resolution our current conflict refuses to. Owen Wilson, another ubiquitous performer these days, is Lieutenant Chris "Longhorn" Burnett, a top Navy aviator biding his time on an aircraft carrier itching to fight in a war that's winding down. Hackman is his gruff, by-the-book father figure, who naturally doesn't believe Wilson's learned what it means to be a soldier. While on a holiday, the young buck finally gets a chance when, on a routine reconnaissance mission, his partner is murdered by Serbs. When the U.N. refuses to get involved, it's up to flinty Hackman to go in and save the day, like he has so many times before, in Uncommon Valor and others. Sort of a combo between the quick-cutting anarchy of Three Kings and an old-fashioned war epic like Enemy at the Gates, it already feels dated in the light of recent events, though that may well be its strongest selling point. Commercial-maker John Moore directs the film in his best video game mode. The website at www.enemylinesmovie.com offers the requisite production notes, downloads, trailer, etc.

The Affair of the Neckace (Warner Bros.): A romantic costume drama with intrigue, this true-life period piece stars Oscar winner Hilary Swank as an 18th Century Frenchwoman denied her noble title and seat at Versailles. As a youngster, she suffers the horror of seeing her ancestral home destroyed, her father murdered and her mother left to die of heartbreak. Determined to avenge her family and restore her name and proper place in society, Swank heads for Paris with genealogy scroll in hand. Meanwhile, she steps right into the French Revolution, which is in full swing, with Adrien Brody as a no-account Count and Joely Richardson as a tripping Marie Antoinette. The titular jewelry, composed of 647 diamonds, eventually becomes a symbol of a treasure so rare and decadent that not even the queen can afford to buy it, and a way for Swank to reclaim her rights by worming her way into the confidence of the court. The movie co-stars such talented character actors as Jonathan Pryce, Brian Cox and Christopher Walken, and is given an ironic modernist slant with music by Dead Can Dance and Alanis Morissette. Director Charles Shyer (the man behind the Father of the Bride movies with wife Nancy Meyers) seems to show a previously unseen ability to helm this kind of Merchant-Ivory fare. The website, www.affairofthenecklace.com, is on the scanty side, with merely a trailer, story synopsis and movie poster.

Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy (Malestrom): Hey, he's our hero. The famed adult film star gets the big-screen docu treatment he truly deserves as the hedgehog of porn sets out to demonstrate why he's getting laid a lot more than he deserves. Scott J. Gill, a former horror movie editor, makes his directorial debut by chronicling the actor formerly known as Ronnie Hyatt's career, from early home movies and the death of his mother at an early age to getting a degree in theater and a master's in special ed (!!). After a girlfriend sent a nude picture of him to Playgirl with his name and address, his father forbid him from ever using the family name again. As you might expect, Jeremy comes off frustrated, unhappy and desperate to cross over to the mainstream as a comic or a "real" film actor. His everyman status, so alluring to the lumpenfile porn audience, seems downright pathetic in light of his dogged pursuit to meet celebrities and chase legitimacy. But any man who can count down to his own climax without Viagra or go for four hours with multiple partners while testing disease-free should be proud of his own accomplishments as one of the industry's most reliable "woodmen." Check out www.ronjeremy-themovie.com for the skinny on this chubby, with trailer, message board and a chance to "Meet Ron Jeremy." John Holmes, eat your, unh, heart out.

Diamond Men (Panorama): This indie release has been getting rave reviews on the festival circuit, with veteran actor Robert Forster (Jackie Brown, Mulholland Drive), never less than fascinating as a deadpan, seen-it-all, film noir presence, starring as a diamond salesman who, after suffering a heart attack, is asked to mentor a young new hire (Donnie Wahlberg) he doesn't particularly like at first. Shades of Arthur Miller crossed with David Mamet. Over the course of several trips to see clients around Pennsylvania, the two develop an uneasy bond, including a shared interest in the ladies of a brothel called the Altoona Riding Club. The film co-stars Bess Armstrong.  From the scenes I've seen on TV, it looks pretty realistic and unsentimental. The movie was written and directed by promising newcomer Daniel M. Cohen, co-director of cult film The Whole Truth. Roy Trakin

MR. BASSMAN REDUX
Paul McCartney, Driving Rain (Capitol):
When I say that this is McCartney's best album in at least 20 years, I'm not suggesting he's come up with a latter-day "Eleanor Rigby," "Blackbird," "Helter Skelter" or "Every Night." Nope, I don't think Driving Rain is a classic, just a lively, heartfelt, compulsively listenable album from a legendary figure who has reconnected with his artistic strengths. These include crafting compelling melody lines, singing his royal Liverpudlian ass off and playing the electric bass more brilliantly than anyone in rock & roll history. The crucial decision made by Sir Paul and producer David Kahne was to record the tracks quickly and live in the studio, using the same three sidemen, including guitarist Rusty Anderson (Kahne's secret weapon since those Bangles albums in the mid-'80s), who provides the requisite crunch, jangle and skronk as if he were channeling Abbey Road and Band on the Run. Because of the way they were created, these tracks feel inhabited, not merely worked out. They're largely free of treacle, and the sentiments contained in McCartney's vocals would feel genuine even if we weren't acutely aware of their origins in grief and renewal. Particularly touching are the romantic ballads "Magic," "From a Lover to a Friend" and "Your Loving Flame" (with its echoes of "The Long and Winding Road"), while the Indian-flavored "Riding Into Jaipur" could be a love note to George Harrison. But I keep coming back to the vibrant rockers "Lonely Road" (on which live Paul and overdubbed Paul battle lustily for vocal dominance) and the White Album-like "About You," as well as the mostly instrumental "Heather," whose architectural dynamic recalls the elaborate frontpiece of "Band on the Run." It's heartening to discover that the 59-year-old McCartney can still bring it when he's inspired and surrounded by plugged-in collaborators; imagine seeing this combo rockin' out in a smoky club—now that would be something. Bud Scoppa

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell

LP'Z PS2 GAME OF THA WEEK
NBA Live 2002:
That iz correct kidz, tha holidays are upon us and everyone is asking uncle LP what are tha hottt games they need to be getting for tha holidays. I highly recommend this one. Don't go wasting your hard earned $$$ on an Xbox—just like Dreamcast they are hotttt but will be gone soon enuff. So play it Live! With action more like an NBA highlights video than a television broadcast, NBA Live 2002 brings you out of tha stands and onto tha court. Hear what players are saying and see tha courts from tha players' eyes. Wide-open gameplay around tha basket opens up the game, allowing for more lay-ups, dunks, and greater control in the low post. Witness tattoo-laden Allen Iverson arguing with tha referee's call. See an animated Steve Francis yell as he throws down a big-time dunk, and watch his reaction as he gloats about it on his feet. Get in tha game with NBA Live 2002. Uncle "Latin Prince"

ANOTHER PS2 REVIEW
NHL HITZ:
Latin Prince knows PS2 games, but he slept on Midway's NHL Hitz. And if there's one thing we at hitsdailydouble.com know, it's sleepinger, hits. This game is a four-on-four variation that covers the basics that you need in a hockey game: real players and teams, intuitive passing, quick shooting, hard checks and fighting. It's the checking and fighting that make this the hockey game to own. Check opponents through the glass, drop the gloves and square off head-to-head, or just knock someone down from behind, since there aren't any penalties. With the multi-player adapter, you can play with up to six people, meaning you can take your aggression out on your friends. And if you score three unanswered goals, your team is on fire, literally. Those sorts of exaggerated visuals and fast-action gameplay take NHL Hitz over the top. —David Simutis, AKA Big Hitter

VICE-PRESIDENTIAL FACT OF THE WEEK
George M. Dallas, our 10th veep, was born in Philadelphia, PA, on July 10, 1792. Entering politics, Dallas served as mayor of Philadelphia in 1829, U. S. district attorney for eastern Pennsylvania from 1829 to 1831 and U. S. senator from 1831 to 1833. In the Senate he opposed President Jackson's war on the national bank but supported the administration in the nullification conflict with South Carolina. From 1833 to 1835 he was attorney general of Pennsylvania and from 1837 to 1839 minister to Russia. After serving as James K. Polk's vice president, as minister to Britain, Dallas laid the foundations for resolving an Anglo-American dispute over Britain's role in Central America, left unsettled by the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850. He also obtained a British disavowal of the right of search in connection with a joint agreement to suppress slave trade. Dallas died in Philadelphia on Dec. 31, 1864. Best Anagram of his Name: Real old eggs, Ma

A NEW YORK MINUTE
Sick of It All, New York's sweetest hardcore boys, are at the Knitting Factory on Friday. These guys live here; why don't they play here more often? Check them out now, cuz another year could go by before they play here again. Might as well stay downtown that night, since the best show on Saturday is also at the Knitting Factory. Wheat is playing a few shows before they finally sign a deal and put out a new record. I hear that there's been some "major-label interest," as the saying goes, so catch them now before the shows get too crowded to enjoy. Opening act Matt Pond PA is very worth getting there early for as well. Sunday night, try Koufax at Brownies. They're sort of like the emo/indie-rock answer to Ben Folds Five. Heidi Anne-Noel

YOUR WEEKLY FORTUNE
Plus Lucky Numbers!
Our fortunes and lucky numbers are doing their shopping online.
You are an adventurer—travel the highway of life.
11, 21, 25, 29, 35, 43.

CURIOUS NEWS STORY OF THE WEEK
Not the Kind of Head He Was Hoping For: A Canadian man has sued a Vancouver-area strip club, claiming he was injured by a "reckless" exotic dancer who kicked him in the head. Greg Bonnett is seeking unspecified damages from the Barnet Motor Inn, claiming it was negligent in not posting prominent signs warning the public of the risk of sitting too close to the stage. Bonnett was in the New Westminster club on Nov. 29, 2000, when a female dancer swung around a pole and kicked him, fracturing his nose, according to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday in British Columbia Supreme Court. The man's lawsuit also seeks damages from the dancer, identified only as "Jane Doe," for allegedly "dancing in a negligent and reckless manner." J.D.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Upcoming Birthdays
Nov. 30-Dec. 6
30—Mark Twain (would have been 166), Abbie Hoffman (would have been 65) & David Mamet (54)
1—Woody Allen (66) & Bette Midler (57)
2—T.C. Boyle (53) & Monica Seles (28)
3—Joseph Conrad (would have been 144)
5—Walt Disney (would have been 100)
6—Steven Wright (46)

Special Events
30—Full Moon
1—Rosa Parks Day
6—Lover's Fair (Belgium)

FACTS OF LIFE SUMMARY FOR THE WEEK
Blair's friend Allison, a former student, brings her baby for a visit with her old classmates, then disappears, leaving her infant to their care.

ANOTHER BILLIE BANGER? (UPDATE)
Are you free Wednesday afternoon? (11/12a)
BIEBER BY CHRISTMAS?
How's that for a tease, Bieber Nation? (11/12a)
NEAR TRUTHS: MEET
THE NEW BOSSES
Not the same as the old bosses (11/12a)
CMA CENTERPIECE
CARRIE UNDERWOOD
This sure feels like her moment. (11/12a)
WHO'S GETTING ZERVAS?
It's down to two bidders. (11/12a)
THE GRAMMY NOMINATIONS
They'll soon be here, and then we can start obsessing about who'll win.
U.K. SPECIAL
Forget Brexit--it's our yearly survey of doings in Blighty. And if you still can't forget Brexit, try drinking.
ZERVAS STATION
Who's going to land the hottest unsigned property in music?
WEED!
That's what Hollywood smells like. Seriously. 24/7.
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