Pop Culture Junkette

Addicted to pop culture.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Burn Notice: pretty hot

I know it's been quite some time since I last posted, and I apologize. Like Junkettes Holt, Isaac and Bailey before me, I have left my job. It's crazy to think that when we started this blog all five Junkettes worked at the same place, and now only Wilder is left there. In addition to leaving the old job, I have started a new one, so things have been hectic. (Perhaps you can forgive me for the cheesy post title because of my major life upheaval?)

But not too hectic to watch some television. Of course, there isn't much on these days, so I decided to rent season one of Burn Notice. I made this choice because, as I previously blogged, I now love Tricia Helfer and she has joined the cast for season two. I didn't have high hopes for this show, since it is billed as a spy show. Sure, I loved Alias, but this is a spy show without Sydney Bristow.

After watching two episodes, however, I now officially love this show! Unlike so many other spy shows, it's not heavy. The lead is really good looking, there is an underlying mystery (why has our hero been given a burn notice, blacklisting him from all intelligence agencies?), and he solves the problem of some poor sap in each episode. Plus, Sharon Gless (last seen playing a psychotic teddy bear maker on Nip/Tuck) does a great job playing his very annoying mother. I'm not sure how I feel about Gabrielle Anwar and her ever-changing accent as our hero's ex-girlfriend, but I'll give her a chance.

It's a pretty show--it takes place in Miami so there are a lot of bright colors and ocean shots--and is an easy, fun watch. I'm glad I added it to my Netflix queue (and I'm already DVRing season two, so I can begin watching once I'm done with season one).


Monday, July 21, 2008

Is There Something Wrong With John McCain's Head?

No, I'm not questioning either McCain's intelligence or is sanity, but for the past several days, where McCain seems to be, he is wearing a Navy hat. Is he hiding something on the top of his head? Or am I just not seeing him without it? Just asking.
Update: And, of course, as soon as I post this, I see a picture of McCain and Bush 41, and McCain is hatless. He was wearing the hat at a campaign event in Maine a few minutes ago, and when I saw footage, I was inspired to post. Never mind.

Help For Your Thinning Scalp

As the two readers of this blog are aware, I am a big baseball fan. This includes purchasing the MLB Extra Innings package which enables me to watch virtually every game including, most importantly, those of my New York Yankees. About a year ago, I started seeing a commercial for a product to help those of us with thinning hair. No, this is not an endorsement. Instead, this is just an encouragement to watch the ad, linked above, featuring Mr. Giuseppe Franco.
The picture above does not do justice do this man who resembles an aging Derek Zoolander with too much plastic surgery. The first time I saw the ad I thought it was a fake, particularly when the celebrity client at his Beverly Hills salon that appears in the commercial is none other than the legendary Gary Busey. Every time I see the ad, I get a chuckle (just like when I drive past the "George Bush Center for Intelligence" on the GW Parkway; it's the CIA HQ named for Bush 41 in case you were confused). Next time I'm in LA, I am going to need to stop in at Franco's salon. If I meet him, I'll be sure to post a report.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hello, AT&T. It's Time for a Better Ad Agency

So AT&T has a commercial I keep seeing for its laptop connect card. In the ad, the pitchman appears to be on a remote desert island in the Pacific in front of plane wreckage with Amelia written on it. (Ha Ha.) Essentially, the point of the ad is that with the card you can get the internet anywhere.

One big problem--when you watch the ad, quite visible in the background is Honolulu. Most noticeable is Diamond Head. So if the point of the ad is that this card works in a large city, I'm not too impressed. Next time, remove the buildings and other landmarks. Call Iran--they seem to be good with photoshop.

Did They Have Something Better To Do?

Just to continue the All Star Game theme, the following Hall of Famers were not present last night for the wonderful ceremony at Yankee Stadium: Johnny Bench, Tom Seaver, Sandy Koufax, Joe Morgan, Nolan Ryan, Stan Musial, Carlton Fisk, and Carl Yastrzemski. What is up with that? This plan has been known for months, and these guys should have been there. Maybe Musial is ill, but I bet he will be at Cooperstown in a few weeks playing his harmonica; I also am sure he will be at the All Star Game next year in St. Louis. And Koufax is notoriously reclusive, but he is a New York guy originally. Seaver used to work for the Yanks and is the greatest Met of all time. Bench had one of his legendary performances against the Yanks in the '76 World Series. Ryan is president of the Texas Rangers. Joe Morgan calls Sunday Night Baseball for ESPN. Heck, Yaz is from Long Island, and Carlton Fisk could have been booed along with other Red Sox. Those guys better have a damn good excuse.

Update: there were some others not in attendance. Sparky Anderson, Jim Bunning (US Senator from KY), Bobby Doerr, Monte Irvin, George Kell, Red Shoendienst, and Bruce Sutter. With the exception of Sutter, these guys are all very old, so I cut them more slack. In addition, I just saw a list of attendees of the Hall of Fame Induction and Musial is not on it. If he is ill, I send him my best. He is one of the last legends of his generation.

Finally, as much as I used to hate Steinbrenner ("How could you trade Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps!" --Frank Costanza), it is tragic to see him as a shell of his former self. I assume it is Alzheimer's, but I prefer to remember him in all his insanity.



As a fan of a National League baseball team that is usually in the playoff hunt, the All-Star game has become an incredibly frustrating experience. Since Bud Selig announced the league that, beginning in 2003, the team that won the All-Star game would have World Series home field advantage, the National League has won exactly zero games. Up until today, that meant five games that actually mean something, and five loses. I had no hopes that this year would be any different, and after 15 innings of baseball, I was, unfortunately, correct. Six games, six losses.

What's most frustrating was that it seemed to me that if the NL could have just held on, eventually the AL was going to have to forfeit the game. (And no, I would not have been upset if that's the way the NL got the win.) Yet at the end of the game the announcers stated that the 2002 All-Star game had ended in a tie, and the 2008 almost did so as well. I just don't get it. Terry Francona did a bad job managing his bullpen and was stuck with just one remaining pitcher--someone who had started two days earlier and shouldn't have been pitching at all. Why would his poor decision-making result in a tied game, rather than a forfeit? Are the announcers simply incorrect (it wouldn't be the first time), or am I missing something (if so, I'm sure Isaac will set me straight)?


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Excitement in Shreve-wood

As I may have mentioned at some point, Mrs. Bartender comes from Shreveport, Louisiana. When I tell people this, I am frequently asked either (a) so you must get to New Orleans a lot or (b) was her family affected by Katrina. This is based upon the mistaken impression that everything in Louisiana is fairly close to the Big Easy. In fact, Shreveport is in the NW Corner of the state, about a five hour drive from New Orleans. (It is closer to Dallas.) Thus, in my annual trips to Shreveport over the past decade, I have been to New Orleans exactly once. And when Katrina devastated NO, it didn't even get cloudy up in Shreveport.

Katrina did, however, have one major effect on Shreveport--the relocation of the movie industry. A number of years ago, Louisiana enacted an number of financial incentives to get Hollywood to the Pelican State. Originally, movies came to NO, but after Katrina, a new location was needed. Hello, Shreveport. While I have yet to see any of the stars when I'm down there, I do hear stories from all the locals about Kevin Costner or Oliver Stone or some other major figure who is in town and where they ate or what they did.

This weekend, we had our first public "incident." No, nothing as good as a drunken Lohan or Britney, but not bad either. Oliver Stone is filming W, his Bush biopic, in Shreveport, and Josh Brolin (Bush) and Jeffrey Wright (Powell) managed to get arrested following a bar fight. This was, my in-laws reported, huge, huge news down in Shreveport including a banner headline in the Shreveport Times. Just makes me even more excited for my next visit.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Big News

The one and only Joe E. Tata will be back on the new 90210 as, of course, Nat Bussichio, the incomparable owner of the Peach Pit. (Bet you didn't know his last name.) Perhaps his character can date Brenda and then dump her for Kelly. (Both Kelly and Donna Martin (she graduated!) will be on, and it looks like Brenda is coming on board as well. What about Dylan? Or perhaps the Walshes can return from Hong Kong!) Oh, the drama.


Monday, July 07, 2008


I have this slight obsession with movies based on Jane Austen novels. Shut up. Anyway, I recently Netflixed the newest BBC version of Persuasion, (which is COMPLETELY fabulous by the way) and fell hard and fast for the beautiful blonde man who played Captain Wentworth. As soon as I'd wiped the last tear from my eye after Capt. and Mrs. Wentworth danced on the lawn of their new/old home, I got on IMDB and looked him up. And it turned out he was on the later seasons of some British spy series called Spooks/MI-5 (Spooks is the name in the UK, but it's marketed as MI-5 on this side of the pond.) Hot spies with British accents? Sign me up! I Netflixed the first season, and was promptly hooked. (I'm well into Season 2 and Capt. Wentworth still hasn't turned up. But the Jane Austen eye candy quotient is currently being filled by the lovely and talented actor who played Mr. Darcy(!) in the excellent 2006 version of Pride & Prejudice. (The one with Keira Knightley and her fubar wig).)

Ahem, anyway, apart from the hotness of its stars, I'm enjoying MI-5 for what seems like its semi-realistic (I'm guessing, no personal experience here) depiction of spy life. There are no Alias-like glamour missions in wigs and lingerie. The spies are more likely to go under cover as IT technicians or cleaning ladies. And they mess up. ALL the time. In ways that humans mess up, and that increases the amusement factor. And the danger they face due to their cock-ups never seems trumped up, but always very real. And I can't fail to mention the pleasure this anglophile is experiencing from the sheer British-ness of it all. In one scene in the first season, a spy meets an informer in the middle of an empty field, and both spy and informer are wearing, completely unironically and with no pretense whatsoever, WELLIES! Because apparently that's what British (and Irish) men wear when they're walking in an empty field! I love it.


Farwell, Old Friend

On Saturday afternoon, I, along with Mrs. Bartender, Isaac, Jr., and the latest addition to the Bartender family, went to see the Yankees and Red Sox do battle at the Stadium in the Bronx. The game was a terrific one, with the Yankees prevailing 2-1. Mussina pitched perhaps his best game of the year (6 shut-out innings), and the great Rivera came in in the 9th, promptly gave up a run and loaded the bases with none out, and proceeded to work his way of the self-created jam. Good times.

And yet as the game ended, I was left with a touch of sadness. I have been attending Yankee games at the Stadium since I was 5; in that time, I have seen hundreds of games there including 12 playoff and 4 World Series affairs. I have a lot of terrific memories of attending some classics including Chambliss homering to put the Yanks into the '76 Series, Brett homering 3 times in '78 only to have Munson win it in the 10th, Reggie sticking his hip out in '78, Mel Hall hitting a 3-run walk off homer to beat the Sox in '91, Donnie Baseball and his first postseason game in '95, Chad Curtis beating the Braves in Game 3 in '99, and Paul O'Neill working a walk and tying the game off perenial choke artist Armando Benitez in Game 1 of the '00 Subway Series. Since moving to DC, I have only attended a handful of games in NY, and in all likelihood this was my last one at the Stadium I grew up going to, attending games with my father who grew up 6 blocks from the Stadium. Now I have taken my sons, and while they won't remember it, at least they will get to know they were at this legendary ballpark.

I understand why the new stadium is going up, and I am thrilled it will be next door to the current one and called not Addidas Field but Yankee Stadium. It may not be the House that Ruth Built, but at least it will be close. Yet with a fond adieu, I think the old Stadium for so many memories.