Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blackwell Done

Early yesterday I saw on the Comcast channel guide that Ken Blackwell was going to be on that night's Daily Show promoting his new book, The Blueprint: Obama's Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency. As soon as I saw the tome's title, I knew this would be one of those where Stewart cut away early and told us to watch the rest on the web, and indeed it was. Blackwell, perhaps best known up 'till now as the Secretary of State who helped swing Ohio to Bush in '04, may well have lowered the bar for himself with last night's appearance.

I've often referred to RNC chair Michael Steele as "hapless" here, but I have to say that Blackwell, who also vied for the same post, displayed a degree of befuddlement with Stewart that was positively Steele-esque. During their discussion, Stewart repeatedly calling on him to provide real world examples to line up with his book's apocalyptic proclamations about imperialism, collectivism, etc. without much success, finally leading the host to exclaim:
If the debate is "I don't like your programs," or "I don't like the philosophy of the judges you have the right to appoint," that's a very different conversation than "You are becoming a tyrant and subverting the constitution," because that's a very emotional, loaded statement that's not seemingly backed up by a tremendous amount of, I guess you'd call them facts.
That seems like common sense to me, but I suppose it's a measure of our discourse today that this has to actually be articulated. You can find the first part of the unedited interview here if you want to experience the cognitive dissonance firsthand, with the other two parts linked from there. I hung in as long as I could, but right around the point in part three when Blackwell asserts that George Bush didn't expand the boundaries of executive power is when I started getting vertigo.

Seeing RED

For the last three years, writer/producer Bruce Timm, based on earned cred from working on the '90/00s Batman, Superman, and Justice League animated shows, has been the point man on Warner Brothers' line of direct-to-video animated features based on the various properties populating the DC Comics universe.  The last one, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, was another solid entry in what has been a pretty consistent line, the best of which, in my opinion, have been those features focusing on lesser-lights (for now, anyway) like Wonder Woman and Green Lantern.

Sadly, according to Timm it looks like sales for those lesser-lights didn't warrant further similar entries down the line, so for now we'll have to content ourselves with more Superman, more Batman, and more Superman & Batman.  Case in point, this summer's DC Animated feature, Batman: Under the Red Hood.  Based on a comic storyline by Judd Winick (who also wrote the 'toon version) from 2005, the plot revolves around deceased sidekick Jason Todd (the second Robin, who died in '89 after a reader phone-in poll), who may or may not have returned from the grave (spoiler: he has).

While I was pretty ambivalent about the comic (I didn't see much need to bring back Todd, considering he was a more interesting character dead than he'd ever been alive), I'm interested in this mainly because they roped in one of my favorite underrated actors, Bruce Greenwood (of Thirteen Days and Star Trek fame) to lend his golden tones to the Dark Knight.  Just based on this trailer I can tell Greenwood's got a better take on the Bat-voice than Christian Bale did last time (and until we know anything more about the next Chris Nolan Bat-flick, this'll have to do for now):

<a href=";from=sp&amp;fg=shareObject&amp;vid=c9358acd-5576-4f1f-9034-f061a3294951" target="_new" title="Exclusive: 'Batman: Under the Red Hood' trailer">Video: Exclusive: 'Batman: Under the Red Hood' trailer</a>

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Sadly, until just recently, this wasn't too far from the truth...
Senate Bully Forces Legislators To Repeatedly Pass 'We Are Huge Homos' Bill

WASHINGTON—S. 4781, otherwise known as the We're All a Bunch of Huge Homos Act, was unanimously passed for the ninth consecutive time after pressure Thursday from Senate bully Rob Antonelli (R-NJ). "The bill passes. It is resolved that I am a fag. We are all massive fags," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who has been repeatedly told by his constituents to defend himself and just pop Sen. Antonelli right in the face. "Let the record show that we are also big pussies who wet our beds at night." Aides to Antonelli told reporters the senator would be out by the bike racks behind the Smithsonian later if any of them would like to learn more details about the bill.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Foxin' and Feudin'

The New York Times has an interesting piece up examining the sometimes-testy to-and-fro between Fox News and their number one fact-checker, Jon Stewart (as highlighted here and then here).  Lately the Murdoch-net's transparent "anti-Obama, no matter what" marching orders have made their partisan pandering even more pretzel-shaped than usual (and really, when Sarah Palin is on the payroll as an analyst, all sops to objectivity pretty much hit the skids), but the upside is that it's allowed The Daily Show regular helpings of comedic gold.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lost in the Fringes

Last Friday, over lunch with my brother, I was discussing the then-pending immigration reform bill in Arizona, passed by a Republican majority in the legislature and sitting on the desk of Republican governor Jan Brewer awaiting her signature.

Under the aegis of rooting out illegal immigrants, the bill would, in essence, enshrine racism into the law books by allowing police to stop anyone who arouses suspicion and ask them to provide proof of their legal status. Yep, no way that can go wrong.

"She's not going to sign it," I said. "No one is that dumb." After all, while illegal immigration remains a serious problem, we can all agree that this is hardly a viable solution, right? Three hours later, it was the law of the land in AZ. Guess I called that one.

Now, It remains to be seen how far Arizona is able to go with this new law, and whether or not it even passes the constitutional smell test, but it sure does bring into sharp focus a trend on the right with the levers of power increasingly enthralled to what used to be their farthest fringe, but are now the base. In a state where John "Sarah Palin was my veep" McCain is being primary challenged from his right, I guess it's not all that surprising.

I mean, between the stuff coughed up at your average Tea Party rally and by the rightie talk radio crowd, it's not hard to see how this bill, propped up on a foundation of xenophobia and racism, got up the traction to get through the state senate, much less winding up under the governor's pen. Says Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic:
It is absolutely a condition of the age of the triumph of conservative personality politics, where entertainers shouting slogans are taken seriously as political actors, and where the incentive structures exist to stomp on dissent and nuance, causing experimental voices to retrench and allowing a lot of people to pretend that the world around them is not changing.
I'm very curious to see what ends up happening with this Arizona law going forward, but regardless, I don't see the the trend of reactionary racism that it signals going away anytime soon. This, in turn, makes me wonder when or if the conservative movement will allow its more reasoned, sensible voices to once again be heard.


As a fan of South Park going all the way back to its debut in '97, I just have to sort of shake my head at the dust-up that's been working its way through the news cycle since last Wednesday. When the banner 200th episode of Comedy Central's signature series poked at the notion (erroneous, in my opinion) that any depiction of Islam's Prophet Muhammad is disallowed in the media for fear of backlash by extremist-types, it inevitably led to a backlash by some extremist-types. Ah, sweet irony.

Said a posting on the website of the NY-based "Revolution Muslim" (which I'd never even heard of before last week, and is apparently like six guys) aimed at creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker: "We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh." Van Gogh, FYI, is the Danish filmmaker who was murdered in '04 over his controversial film Submission (which, while offensive, in no way justified what happened to him). The post continued, "This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them."

We're not going to kill you, but you might end up dead. Subtle.

In response to that threat (er, warning), Comedy Central bleeped and blocked the second half of the two-parter until it was barely comprehensible, in the process prompting further outcry against the network's perceived caving. When the guy who made the posting, one Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee (née Zachary Chesser), was finally tracked down -- by Fox News, of all people! -- he turned out to be exactly what I initially thought: a confused twenty-year old. Said Chesser to Fox, regarding Parker and Stone: "They're going to be basically on a list in the back of the minds of a large number of Muslims. It's just the reality."

No, Zachary, it's really not.

Not many Muslims are spending much time thinking about a show that traffics in offense taking aim at them too. Also, for a series that's had Jesus hosting a call-in talk show, a talking poo as a recurring character, and earlier this month a book that induces spontaneous, sustained vomiting in its readers, you're a little late hopping on the outrage train.

Of course, his little tirade predictably had the opposite reaction, with various websites galvanizing around a planned "Draw Muhammad Day" on May 20th, in solidarity with the Parkers, that I'm confident will make their approach seem positively kid-gloved by way of comparison. This signals just one more fusillade in this ever-escalating onslaught of mutually-assured stupidity.

Needless to say, this whole ridiculous story irks me on several fronts, foremost among them being this guy Chesser, little more than a kid with a keyboard and a persecution complex, becoming the de facto voice of a religion because he happens to conform to the media narrative of the Angry Muslim. Then there's the reaction to the reaction, culminating with this amazingly wrongheaded "Draw Muhammad Day." Way to lose any and all sense of perspective, guys.

First, let's talk about the Islamic prohibition on depicting Prophet Muhammad. This is something that's rooted in respect for the man and his teachings, and is thus something that those outside the religion wouldn't understand unless explained to them. Second, let's talk about satire. It serves the crucial role in a society of freeing up the discourse and allowing an open back-and-forth on certain topics that wouldn't otherwise be discussed. Of course, the messy side-effect is that sometimes satire takes aim at you, or things close to you.

For the last twelve years, whether Barbra Streisand, Oprah Winfrey, the Church of Scientology, or the Church of Latter-Day Saints, there's no institution so sacrosanct that Stone and Parker couldn't make merry sport of it. In a sense, it's the great equalizer -- no matter who you are or what group you belong to, you've probably had reason to be righteously indignant upon receiving the South Park treatment during the show's lengthy run.

They say youth is a kind of insanity, so maybe with the passage of time Chesser will get his head on straight and understand that fear and respect aren't synyonymous concepts. Forcing people to knuckle under (veiled) threats and (verbal) intimidation might satisfy your ends momentarily, but all you're doing is fostering resentment in the longer-term. This in turn ends up giving people more of a reason to show you disrespect, making the whole thing a net negative.

As a Muslim, I did think the way Stone and Parker framed their story was inappropriate, but I voted with my remote, choosing simply not to watch the second part. Nonetheless, the broader point of the episode is a valid one about free speech in the face of intimidation. This is a message that anyone -- Muslim, non-Muslim, religious, areligious -- should be able to applaud, even when disagreeing with the manner in which said message is delivered.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mouth Breathers II: The Revenge

Last week was Tax Day, and despite tax rates being the lowest in six decades, there was still a phalanx of anti-antis who showed up on the Mall in DC to protest the prez and let him know how unhappy they were with those higher taxes they aren't paying. This led Obama to wonder incredulously why they weren't saying "thank you," but this video compiled by New Left Media gives some perspective on who exactly was out there hoisting those signs, and let's just say "facts" and "reasoning" weren't exactly in high supply or demand.

At eleven minutes long, that's a whole lot of crazy to trudge through, and it can be rough going at times, but it's as instructive as it is wince-inducing. Now, by way of disclaimer, these clips are obviously being culled from context, and it's not like "New Left" is unbiased in this whole thing, but the broader point remains clear. It's okay to be upset, but it's probably helpful when you know what exactly you're upset about.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Droll.  Oh, so very droll.
Gun Goes Off During Life's Third Act

CHEYENNE, WY—A gun introduced during the childhood of local resident Keith Johnson went off near the end of his life's third act Wednesday, finally resolving the dramatic tension that had gripped the residents of Cheyenne. The revolver, which was inherited from Johnson's emotionally distant father, was a frequent background detail in the unfolding narrative, though its importance had been dismissed until a drunken Johnson brought it out in front of his wife, Susan, and daughter, Katie toward the end of his marriage's second act. While only fleeting and disconnected images were available at press time, including the gun itself smoking on the floor next to Katie's favorite doll, consequences of Johnson's action will not be known until police reopen the scene and either begin the fourth act of Johnson's life or announce an epilogue.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nostalgia Theater: RoboCop Edition

As I mention every so often on this blog, the '80s really was a magical time unlike any other, when crass commercialism briefly ignited the trend of taking insanely-violent, hard "R" action movies and turning them into syndicated kiddie fodder. In a previous installment of "Nostalgia Theater" I posted what is perhaps the best exemplar of this curious phenomenon, but here's another one that's as much of a head-scratcher.

Upon its theatrical release, 1987's RoboCop was as acclaimed for its visionary dystopia as it was controversial for its over-the-top violence, with both ladled out by director Paul Verhoeven. Nowhere is the latter more pronounced than the film's opening act, with police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) gunned down in a bullet-riddled bloodbath that remains as wrenching today as it was when my eight-year old self was inexplicably allowed to watch it for my birthday.

Anyway, given the zeitgeist of the time, it's no great shock that the film was a significant success, and I suppose it's only slightly less of a shock that the folks at Marvel Productions saw this (absolutely NOT safe for work)...

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Well, this all sounds very familiar.

What seemed like a bold new era of James Bond adventures following on from the 2006 reboot Casino Royale is already imperiled. Since the release of Quantum of Solace -- the twenty-second Bond opus -- two years ago, things had been pretty quiet except for the news in January that director Oscar winner Sam Mendes was being eyed to direct, and word that things were continuing apace for current Bond Daniel Craig to strap on his Walther once again in the next year or so.

Well, that estimate may need to be moved back. Like, way back, with yesterday's press release from EON Productions, longtime stewards of the cinematic 007, that work on the next installment is being shuttered indefinitely until parent studio MGM, perpetually dangling on the brink of insolvency, can get their financial house in order. You know things are bad for the once-mighty Lion when they can't even get their sole proven moneymaker out of the shop and on the road.

Of course, for any longtime Bond fan, this should immediately set off warning bells. The last time something similar happened with MGM/UA was following 1989's Licence to Kill, Timothy Dalton's second go at the role. There, again, questions about the studio's continued viability resulted in a six-year layover for the Bond franchise, at the end of which Dalton abdicated (or was forced to hand over, depending on who does the telling) his tux to Pierce Brosnan.

While he has his share of detractors for his perceived blandness after thirteen years of Roger Moore's arch Bond-lite, people forget that Dalton's entrée in '87, The Living Daylights, was a considerable success both financially and critically. Unfortunately, his second turn had the misfortune of being steamrolled by '89's Batman juggernaut, making it one of the series' lowest grossers to date. His leaving after movie two only cemented the popular perception that Dalton flopped as Bond, and we'll never know how he might have fared had he continued.

Now, I've made no secret of how I think Daniel Craig is the best thing to happen to the Bond brand in quite awhile, but at present he's at precisely the same place Dalton was twenty years ago: An intense, serious take on the role, a well-received first film and a less well-received second, all followed by a potentially lengthy period of static equilibrium. What this means for the franchise's future is anyone's guess at present, but what I'd hate is for history to repeat itself because MGM can't keep its books balanced, and see the series potentially lose one of its biggest assets.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Stakin' "Shake"

True story: Last Monday, as I channel-surfed across the late night TV wasteland, I happened to catch part of the hilariously bizarre "Shake Weight" infomercial for the first time, and asked my wife if I was the only one who found it a bit...strange. Cut to five days later and this sketch shows up on Saturday Night Live. Finger on the pop culture pulse, that's me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Pretty much encapsulates my experience with this show.  Seriously, does anyone watch it?
NBC Admits To Never Actually Making An Episode of 'Chuck'

LOS ANGELES—The NBC action-comedy Chuck, familiar to millions of viewers from its long-running promo bumpers, does not actually exist, network executives admitted Friday. "We had a very successful, very expensive promotional campaign, but to be honest, we never actually bothered making a pilot," NBC spokesperson Grant Twombly said. "I guess everybody just assumes everybody else is watching it, because advertisers have jumped on board, and DVD sales are somehow doing great." A ratings analyst reached for comment confirmed that "people can't get enough of that Chuck."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Avenging Son

The Merry Marvel Movie Society just keeps marching right along. The countdown clock for Iron Man 2 is down to under a month, and already our eyes are on the horizon for what's next. Thor is now filming under the helm of Kenneth Branagh, with Chris Hemsworth in the title role, and Joe Johnston's Captain America, starring Chris Evans, follows suit shortly, with both projects aiming for a summer '11 release.

All three are exciting enough on their own, but today came word on the big magilla, The Avengers, with Joss Whedon, writer, director, occasional comic scribe and longtime fanboy fave, tapped by Marvel to call the shots on the highly-anticipated flick that will team its most iconic heroes. Previously, Whedon was attached to helm DC Comics' Wonder Woman feature for Warners, but when creative differences with producer Joel Silver led to that project dropping back to square one, DC's loss became Marvel's gain.

Of course, the Buffy and Angel creator's history with the comic giant dates back even further, when he penned an early draft of what eventually became Bryan Singer's first X-Men (FYI, the one line of Whedon's that survived to the final cut, much to his chagrin, is Halle Berry's "I wonder what happens when a Toad gets hit by lightning?" near the end). Ironically, the skeleton of the crappy third X-Men flick also comes from Whedon's work, this time the Astonishing X-Men comic from '04/'05.

Although he's demonstrated plenty of ensemble-based mythology-building experience in the past, both with the Buffy/Angel-verse, and the gone-too-soon Firefly (along with its big screen sequel Serenity), the Avengers turn is an unusual one for Whedon in that just five years ago he strenuously denied he was the man for the job. Clearly Marvel disagreed (and rightfully so). While packing so many larger-than-life characters (along with their respective alter and actor egos) into one movie might seem overwhelming, I can think of no one better equipped to do the characters and their world justice.


Two weeks ago I got my first Blackberry, and yesterday, completing my transformation into neo-preppie douchebag, I went live with a Twitter account.

Seriously, it's like I don't even know me anymore.

At present I don't really have anything to say there that I don't already say here, and I really don't want to lapse into the "Getting groceries now/Done getting groceries now/Going home with my groceries now" brand of tweeting, but if the fancy strikes and you just need your Zaki fix (for which I certainly can't blame you), you can follow me @zakiscorner and be there for whatever accidentally falls out of my head.

The Day the Laughter Stopped

In other late night news of note (though perhaps of slightly less import), longtime Tonight Show bandleader Kevin Eubanks announced last night that he's stepping down in May after eighteen years as Jay Leno's sidekick/comic foil.  Replacing original Leno bandleader Branford Marsalis in 1995, Eubanks has stuck with the host ever since, right through the Jay Leno Show pit stop and back to Tonight.  His famous jocularity (which Jimmy Kimmel made merry sport of during his Leno-bashing episode early this year) was often the only thing that kept the show's momentum alive when a Leno one-liner fell flat, so I'm curious what Jay's going to do without him (in lieu of just insituting a laugh track).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Very Funny

Well. That was unexpected.

In a development foreseen by precisely no one, the Conan O'Brien Mystery Train ended its months-long sojourn today, and rather than pulling into station at Fox like most were prognosticating, it detoured right past the broadcast nets and ended up in basic cable-land for a weekday strip premiering in November on TBS.

Chronicler of late night Bill Carter has most of the details, with Nikki Finke providing minute-by-minute (by-minute-by-minute) updates, but the broad strokes are that O'Brien takes over the 11 PM slot currently held by George Lopez's Lopez Tonight, pushing it back one hour and creating a late night one-two punch that (TBS hope) gives them a toehold on that ever-important 18-39 demographic.

Considering that (Lopez notwithstanding) TBS's original comedy output has been pretty much limited to blue collar comedy and Tyler Perry sitcoms until now, you have to wonder if they were as surprised as us when Conan accepted their offer (which will pocket him a very tidy $10 mil a year, plus ownership of the as-yet-untitled show).

And lest one think O'Brien "pulled a Leno" on Lopez with the time slot switcheroo, it was Lopez encouraging the once-and-former Tonight host to take his slot that ultimately made the deal go down. And really, why wouldn't Lopez want this? Wherever Conan landed next was guaranteed to have a huge tune-in, and it stands to reason that a lot of those eyeballs will stick around.

Another upside is that by making his home on cable, it frees up Conan to play to the quirkier humor that was always his forte and that he had been forced to squeeze out during his Tonight tenure. With cable's smaller audience, the bar is adjusted accordingly, and the potential for success increases (the same way Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have thrived in their respective late night perches).

In the end, this is a pretty good situation for all concerned. It gets Conan back on TV by fall, which is what he wanted all along, it gives Lopez a very visible lead-in, and it keeps the Leno/Letterman Dance of Death in the same static equilibrium it's maintained since 1993. That last point is something I'm sure NBC and CBS are ecstatic about, rather than having to slice the shrinking late night pie even thinner with yet another broadcast competitor.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nostalgia Theater: Turbo Teen Edition

If you look around the site, you'll see that I've added some innovations here and there to spruce the place up a little bit, including the neat little "Label Cloud" widget on the right. Taking a look at some of my commonly used tags, I realized that I hadn't done a "Nostalgia Theater" in over two years, which is just criminal, frankly. Of course, with that much anticipation, it's pretty much impossible for anything to measure up. So instead of trying, here's a blast from my past that I was fairly certain no one besides me even remembered until I found it online:

Nuclear Bombardment

I once heard a friend refer to Fox News as "Porn for Satan" based on the steady diet of fear-mongering, ignorance, and belligerence regularly belched up by its talking heads.  Case in point, Fox's predictably sideways take on President Obama's signing of a nuclear arms treaty following on from a similar pact by noted liberal pantywaist Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.  Jon Stewart has the lowlights:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Big Bang Treaty
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Friday, April 09, 2010

Recommended Reading

Remember all those breathless op-eds and write-ups in the wake of President Obama's election about the political struggles that had riven the GOP, with the right and the far right battling it out for primacy?  Well, as the Southern Republican Leadership Conference currently playing out in New Orleans appears to demonstrate, those struggles are seemingly in the party's rearview mirror, with its various politicos having collectively coalesced around the Sarah Palin/Michelle Bachmann brand of batshittery.

Of course, as the hellacious battle over health reform proved -- with Team Obama trying just as hard, if not harder, to win over votes from their own caucus as from the opposition -- there's a battle being waged by the Democrats over the direction of their own compass, with so-called "moderates" like Nelson and Lincoln on one hand, and Ted Kennedy-style pragmatic progressives on the other.  Examining the Dems' ideological divide, Ryan Grim and Arthur Delaney have gone deep into the trenches with an exhaustive piece for The Huffington Post that's well worth a read in its entirety.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Reagan Myth

I've always found it a little bit perplexing the way today's Republicans invoke Ronald Reagan's name in hushed tones whenever they're searching for a way to burnish their conservative cred. Not to say the man wasn't a conservative, of course, but I highly doubt he would have won his elections (especially his re-election in '84, one of the most brutal electoral ass-whuppings of all time) with such healthy majorities without a serious attempt to play to the middle (back when the middle wasn't so far to the right).

I can't say I'm a fan of everything (or most things) that Reagan accomplished during his two terms, but he was able to breach political divides in ways that just seem untenable today, made even moreso thanks to the current GOP's "litmus test" brand of politics that has people running away from their own ideals based on some misbegotten notion of WWRRD. Peter Beinart is no flag-waving leftie by any stretch, but even he finds a disconnect between the Republican mythology about "conservative firebrand" Reagan and the reality of "political pragmatist" Reagan.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Attacking the Clones

Last year, independent filmmaker Mike Stoklasa shot to prominence across the web thanks to his epic review/takedown of Star Wars: Episode I (delivered pseudonymously under his "Mr. Plinkett" persona) that was as critically spot-on as it was side-splittingly funny. At more than an hour in length (broken up into ten-minute chunks), it made for quite a time commitment, but once you started, it was pretty hard to get up without watching the whole thing. Check it out here and see if I'm wrong.

Pretty much as soon as his Phantom Menace massacre hit the web, the countdown clock began for Stoklasa to do likewise with the subsequent Star Wars prequel, and now the long wait is over. His Attack of the Clones video review clocks in at a mammoth ninetysome minutes, but for Star Wars fan and foe alike it's well worth the investment. If this is your first exposure to his "Plinkett" reviews, try to bear with the creepy, sociopath stuff and remember that it's just a character.

I've embedded the first part below, and I'll trust you to follow the thread from there.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Pity the Fools Day

Fox celebrated the first of April yesterday by releasing the second trailer for director Joe Carnahan's big screen blockbuster based on the Stephen J. Cannell series The A-Team.  Lately I'm so jazzed for this flick that I've taken to whistling the first few bars of Mike Post's signature theme from the TV series, which usually prompts my three-year old, who's never seen so much as a frame of footage from the show, to yell out, "A-Team!" (this then prompts me to wonder yet again whether that makes me a terrible parent).  Adding to the hype, Universal is releasing a sweet box set of the show that has me very tempted to disregard my previous vow not to revisit the show for fear that uncomfortable reality might ram headfirst into my fond memories.  Regardless, between this, The Losers later this month, and The Expendables in August, '10 sure seems like the breakout year for bad ass special ops teams.