Friday, October 27, 2006

Lexington's Own Mr. 830!

How could I not know that there were Scrabble champs among us? Fortunately, Stefan Fatsis--Scrabble's uber-scribe--knows and tells all in Slate this week:
On Oct. 12, in the basement of a Unitarian church on the town green in Lexington, Mass., a carpenter named Michael Cresta scored 830 points in a game of Scrabble. His opponent, Wayne Yorra, who works at a supermarket deli counter, totaled 490 points. The two men set three records for sanctioned Scrabble in North America: the most points in a game by one player (830), the most total points in a game (1,320), and the most points on a single turn (365, for Cresta's play of QUIXOTRY).

In the community of competitive Scrabble, of which I am a tile-carrying member, the game has been heralded as the anagrammatic equivalent of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962 or Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series: a remarkable, wildly aberrational event with potential staying power. Cresta's 830 shattered a 13-year-old record, 770 points, which had been threatened only infrequently.
One of the most interesting things, Fatsis points out, is that Cresta and Yorra aren't considered particularly good players--they rank in the bottom third of tournament players nationwide. A case of, eh hem, "score" one for the little guys, right?

(Triple bonus points for the event occurring on my mom's birthday. No one loves words like my mother!)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Not That It Will Help, But...

I've become addicted to the first season of Everwood, now in reruns on ABC Family every evening. I started watching it during season 2 and stuck with it to the end, but saw only one or two eps from the first year. So now I TiVo the reruns (they're about halfway through that first season) and binge on mini-marathons on the weekends. Because TiVo gives you listings for about 12 days into the future, I've already noticed that season two will be here before I know it. (That's the one where we found out if Colin lived or died following his second brain surgery. Guess you had to be there.) Like many late, lamented shows pulled before their time (Angel springs to mind), there was still a lot of life left in that Colorado town.

This was s truly wonderful drama, yanked at least a year or more before its time--a WB show that fell victim of the creation of "The CW." Wonderful acting and writing, characters you could pull for, people who looked like people, not models (okay, the teens looked like models, but the adults just looked like...adults). The only thing good about its early cancellation is that the producers were given a heads-up in advance and were able to produce a wrap-up episode. I dare you not to cry, but it least there are no cliffhangers at the end.

So, if you didn't see it before, now's your chance. With four wonderful years to catch up on, that's about 88 shows. You could wait till they start with season 1 again in a couple of months, or join in now. Email me if you need an on-the-spot plot update.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Makes Me Want to Get a Facial

I'm not much on the spa life (never enough time--sounds kind of appealing, though...). And I've never even set foot in an Elizabeth Grady, but suddenly I'm feeling the urge. It's hard to believe these kinds of things still happen in this day and age.

From the Globe:
John Walsh has a remarkable rags-to-riches story to tell, but it has not been remarkable enough to impress Jonathan Winthrop, who lives his life, quite literally, overlooking Beacon Hill from the penthouse. Walsh just wants to move downstairs. Winthrop and his neighbors have said no. Walsh, though, is not going away quietly.

"I didn't get to where I am by waiting for someone to give something to me," says Walsh, 51. "My parents instilled in me that you can do anything you want, be anything you want, as long as you work hard at it."

What's the problem, Winthrop? Afraid John Walsh's "posse" will try to give the neighbors free mani-pedis in the lobby? Vibrant, younger-looking skin a threat to you? Does the word "microdermabrasion" send chills down your spine?

Get a life. Better yet--get a facial. I understand they're very relaxing.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

MixFest: BNL, Two Thumbs Up! But Please Hold the Meat Loaf

Some random thoughts from last night's MixFest 98.5:

1) No musical act in its right mind (can an act have a mind?) should have to follow the Barenaked Ladies. Despite the shortened set to fit the festival, multi-act format, they rocked the house as always. I'm not sure how these guys can bear to sing "If I Had a Million Dollars" for the zillionth time yet never show a hint of boredom. (Maybe it's the obvious affection the audience gives back.) And props to BNL for stepping in at the last minute as a partial replacement (despite an already scheduled Nov. 1 gig here) for headliner Keane, which had to drop out when the lead singer went into rehab. BNL--Boston loves you and always will.

2) Unfortunately, the act that followed BNL was the other Keane-replacement act, Meat Loaf. Those of you present will remember and cringe. Those of you not there--keep your teenage memories of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" intact and NEVER, NEVER see Meat Loaf in concert. And I don't say this just because he followed BNL.

3) Other acts were good, especially KT Tunstall (it's always cool to see a chick wielding the guitar, and she can really play, which is a bonus). James Blunt was also in fine form, although his songs are on the whole major downers. During the BNL show, lead singers Steven Page and Ed Robertson sang an impromptu rap/call-and-response piece that included a reference to how much Steven liked Blunt's song "Beautiful"--the first 65 times he heard it. Point taken.

4) Nice arena, Agganis. Even the floor seats were comfortable (upholstered, not just metal). First time there--I'll have to go back. Also, the ushers were very helpful and none of them seemed to be parolees.

5) To the couple in front of me: Sir, your girlfriend clearly didn't like you pawing her in full-on "get a room" mode in public. Didn't pulling away from you repeatedly while looking around at the rest of us with an embarrassed look on her face give you a clue? You've got issues, man. Discuss.