Pop Culture Junkette

Addicted to pop culture.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Wherefore art thou TWOP?

For the past few days, Television Without Pity has been mysteriously, intermittently, obnoxiously unavailable. I don't mind telling you that this has been a tragedy for me, most especially in the wake of Sunday's PHENOMENAL, mindblowing season finale of Battlestar Galactica after which I felt some small desire to read the TWOP boards. Because I'm a geek, and I'm not afraid to admit it, so shut up. Anyway, it appears to be back online and I'm oh oh so happy. Because my days have become rather simple of late, taking away this small pleasure was particularly cruel. Please don't let it happen again!

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

In Bloom

I figure there is no way a blog written by four DCers (and one former District resident) can fail to mention the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

For those unaware, every year thousands of people travel to Washington to attend the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Festival is a celebration of the 3000+ cherry blossom trees given to DC by Japan in 1912. Although these trees are scattered around the city and some suburbs, most are at the Tidal Basin. They are in full bloom for about two weeks, this year beginning on March 31 (that's Saturday).
Last year Isaac told me that the cherry blossoms were best seen at dawn, so Gobo, Gobo's sister and I went to the Tidal Basin at about 7 a.m. (I was not happy about this). And Isaac was right, in part because going at dawn meant the crowd was minimal. Would I travel thousands of miles to see the trees (as some apparently do)? No. But driving five minutes wasn't so bad. And I got some really nice photos (included in this post).

In addition to actually viewing the trees, there are events that occur throughout the two-week period, including a parade and tons of cherry-related food specials at top DC restaurants (including an all-you-can-eat sushi extravaganza for only $35, which you must e-mail me about if you want more information, because I can't post about it on a public blog, for fear of the lines becoming even longer than they already are (and yes, I do attend, even though I am a vegetarian and thus don't eat fish--I stick to the veggie sushi)). So if you're interested, you have two weeks to head out to the Tidal Basin for a view!


Bad News for Jewish Stoners

Although the rabbis couldn't give a definitive answer (what's new), it appears that marijuana is not kosher for passover at least according to Israel's Green Leaf Party (and one would think that they would know). It thus appears, however, that marijuana is kosher during the rest of the year, but I would strongly recommend not toking up during Yom Kippur because fasting and the munchies don't go great together.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I Could Care Less, But . . .

I know some of you out there (yes, I mean you, Red Fraggle) get quite excited about Harry Potter. Here is the cover for Harry VII.


Our Home Planet

I want to strongly recommend the new Discovery Channel show, Planet Earth. This 11-part series provides footage of nature and animals that is utterly fascinating and, in many cases, never before seen. And if you watch it in high definition, it is beyond spectacular. The first three parts aired on Sunday (two parts will air the following four Sundays), and we have watched the first two--"Pole to Pole," which was an intro to the series, and "Mountains." Some highlights: The Indonesian Birds of Paradise are simply otherworldly when they do their dance; the snow leopard hunt; and the Panda taking care of its baby (which, when born, is 1/1000 the size of the mother). I don't believe any of these things had ever previously been seen in the wild. (I note that if you are a little squeamish, there are some hunts that don't end up too well for the prey.) See it for yourself (and Discovery reshows this stuff over and over).


Monday, March 26, 2007

Life Imitates Art

When I work out at Chez Isaac, I tend to watch Seinfeld DVDs. The show is perhaps the funniest of all time, and it just holds up so well. As I have seen each episode several times, I also enjoy watching it with "Notes About Nothing," the written commentary that accompanies each episode. So last week I watched the Soup Nazi Episode which is also the Schmoopie episode. (For those who don't remember, Schmoopie is the nickname that Jerry and his girlfriend call each other much to the consternation of George and Elaine.) Well, thanks to Notes About Nothing I learned that Schmoopie was played by none other than Alexandra Wentworth, i.e., Mrs. George Stephanopoulos.

So Mrs. Bartender and I decide to have a date night on Friday at BLT Steak. (The food was unbelievable but, be warned, the meal will cost you a fortune.) And who is sitting in the restaurant, but George and Schmoopie. I was so tempted to say "Hi, Schmoopie," but I managed to hold myself back.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Grey's Anatomy

What the hell is going on in Seattle? Has everyone lost their freaking minds? You can count me among the thousands of once loyal viewers of this once touching and funny show who are now only tuning in to watch the train wreck that Shonda Rhimes is making of our formerly beloved characters. It's . . . beyond words how bad this show has gotten. Izzie/George/Callie is one horribly wrong and disastrous sex triangle too many. And I just don't understand WHY the writers did it. WHY??? I stood up for the writers when they made George and Meredith have sex (too lazy to find the link) because I thought that as fucked up as that decision was on their parts, it was earned, but Izzie and George? It's not that I hate the characters for making that choice, I actually hate the writers because it's laughable and silly and completely unbelievable given everything we've been shown about those two characters. Did Shonda Rhimes come into the series with the express goal of ensuring that every main character had sex with at least two other main characters before the series ended? Did she make some sort of bet (with the DEVIL) that she could have the same number of sexual switchoffs on prime time as the cheesiest and most ratings desperate of daytime soaps? What's next, are Derek and Meredith going to be shipwrecked on an island during May sweeps by a suddenly evil Preston who's become all dark and manipulative since that episode where Christina was possessed by the devil and almost sacrificed Miranda on the hospital chapel's altar during a thunderstorm and was only stopped when she was stabbed through the heart with a silver dagger by Joe the bartender who's been psychic ever since he developed the tiny cluster of inoperable brain tumors? Because THAT would be awesome, but only if I hadn't grown to love the characters that were around in season one. But really, bring on the demonic possession plotline. After last night, I'm totally ready for it.


Wolfgang Puck: Champion of animals?

I am so impressed with Wolfgang Puck. Yesterday, he announced that he is taking on an initiative to make his restaurants (relatively) cruelty-free, serving only eggs that come from chickens that have lived cage-free, banning foie gras (which is so inhumane that it is illegal in the UK), serving veal that comes from calves allowed to roam, ensuring their lobsters were removed from their traps quickly (avoiding super-crowded holding tanks), and serving only sustainable seafood.

Is this perfect? Of course not. Lobsters will still be cut in half while alive. And veal, which comes from baby cows, is still being served. But it is a huge step. Very few restaurants make an effort to serve humanely-handled animal products, and I can't think of any with the name recognition of Puck's that have. When combining his fine-dining establishments, smaller airport-like restaurants and catering outfits, Puck owns well over a hundred restaurants. So this is a really big deal.

Perhaps more importantly, he is bringing some publicity to the issue of how inhumanely most of the animals that eventually are served to American diners (and bought at grocery stores) are treated. There are a lot of people who simply don't think about, or know about, how the food they are eating was handled prior to getting on their plates. So hopefully this will make more people aware of the atrocities of factory farms (where many animals--including pigs, which are more intelligent than three year old children--are in such small spaces they aren't given enough space to stand, eventually making their legs totally unusable; where chickens are in such tight quarters that there claws eventually grow into the soil, making them unable to move; and where terms like "cage free" are slapped onto a carton of eggs even if the chicken was only allowed a few minutes of being outside of a tiny cage a month). I really believe that more people would care about how the animals they ingest are treated, if they were simply made aware of the current reality.

And as a vegetarian, I am also happy that he is adding more vegetarian meals to his menus. I'm sure Puck, who is not adverse to self-promotion, will make sure he gets a lot of publicity for this. Which is great, because it brings publicity to an issue that doesn't often get much.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hopelessly Devoted

Is anyone else watching Grease: You're the One that I Want? If you aren't, you should be. The premise of the show is simple: this summer there will be a Broadway revival of Grease, and the lead roles of Sandy and Danny will be played by the winners of this talent show, voted on by television viewers.

The premise is very American Idol: a bunch of young people sing for judges, some are awful, some are great, the good ones eventually advance to a top twelve. They all sing Broadway-like shows every week, and viewers vote for their favorites. The elimination works very much like So You Think You Can Dance: the bottom two girls and the bottom two boys, based on the viewer votes, are forced to have a sing-off for the judges, who then choose who they will save and who will go home. The finale is different, being based solely on viewer votes.

This Sunday the winners will be announced. But for those who are late to the party, no worries: Fox is re-running the show, from the top ten down to the finale, this Sunday. So set your DVR and enjoy. (And don't read further, as I reveal who is left in the competition.)

There is some real talent in this mix. My favorite girl from the beginning has been Laura, an atypical Sandy in that she is a brunette. But I think she is the best singer, and a dynamic personality, even if she runs around the stage with her arms spread wide as an excuse for choreography a little too often.

I don't have as much of an opinion on the guys, who I feel are generally less talented, although at this point I'm rooting for Max. Max isn't very attractive--almost to the point of being difficult to watch sometimes--but he's a good singer and I can buy him as a high schooler, in contrast to Austin, who looks about 35 years old (his IMDB profile says he's 31). And if your DVR is already taping Amazing Race: All Stars and a new episode of King of the Hill on Sunday night, creating a conflict for the finale of Grease, it's okay--the finale reruns on Thursday night!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

American Idol, Top 11

I took a week off from posting about Idol, but I decided to pick it back up.

Haley Scarnato. "Tell Him." I realized last week that Haley is the only true soprano left in the competition. I actually thought she sounded okay this week, but her major problem continues to be that she is overpowered: by the band, the back-up vocals, her competition.

Chris Richardson. "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying." I thought he was really boring. I was surprised that the judges liked him as much as they did.

Stephanie Edwards. "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me." Boring again. She lost the low notes. More importantly, the band was way too loud while she was singing, drowning her out.

Blake Lewis. "It's the Time of the Season." I don't understand the judges' love of this performance. It was boring and he had a lot of trouble with the high notes in the chorus. Yet Paula thinks he can release this on an album? And Simon liked it?! I don't get it.

LaKisha Jones. "Diamonds Are Forever." And now I really don't get the judges. I thought she did a really nice job with the song; much better than everyone else thus far. But the judges don't seem to agree.

Phil Stacey. "Tobacco Road." I just don't like this guy. His voice sounded fine, but his voice isn't very interesting.

Jordin Sparks. "I Who Have Nothing." She did a great job. In addition to hitting all of her notes with power, she really seemed to put a lot of emotion behind the song (which I hadn't heard before). Last week I thought that the judges got it all wrong: I thought she was really mediocre and all over the place. But this week she was great.

Sanjaya Malakar. "You Really Got Me." Gobo asked if we could fast forward past him, which is just insanity. Isn't watching Sanjaya one of the best things about American Idol right now? And he didn't disappoint, picking yet another song that he can't come close to pulling off. Sanjaya singing the Kinks. I honestly laughed the entire time. And what was up with the seven year old in the audience crying the entire time? Was she upset that he was so terrible? That had to be it, right? He is so utterly awkward. And bad. And Paula and Randy are totally high.

Gina Glockson. "Paint It Black." I do not have high hopes for this one. And...mediocre. Is Gina really any different than Nikki McKibbin? Maybe a slightly better voice?

Chris Sligh. "She's Not There." I thought he was definitely the best of all the guys this week. It was a good song choice because it was catchy, but showcased his voice as well (even if he was a little sharp on the high notes).

Melinda Doolittle. "As Long As He Needs Me." Not surprising they have saved The One Who Simon Wants to Win until the end. But, she deserves the title, because, again, she had a great performance. However, I love that song when it is sung a little bigger and more flamboyantly. It's rare that I want an Idol contestant to oversing a song, but in this case, for the first portion, I really hoped she would have been a little larger about it.

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Cupcake Wars

After the movie yesterday, I stopped by Baked & Wired to check out their much-discussed cupcakes. Oh my gosh! Now, I've been a defender of CakeLove, because while it's true that their cupcakes don't have much flavor if you eat them straight from the fridge, they're really good when you let them get to room temperature. Also, they are conveniently located about 4 blocks from my house. But the Baked & Wired cupcakes would beat them hands down.

Yesterday, they had 3 varieties on offer, and I tried 2 of them. (Yep, a nice nutritious dinner.) The carrot cake was moist and fluffy, and I didn't notice any gross raisins or other fruit, and the cream cheese frosting was delicious. The red velvet cupcake was also really good, although I have never really understood the point of red velvet cake. It seemed to have the same cream cheese frosting. The third option was coconut, which I didn't try. So, no chocolate on offer, which was disappointing. I really would like to try a chocolate or vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting for a head-to-head comparison with CakeLove.



I've seen so many good movies recently.

On Wednesday, I saw Indigenes, a French movie that was inexplicably given the English title "Days of Glory." The movie is about a group Muslims from France's North African colonies who fight for France in World War II. It was really good. Sort of a traditional war movie recast as a story about France's poor treatment of its colonies, and -- mostly implicitly -- about its failure to keep its promises to those men and their countries after the war. Which is why the English name makes no sense. The acting was excellent. Unfortunately, I think it's now gone from theaters.

On Thursday, I saw The Lives of Others, which is set in East Germany during the 1980s. It won the Oscar for best foreign language movie. The basic premise is that a member of the Stasi is tasked to investigate a famous playwright who is suspected of being disloyal. And the story is of both men -- who are initially loyal -- becoming gradually disillusioned with the regime. It's heartbreaking. I highly recommend this movie.

On Friday, I saw Breach, which is about the Robert Hanssen case. It's odd that this is the movie that was made about that case. It's not really about Hanssen -- what he did, or why, or who he was (which, to remind you, was pretty fracking strange). Nor was it really about how the FBI caught him. When the movie starts, he's already been found out, and they're just trying to get enough evidence to convict him. And the first scene in the movie is John Ashcroft's press conference announcing that he's been arrested, so the audience knows exactly how it's going to end. What it is about is Ryan Phillippe's character, who is assigned to be Hanssen's aide and get close to him, and about his conflicting loyalties, and how the deceit inherent in his job affect his relationship with his wife. Which was a pretty interesting movie, but not the taut spy thriller I was expecting.

On Saturday, I saw Notes on a Scandal. Once again, the acting was excellent; I can see why Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench were nominated for Oscars. It's pretty amazing when a movie can make you sympathetic to a teacher who has sex with her 15 year old student. But I think the movie took the easy way out by making Dench's character so unambiguously evil. It would have been a much more interesting movie if her character had been more sympathetic.

On Sunday, I saw Pan's Labyrinth. Again, the English translation of the title makes no sense -- there's no Pan in the movie -- the Spanish title is the more apt "The Labyrinth of the Faun." But minor quibbles aside, this was another really good movie. It's the story of girl whose father died in the Spanish Civil War. At the beginning of the movie she and her pregnant mother go to live with her new stepfather in the countryside. He is a Captain in the Army under Franco, and he is tasked with wiping out the remnants of the resistance; he is also a sadist. There, she encounters a Faun who tells her that she is the long lost princess of the underworld, and if she completes three tasks she can go back and live with her family. I really can't talk about the most important part without spoiling it for you, so I will just say that you should really see this movie, even if it is a bit heavy handed at times.

Yesterday, I saw Music and Lyrics. Yay, a romantic comedy! No one dies or commits any major crimes! Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore! It's possible that my standards were lowered by having just seen so many dark movies, but I really enjoyed it.

Just one note about the AMC Georgetown, is it me or is the service there often insanely bad? Yesterday, I was the second person in line behind a woman trying to get 2 drinks, popcorn, and candy. I gave up after 5 minutes, when they still weren't done with her. It was mystifying. And of course, there were two other employees just standing behind the counter doing nothing the whole time. I only mention this because it's at least the third time I've had similar problems there. What is the deal?


Friday, March 16, 2007

Lifetime Original Movie alert!

It has been a really long time since I watched a Lifetime Original Movie. I remember back when I was a kid there seemed to be a new TV movie every week on network television, but those halcyon days are gone.
So I was excited to see that Lifetime is still making such fare! What's more, there is one premiering in ten days. It's called The Party Never Stops and it is a "cautionary tale" about a teenager who goes to college, begins binge drinking, and becomes a wild child.

I have to admit this doesn't sound as good as past classics Mother, May I Sleep with Danger or Dying to Belong, but it has potential. March 26 at 9 p.m.: set your DVRs!


Thursday, March 15, 2007

The opposite of bravo

Every week I watch Top Design, despite the fact that it is no Project Runway. It's not even Top Chef. But it has its moments, and I have come to know the characters, so I faithfully DVR it and watch.

As with all of its original programming, Bravo runs each new episode of the show about 50 times a week. On Wednesdays, they air the same episode twice in a row, once at 10 p.m. and again at 11 p.m. Because Lost is on at 10, I tape the 11 p.m. airing of Top Design. But the people at Bravo are idiots. Because although the show is supposed to start anew at 11 p.m., and although my DVR begins taping it at that moment, everything is a few minutes delayed. Which means that when my DVR begins taping at 11 p.m., it tapes the very end of the episode that started at 10 p.m.--the same episode I am taping at 11. Which means that as soon as I start watching the episode, I know who has been eliminated.

Bravo had better fix this issue before Runway comes back.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Jubilation! (Or, not at all rehearsed)

You know how whenever someone interviews a friend of a celebrity, they always talk about how "down-to-earth" and "normal" the celebrity is?

I really hope no one has said that about Liz Hurley. Because I kind of have to imagine maybe they wouldn't be telling the whole truth. I don't know what my favorite part here is. The dip? The arms thrown in the air in apparent ecstasy (but managing to form a perfect straight line)? The belly-baring beaded dress? The green eyeshadow? The flowers raining from above? I think I'm going to go with the flowers. But it's a really tough call.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More TAR

Just a quick follow up to Red's post about The Amazing Race. I was surprised to find myself rooting for Rob and Amber. But I couldn't help myself -- I find Charla and Mirna (especially Mirna) so loathsome. The good news about their elimination is that it will be interesting to see how the race changes now that the dominant team is gone.

But, more importantly, I've actually been to Punta Arenas and Ushuaia! (If Blogger would let me post pictures, I would prove it.) In fact, I was there in early November, which I think was just a couple of weeks before the racers. Was it just me, or was the "Navigate It" detour absurdly easier than the "Sign It" option? The choice seemed pretty clear from Phil's description, which makes you wonder what the clue said that would cause anyone to choose "Sign It." Having been to Punta Arenas, I know that finding the town square is incredibly easy. In fact, you can see if from the Mirador where they made the signs. And you can't go that far south from the square without hitting the water, and they apparently had maps! So, it seems crazy not to choose "Navigate It."

It's too bad that they appear to be heading north to see the huge rodents, rather than south to Antarctica. That would be cool.

Amazon Unbox

A word of advice: if you plan to leave the country for two months, you might not want to do it during February sweeps, because it will really tax your TiVo. Before I left, I carefully planned what to record on my TiVo, what to record on my DVR, and what I could get on iTunes or Amazon's Unbox. Unfortunately, my TiVo didn't cooperate and failed to record anything after January 22. (My best guess is that the cleaning people moved the wireless adapter, and so TiVo couldn't connect to the internet after January 11, and thus ran out of program information. Bummer.)

But, luckily, Amazon Unbox came to the rescue for almost everything. Unbox is basically like iTunes and lets you download episodes of shows for $1.99. It used to be that you had to watch them on your computer, but while I was away they announced a deal with TiVo, so that you can now download them straight to your TiVo (assuming that your TiVo is connected to the internet).

It's pretty awesome. There are not quite as many shows available as there on iTunes, but you can watch them right on your TV without having to first download them to your computer, then to your iPod, and then hook up your iPod to the TV, as you would with iTunes. Also, you can save them indefinitely in your Amazon media library, without having to take up space on your computer or iPod.

You can also "rent" movies for $3.99, which means you have 30 days to watch it, and 24 hours to finish it once you start watching it.

News Flash

Bravo has announced that it is buying Television Without Pity. I find this sort of worrying, given that Bravo is owned by NBC Universal, which also owns NBC and Sci Fi. Can TWoP continue to be objective?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Worst Leg Ever

Warning: Amazing Race: All Stars spoilers ahead.

I can barely blog about what happened on the Race last night. In fact, I don't think I can manage more than a few sentences on the subject. It sucked. It really, really sucked. To see Rob and Amber make more mistakes than they made in the first three legs of this race, along with the entire season 7 combined, was upsetting. But to watch them lose to Mirna and Charla in a needle-in-a-haystack challenge was just too depressing. It almost makes me not want to watch. Except that would be insane.

At least they had a good attitude about it.

And I now offically hate Uchenna. What was up with his adoration of Mirna and Charla?? And saying that they beat out Rob and Amber as some sort of karma? Because Mirna and Charla are such nice people and ethical racers? Gag.

From here on out I'm cheering for the Beauty Queens, with a little Cha Cha Cha and Guidos thrown in for good measure.

ETA: I loved that the letter to the Beauty Queens didn't come from Lyn and Karlyn, but rather only Lyn signed it. And I particularly loved the BQ's classification of Karlyn as the "less warm" member of Team 'Bama. Quite the understatement. I was hoping that Emily and Nancy would have drafted the letter to Team Guido (and Nancy could have told them she was hoping they weren't shoving any other old ladies), but Frank's was pretty classic. I thought it was interesting that Margarita didn't sign the letter. I'm guessing that their relationship didn't make it after all. And how could Flo have stopped herself from being snarky in the letter to Teri and Ian? Couldn't she have at least told Ian to try his best not to be an Ugly American during the competition?

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You Have To Love The South

Last weekend, Isaac, Jr. and I visited the Great State of South Carolina. It is a beautiful state, and Mrs. Bartender and I had visited Charleston five years ago which we loved. Well, Jr. and I went to the State House in Columbia. While the city doesn't hold a candle to Charleston, the State House is quite beautiful, and yet it has a number of touches that are just bizarre.

Most famous is the Confederate Monument. These are seen throughout the South, but the one here has the Battle Flag of the Confederacy, the flag that used to fly over the State House and led to a boycott. (In response to the controversy, there is a memorial to African-Americans also on the State House grounds.)

There are also statues of a number of "great" South Carolinians. The legendary John C. Calhoun is given a place of prominence inside the State House. Calhoun was the father of states' rights, Vice President under both Quincy Adams, and Jackson, and a fierce defender of slavery. And yet while many of his views were abhorrent, he was a fascinating and brilliant figure from the first half of the 19th century.

On the grounds of the building are numerous other figures. Former Senator, Governor, Justice, and "Assistant President" Jimmy Byrnes is understandably represented but so too is "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, one of the most virulent racists ever to serve in the US Senate. There have certainly been many racists to serve in high office but few whose abhorrent racial views were so central to their political views as Tillman. I tried to explain this all to Isaac, Jr., but I'm not sure he fully comprehended it as he is only 10 months old.

Most interesting, however, was the statue of the one and only Strom Thurmond. Now Thurmond had his own tawdry racial history (although it pales in comparison to Tillman's), but his statue had one fascinating feature. Inscribed on the statue's base were numerous aspects of his biography including that he was a father with a list of his children. But where it originally had stated that he had four children, the four has been erased from the stone and five written in its place with the name of his mixed race daughter, Essie Mae, added to the list of children. Perhaps this more than anything symbolizes the paradox that is the South.


A Strange Scandal

The LSU Women's basketball coach was forced to resign last week when a story broke that she had a relationship with a former player. It now turns out that one of her assistant coaches was the source of the story. Unless there is more to this story, I just don't get it. If the coach, Pokey Chatman (great name), merely became involved with a former player, I really don't see the ethical problem. Clearly LSU doesn't fire teachers when they become involved with former teachers. It may (emphasis on may as circumstances can certainly vary) be unseemly but it doesn't rise to a true scandal. Is, in fact, the scandal that Chatman is a lesbian? Is this a shock in the world of women's athletics? (Heck, is it a shock in society at large?) Or is there more to this story that isn't being told? Either way, something is rotten in Louisiana.


A Red Letter Day

Circle April 8, 2007, on your calendar as it looks like what could be the best day of the year. (It's also Easter for some of you.) First off, it is the first Sunday of the major league baseball season (not counting the single game that is played on the prior Sunday night). Even better, you have the final round of the Masters followed by the season premieres of The Sopranos and Entourage. I really can't wait.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

A little late . . .

I was reading US Weekly yesterday and saw that Claire Danes and Billy Crudup are no longer an item, so no longer an item that she's already seeing someone else. How did I miss this piece of gossip? Can't say I'm surprised, they always looked miserable together.


Gilmore Girls

Thanks to a long vacation and a nasty bout of jet lag, I stayed up all last night watching the last six episodes of Gilmore Girls and hooboy has a lot happened. I have to say that while it took them long enough to do it, I'm really pleased with the way the writers got rid of Christopher. I thought it made sense for all the characters involved. Lorelei really tried to work it out and ignore everything that was wrong, but Christopher and his insecurities just kept pushing and pushing until eventually they both realized it wasn't right. Yay! I keep reading posts on the internets about people hating the Gilmore Girls now, or being completely indifferent and just watching out of habit. I don't get it. It's still a smart show, the characters are still interesting and flawed, and . . . what the hell else is there to watch on Tuesday nights?

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

American Idol, eight women

As always, the women were better than the men. Although I think this was the least-exciting week for the women, overall.

Jordin Sparks. "Heartbreaker." I thought she sounded like she had trouble with this song. She seemed to have problems with the notes and not enough power for some of them. Not everyone can be Pat Benetar. Pat makes it all seem so easy.

Sabrina Sloan. "Don't Let Go." She has a good voice, but the song seemed too screechy for her. I didn't love it.

Antonella Barba. "Put Your Records On." Paula makes sense again! Well, not when she talked about when Antonella's "magic comes," but when she said that she can't hit her low notes. She is just totally out of her league, and no thigh high boots are going to change that. She sounded better than in weeks past, but that's not saying much. Are people really voting for her out of sympathy regarding her online photos?

Haley Scarnato. "If My Heart Had Wings." She has the same problem every week, which is just that she lacks power. Gobo just said he doesn't even know who she is, and that's the other problem with her. The best thing about this performance? That Paula made fun of someone (Randy) for being inarticulate.

Stephanie Edwards. "Sweet Thing." I neither know nor like this song, but Steph sounded good.

LaKisha Jones. "I Have Nothing." I thought she did a great job with a Whitney song--they are hard to pull off. What is nice about her is that although she is definitely a belter, she also has a really pretty soft voice.

Gina Glocksen. "Call Me When You're Sober." This is definitely the best she's been in the competition. Her style is certainly best suited for harder (by that I mean rockier, not more difficult) songs.

Melinda Doolittle. "I'm a Woman." She looks really good this week! The dress is super-flattering. Oh, and she sang really, really well too! She is just very, very good. And I like that she's kind of dorky too!

The only just result would be Antonella and Haley going home tomorrow.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

American Idol, eight men

Another boring night for the men. If this was all Idol had to offer this year, I think I would stop watching and just tune in for the finals. Thank goodness for the girls.

Blake Lewis. "All Mixed Up." Randy and Paula and didn't know the song? It was played on the radio incessently for months. I didn't like Blake on it all that much. The beginning was really off-key and flat. He did the chorus part well.

Sanjaya Malakar. "Waiting for the World to Change." By far his best, but still stinks. He has no energy.

Sundance Head. "Jeremy." The splicing of this song was awful, and Gobo thinks it was too big for Sundance. I thought he sounded like a sorry imitation of Eddie Vedder.

Chris Richardson. "Tonight I Want to Cry." Gobo said that song made him want to cry. I just didn't think it was all that exciting.

Jared Cotter. "If You Really Love Me." His fingers are still really long. Gobo and I feel the same way about this guy: that he has the potential to be very good, but every week he is just way off the mark. And he's boring. I wish he would show something more.

Brandon Rogers. "I Just Want to Celebrate." This was a high-energy performance, and yet I still think he's boring. He sounded better than last week, but I don't know that he could get worse.

Phil Stacey. "I Need You." He looks weirder with the hat on. This is definitely his worst performance. By far. The high note sounded off each time. Not good. I'm sure he'll stay in because people seem to like the fact that he abandonned his wife during childbirth to audition, and because he has been decent in the past, but he stunk tonight. And I think that Paula and Randy are wrong that he hit the high notes well.

Chris Sligh. "We All Want to be Loved." He looks like he has lost a couple of pounds. I just like Chris. The judges constantly say he isn't the strongest male singer, but none of the other men have really impressed me with their vocal abilities. I feel like Chris really tries every week and pulls it off (although I didn't like his highest note tonight). The problem with this song is it reminded me a little of Taylor Hicks.

I would send Sanjaya and Brandon home this week. Although if it is based only on tonight's performance, Phil could take Brandon's ticket home.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Who wore it best?

Rachel McAdams is on the cover of this month's Elle magazine. Wearing Beyonce's Oscar dress. And although I said that mint green doesn't look good on anyone after seeing Beyonce and Kate Winslet at the Oscars, perhaps I was too harsh. Because I actually think that McAdams looks pretty good in Beyonce's dress!

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

The last mistake I would ever make...

[Amazing Race: All Stars spoilers ahead]

...would be failing to give the credit card security code to someone when they will be ordering for me online. But that's exactly what three teams did on the most recent episode of the Race. Anyone who ever orders anything online knows you need to provide the three-digit security code on the back of the card (or the four-digit code on the front of an Am Ex) to complete your order. So why didn't Eric and Danielle, Terri and Ian or Team Cha Cha Cha provide the code to Uchenna and Joyce? Am I supposed to believe Danielle has never ordered anything online? Because I would have thought that would be her one potential contribution to this team. And surely Cha Cha Cha have done so. Ridiculous. At least the Guidos knew the code was needed. Of course, when they gave the code to Joyce, you would think perhaps she would have asked the other teams for their codes. It might have been a strategy move, but with Joyce, I don't think it was. I think she's just clueless.

Danielle is truly dead weight on her team. Has she contributed anything yet? I thought that the fish task was incredibly upsetting (those poor fish!), but she was such a baby about it. And she is the only female racer who acts that way, other than Mirna. I knew Amber wouldn't be a baby about it. Or the BQs. Or Teri. Or Mary. However, Dave decided to take the task, which I suspected would be a bad idea. But I was wrong. He sucked it up ad went quickly, although not as quickly as the BQ (I couldn't figure out which was doing the task).

Although Mary isn't a wimp, she is horrible in many other ways. The whole "being friends" thing is so old, particularly when she gets hurt and cries about it. Enough already! And she always screams at Dave, like when she yelled at him to keep driving when he (correctly) thought they had gone too far.

Of course, Mary's stupidity and "friendliness" is what ultimately did her team in this week. Well, that and their bad driving and directional skills. When they finished rafting (which Mary really seemed to work hard at) they knew the next stop was a pit stop. So when they saw Charla and Mirna frantically searching their car for their keys, why did Mary say anything? Why not just get in the car and drive? Charla and Mirna probably would have continued to search that car and their bodies for another twenty minutes before they decided to go to the tent to find the keys. But Mary told them the keys were in the tent, ensuring they would immediately go there and cutting down the time advantage they had over the cousins. Of course, they should have still beaten Charla and Mirna to the pit stop, but I guess they must have done something wrong in finding it, which is why Charla and Mirna were able to beat them. But at that point, David and Mary deserved to be eliminated. Good riddance.

Team Guido ran a horrendous leg this time. They were on the first flight out, but fell really far behind. Not good at all. I hope they pick it up. And I also hope that they start getting a little meaner. I don't like these nice Guidos as much!

Running a great leg, of course, were Rob and Amber. Although we did see Rob get lost, which basically never happens, they still managed to finish first. Again. I also thought that Uchenna and Joyce ran a decent leg. Sure they got lost, but only once and not for long. And Dustin and Kandace recovered well after missing their clue and having to go back and get it.

As for next week, I can only hope for a Charla and Mirna elimination. I don't enjoy watching them--they just stress me out. I can't stand their hypocrisy. And Charla has become absolutely ridiculous. She always seemed sane next to Mirna, but now she is truly just as bad.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Thoughts for the end of the week

I have a lot of small things to blog about, but nothing I feel like making into a long post, so I thought I would just put everything together in one mish-mash.

NBC gave us yet another excellent episode of Friday Night Lights two days ago. I thought both Tyra and Lyla were particularly compelling. Tyra doesn't have an easy life, having to parent her mother at 17 years old. It made me happy that Tammy is making Tyra her "next project," because Tyra really needs hope for a way to do more with her life than her mother has. And I felt so sorry for Lyla, who really has no one other than Jason. She has no friends left and no one to confide in. She had to drive 200 miles just to have someone to talk to. And as for Riggins: how long until he starts sleeping with the older neighbor? I give it two episodes.

Ryan Seacrest was clearly implying Kellie Pickler had a boob job last night on Idol. And although they are definitely a lot larger than they were last season, so is her butt and her thighs. In fact, the boobs are still smaller than her butt. So what do you think? Implants or just extra weight? Also, her hair looked awful.

Obviously (I guess it is obvious if you read my earlier posts), I think that Antonella should have been eliminated before Leslie, and Sanjaya before A.J. I also thought A.J. should probably have made the final 12. What I really don't understand, however, is all of the tears from the girls when Leslie was kicked off. Sure, Antonella should have been kicked off first. But Leslie was out of her league and gearing to go next week anyway. So why were they sobbing? They had better get used to eliminations, because they are going to happen every single week from here on out.

Is anyone still watching Veronica Mars now that Bailey and Holt are out of town? What did everyone think of the big reveal of the Dean's killer? I thought it was unsatisfying. And I wasn't at all happy about the death that took place. I read that they are going to finish the season with just single mysteries every week, but no overarching mystery. That's disappointing to me--I think the format from the first two seasons worked best.

Gobo and I have been watching the first season of Dynasty and I am so glad we decided to do so. Neither of us had ever watched us before, and it's really great. We're at the point where Blake inadvertently kills Stephen's lover, Ted. Great stuff. I think if we ever adopt another cat I will insist we name her Fallon.

The Real Housewives of Orange County continues to disgust me, and I continue to watch. Seeing the filth Lauri's daughter, Ashley, lives in was upsetting. Not because I care about the filth, but because the poor cats were defecating outside of the litterbox. Cats do this when the litterbox they are provided is too dirty (they also do it when sick, but I think the former applies here). I feel sorry for the cats.

I have some TV to catch up on this weekend: Heroes, Grey's (which is really starting to irritate me), Grease: You're the One that I Want and maybe the final episode of The O.C. Oh, and the final three episodes of Dynasty season one. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like season two is available on DVD. Not good.

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