Pop Culture Junkette

Addicted to pop culture.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I cannot believe that adults do this

Ashlee Simpson has stated that Pete Wentz has given her a "promise ring," which "just means that he hasn't asked my father yet."

Pete Wentz is 27 years old. I believe he likes to think of himself as a serious musician. But he gave his girlfriend a promise ring? I honestly didn't realize this was done by mature adults. It's a promise to make a promise to get married. Could anything be stupider? Isn't a promise to make a promise the same thing as...a promise? I'm blown away here.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Did any humans die to make this outfit?

On tonight's Project Runway (spoilers ahead), we saw the four remaining designers working on their Fashion Week collections, and then watched as Chris and Rami chose their three top collection designs to show the judges, to determine who would be in the running to win the competition (I won't say to determine who would go to Fashion Week, because we know that all four designers, plus Sweet Pea, got to show at Bryant Park).

The biggest shock that everyone seemed to have was that Chris used human hair in his designs. Everyone seemed grossed out by the idea that human hair was in his designs. But how is that more disgusting than leather? Or fur? I have to imagine the hair came from humans who voluntarily gave it. So why would Heidi be reluctant to wear human hair but had leather Louboutins on her feet while she made that statement?

As for the elimination, I really thought that Chris' three outfits were really great. I particularly loved the jacket and safety pin skirt combo, and the flapper dress with the skirt of hair was cute as well. The Elvira dress looked like it was impossible to walk in, but was still pretty cool if you were six feet tall and weighed 100 pounds. Rami's collection, on the other hand, was not something I loved. I didn't get why he put a chunky sweater over his asymmetric cocktail dress, and I thought the back of the dress was unflattering on his model. The blue coat was kind of cool, but nothing super exciting. The evening dress was his best design, but, as with Chris' evening dress, his model could walk in it.

I thought that Chris was definitely going to make it to the final three, so I was surprised when Rami did instead. I was sad for Chris for a minute, because he really seemed sad, but then I remembered that he still gets to go to Fashion Week!

Next week should be interesting. We didn't get to see much of Christian and Jillian's collections. I wonder if having months to design a collection will benefit Jillian and hurt Christian. Christian was such a fast worker throughout the competition that he was able to finish far more than his competitors under the artificial time pressures the show imposes. Jillian, on the other hand, was a slow worker and struggled to complete her design every week. Now that there are no time constraints, I think Jillian has a great chance of winning the entire competition. Of course, there is really no question that Christian is really talented. As for Rami, my guess is that he'll end up in third place.


American Idol, 10 women

Carly Smithson. "Crazy on You." Again, I don't think she is that great. Her voice seems to get thin when she goes into the higher notes. Randy actually criticized her voice on the lower notes, but I don't think that was the problem. Carly says she "always wanted to perform [Crazy on You] on American Idol." Always? Idol has only been on the air since June 2002. So that's less than six years ago. Is six years "always?"

Syesha Mercado. "Me and Mr(s). Jones." I have never heard this song before (this isn't Counting Crows' "Mr. Jones"), but I thought she sounded really good on it. I continue to like her, two weeks in a row.

Brooke White. "You're So Vain." Brooke sitting on the stool, playing her guitar, singing Carly Simon, makes me think that she really should be a folk singer. The one problem was that she had trouble with the low notes, but other than that it sounded right with her. It was a little odd when she just stopped playing guitar in the middle, but I thought she did a nice job. Gobo's contribution: "Her hair looks really good this time. Last time it looked like she got out of a wind tunnel."

Ramiele Malubay. "Don't Leave Me This Way." Historically, contestants love choosing Donna Summer songs, but do a horrible job singing them. Ramiele actually didn't slaughter the song, though. But she's no Donna Summer. And she didn't move very much on the stage. How do you sing Donna Summer and not dance around? And Randy critiquing the song...I don't get it. I love the '70s too, and agree there are a lot of great songs from the decade, but how is this not right up there? Craziness! Don't mess with Donna Summer disco songs.
ETA: Reader Danielle has informed me that this is a Thelma Houston and NOT a Donna Summer song. Uh-oh. So basically much of what I wrote above can be ignored. But I still like the song. (Although apparently not enough to know who sang it.)

Kristy Lee Cook. "You're No Good." A huge improvement over last week. I guess being sick was really a big factor in the previous performance. The problem with the song is that it is pretty repetitive. But I thought she sounded really good.

Amanda Overmyer. "Carry On My Wayward Son." About ten years ago a friend and I, mere college students at the time, decided to take a short road trip from New York to Baltimore. We didn't have any particular reason to go to Baltimore, other than the fact that we thought it was totally random to go to Baltimore. We put a sign on the back of the car that said "Baltimore or Bust" and when we finally drove into the city we looked out the windows, said "this looks like a shithole," and kept driving until we got to DC. We stayed at a really run down Days Inn in Northeast DC (a place that, every time I pass it now, I can't believe I stayed there and made it out alive). It rained the entire car ride from DC back to NY, until we got to the George Washington Bridge, at which point the sun burst out of the clouds at the exact moment that "Carry On My Wayward Son" came on the radio. It was a great moment. Far greater than Amanda Overmyer's performance today, which was really weak and out of her range. I was actually surprised that she didn't do a better job. And Paula told her to wear less makeup. Ouch.

Alaina Whittaker. "Hopelessly Devoted." I'm surprised by the negative reactions from the judges. I thought she sounded really good. Sure, she's not Kristen Chenowyth singing the song on Pushing Daisies, but she sounded good.

Alexandrea Lushington. "If You Leave Me Now." CHICAGO!!!!! There is not nearly enough Chicago sung on American Idol. But is she cold? Why is wearing a hooded puffer vest? With shorts? Gobo just hit the nail on the head with this one--"it was a horrible arrangement, she had some problems with the notes, but I still liked it and it's such a great song." Okay, Gobo and I are both really big Chicago fans. Who doesn't love Chicago. Well, Simon Cowell, it appears.

Kady Malloy. "Magic Man." I could barely hear her singing. I think she's going home this week. She sounded good at the very end, but that was about it.

Asia'h Epperson. "All By Myself." I remember when LaToya kicked ass on this in season three. Poor Asia'h. She just didn't sing a note there near the beginning. She picked it up near the end, but she was definitely no LaToya. I thought she sounded weak.

Who should go home: Kady, Amanda. Who will go home: Kady, Alaina. Or, and I'm worried about this one, possibly Syesha.


Bowie likes (and contributes to) Scarlett Johansson's Tom Waits Album

Music magazine NME ran a short piece about David Bowie and his involvement with Scarlett Johannson's Tom Waite cover album, titled Anywhere I Lay My Head (not Scarlett Sings Tom Waits, as originally reported). Apparently Bowie contributed some bare background vocals to the album, and he says "Scarlett's performances are mystical and twice cool. She creates a mood that could have been summoned by someone like Margery Latimer or Jeanette Winterson.”

Like Bailey, I was skeptical about this album, but now that Bowie has given it his stamp of approval, I'm more optimistic. It will be released on May 19, so we'll see whether it's any good in a few months.


Please Watch This

Here is Jimmy Kimmel's response to learning that his girlfriend, Sarah Silverman, is f**king Matt Damon. Revenge is sweet. Or in this case, hilarious.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

American Idol, 10 men

I forgot to blog about the American Idol men last week, but I'm here tonight. It looks like this week is '70s week. Since last week was '60s week, could it mean that next week will be '80s week? We can only hope.

Michael Johns. "Go Your Own Way." This is just awful. His voice sounded bad throughout--like the notes were too low during the verses, and just off-key during the chorus. The performance was generally blah and boring, and he seemed to miss what the song is about being really angry with someone.

Jason Castro. "I Just Want to be Your Everything." He sounded okay--better than last week, when everyone else adored him but I didn't love him. Didn't love it this week, didn't hate it.

Luke Menard. "Killer Queen." His voice sounded far better this week than last (and this is a tough song), but I think he did himself a disservice by showing his a cappella group, because during this performance I definitely saw the influences of a cappella--the performance was just kind of hokey.

Robbie Carrico. "Hot Blooded." His voice sounded good, but, like the three performances before him, he lacked charisma and energy. It just feels like he is going through the motions.

Danny Noriega. "Superstar." Ah, American Idol's answer to Christian from Project Runway. I usually fast forward through the personal stories before the performance, but I caught him saying that "we broke up," while a photo of him and a girl flashed on the screen and I had to rewind, because I thought he Idol was going to try to tell us Danny had a girlfriend. Luckily, no--he was just talking about a band he was in. Phew. As for his rendition of "Superstar," I thought it wasn't bad (and I really love that song). Far better than last week, although he still looks scared on stage.

David Hernandez. "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." He did a really good job--his voice sounded really good. The song was a weird choice--not the type of thing you typically see on Idol--but he did nice work with it. Definitely better than the guys who went before him.

Jason Yeager. "Long Train Runnin'." He's doing a little bit of the Axl Rose in his performance, although at least he is trying to dance around a bit. Unfortunately, his high notes sound shrill and he generally sounds off-key.

Chikezie. "Know My Name." Last week I was not a friend of Chikezie, but this week he was really, really good! Definitely my favorite thus far, especially when he worked his name into the song. His voice sounded really good and he was fun on stage. Except--why was he wearing a polo shirt with two collars? It looks so Carlton Banks. And Gobo thought some of his dance moves looked more like he was "trying to give birth to an elephant." I hope next week he sings "I'm Chikeze. Chikezie like Sunday morning."

David Cook. "All Right Now." Another one who was good, but just didn't excite me. And his hair is absolutely awful.

David Archiletta. "Imagine." Some songs should be off-limits to American Idol contestants, and this is one of them. He actually sounds really good on it, voice-wise, but I just hate anyone taking this song and embellishing it, adding little high notes or runs. And although I thought his voice was clear and pretty, I wouldn't say it was one of the best Idol vocals ever, as Randy did, or that the other 19 contestants must be really upset right now, as Simon believes.

At least the guys this year can actually sing. Who should go home: Michael Johns, Jason Yaeger. Who will go home: Jason Yaeger, Luke Menard. And after my hatred last week, Chikezie is my new favorite.

On another note, has anyone noticed Simon's right hand thing, where he has been holding his thumb to his head and the rest of his fingers are sticking out? Is this some new pose he has adopted?


Monday, February 25, 2008

Big Brother 9: is anyone else watching?

This is embarassing, but...is anyone else watching Big Brother 9? I haven't been a faithful viewer of the show over the years, but when I realized they were airing the show this winter, in the midst of the writers' strike, I started DVRing it.

So if anyone else is watching the show:

1.) Could there be a worse girlfriend than Jen? She told the people in the house, and the viewing audience, that her boyfriend was racist so they would vote him off instead of her. And then she lied to him and told him she hadn't said that. Does she not think he will watch the show when they eventually leave the house?

2.) Why does the Big Brother camera blur out James' shoulder tattoo? Is it a McDonalds arch or something? Curse words? A depiction of a graphic sex act? Why can't the camera show it?

3.) What possible strategic reason did Allison and Sheila have for lying about being a lesbian couple who knew each other before showing up in the Big Brother house? They already saw that the four people who had relationships with other contestants outside of the house were branded liars by everyone else on the show and were either eliminated or put up for elimination. And yet, for no discernible reason, they decided to make up a story that they had been in a romantic relationship outside of the house. Then to make matters worse for themselves, about a week later they told everyone they had been lying. Why? Does this make sense to anyone?

4.) Joshuah and Chelsia are pretty mean people, but no one seems to acknowledge this truth. Amanda (who is completely annoying) told people in the house that her dad committed suicide years ago by hanging himself. Later, Joshuah, among others, got angry with Amanda, with Joshuah sarcastically recommending she "get a halo," at which point Chelsia suggested "or a noose," and Joshuah, to make sure no one missed Chelsia's subtle subtext, responded "like her dad." What is wrong with these people? (In addition to the fact that their parents were apparently incapable of spelling.) It's one thing to be upset with someone on the show, but it's quite another to make fun of someone's father's suicide. And yet no one seemed to think it was all that bad. Sure, a few contestants interviewed that Joshuah had crossed the line (Chelsia seems to have gotten a free pass), but almost immediately afterwards, there was no fallout.

5.) Why am I watching this show?


Spend A Day in Hutchinson, Kansas

Seriously. However, I mean just one day; I had the misfortune of spending 6 days there last week, and let me tell you that Kansas in February is not a tea party. Two days barely broke 20 with wind and a couple of days of ice. (I will note that the day before it turned freezing, it was almost 60.) No tornadoes, however.

That being said, should you find yourself in the Wichita area, Hutchinson, 45 minutes away, is well worth a visit for two things. First, the Cosmosphere. This museum about human space exploration is beyond outstanding. I was planning to spend about an hour and was there for 4. Starting with a detailed history of the Nazi missile program (with a V-1 and V-2 on display) and Wernher von Braun's morally ambiguous involvement with it, through test flights and the early attempts of the 1950s, into the space race of the 1960s and 1970s, the museum has more detail than even the Air and Space Museum on this subject. Plus it has some of the most amazing artifacts including Liberty Bell 7 (Gus Grissom's capsule that sank to the ocean floor and was finally recovered in 1999) and the Apollo 13 capsule ("Houston, we have a problem.") Moreover, the information provided regarding the Soviet program is top notch as well including a Vostok capsule. (It is the largest collection of Soviet artifacts outside of Moscow.) All this, plus an IMAX and a planetarium.

When I was leaving, I said to the woman at the ticket desk that I have a silly question, "Why is this place here?" I was given a brochure explaining that this is the most common question, and it was a combination of guile and luck on the part of the Hutchinson community.

Yet perhaps even more fascinating was the brand new (and still being built) Kansas Underground Salt Museum. This is a journey 650' underground into a working salt mine. You are driven around one part of the mine, and surrounded by walls, floors, and ceilings that are 97% salt. The salt mined here is used for roads and animal feed (not table salt), and it is just amazing to see up close. In addition, because of the ideal conditions (68 degrees with 40% humidity), the mine is used as a repository by a number of movie and television studios to store film. There is no salt mine that can be visited like this in the United States (and perhaps the Western Hemisphere), and it was a great way to spend a few hours.

One final warning about Hutchinson--restaurant and hotel selection is limited, and I had way too many meals at McDonald's, something I try to avoid at all costs.


"Baby Bump"

Very high on my list of things that I hate is the term "baby bump." Why, why, why does this term exist? It is constantly printed in publications like Us Weekly, on blogs like popsugar.com, and even on eonline.com and the Huffington Post. It's obviously a product of celebrity-obsession and its strange subgroup, celebrity pregnancy obsession, but it just sounds so stupid. I'm not sure who coined the term, but every time it is used I feel like the piece was written by a giggling teenager who got a 450 on the verbal portion of her SATs. (I realize I have dated myself in that last statement, because apparently the SATs are now graded on a scale of 2400, rather than 1600, but...oh well.)

Can't these publications add some variety (and maturity) their terminology? Perhaps we can look at a pregnant belly? Or maybe we can just say that someone is showing? Or that it appears they may be pregnant? Would that be so awful? Instead it's all baby bump this and "Bump Watch" that. Is it supposed to be cute? And if so, why? Why is pregnancy something that is supposed to be adorable? Is the term supposed to be witty? Because repeating an inane phrase in every pregnancy story you write is not the definition of wit. Are they just really big fans of Fergie and feel that because "baby bump" rhymes with "lady lump" they must use the term ad nauseum?

I realize that the target audience of these publications includes teens and pre-teens, but sites like popsugar and the Huffington Post are looking at my demographic as well, right? I know that I would never use the term "baby bump" in conversation, and I can't imagine anyone I know doing so. I understand that celebrity pregnancy is somehow trendy, but enough already. Trendy does not have to equal inane.

Of course, once that baby bump turns into an actual baby, the parents will be "over the moon." And you all know how I feel about that.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

80th Annual Academy Awards: A Running Diary

I'm not sure how this is going to work, but I figured it was worth a try.

Jon Stewart. The people at Stuff White People Like claim that all white women think Jon Stewart is the perfect man, and...yeah. And his asteroid hitting NY joke was pretty funny.

Jennifer Garner is so cute. Recently, my friend Carol Seaver told me that she saw an Oprah interview with Jennifer Garner and now she kind of can't stand Garner. I should probably watch the clip.

Clooney brought his girlfriend. Don't often see that.

We just watched Ratatouie today and really enjoyed it. (No, I don't have kids. Just two adults watching.) So it was nice to see it win something.

Katherine Heigl. She irritates me to no end. I think that the thing I dislike most that she has done was when she said she would "throw down for that kid," about her friend T.R. Knight. Who says stuff like that? And then her engagement/wedding/post-wedding coverage was so overdone (thanks Us). Last week in People there were shots of her moving into her new home, but they were all clearly posed. Yech.

The Rock is really not funny. How did he get a presenting job at the Oscars?

Cate Blanchett really carries her pregnancy well.

Jennifer Hudson looks good. And looks like she thinks she looks good. But enough with the cat's eye makeup she constantly sports. It makes her look harsh and scary.

Keri Russell is super cute too.

Tilda Swinton joins Jennifer Hudson, Angelina Jolie and Tatum O'Neill in the long line of poorly-dressed Best Supporting Actress winners.

Seeing Kristen Chenowyth makes me happy in no small part because I am reminded that Pushing Daisies is actually coming back for another season. Yay!

Does Renee Zellweger ever wear dresses that aren't strapless?

The pregnant Nicole Kidman is introduced and all I can wonder is whether this is supposed to be Kidman without Botox? Because it looks to me like her face as basically as frozen as always. Maybe it takes a few months to wear off? I would think Botox is not safe for pregnancy, right?

Hiilary Swank is sporting some Brandon Teena-looking hair. She is presenting the dead people montage, and I think it is safe to bet that Heath Ledger will get the big applause.... And I was right, although Ingmar Bergman was a close contender for the win.

I just Googled Diablo Cody to determine that her given first name is not, in fact, Diablo. Good news.

No Country for Old Men was the big winner, with awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, and I have to admit that I just don't get it. I know both Isaac and Bailey have blogged about how they enjoyed the movie, but I really didn't think it was all that Oscar-worthy. I must be missing something, but I just don't see it. (I do see why Javier Bardem won the Supporting Actor award for his work in the film.)

And now the awards are over, having gone about 20 minutes too long. My final assessment is that it was fine, if a bit dull.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

American Idol, 12 women

It's time for American Idol! I'm hoping this gets me back into a more regular blogging schedule. I meant to blog about the twelve men on Tuesday, and forgot. Then yesterday I was at a truly excellent hockey game (Islanders-Capitals, a game with potential playoff ramifications that the Isles won in a shootout), so I didn't have a chance to watch the women sing until today. So I'll give you my thoughts on the women and then my thoughts on the elimination. Here goes:

Kristy Lee Cook. "Rescue Me." Just not very exciting. Not horrible, not great. Her voice didn't seem very strong or exciting.

Joanne Borgella. "Say a Little Prayer." I could basically paste what I said above about Kristy. The song really did not showcase her voice, which sounded nasal.

Alaina Whitaker. "More Today Than Yesterday." I really dislike this song, and it's unfortunate that Chekezie sang it yesterday and then Alaina today. She did a better job than Chekezie, but still sounded shrill. But she was definitely better than the other two women. And she looks kind of like Carrie Underwood, version 2.0.

Amanda Overmyer. "Baby Please Don't Go." I don't get this woman. She is 23 but she really looks 43 to me. I thought this was a pretty bad song choice for her. Based on her gravelly voice, I thought she would do a decent job with it, but it was almost like the notes were too low for her lower register because it was hard to hear her through most of the song. Simon's advice was interesting--he thinks she is authentic, and likes that about her, but then he says he thinks she needs to show that she can really sing. I feel like he is almost telling her that she needs to become a little less authentic in order to really stick around.

Amy Davis. "Where the Boys Are." I didn't think she was bad, but that song is so associated with Connie Francis' truly excellent version that I don't think it is a good song choice. Kimberly Locke sang it in season two, and I thought she did a good job with it, but not so much Amy.

Brooke White. "Happy Together." How limited is their song list? Someone sang this yesterday too! I thought she did a pretty good job with the verses, but the chorus is pretty atrocious. She sang the verses in kind of a breathy, sexy, wistful way, but then the chorus was all cheery. Like she was singing two different songs. And how did she make the age cut?

Alexandrea Lushington. "Spinning Wheel." I thought she sounded good in the beginning, but as soon as she started with the notes in her upper register she sounded really bad. It was like her voice had no power with high notes. Maybe she was sick? I don't get how Randy said she "blew the doors off" of the song.

Kady Malloy. "Groovy Kind of Love." Oh, a stool! It's going to be a Serious Song. She hit a rough note near the end (on the "ee" in "agree"). I think of "Groovy Kind of Love" as a happy song, but she was so melancholy, it didn't work with the song. But she didn't sound terrible. Just blah.

Asia'h Epperson. "Piece of My Heart." Gobo says she looks like someone is tickling her. I actually liked her a lot! (So did Gobo, despite the tickling and the extraneous apostrophe in her first name.) She managed to change around a really recognizable song and she sounded good.

Ramiele Malubay. "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me." Another blah performance by someone whose voice sounds like it might actually have some real potential. I didn't think she showcased her vocal at all. I'm really surprised by Simon's adoration.

Syesha Mercado. "Tobacco Road." I have never heard this song before, but I thought she sounded really good and her performance was fun to watch.

Carly Smithson. "The Shadow of Your Smile." I don't get the adoration the judges have had for her throughout the tryouts. When she sang in the initial audition, as well as in Hollywood, I just didn't see why they were so excited about her. After this song, I can concede that she is a good singer, but I just don't see much more to her than that. I, again, felt like it was blah. The best vocal of the top 24? I'm not so sure Randy. And I don't really like her "sick is not an excuse" after Randy said she sang well. I'm sure she would have been singing a different tune had she not gotten so much praise.

My favorites: Asia'h and Syesha. Least favorite: Joanne, Kristy.

On a parting note, I have to say--we have an Asia'h, a Syesha, an Alexandrea (pronounced Alex-ahn-DRAY-uh, and spelled with an accent over the second e, which I couldn't figure out how to add in this post), and a Ramiele in this competition. Parents--don't do this to your children.

Of the guys to go home, I'm voting against Chekezie and Garrett (could he have sung "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" any more slowly?).

And now...the results show!

Garrett goes home, making me one for one. It was a fast elimination. Then Amy, which wasn't my pick (Kristy was safe, and I wanted her to go home instead--I wonder how much the sympathy vote for the sick girl mattered), but Amy wasn't great either. Next Joanne, making me two for three (and sounding better singing the song the second time). And finally... it's between Chekezie and Colton. I have to admit, Colton was pretty bad singing a great song. But still, I really didn't like Chekezie. Gobo is intrigued by Chekezie's "unnatural hairline." Alas, Colton went home. So I was two for four in my picks. Now I'm off to watch Celebrity Apprentice!


Clear eyes. Full Hearts. Can't lose? Save Friday Night Lights!

Since the end of the writers' strike I have been obsessively following news about whether Friday Night Lights will be renewed for a third season. The news hasn't been looking good. On every list of television shows I have seen, FNL seems to fall in the "future uncertain" category.

But there are now some rumblings that not all hope is lost. Last week, Variety reported that the show may be picked up by another network (according to Isaac, who sent me an e-mail about it on the 12th, unfortunately, I can't find a link), and yesterday they ran a story saying NBC is actively shopping the show to other networks as part of a plan in which NBC would share the show with the other network. They say that the CW, E!, TNT and DirecTV are all in the mix.

Personally, I don't care who picks up the show, as long as it is picked up. I'll even switch to DirecTV if I have to. However, if none of the other networks bite, I really hope NBC allows the show to film a few more episodes to air this season (or in the summer?) just so fans can get some closure. I hate that the last episode I watched involved no Buddy Garrity, Coach Taylor fighting with Tami's obnoxious ex, Jason trying to convince his one-night stand to have his miracle baby, and Riggins going to church in an attempt to get Lila back. Don't get me wrong--I enjoyed the episode. But it clearly wasn't meant to be a last episode for the season, let alone for the series. I know the chances of NBC actually resuming production just to make a few fans happy isn't likely, but I guess I'll keep hoping.

For those interested in keeping the show on the air, visit:
MySpace (this may be related to the "Save Friday Night Lights" link above, but as a non-MySpace user, I'm confused)

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Important Question

Is it possible that "Step Up 2: The Streets" and "Definitely, Maybe" will actually be good? Because they sort of look like they will be awesome. Especially "Step Up."

Which reminds me that I have seen all of the Oscar nominated pictures and at some point I should share my thought on them. I'm sure you're on the edge of your seats.

Things I Learned from This Week's "Sarah Connor Chronicles"

First, there are an insane number of terminators and resistance fighters walking around in 2007 Los Angeles. How many people did they send back there?

Second, Brian Austin Green kicks ass! I could not have been more shocked to (a) realize that Derek Reese was played by good old David Silver and (b) realize how happy that made me!

Portrait of a Blowout

Via DCist, here's a map of the DC election returns yesterday:
Obama won every precinct.

It's Over!

Yay! The strike is officially over and CBS has announced its schedule for returning scripted shows to the air:


Show: "How I Met Your Mother"
Return date: March 17
Number of episodes: 9

Show: "The Big Bang Theory"
Return date: March 17
Number of episodes: 9

Show: "Two and a Half Men"
Return date: March 17
Number of episodes: 9

Show: "CSI: Miami"
Return date: March 24
Number of episodes: 8

Show: "Rules of Engagement"
Return date: April 14
Number of episodes: 4


Show: "NCIS"
Return date: April 8
Number of episodes: 7


Show: "Criminal Minds"
Return date: April 2
Number of episodes: 7

Show: "CSI: NY"
Return date: April 2
Number of episodes: 7


Show: "CSI"
Return date: April 3
Number of episodes: 6

Show: "Without a Trace"
Return date: April 3
Number of episodes: 6


Show: "Ghost Whisperer"
Return date: April 4
Number of episodes: 6

Show: "Numb3rs"
Return date: April 4
Number of episodes: 6

Show: "Moonlight"
Return date: April 11
Number of episodes: 4


Show: "Cold Case"
Return date: March 30
Number of episodes: 5

Show: "Shark"
Return date: TBA
Number of episodes: 4

I don't actually watch any of these shows except "How I Met Your Mother." But, still -- exciting!

Potomac Wipeout

I realize I am turning this into a political blog (other than my strike updates of which thankfully there will be no more), but I want to weigh in on what has occurred over the past 5 days in the battle for the Democratic nomination. As is becoming more and more clear, the only way Clinton can beat Obama at this point is (1) either to draw an inside straight or (2) cheat. And, sadly, we are seeing more signs of the latter than the former.

With the massive wins over the weekend and yesterday, Obama now has more than 100 pledged delegates than Clinton. Because of the proportional allocation of delegates, the remaining states (a number of which favor Obama), and the various rules for various states, Clinton is going to need to win 60%+ of the vote in PA, OH, and TX to have any chance to pass Obama in this count, and I just don't see that happening. In fact, the TX rules for delegate allocation mean that if the election is even close (say 55/45 or less), the delegates will be essentially 50/50.

If Clinton doesn't win both OH and TX, this is over, and she better move aside gracefully. In fact, Obama can pick one of the two to focus on since he really only needs one of them. (I would think TX would be the one.) And if she narrowly wins both, I'm not really sure she is greatly helped although it would turn PA into a war. And that would mean from March 4 until April 22, all eyes would turn to the Keystone state.

My fear is the Clinton's repeated emphasis on seating FL and MI's delegates. This disgusts me to no end. The candidates were told that these states would not have delegates because the states refused to follow the DNC's mandate not to hold their primaries before 2/5. So no candidates campaigned in those states and Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot in MI. So if Obama is ahead in pledged delegates and the overall vote (excluding MI and FL although he is ahead at the moment even if they are included), and the DNC agrees to seat those state's delegations to put Hillary ahead, that will be the end for me.

Imagine if after the Yankees had beaten the Red Sox in game 7 of the 2003 ALCS (2004 never happened), major league baseball said that the Red Sox would go to the World Series because they had beaten the Yankees in 2 spring training games (and in one of which the Yankees had been told not to show up at, so they actually beat a semi-pro team from the area), what would the reaction be? New York would errupt. What would the difference be with what Team Clinton is trying to do here? So I lay down the gauntlet, if Clinton uses MI/FL or superdelegates or some other shenanigans to deny Obama the nomination, I will vote for McCain. (To be clear, I am not saying that there is no scenario in which Clinton could "legitimately" win the nomination, just that what they are trying to do seem pretty illegitimate because the legitimate avenues keep getting closed off.)


Saturday, February 09, 2008

And It Looks Like We Have A Deal

It appears as if writers are going to ratify the tentative contract; the buzz out of the east coast meeting was very good, so we will know for sure tomorrow, but it looks like the writers will be back on Monday.

Dear NBC--please don't cancel Friday Night Lights. Sure this season hasn't been great, but it's still better than most of what passes for scripted television.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


I dragged myself off the couch last night and saw Argonautika at the Shakespeare Theater. It was so good, ya'll. It tells the story of Jason and the Argonauts, but in modern language that sort of demystifies it and makes it more accessible. It was hilarious. The set design and costumes were amazing and it was just generally very entertaining -- featuring singing, things flying through the air, sort of . . . rapping, giants, puppets, and acrobatics. And, despite all that, it wasn't nearly as gimmicky as it sounds and was really touching in parts, especially the end.

Which is good, because the season so far has been a disappointment. The first play, the Taming of the Shrew, was well done, but it is so deeply misogynistic that it's not very entertaining to watch. Edward II was boring. And my performance of Tamburlaine was cancelled because the lead, Avery Brooks, was injured.

Fab or Fug?

Somehow, Isaac failed to ask the truly important question coming out of Super Tuesday -- what was up with Chelsea's dress at Hillary's victory party?
I couldn't find a good full-length picture, but it was several inches above the knee and she was wearing at least 3" high black patent leather pumps.
I love mod, but it's a little costume-y for my taste, but also simultaneously sort of nun-like.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What Now?

So no one won on the Democratic side won yesterday. In fact, both candidates have some things to be happy about (Hillary--CA, MA, and NJ; Obama--MO, CT, DE, and the wipe outs in the Rocky Mountain states and deep South), but nothing too unexpected. For a while the media really was buying the Clinton spin about her "upset" win in MA. To be fair, the size of her victory (15 points) seemed a surprise but the polls had her, on average, up 12 in the week leading up to yesterday. The best thing that happened to Hillary was that the early exit polls had Obama up in NJ, MA, and CA, making her wins there appear surprising when, in fact, they were not. So Obama appears to have slightly won more delegates and won more states (13-8 with NM still too close to call), and he has the calendar and money advantage.

As for the former, the next two weeks play to his strengths. Saturday has a primary in Louisiana and caucuses in Washington (state) and Nebraska plus the Virgin Islands. Considering how well Obama has done in the deep south and with African Americans, I don't see how he doesn't win LA. Likewise, he has done extremely well in caucus states, winning them all except Nevada, and I imagine the trend will continue in WA and ME. My knowledge of politics in the VI is limited (although I can recommend some good restaurants on St. Croix), so I don't know what will happen with those 9 delegates, and I don't think the media will care. (If the Clinton team starts to stress a victory in VI after Obama won the other 3 races, I think the media will really start to laugh.)

The next day is the Maine caucus, and I stick with my above theory. Next Tuesday, I get to vote! It's the Beltway Primary with DC, MD, and VA, and Obama is favored, I would think, in all three although VA appears to be where Hillary is going to put up a fight. (Obama is already advertising here.) The following Tuesday (2/19) is Hawaii and Wisconsin. Considering that Obama was born in the former and seems to do well in the Midwest, he again appears the favorite in both states. If he runs the table (excluding the VI) or loses just one of these races, he is going to build up a good amount of momentum (particularly since the media will be spending less and less time on a GOP race that really has no more drama unless McCain has a health scare or decides to announce that he is gay (not that there is anything wrong with that but I imagine many GOP primary voters would disagree)).

The big focus will be on March 4 when Ohio and Texas vote (plus Rhode Island and Vermont). If Obama wins both (big if), I don't see how he can be denied the nomination. He may try to make Texas his big test considering his trouble with the Hispanic vote and use it the way JFK used West Virginia to show that a Catholic can win an overwhelming Protestant state.

The key for Obama is to keep racking up wins over the next two weeks, get good media, and pick up more endorsements (most helpful would be Edwards, Richardson, or, the holy grail, Gore), and look like the anointed one. Because of the insane allocation of delegates, no candidate will cross the 50% threshold without superdelegates, so either Clinton or Obama will have to appear to have won in order for the party not to get torn asunder.

I note that March 8 is Wyoming and March 11 is Mississippi, two states that Obama will win easily assuming the race is still a battle; there is then nothing until April 22 with Pennsylvania. If Obama has won everything but TX and OH, she will be in good position to win although the race will not be over; if Obama wins either of those two states (and all the other contests), he will be the clear front runner.

Having said all of this, I still in my gut think that Hillary will be the nominee with the support of working class and older voters and Hispanics plus a lot of Clinton loyalists (although a number of us are supporting Obama). While I will certainly be disappointed, I will enthusiastically support her provided that (1) superdelegates or craziness with MI/FL don't put her over the top when Obama appears to be the choice of the voters and (2) she and her husband avoid the racial routine leading up to SC.

While I keep stressing that we know nothing, yesterday really went, for the most part, as predicted although there were some signs of an Obama surge that wasn't, but it was not the hype leading up to NH with poll after poll supporting such an impression.


For Your Viewing Pleasure

This clip from Late Night With Conan O'Brien is beyond funny, and it proves, once again, that Mike Huckabee may be nuts, but he has a damn good sense of humor. He may not believe in evolution, but he sure believes in comedy.

Btw, we will know this weekend if the strike is going to end by the start of next week. I am cautiously optimistic.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Moment You've Been Waiting For

No, not the end of the writers' strike (although that will hopefully happen in the next day or so), but my endorsement for the next President of the United States. I've actually spent a good amount of time deciding whom to support, and all along I've been torn between Clinton and Obama.

As for Hillary, I long ago worked for her husband and have a residual fondness and respect for the Clintons and much of what he did while in the White House. I have also been extremely impressed with Hillary's ability in the Senate to get a lot done, work with former adversaries while not acting, as a former First Lady, like she is bigger than the Senate, and manage to win over a number of New York Republicans. While years ago, the idea of her as the nominee scared me to death, I have certainly warmed to it over the past few years.

That said, I recognize that she is the one person that can excite the GOP to elect a Republican this fall. Moreover, the political atmosphere that will continue with her in the White House ensures vicious partisanship for the foreseeable future. While much of the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Clinton haters, the Clintons have an ability to do and say things that, at a minimum, add fuel to the fire. The behavior of the Clintons leading up to South Carolina has merely reinforced this opinion and made my ultimate decision even easier (although I was already heading in that direction).

As you might guess, I too have joined the Obama bandwagon. As has been repeated ad nauseum, on policy little distinguishes the two candidates. (Unlike Krugman, I am not going crazy on health care mandates.) But Obama's ability to transcend politics and inspire is critical in a President, particularly one who aspires to greatness. His brilliance is obvious (as, to be fair, is hers), and while his candidacy presents risks, the potential is enormous. And so with hope for our nation's future, I will proudly and excitedly cast my vote for Obama on February 12. And if his surge is as real as it is looking, and he manages to pick off a few states that Clinton thought were in her column (including the big enchilada, California), he may well be the nominee. If they are even after tomorrow, he is in good shape. Of course, the lesson of the primaries up until now has been, we know nothing.

I'm Isaac Your Bartender, and I approve of this message.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Salvation May Be At Hand

It looks like the writers' strike may end this week. And after the awesome season premiere of Lost, that show can't end after only 8 episodes this season.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I think I need new reading material

I was reading the Us Weekly blog yesterday, and I saw the following headline:

EXCLUSIVE: The Hills' Audrina Patridge Becomes an Auntie!
This is news? A reality television star's SISTER has a baby, and it makes the Us Weekly headlines? Maybe this is an "exclusive" but I have to imagine that is because no other gossip magazine thought it was worth printing. Couldn't they have run a fifth story about Britney's hospitalization instead?

I will be really curious to see if this story makes the print version.

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