Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In defense of pigs

Pearls before swine. Pork barrel spending. Gets your mitts off me you swine. Male chauvinist pig. And now swine flu (which may or may not have something to do with pigs flying).

Whatever did the noble, sweet-natured pig do to earn such abuse?

Just look at that face. Is that not a face that any mother could love?

Indeed, I believe that pigs are simply misunderstood. And apparently the pig-loving folks over at the PBS program NATURE, which aired a show entitled The Joy of Pigs, agree:
"Pigs are misunderstood in many ways. Many people think of them as portly and stupid, but the NATURE program The Joy of Pigs shows us how intelligent pigs really are. (They are naturally lean, too, unless they are overfed by humans.) Pigs are smarter than any other domestic animal. Their ability to solve problems, like the pig I.Q. test on The Joy of Pigs, is well-documented, and they are considered by animal experts to be more trainable than dogs or cats."
See! Pigs are smart, clean, lean, and trainable (which is more than I can say for some men I know).

So while I know the swine flu is a threat (though not as pig -- I mean BIG -- a threat as the media would have us believe), and people should practice good hygiene, like washing hands thoroughly before eating and covering their mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, to avoid catching it, it is no worse than other type of flu. And contrary to popular belief, you cannot get the swine flu from eating pork or pork products.

To slightly paraphrase John Lennon: All I am saying is give pigs a chance.

UPDATED: A friend of the blog in Colorado, in response to this post, sent me this picture with the heading "How swine flu is spread."

FYI: While it is safe to savor properly cooked pork, the partaking of raw pig is a big no-no.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

American Idol attempts to channel the Rat Pack, gets Hamster Pack instead

Usually when Simon Cowell accuses someone of being "cabaret" or a lounge singer, it's a bad thing. But tonight, as American Idol goes retro and the contestants sing songs made famous -- or infamous -- by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr., aka the Rat Pack, being called a lounge singer may just be a compliment.


Love Kris Allen's comment: "The theme is the Rat Pack. Aren't all those people dead?" Why yes they are, Kris. But being dead doesn't mean they're not current.

And speaking of Kris Allen...

The way Kris looks tonight is... a heckuva lot like Ryan. (Do you think they texted each other this morning to determine how much facial hair to show? Just sayin'.)

Okay, so he's not the best vocalist -- definitely not in the same solar system as Frank Sinatra -- but Kris did an okay job, and the ending sure was pretty. I give Kris a B. (I am instituting letter grades tonight.)

As for the judges' take... Wha? Randy, dawg, who were you listening to? Ditto Kara. And Paula is just creepin' me out. Thank GOD for Simon. Not sure Kris is a wet spaniel out for a walk, but he does seem a bit like a trained seal.

Allison Iraheta

"Innocent"?! I can think of a lot of adjectives to describe Allison Iraheta ("red-headed troll doll" being one that comes to mind) and her voice but "innocent" isn't one of them. I still can't believe the girl's only 17.

The pluses: The girl looked good. And damn she's got some powerful pipes. I think this was her best performance of the season.

The minuses: Nope. Don't got any. (Shocking, I know.)

Grade: A (but I still think her personality is a C -- and that Simon nailed it, yet again)

Matt Giraud

So what's the deal with the caps and hats? And why isn't he at the piano? Seriously, of all the songs to sing at the piano, this was a natural. Not a good sign.

"My Funny Valentine" is not one of my fave songs, and Matt's rendition was just okay for me, dawg. A little too pitchy and slow. (My daughter actually got up and left the room midway through the song. Another bad sign.)

My grade: B (though Randy's 6 out of 10 also works; and I have no idea what Simon was sippin' during the break because Matt's performance was nowhere near Allison's, emotion or no emotion)

Danny Gokey

Where's the martini glass?

At least Danny looks the part. But Oh.My.God. NOT ANOTHER BALLAD.

(My daughter, who is a diehard American Idol fan just looked at me and announced "I am NOT digging the Rat Pack." I'm with you kid, though I actually loved the Rat Pack -- as in Frank, Dino, and Sammy. These Idol contestants are more like the Hamster Pack: cute and furry, but without sharp teeth or an edge.)

I really like Danny's voice, and thought the ending was strong, but I just wasn't lovin' it and was kind of bored. (His choice of "Endless Love" the other week pretty much ended my love for him.) Sorry Danny fans.

Grade: B+

Adam Lambert

Forget old blues eyes. Here comes young blue hair.

NOW he takes out the white suit?! (And what material is that thing made of? It's awfully shiny...)

So here's what drives me (and the spouse, who is a former musician) insane about Adam: He has great chops -- a great voice -- yet he constantly overdoes it, or as the spouse said, is so completely over the top.

Randy nailed it when he said Adam was too theatrical. Adam IS too theatrical. But he and Simon (I can't even listen to Paula anymore) were right in saying that Adam also is the one to beat, that he really shows, week after week, that he wants to win it.

Grade: A-

Overall, not the worst week/group of performances ever, but I am definitely feeling more blah than good.

J-TWO-O out.

UPDATED 4/29/09 AT 9:54 P.M.: America has shown Matt the door. Not a surprise. Far more shocking was Allison being safe and Adam being in the bottom two. Btw, I thought Taylor Hicks was way better and more entertaining than Jamie Foxx, even though I loved Foxx in Ray. Until next week Idol fans...

Monday, April 27, 2009

My 10-yr-old nephew pitches better than Oliver Perez... Jets finally sign a cute QB... Switzerland bans nude hiking

Big, big, big weekend Tri-State area sports fans! The Mets nearly swept the Nationals. (Though really, that's not much of an accomplishment.) The Red Sox swept the Yankees. (Pathetic.) The New York Jets, in a move that surprised and thrilled their fans, took USC quarterback Mark Sanchez as their fifth draft pick overall. And the Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden voted to ban nude hiking. (Okay, that is not technically a New York area story, but I knew fans of the blog, many of whom are born or naturalized New Yorkers, would want to know.)

First to the Mets and pitcher Oliver Perez. Never has $36 million dollars been so poorly spent or invested (well, except maybe for the $300 million Fred Wilpon invested with Bernard Madoff) -- the price the Mets paid to retain starting pitcher Oliver "Ollie" Perez. You would think for $36 million Perez could throw the ball at least 90 mph over the plate and get a few strike outs. But no. Once again the Mets $36 million man went down in flames, causing the Mets to lose 8 - 1 TO THE LAST PLACE 3 (now 4) - 13 WASHINGTON NATIONALS, making Perez 1-2 with a 9.31 ERA, and putting the Mets in second to last place in the NL East. Pathetic.

The New York Yankees were almost equally pathetic over the weekend, losing to the Boston Red Sox three games in a row. Things got so bad that in the fifth inning of Sunday's game that the Bo Sox Jacoby Ellsbury was able to steel home against Yanks pitcher Andy Pettitte. And I got a news flash for all you Yankees fans: I doubt that Alex Rodriguez returning to the lineup on May 15 is going to make a big difference. Some difference, sure. But unless the Yankees do something about their pitching/pitchers, they aren't going to even make it to the playoffs this year. (Ditto the Mets.)

And in much happier sports news: The New York Jets selected USC quarterback Mark Sanchez in Saturday's NFL draft, to much cheering and high-fiving from New York Jets fans, including WFAN's Craig Carton, the guy who last summer led a rally to get Brett Favre to the Jets. 'Nuff said.

It is waaaaaay too soon to say/predict if Mark Sanchez will be the franchise quarterback the Jets and their fans have been praying for, but from all the scouting reports, the guy shows a lot of promise. And did I mention he is way cute? (Seriously, though, could things really get much worse for the Jets? Great move, Mike Tannenbaum.)

In other Jets news, just before the draft Saturday the Jets apparently contacted former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress's agent about a possible deal. Seriously? Yeah, seriously. (Huh. I had no idea you could play professional football while serving a prison term.)

And with that, I'm off to hit the showers.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Makeover madness

I admit, I love a good makeover story -- and have not-so-secretly hoped for years that Oprah or Glamour or the nice folks over at TODAY would ambush me and turn me from drab to fab.

But I am seriously starting to think that this country (and others) has an unhealthy obsession with makeovers/making people over, in person and in print.

Exhibit A: Susan Boyle, the erstwhile frumpy spinster/singing sensation from "Britain's Got Talent."

Seriously, who cares that the poor woman got her hair done, her eyebrows tweezed, and burned that frumpy beige frock? (Btw, I have a sneaking suspicion that Ms. Boyle's whole frumpy look was just an act and that the made over version was closer to the truth/what she really looks like.)

Exhibit B: Faith Hill

I totally missed the flap over Ms. Hill's Redbook cover back in July 2007, which was heavily retouched. But it is worth bringing up again.

I think we can all agree that Faith Hill is a beautiful, fit-looking woman, who actually looks amazing for someone who has birthed three children, is constantly on the road, and is over 40 (39 at the time of the Redbook shoot). Yet the folks at Redbook apparently didn't think Ms. Hill looked quite amazing enough. So, they retouched her into a human Barbie doll, or, in the words of, "into something more befitting the cover of Cosmopolitan."


And we wonder why women are so obsessed with looks and plastic surgery...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beware Catzilla!

Run for you lives you Japanese Iwako hamster erasers! No one is safe from... CATZILLA!

Those cute little hamsters didn't stand a chance against 15.5 pounds of feline attitude. Who and what will be next? Is there no stopping this furry fury?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day, Smurf Day

As you go forth today, walking or biking or taking public transportation instead of that gas-guzzling SUV, using reusable containers instead of those petroleum-infused plastic bags, and making an online donation to help save the polar bears, think about this: Where were you when this cute little woodland creature was endangered and needed your help?

That's right, I am talking about The Smurfs, who vanished shortly after NBC canceled their television show in 1990 and they returned home to find their once idyllic Belgium wood had been clear cut and replaced with a strip mall.

Sure, sure, you loved them as a kid -- probably dressed as one for Halloween even. But did you ever think about their fate after you turned off the TV and stopped buying all that really cute Smurf paraphernalia that helped subsidize their eco-friendly lifestyle?

And I bet your children have no idea who Papa Smurf and Smurfette are, having never seen the Hanna-Barbera series or the Ice Capades' "Smurfs on Ice." Shameful.

But it's not too late to help the Smurfs, people. How can I do my bit, you ask? By going blue and making this Earth Day "Smurf Day."

So now let us join together and sing as one:

La la la-la la la,
Sing a happy song.
La la la-la la la,
Smurf your whole day long.

La la la-la la la

Smurf along with me!

La la la-la la la

Simple as can be.

Next time you're feeling blue just let a smile begin,
Happy things will come to you...

So smurf yourself a grin!

La la la-la la la,

Now you know the tune,

You'll be Smurfing soon!

Happy Smurf Day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

American Idol gets disco fever

Burn baby burn.

I just pray that tonight's American Idol competition is not a disco inferno -- and I do not self destruct. (At least we didn't have to sit through painful back stories in addition to the incredibly painful performances. Or some washed up '70s has been.)

Lil Rounds
Is Lil every woman? I don't know, but she certainly didn't cast a spell, nor read the judges thoughts. While no Chaka Khan, she wasn't awful, just not good enough to win it, dawg. Gotta say the judges nailed it on this one. Next!

Kris Allen
And he's got the guitar. And he's singing "She Works Hard for the Money." Does he know what the song is about?! More importantly, why didn't Lil sing Donna Summer?

Uh... uh... uh... I just don't know what to say. It was sort of like a weird reggae/easy listening version -- kind of Jason Mraz meets Donna Summer, though not as good. That performance did nothing for me, dawgs, but clearly the ladies liked it. And Simon. And Randy. (For the record, I got Paula's comment about shopping in the ladies department.)

As I've been telling anyone who will listen, Kris could very well win this competition, not because he's the best singer (he isn't) but because of the remaining contestants, he's the most marketable.

Danny Gokey
Will you remember the twenty-first night of April? Or Earth, Wind, and... Danny? Maybe Danny should have worn a bright, shiny outfit, cause something about this performance is just not setting me on fire. The boy can sing, but he's just not the Danny I fell in like with early on in the competition. Like Simon said, I didn't see "star" written all over that performance.

Allison Iraheta
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKE. WHAT IS GOING ON TONIGHT?! Did the contestants all get strung out '70s style before the show went on air? Was that the Courtney Love version of "Hot Stuff"? Seriously, who chose that arrangement? That was "Lukewarm Stuff" at best, and I usually like Allison. As Randy said, "that was a little over indulgent for me," dawg, though, of course, just to spite me, Simon loved it.

As my friend, V., just wrote me in an email: "A more clothed hooker -- this is a 16 year old??? If she was Chinese (gymnast) I would ask for birth cert." You said it, sister.

Adam Lambert
"If I Can't Have You"?! No "Stayin' Alive" or white poly suit?! I demand a refund! And what is that on his pinkie, a giant snake?! And there we have it, folks, the Adam Lambert-Led Zeppelin shrieking trill. Sigh.

I realize I am in the minority here, but it totally sounded like just about every other performance Adam's done the past few weeks. Yawn. It was totally predictable, unmemorable (except for the hedgehog on his head, though even that wasn't that unpredictable), and totally lounge lizard. Though I, like Paula, predict Adam will be in the finals. Duh. (And before the haters start flaming me, I think Adam can sing, I just find his performances incredibly indulgent and at this point unoriginal.)

Matt Giraud
No. No. No. What is this, Freaky Tuesday? Sit down, Paula. Adam was supposed to sing "Stayin' Alive." I had it all worked out. Though I guess it could have been worse: Anoop could have sung it. Will this performance help Matt to stay alive for another week? Don't think so, dawgs. Gotta say, I'm 90 percent with Simon on this one (and still surprised Simon agreed to save him).

Anoop Desai (aka "Anope")
It's Donna Summer night! Poor Donna Summer. I hope at least she's getting some royalties, cause that's all she's getting from these horrendous karaoke/cruise ship performances.

Please, could someone dim the lights AND THE SOUND?

That was truly horrendous. And pitchy, pitchy, pitchy.

I don't care that this top seven can sing. They are the most boring, worst song pickers EVER.

What the heck was Kara listening to? And what exactly did the producers put in her Coca-Cola cup? "I'll have what Paula's having"?!

Thank God for Simon! (Words I never thought I would utter.)

Send them ALL home, I say, and put me out of my misery.

UPDATED 4/23/09 AT 7:00 A.M.: And then there were five. Buh-bye to Anoop and Lil, the latter really disappointed me (and Simon) by getting worse instead of better each week. I really thought, at the beginning, Lil was going to win it -- or get close. This whole season, though, has been a disappointment to me. Definitely a better crop of singers, on the whole, but the worst performers/most boring group ever (except for Adam). Bleh.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Migraine... or alien mating call?

For years now, I have suffered from migraines. Nasty, debilitating, feels like someone was twisting a knife or smashing a baseball bat into the base of my skull, just want to get in bed and pull the covers up over my head headaches. In fact, I am experiencing one right now.

I have always attributed these headaches to fluctuations in my hormone levels, but after receiving this link from friend (?) of the blog JJV, I am starting to wonder if instead it could be some sort of ancient mating signal akin to pon farr.

Think about it, it's mostly women who get migraines. And when do they typically get them? When they are ovulating. On top of this, a number of studies have recently found that sex was a more effective cure for migraines than most medications and could sometimes stop a migraine dead in its tracks. Sounds like the plot of a B or X-rated sci-fi movie to me!

Now please excuse me while I pop a pill and slip into something more comfortable...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Today we're going to party like it's 1775

This weekend is Patriots Weekend up here in Massachusetts, where we are visiting friends and family for the weekend, and that means two things: reenactments of the Battles of Lexington and Concord...

and the Boston Marathon (which takes place tomorrow).

But getting back to the former, famous battles are not the only revolutionary events being reenacted the last few days (and through this weekend). All throughout the country, groups of angry (and ill-informed) protesters have been holding anti-tax tea parties a la the Boston Tea Party of 1773. (Though as New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote recently, these protesters "were slightly different from colonial New Englanders on the minor point of having representation." She also pointed out that "the states where anti-tax sentiment is strongest are frequently the same states that get way more back from the federal government than they send in." But less us not get hung up on silly things like facts.)

In many cases, the protesters have been doing unsavory things to tea bags, which has led to some interesting punditry, including this gem from MSNB's David Schuster:

I believe this gives new meaning to the phrase "The British are coming."

Despite these protests, or because in this country you can have such protests and not have to worry about being tortured or jailed, I am proud to be an American (even if I am not a fan of the Patriots ; ).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Win a date with Bill Clinton!

Talk about pimping your ride!

In a further effort to retire her campaign debt, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is offering several exciting prizes -- including a day with former President Bill Clinton in New York -- to those making a contribution of $5 or more. Other exciting prizes include tickets to the American Idol finale in Los Angeles and a tour of the nation's capital with James Carville and Paul Begala (a policy wonk's wet dream!).

I couldn't decide between Bill and Simon, so I contributed twice. (You can only select one prize per contribution.)

To make your contribution and win a chance to spend the day with Bill (or James and Paul or Simon, Randy, Paula, and Kara) go to

Btw, if I win the date with Bill, I guarantee I will not be wearing a thong.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

American Idol goes to the movies

This is J-TWO-O. And this is the official J-TWO-O American Idol post for April 14, 2009.

The "songs of the cinema"?! What's next, Cabaret Karaoke Night? Though I have to admit, I kind of liked the Quentin Tarantino intro montage. That may wind up being the best part of the show.

Allison Iraheta

Seriously, is that a wig? That's gotta be wig, right? And am I the only one who thinks she looks like a troll doll -- a troll doll with rockin' good pipes, but still a troll doll?

Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" was probably a good choice but man was she pitchy -- low and outside. But clearly Simon and the rest of the judges didn't hear what I heard. And Lil Rounds, baby, you was dissed, big time. Hope she hits it out of the park tonight. (Oops!)

Anoop Dawg Desai

Ten seconds in and I'm already half asleep. Bad arrangement, dude. And pitchy.

So everything he does he does for... Paula? Randy? Kara? Definitely didn't do it for Simon -- or me. "Probably one of his best" Kara? That's a scary thought, and I used to like Anoop. Say buh-bye, 'Noop Dawg -- if not this week, soon, baby.

Adam "Easy Rider" Lambert

Thank God he didn't pick Judy or Barbra. I was ready to lay odds that he was going to do "The Way We Were" or "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." But the man surprised me. "Born to Be Wild"? Nice. Props to you, Mr. Lambert. That was totally the right song choice, though I could do without the signature Adam Led-Zeppelin-esque screaming trill. Oh and Simon? That was just as good as, if not better than, last week's Adampalooza.

Can we just rename American Idol Adampalooza?

Matty G. (aka Matt Giraud)

"Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman"?! Have you ever wanted to kill yourself? OMG. Come to this bar often, sweetheart? Make sure to tip your waiters! Come back for the next show, folks! Drinks half off with your ticket stubs!

Tell me have you ever really, have you ever really wanted to change the channel? I so wish Simon got to judge this one. Dying to know if he was going to go with "that was totally karaoke, Matt," "that was like some horrible wedding performance," or "I think after that, Matt, you should pack your bags." Damn.

Danny Go Go Gokey

Nooooooooooooooooo! ANYTHING BUT "ENDLESS LOVE." (Weeping, though probably not as much as Brooke Shields.) Btw, without looking at what I was typing the spouse just asked "WHY IS HE SINGING THIS SONG?!" Of all the movies and all the theme songs, he picks "Endless Love"?! No one may be able to deny his love, but I am going to deny him my vote after that song choice.

THE BEST THING ABOUT TONIGHT'S AMERICAN IDOL? New Star Trek movie preview. Awesome. May 8, baby. Beam me up, Scotty.

Kris Allen

Huh. Hmm. Uh... I give him high marks for emotion, passion, but, like Randy said, "It was pitchy from note one." Just didn't work for me, dawg. But of the remaining seven finalists, I think Kris is the most marketable -- and the camera loves him. And despite what the judges say, it's not just a singing contest. So he could wind up winning the whole thing.

Lil Rounds

Just get out the gun and SHOOT ME NOW. Seriously, is there some private contest we don't know about for choosing the most depressing song? "The Rose"? Why Lil? Why? I like Lil, but she has gotten worse with every week, and talk about pitchy. Too many thorns in this performance for me, dawg. Ouch. (Though the spouse just informed me that he thinks she did OK. Did I mention he's partially deaf? Though he was a professional musician... many years ago.)

Btw, Simon's look just said it all. And I agree 100% that she got it entirely wrong and is no longer the artist we met eight weeks ago.

The best thing about tonight's show? It's over.

J-TWO-O out.

UPDATED 4/15/09 AT 12:05 P.M.: Craig Berman over at also had some great comments. (I forgot about Simon telling Adam his performance was like watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I can totally picture Adam as Dr. Frank N. Furter -- with Megan Joy as Janet and Danny Gokey as Brad. And we'll get Quentin Tarantino to direct the remake! BRILLIANT.)

UPDATED 4/16/09 AT 7:52 A.M.: I was watching the Mets play the Padres (Mets won!) and forgot all about the Idol results show. (True!) But I heard Matt got saved. But can he get down and boogie oogie oogie like it's 1976? Stay tuned next week as American Idol raises the mirror ball and goes disco! (So, is Lil Rounds going to sing Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" or some Donna Summer -- or totally surprise us? Can't wait to see what Adam's going to do, but a white suit may be involved.)

Monday, April 13, 2009

A documentary about beer? I'll drink to that! Beer Wars opens this Thursday!

Recently I was pinged by friend and reader of the blog Amy S., who asked if I would help promote her new movie, Beer Wars, "a no holds barred exploration of the U.S. beer industry that ultimately reveals the truth behind the label of your favorite beer." My response? Hell yeah! (A toast and some burping may also have been involved.)

I am always happy to help a friend -- and a worthwhile cause. And as my readers well know, I am a big fan and supporter of American brewed beer (though I have been known to quaff the occasional Stella or Bass).

Btw, for those of you who have been following the blog since last summer, this winter we finally finished up our stash of Fat Tire Amber Ale, which the spouse and I "discovered" on our Pacific Northwest bike trip last July. However, because Fat Tire is impossible to get on the East Coast, we had a back-up plan, or rather, beer, Black Dog Ale, which some friends in New Hampshire introduced us to, and which I highly recommend. We've also been drinking American Ale, which, as you probably know, is made by... Budweiser. I know, I know. Yet it is surprisingly refreshing and delicious. (It's all about drinkability, baby.)

But getting back to Beer Wars, the movie, if beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, as Benjamin Franklin is attributed with saying, a documentary about beer must mean that Hollywood loves us and wants us to be happy -- or at least drink more beer. And personally, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that (in moderation, of course).

Btw, the movie, which is being released on April 16, looks pretty good:

So this post's for you, Amy, and to beer lovers across this great nation. Cheers and best of luck with Beer Wars the movie.

And to everyone reading this post, make a date to see Beer Wars this April 16 (or soon thereafter)!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Reasons to celebrate Easter (even if you're not a Christian)

And the Top Five Reasons to Celebrate Easter (even if you're not a Christian) are...

5. Bunnies!

4. Easter eggs!

3. Easter egg hunts!

2. Chocolate Easter eggs!

1. The Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest (aka the Peeps Show)!*

*If you haven't seen the pictures of the 40 Peeps Show finalists, click on the link above. They are Peeptastic! I am particularly fond of "Peep/Tuck." (H/T to EMM)

Friday, April 10, 2009

I personally am hoping to see Henrik Stenson in a green jacket...

and nothing else at Augusta on Sunday, though I suppose I would also be OK if Tiger Woods, who gifted Stenson with a pair of autographed white Nike compression shorts at a recent tournament, wins (and/or disrobed).

For the record, Stenson finished the first round of the Masters fully clothed at one under par (71), six strokes behind current leader Chad Campbell (-7) and one behind Tiger (-2). However there is a 50 percent chance of precipitation today at Augusta, so things could get pretty muddy pretty fast. And you know what that could mean...

In any case, I am looking forward to some fore play this weekend -- and will be following the live coverage (or uncoverage) of the Masters, which begins at 4 p.m. today on ESPN.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Where has all the good news gone?

Every time I turn on cable news or read the news online these days, all I find is one awful, depressing story after another. In fact, it's gotten to the point where I can barely read or watch the news.

Surely, even in these dark times, with people losing jobs and homes, wars being waged, earthquakes and other natural disasters wreaking havoc, and chimpanzees attacking people, there must be some good news? Some sweet little tale of someone doing something right, right?

So I went on a mission, to see if somewhere some good news lurked. And, sure enough, I found the good I was after, a whole network of it, entitled, appropriately enough, GoodNewsNetwork.

Immediately when I saw the quote from Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger right there at the top of the home page, I started to feel better about life. And by the time I got to the story of the "Touching Squirrel Rescue in North Dakota Floods," I was crying tears of joy. Until I clicked on the story and found out that you had to subscribe, and that after your 30-day free trial ran out, you had to pay $2 a month, which made me sad, and why I linked to a free version of the squirrel story from ABC News.

But then I found Happy News, and I felt a little better... a little... happier. Until I saw the story about the legless boy running a marathon, which seemed kinda cruel, making a legless boy run a marathon. Though I'm sure it had a happy ending.

So I Googled "good news" and discovered that there are, in fact, 300,000,000 results, which is good news indeed. There's even a site where you can post as well as read good news stories, Good News Daily (though I'm not sure if some readers would consider any story featuring Secretary Clinton "good" news).

Got a feel-good story you'd like to share? (FYI: Yankees and Phillies stories don't count -- unless it's about them losing : ) Let me know, cause I could sure use some cheering up.

UPDATED 4/9/09 @ 6:55 A.M.
Finally, some good news (no thanks to Another David S. and EMM : ( )! Scott MacIntyre got kicked off American Idol AND the Mets are 2 - 0! (Though I would feel better if the Mets started Johan Santana every or every other game; Pelfrey and Perez have me worried.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mets one game closer to clinching World Series spot

The NY Mets may have only beaten the Cincinnati Reds by a run, 2 - 1, this afternoon in Cincinnati, but a win is a win. And I'll take it. (For those interested, here's a quick recap of the game.)

Johan, Johan, he's our man. If he can't do it, nobody can! Goooo Johan!

One down, 161 to go.

Btw, for those of you interested in stats, check out Heater Magazine, "WINNER of the 2008 CBS Sportsline Fantasy League of Experts!" Better yet, subscribe.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Time to mow the lawn!

Ah spring. When all the world is green and fertile. Time to pick up sticks, lay down some fertilizer, and break out the lawn mower.

But forget about that big ole zero-turn John Deere or that Personal Pace Self Propel Toro, ladies.

Instead try something a bit more handy, courtesy of Wilkinson Sword. I guarantee you'll never think of "mowing the lawn" the same way again.

[H/T to my friend, P., for sending me the link.]

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's like 1983 all over again!

I just read online that the United States is experiencing the highest unemployment rate since late 1983, with 663,000 jobs lost this March alone. Very scary stuff.

And the unemployment rate is not the only thing reminiscent of 1983 (and the early 1980s). If you've watched VH1 recently you know what I mean. (Btw, VH1 is currently hyping "The 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the '80s." I rest my case.)

Maybe there is some strange correlation between the new unemployment figures (and a crap economy) and the surge in new wave music (or what some people I know refer to as "technocrap").

Need some convincing?

Just compare this song by the Ting Tings

and/or Lady Gaga's "Poker Face"


the Missing Persons



What's next, remakes of Ghostbusters, Romancing the Stone, Spinal Tap, and Footloose? (Actually, Footloose is being remade, starring Gossip Girl's Chace Crawford in the Kevin Bacon role. And the lads from Spinal Tap recently announced they were going on tour.)

I'm not sure if I want to relive the 1980s, but I can always find the time for a little Thompson Twins.

Lies, lies, lies, yeah. (They're gonna get you.)

AND NOW WE BRING YOU THIS VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: For those of us new-wave-loving fools who grew up in NYC or the NYC area in the early 1980s, there was only one radio station, WLIR, 92.7 on your FM dial, which (sadly) went off the air in December 1987, but was resurrected soon after as WDRE -- until 92.7 was acquired by Univision in 2004. However, I have just learned (okay, I'm a little slow) that WLIR lives, just on 107.1! SQUEEEE.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New super laser really super, or just an excuse to resurrect Laserium and cut down super spies?

According to a recent AP report, engineers at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have completed the world's most powerful (and possibly expensive, at $3.5 billion and counting) laser, "capable of simulating the energy force of a hydrogen bomb and the sun itself."

The lead scientist's name wouldn't happen to be Auric Goldfinger, would it?

Unlike Herr Goldfinger's little toy, however, the new super laser is made up of 192 separate laser beams. (Because apparently the 60-beam system at the University of Rochester just wasn't butch enough.) Which makes it sound a wee bit like those old Laserium shows, without the really cool music or substance abuse.

Or a Frankie Goes to Hollywood music video.

The "super" laser's primary purpose? To boldly go where no laser has gone before. (Okay, technically, it's to help government physicists ensure the reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons as they become older. But that doesn't sound nearly as cool.)

And while I am sure the super laser mission is really cool, do scientists really need a $3.5 billion super laser? Really? I know you scientific-type guys are bummed and all since your other big toy, the Large Hadron Collider, went offline, but a super laser? Couldn't you find something else to do with all that time and $3.5 billion, like solve world hunger or fix the global financial system?

Well if you must build a super laser, you could at least let the public in at night to see it, and while you're at it, how 'bout playing some really cool music? Just sayin'.