Friday, April 30, 2010

A rabbit as big as a horse? Believe it! (Animals in the news)

This week was, like, freaky animals week in the news. First, we had the story of Einstein, or "My Little Pony," as my friend and fellow blogger Dave S. referred to the tiny pinto -- or "half-pinto." Only 14 inches tall and weighing just 6 pounds at birth a week ago, Einstein may very well be the world's smallest horse. Or, if not the smallest, definitely the cutest.

Then yesterday, I read about the tale (tail?) of Darius, the 4'3", 50-pound rabbit. (Though really the owner, an Englishwoman who had herself surgically transformed into the live-action version of Jessica Rabbit, should have called him "Harvey.")

Darius holds the Guinness World Record as world's biggest rabbit (based on his length), but he is only 13 months old and is still growing. YIKES!

And what do you give a 50-pound rabbit to eat? Anything he wants! But seriously folks, Darius eats 12 carrots, six apples and two cabbages a day (and possibly the neighbor's dog).

All I can say is the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog has got nothing on Darius. (And no, J-THREE-O, you can not have a bunny.)

Wishing you all a hoppy weekend! (Mint Julep anyone?)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'll have whatever they're grilling

It took me a few viewings (and, okay, the spouse saying "it's an ad for Weber grills") to realize this ad was for Weber grills*, I was so distracted by all the dancing and the booty-shaking song playing in the background:

I don't know what those people are grilling, but whatever it is, I'll have what they're having.

For the record, we have both a Weber gas grill and a Weber charcoal grill, but neither, despite the delicious food they produce, has had me dancing around our deck or slapping a spatula on my booty.

UPDATED: I love how on the Weber Grills page on Facebook fans have posted pictures of their Weber grills -- just the grills. Smokin'.

*I thought it was another Black Eyed Peas type ad for Target.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shania Twain returns to American Idol, mentors Top 6

First, a confession: I am a HUGE Shania Twain fan -- or rather a huge fan of her songs. Shania Twain the person? A bit of a flake. Put another way, if American Idol really wanted to find a replacement for Paula Abdul, they should have hired Shania.

Getting back to Shania Twain the songwriter/singer.... I got totally hooked on her crossover country when I lived in Chicago and listened to the local country music station there. (And you thought you knew me.)

"(If your not in it for love) I'm Outta Here"? One of my all-time favorite songs.

Ditto "That Don't Impress Me Much."

So I should be happy that it's Shania Twain night on American Idol, right? But I can't help feeling that tonight could go horribly, horribly wrong, even without Tim Urban there to butcher her songs. Yes, yes, Crystal Bowersox and Casey James should do a kickass job with the Shania Twain songbook.But Michael Lynche, Aaron Kelly, Lee DeWyze, and Siobhan Magnus? Not so sure.

Anyway, in less than 60 minutes we will know how it all turned out.

And now let the twanging (or Twaining) -- and judging -- commence!

First up, Lee DeWyze, singing "You're Still the One": I know I sound like a broken record, but I love Lee's raspy rocker voice. And while I'm not lovin' this arrangement of "You're Still the One," he made it sound totally new -- or "fresh," as the judges like to say. A little "pitchy," but looks like he made it. J-THREE-O and I give Lee DeWyze an A-/B+.

Next aboard the Shania Twain...

"Big Mike" Michael Lynche: Not familiar with "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing." Yeah, well, it only hurts when I'm listening, but I'll survive. What can I say? I'll just quote J-THREE-O: "I am soooo sick of these slow songs." Amen, kid. And while the spouse thinks Big Mike has improved over the season ("He can sing for real"), I thought it was utterly forgettable. (Disagree with me all you like, but I dare you to recall what Michael sang two days from now -- without Googling it.) Yeah, the guy can sing. But... it was "wet" for me too, Simon. Maybe it's because I am not a big fan of R&B, but I give Michael Lynche a B/B+, which the team agrees with.

Casey James: Another Shania Twain song I'm not familiar with. On the plus side, I've got nothing to compare Casey's performance of "Don't!" to (unless I head on over to YouTube). Well, we'll see tomorrow if America tells Casey "don't go." For me, it was just all right, dawgs. Wasn't bad. Wasn't memorable. Though the judges are lovin' it -- and Casey. Maybe they just don't want Casey to wind up in the bottom two again. Our grade for Casey James: B+

Crystal "Mamasox" Bowersox: Am I dreamin' or stupid -- or is Shania Twain night going better than expected? Again, not loving this version or arrangement of "No One Needs to Know." Very disjointed. ("It didn't groove," said the spouse.) And didn't showcase Crystal's voice well. But it was not as bad as Simon said. (And, for the record, I've heard some really good musicians at coffee shops.) Oh, and Crystal's boyfriend? He better man up after that. Our grade for Crystal Bowersox (aka Mamasox): B/B-

Aaron Kelly: Sigh. You've got a way of picking really slow songs, Aaron. "This is really boring," said J-THREE-O. "I agree," chimed in the spouse. I actually thought the song suited Aaron's voice, though I, too, thought it was boring. WHAT IS IT WITH 17-YEAR-OLDS SINGING LIKE THEY'RE NEIL DIAMOND?! Our grade for Aaron Kelly: B (though the spouse and kid really didn't like the song choice)

Siobhan Magnus: OMG, Siobhan looks and sounds a bit (more than a bit) like Shania! Or she did in the rehearsal clip. Now? Not so much, at least on the sound part. This arrangement of "Any Man of Mine" was downright painful (complete with the trademark scream). WTF?! And did you see Shania's face? She did NOT like it, not one little bit. Though the judges all loved it (as did the spouse -- a total surprise). The judges here at J-TWO-O Central are mixed on Siobhan's performance. If I'm being generous, I give Siobhan Magnus a B-, but the kid gave her a B, and the spouse an A- (WHA?!)

No idea who's going home tomorrow, but I'll post the results tomorrow night. Gotta watch me some glee.

UPDATED 4/28/10: Siobhan Magnus is history. Can't say I'm surprised after her last few performances. Just think it's a shame as she had so much potential. Also in the bottom three: Michael Lynche, who was sent back to safety, and Casey James (who will probably be gone next week).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Does marriage and/or having kids make you stupid?

Or just forgetful? Or is it just old age?

Am I the only one who must write EVERYTHING down (to-do items, groceries, upcoming events) or risk running out of milk or sanity or underwear? (And no, that is not a rhetorical question. I really want to know.)

As I recall, back in the day (i.e., before getting married and then having my daughter), I never wrote anything down -- not phone numbers, not appointments, not groceries, not "remember to pick up the dry cleaning," nothing. Kept it all in my head -- and never forgot anything. Now? I keep a list in every room -- and constantly ask people to remember to remind me. (Though for some reason, I still know the lyrics to "Escape," aka "The Pina Colada Song," and dozens of phone and license plate numbers, many of people whom I barely know.)

Moreover, I often find myself blurting out utter nonsense that has nothing to do with the brilliant, well reasoned thought or statement I had meant to articulate.

So, is marriage and/or children to blame? (Always good to have a scapekid, i.e., a little scapegoat.) Or is it just old age?

While (briefly) researching this post, I could not find any scientific evidence that marriage makes you dumber (fatter? yes; happier? yes; dumber? no; though apparently sex makes you stupid, but considering how rarely most married people have sex, I don't think it applies). However, I did find this highly amusing article about kids making you dumber on Salon titled "Is my kids making me not smart?" which I am sure many of you parents can relate to.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts via the Comments.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Read any good books lately?

There are few things more satisfying than a good book, at least to me, which is why I am always on the hunt for interesting books to read, which isn't easy as I am extremely particular. (I know: huge surprise. Not.)

Since my last book post, I have read several good books, as well as several interesting and informative or thought-provoking (though not necessarily pleasurable) ones-- many of both were suggested by you guys. As there are not that many of either (as work has been keeping me busy), I've decided to list them all -- and have included links to reviews of them on Amazon. Also, because I am lazy, I am listing them in the order I read them, though I have placed an * next to my favorites. (While not a favorite, because of the often upsetting subject matter, I believe Gail Collins' book is a MUST read for all women, no matter how old you are.)

Ghengis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford (Fascinating re-examination of the life and impact of Ghengis Khan. Not what I expected, in a good way.)

The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick (If you like Philippa Gregory's books, e.g., The Other Boleyn Girl, you'll like this tale about a gallant young knight in the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II.)

House of Daughters* by Sarah-Kate Lynch (Great chick lit about a family of sisters set in Champagne, France. What's not to like?)

The Wordy Shipmates
by Sarah Vowell (An interesting, often amusing look back at the Puritans, especially if you grew up watching re-runs of The Brady Bunch.)

The Lexicographer’s Dilemma by Jack Lynch (The history of dictionaries, sort of, with lots of interesting facts and anecdotes, though a bit too wordy.)

The Creation of Eve
* by Lynn Cullen (Beautifully written historical fiction about a largely unknown, until recently, female Renaissance painter who studied with Michelangelo.)

When Everything Changed
by Gail Collins ("The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present," like the subtitle says.)

Remarkable Creatures* by Tracy Chevalier (By the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, which I also greatly enjoyed. I was and am fascinated by fossils, so this book, Remarkable Creatures, really appealed to me, though it is more about women in 1820s England than about fossils.)

So, read any good (or interesting or thought-provoking) books lately? If so, please let me know what it was in the Comments.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Would you like that booty call with or without fries?

Sure, I could have blogged about Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger getting suspended for six games. (Good call, Roger Goodell.) Or I could have blogged about the exotic new coffee from Indonesia and the Philippines that is literally good to the last drop(ping). Or I could have done a witty post about how volcanoes are a real pain in the ash.

But I didn't.

Instead I am blogging about booty call songs, specifically Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now," because we have ALL been there and done that (and by blogging about it maybe it will stop playing on my mental jukebox)...

and Timbaland's "Carry Out," featuring Justin Timberlake (in the role of Tiger Woods), another current ear worm that will never have me looking at fast food in the same way again:

How come my iHop waitresses never look like that?

American Idol should just crown Crystal Bowersox now and be done with it

I got home last night just in time to see the last few minutes of American Idol, i.e., the recap, but between that and watching Crystal Bowersox's performance of "People Get Ready" on YouTube earlier this morning...

I've seen enough.

The train has left the station, and Crystal Bowersox is alone in first class. American Idol producers, if you really want to "give back" to the viewers, just name Mamasox the winner -- tonight. (And yes, I know MANY of you already thought the American Idol producers should just give her a recording contract, i.e., she was the clear winner, WEEKS ago.)

Unfortunately, we have another five weeks to go of the disappointment that has been Season 9 of American Idol (aka "The Curse of Sanjaya: Meet Tim Urban"). I only hope that voters do the right thing and that Tim Urban is not the next American Idol (though apparently not only does Teflon Tim have millions of teenage girls voting for him but he has God -- and AMTC -- on his side).

Unless Crystal Bowersox gets voted off this week or there's a major earthquake or volcanic eruption in the Northeast (volcanoes are a real pain in the ash), I'll be live blogging American Idol next Tuesday -- and will post the result of last night's vote tonight.

: Heard through the grapevine that Lee DeWyze was pretty inspirational last night, so checked out his performance:

I still think Mamasox deserves to win, but Lee (whom I've been a big fan of from the beginning) is a close second.

UPDATE #2: I still can't believe it. Tim Urban is gone. (And per my daughter, it was the same week Sanjaya Malakar was voted off. Interesting.) Idol DID give back! Though was surprised about Casey being in the bottom two.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More great cat videos

Alternate title: "Cats do the darnedest things, Part Two"

First up, my very own Felix, who decided it would be fun to see if he could climb up our flat screen TV -- and wound up getting stuck on top of the darned thing. Poor cat. I think he was a little freaked out (though this wasn't the first time he had done it, with the same result).

Next up, all the way from France, "Standing Cat" (aka "Mon chat se tient debout tout seul"):

And Standing Cat's swashbuckling cousin, Puss in Boots (aka Le Chat Botté):

UPDATED: Just saw this over on and had to add.

So what do you get when you take an iPad and add a curious cat? Why, the iPawed, of course!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Adam Lambert returns to American Idol, along with Elvis

Cheer up, American Idol fans. Adam is coming to bring the glam back to Idol. At least I hope so. (Seriously, if Adam can't spice things up, no one can.)

Though watching Adam Lambert's footage will surely make all of us long-time (and long-suffering) American Idol viewers yearn for last season. (While I'm not sure I agree with Entertainment Weekly's assessment that Adam Lambert -- aka Adam Glambert -- was "the Most Exciting American Idol Contestant in Years," he is way more exciting than anyone we've seen this season -- sorry Siobhan Magnus fans.)

Adding to the excitement, tonight's theme is Elvis Presley, another rocker known to shake things up (and whom Adam bears a striking resemblance to). And will the remaining nine Season 9 contestants be able to shake things up tonight? We shall see. (Would be amusing if Tim Urban sings "Don't Be Cruel.")

For the record, my favorite Elvis Presley song (or one of my favorites) is "Bossa Nova Baby," from Fun in Acapulco:

Sigh. They sure don't make 'em like they used to.

Now let the hip gyrating and hound-dogging begin!

Crystal Bowersox: Shouldn't Michael Lynche be the one singing "Saved"? Well, here's hoping that save wasn't wasted on Big Mike, not that Mamasox is in any danger of being voted off after that great performance, but you never know. Like Ellen DeGeneres, I got nothing else to say. (So, anyone here have a birthday? If so, Happy Birthday!) "Crystal was stellar," says J-THREE-O. Yup. Our grade for Crystal Bowersox: A

Andrew Garcia: You tell him, Adam. Andrew's first/rehearsal version of "Hound Dog" was boring. Though this version wasn't a whole lot better. It wasn't bad. But it just wasn't great, though the studio audience seemed to LOVE it. The judges, on the other hand, HATED it. So I guess I am somewhere in the middle. Say goodbye to the nice people, Andrew, looks like you're going home to your son tomorrow night. The grades for Andrew Garcia: C+ from me; D from the spouse; and a C from J-THREE-O. (Tough crowd.)

Tim Urban (aka Teflon Tim and The Bonus Jonas): WHAT? Adam likes Tim?! OMG, Adam totally wants Tim -- just like Miley Cyrus! Ew ew ew. Though (and I cannot believe I am about to type this) Tim's version of "Can't Help Falling in Love" is actually... OK. (I cannot bring myself to use the word good, but it wasn't bad.) I know! I am just as surprised as you are, and unlike Ellen, I am not sitting here sipping tequila, though I wish I were. And, OMG, Simon liked it, too. He really liked it. Could Tim Urban be the next American Idol? Our grades for Tim Urban: B from me; C+ from the spouse; and B- from J-THREE-O.

Lee DeWyze: Once again, Adam tells it like it is to Lee. Amen, brother. Like the song says, "a little less conversation, a little more action, please." (So far, Adam Lambert is the best mentor yet this season. Who'd a thunk it?) Not loving this version of "Conversation," but Lee is definitely more out there, performance-wise, and, as you all know, I dig Lee's voice. More importantly, the judges LOVED it. Our grade for Lee DeWyze: B+ (and we are unanimous)

Aaron Kelly: Aaron could probably use some blue suede shoes -- and some liquor. Not the worst version of "Blue Suede Shoes" I've ever heard, far from it, but it was just not the right song for a skinny, geeky 17-year-old boy, even one with a good voice. Our grade for Aaron Kelly: B/B- ("He has to go after Andrew and Tim," sayeth the spouse, and I agree, though I don't think Katie and Michael will make it to the Top 4 either.)

Siobhan Magnus (aka the female Adam Lambert): Well, she didn't take Adam's advice (which is a shame, because he was right about speeding up the song), but she took his hairdo. Wrong decision. Yeah, Siobhan's got the pipes, but that version of "Suspicious Minds" was a mess. I'm actually with Kara and Simon on this one, as is the spouse. Siobhan is losing herself. Our grade for Siobhan Magnus: B-

Michael Lynche: Another predictable, slightly plodding performance from Big Mike. Yawn. Tooo slooow. I think Michael has a nice voice, but there are lots of folks out there with nice voices. This competition is supposed to be about finding a STAR. Where was the "wow" moment the judges keep talking about? To use a Simon-ism, Big Mike's version of "In the Ghetto" was utterly forgettable. Our grades for Michael Lynch: a B from me; an A- from the spouse and kid.

Katie Stevens: "Baby, What You Want Me to Do?" I want you to sell it, Katie, and stay in tune. Actually, I thought that was Katie's best performance. And the spouse thought Simon was going to like it. Oh well. Our grade for Katie Stevens: the spouse and I give her an A-; J-THREE-O gives her an A.

Casey James: "Lawdy Miss Claudy," Mr. James sure is predictable. What can I say? Another solid (if utterly predictable) performance by Casey James. Well, as the judges say, you know exactly what type of record Casey will make. But, like the judges, I want more. Our grades for Casey James: the spouse and kid give Casey a B; I give him an A-/B+.

That's all the American Idol for tonight, kids. Will update the post after the results show tomorrow. I'm off to watch Glee.

UPDATED 4/14/10: Well, Andrew Garcia was no surprise, but we were surprised about Katie Stevens. Boo. Didn't think she would make it to the Top 4 or 5, but she should not have gone before Tim Urban. Guess she'll make her high school prom after all. Prepare yourselves, people, for Tim Urban being your next American Idol. Also, WTF was with the laser light show and the psychedelic (not good) version of "What Do You Want from Me"?! It reminded me of why I wound up being constantly annoyed with Adam. Just sing the dang song. In other Idol news, no American Idol post for me next Tuesday. Will be back on 4/27. J-TWO-O out.

Monday, April 12, 2010

You call this dancing? You call these stars?

Several people have asked me, Do you watch Dancing with the Stars? The answer? No, though technically it should be yes as I have, on occasion, tuned my cable box to ABC at 8 p.m. (when both Chuck and Glee weren't on or were in reruns, as is the case tonight). But to date I have never managed to watch more than about 10 (okay 15) minutes of the show.

It's not that I don't like dancing. Quite the contrary, I love to watch dancing -- good dancing -- which is why I enjoy watching So You Think You Can Dance. But Dancing with the Stars, for the most part, involves neither A-list dancing or A-list stars, and despite what you might think, I don't take pleasure in watching celebrities fall on their asses (literally or figuratively), even Tom DeLay, whom I actually found somewhat endearing when he was on DWTS.

But tonight, people, at the prompting of a good friend who insisted this season of Dancing with the Stars was must-see TV, I'm giving it one more shot. So, here I am, with a (somewhat) open mind and an open laptop, about to watch (and kvetch about) Dancing with the Stars.

Ooh, the Double Score Showdown. So does that mean Kate Gosselin can do twice as bad?

And Passion Night. Seriously, it's like the producers knew I'd be watching. (I love the tango, for real.)

But before we begin with the commentary, could someone PLEASE explain how Brooke Burke beat out Melissa Rycroft for the Vanna White -- I mean co-host of Dancing with the Stars -- gig? And what is with Tom Bergeron and the lame jokes?

And now we dance! First up...

Erin Andrews & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Sweet dreams are not made of this. That said, I doubt I would/could tango any better with a bad back and three-inch heels. But this isn't about me. It's about Erin, and man did she look stiff and uncomfortable. And where was the passion? As for the judges scores, what is this, an ice skating competition? You get one score for technique and another for performance? Oh right, it's the Double Score Showdown. Well, no matter how you score it, Erin and Maks are in big trouble (with mostly 6s).

ASIDE: It appears that it's not just these women's egos that have been inflated, if you catch my drift.

Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya: (I love how Anna keeps telling Evan how to properly go down during rehearsal. :-O) Now Mr. Lysacek can move -- and almost looks like he's having fun. Still a bit too concerned about his technique, and a little too stiff, but I give the guy an "A" for effort, especially with two broken toes. Wha? "Cat-like arrogance"?! What the heck does that mean? (Who is this Bruno guy? And would he be a guest judge on American Idol? Please...) And the judges' scores: 26 out of 30 for Technique; and 26 out of 30 for Performance. (What about the Russian judge?)

ASIDE: It is cruel having professional dancers show how a dance is supposed to be done before the "stars" attempt it. And seriously, could no one have gotten Kim Johnson a dress? What is this, Dancing with Victoria's Secret Models?

Niecy Nash & Louis van Amstel: (I don't watch a whole lot of TV, and don't read entertainment magazines, but if Niecy Nash is a "star," I should have heard of her. Just sayin'.) OMG, I can't watch. Total mismatch. Niecy looks like she could squash Louis like an ant at a picnic -- and almost did. It was like they were doing two different dances. And passion? Pfft. Puh-lease. And the judges' scores: 18 out of 30 for Technique; 18 out of 30 for Performance.

Wow, I'm so glad they decided to do the Double Score Showdown this week because the scores for technique and performance have varied so widely. NOT.

Aiden Turner & Edyta Sliwinska: (So first we had lessons in going down from Anna and now we have Edyta telling Aiden how to feel her up. Awesome. They should just forget the whole "dancing" thing.) Love Edyta. But Aiden can't dance and looks scared shitless (as well as shirtless). Sigh. Looks 10, Dance 3? And the judges' score for Technique: 15 out of 30. Uh oh. What about Performance? 6... 6... 6... which is 18 out of 30 or a total of 33 out of 60. I'm thinking Aiden could be going back to Pine Valley this week.

Nicole Scherzinger & Derek Hough: Ooo, the dance of love.... Please, Dancing with the Stars band, won't you play Misty for me? Gotta say, I'm with the judges. Nicole looked nervous -- and the dance was kind of flat (which one cannot say for Nicole's chest) -- though she is a way better dancer than the other ladies. And despite their comments, the judges are showing Nicole and Derek a lot of love, with 25 out of 30 for Technique and... 25 out of 30 for Performance. Yawn.

Jake Pavelka & Chelsie Hightower: As a So You Think You Can Dance fan, I have a soft spot for Chelsie Hightower, who was one of my favorite dancers. And for some bizarre reason, I find Jake Pavelka strangely endearing. Though can we please stop referring to no-talent people who appear on reality TV shows "stars"? But getting back to the dance, I'm no expert on technique but this is by far the best performance so far. They actually look like they are having fun and moved quite well across the floor. And the judges' scores for Jake and Chelsie? 19 out of 30 for Technique; 19 out of 30 for Performance, which I thought was way low. Beh. Considering Jake was almost booted last week, he could be heading back to Vienna sooner than he wants.

Kate Gosselin & Tony Dovolani: OMG. Can this woman please SHUT UP?! Did someone hold a gun to her head to go on Dancing with the Stars, or to do a reality TV show (make that two)? If she's so effing concerned about custody and appearances, why isn't she at home (or closer to home) with the kids? As a PR expert once told me, the second you start making excuses, it's over. You've lost. Just put up and shut up (like Jake's t-shirt said). As for Kate Gosselin's dancing? It sucked. If she danced the same way between the sheets, it's amazing she and Jon produced two kids without artificial help. And the judges' scores: 14 out of 30 for Technique, which was GENEROUS, and 18 out of 30 for Performance, which was/is RIDICULOUSLY GENEROUS.

Chad Ochocinco & Cheryl Burke: Sorry, can't get past the image of Chad Ochocinco dragging Cheryl down a football field. Not the worst performance of the night, but gyrating one's hips does not a rumba dancer make. And the judges' scores: 21 out of 30 for Technique; 23 out of 30 for Performance. (And, oh yeah, Bruno totally wants Chad. Also, I am very bummed that I could not refer to Chad as Chad MuchoStinko. :-(

Pamela Anderson & Damian Whitewood: Sorry, can't get past the Pamela Anderson skank factor. (Sexy? Really? Ew.) Though she seems like an OK dancer -- but where's the pole? Putting aside the snark (for a second), I thought it was one of the better (best?) performances of the evening. Pam can dance, and there was definitely some passion. And the judges' scores: 23 out of 30 for Technique; 24 out of 30 for Performance. She'll definitely be around for another week.

So what did you think, guys? You Dancing with the Stars fans, enlighten me -- and let me know who you think is going home this week. (By rights it should be Kate Gosselin, but she seems to have a lot of fans.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Some Saturdays I really miss "The Love Boat"

Maybe it's because it's Saturday, or maybe it's because every time I see or hear about Dancing with the Stars I'm always reminded of it, but I miss The Love Boat (Cruising with the Stars?).

Remember The Love Boat, which aired Saturday nights on ABC from 9 to 10 p.m. (followed by Fantasy Island, which was a little too scary/creepy for me) from the late 1970s through the 1980s? There was Captain Stubing (Murray from the Mary Tyler Moore Show gets a big promotion), and Doc (aka Seigfried from Get Smart), and Isaac, the bartender, and Gopher, the ship's purser (who went on to become a Congressman), and Julie, the cruise director (who went on to snort a lot of cocaine), and all the "stars" (mainly B-list actors, singers, comedians, or "celebrities" trying to jump-start or salvage their careers -- just like on Dancing with the Stars!) who would come aboard the Pacific Princess (a real live cruise ship -- making The Love Boat one of the first "reality" TV shows!), looking for love or adventure each week? God, I loved that show (that is before that little bitch, Jill Whelan, came aboard as Captain Stubing's daughter, Vicki, and Lauren Tewes' coke habit resulted in her walking the plank).

I bet those "stars" on Dancing with the Stars WISH the Love Boat still existed, too. Talk about a cushy gig. Not only did you get paid to go on a cruise but no grueling dance rehearsals and no one judging you week after week (though if they were on The Love Boat, I'm pretty sure Tony Dovolani would have thrown Kate Gosselin overboard shortly after they set sail, so I guess in some ways Dancing with the Stars has its advantages).

Now what do we have to look forward to on Saturday nights? Nuthin'. (Though tonight Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is on ABC.)

UPDATED: Wow. I JUST found out that the cast of The Love Boat will be reuniting at the upcoming TV Land Awards, airing on Sunday, April 25. More here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tiger Does Augusta

[Alternate title: "Tiger Woods, Masters Bait"]

I, for one, am glad to see Tiger Woods back playing golf. Not because it gives me yet another opportunity to blog about the "sex-addicted" golfer but because, let's be honest, watching golf is way more fun/interesting when Tiger Woods is playing. And let's face it. Before Rachel and Jamie and Cori and Loredana, there was golf, Tiger's first and really only mistress.

But getting back to the Masters, which starts today, I have to say I am disappointed by Tiger's grouping with K.J. Choi and Matt Kuchar. Where's the drama? You want to ensure sky-high ratings, ESPN and CBS? You should have asked the PGA (or the folks at Augusta National) to pair Woods with Phil Mickelson and Jesper Parnevik (aka the golfer who introduced Tiger to his wife, Elin).

And speaking of ESPN and CBS, while Tiger's return to golf, at the Masters no less, poses no problem to me in terms of how to cover it, it has been posing some thorny (horny?) questions to those media organizations officially covering the Masters, as discussed in this Associated Press article.

My solution, why mention Tiger's infidelity at all? Just play the chorus of Britney Spears's song "Womanizer" whenever the camera pans to Woods.

Btw, if Tiger wants to take some of the pressure/coverage off himself, maybe he should ask his buddy, Henrik Stenson, to play a few holes in the Nike compression shorts Woods gave him after Stenson played part of the back nine at last year's CA Championship/Doral Open in his boxer briefs.

And now, let the PGA-sanctioned fore-play begin!

UPDATED 4/11/10: For those of you who (like me) didn't catch Saturday Night Live last night, you missed this great sketch with Tina Fey playing Las Vegas model and Tiger Woods expert Ashlyn St. Cloud doing commentary (and no doubt a few of the golfers) at the Masters:

Btw, so much for Tiger imploding. Going into the fourth and final day of the Masters, Woods is only four strokes off the leader, Lee Westwood, who's at -12 -- with Phil Mickelson in second place at -11. Going to be another great day of golf.

UPDATED AGAIN: Tiger Woods finishes tied for fourth with a very respectable -11 for the tournament. But the big winner is Phil Mickelson. I still have tears in my eyes from seeing him hug his caddy and then his wife, Amy, and his adorable blond children. (Please let me not find out Lefty is a cheater. It will break my heart.) All in all, an amazing golf tournament. Dare I say, masterful?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

American Idol Top 9 "Get Back" to the Lennon-McCartney songbook

Imagine there's no Tim Urban. It's easy if you try....

Once again, American Idol is hoping contestants draw inspiration -- and great performances -- from the songs of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, even though all nine of them were born waaaaaay after the Beatles broke up and John Lennon was shot.

Also, note to Aaron Kelly: please please please do not go the David Archuleta route and sing "Imagine." While it created a nice moment for Archie, despite Ryan's confusion, you are not him. And I swear, if I hear one more Idol contestant attempt that song I will turn off the TV.

Now on with the show. And speaking of the young Jedi, who should be first up tonight but...

Aaron Kelly (aka "Yoda"): The spouse just moaned "Noooo. Bad song to begin with; bad song choice," when he heard that Aaron Kelly would be singing "The Long and Winding Road." And I gotta agree. Sorry "Long and Winding Road" fans. Sappy song. Not Lennon and McCartney's greatest hit (IMHO). And even though I've grown to like Aaron, it felt, to use a Simonism (or two), "very karaoke," and "very boring." (Also, for the record, I thought "Long and Winding Song" before Ellen said it.) Not a good night for the young Jedi. My grade for Aaron Kelly: C+

Katie Stevens: Can American Idol please ban "Let It Be," the song and the album, from ALL future American Idol shows? PLEEEEASE? Katie did a nice job with the song -- wasn't pitchy at all (yay!) -- but COME ON, it was another slow, boring performance, and pray tell me how she changed up the song and "made it her own"? And I like Katie. My (really "our") grade for Katie Stevens (which is being heavily influenced by the spouse and child who really liked Katie's performance): B+

Andrew Garcia: FINALLY, an upbeat song, and I LOVE "Can't Buy Me Love." (Please don't switch it up and screw it up, Andrew. I will NOT forgive you.) Bumpy start, though thought it go a bit better towards the middle. However, the spouse, who was a musician, back in the day, just called it "schlock" and "cheap" and said "Simon is right." And being a good wife, I defer to him. (Also, what is the deal with the pompadour, Andrew? Were we going for a rockabilly/Brian Setzer or Buddy Holly feel?) My (make that "our") grade for Andrew Garcia: C/C+

Michael Lynche (aka "Big Mike"): Ah, look at all the Lennon-McCartney songs.... Gotta admit, I didn't think "Eleanor Rigby" was a great song choice, but I thought Big Mike did a nice job with the song and made it "relevant" or "current" or whatever the kids call it these days. It didn't have that "wow" moment for me, and I didn't think that Michael was "incredible" (as Ellen said) or that his vocals were "on fire" (as Kara said), but it was a good performance. (And for the record, the singers on Glee are better than this year's American Idol contestants.) My grade for Michael Lynche: B

Crystal Bowersox (aka "Mamasox"): Best. Performance. Of. The. Night. "Come Together," indeed. Well, Crystal, everything came together in that performance, though, like Randy, I found the "whole didgeridoo thing" a bit distracting. Still. My grade for Crystal Bowersox: A.

Tim Urban (aka "Teflon Tim"): Well, Tim has all of someone's lovin', as he's managed to somehow make it into the Top 9 despite being in the bottom two or three every week (and being one of the worst singers EVER to make it into the American Idol finals), but he's got none of mine. I think the nicest thing I can type about Tim's version of "All My Lovin'" is "Well, it wasn't his worst performance." My grade for Tim (not that it matters one teensy eensy little bit, cause you know Tim is going to be around for at least another week): C+ -- though I give Tim's hair a B+

Casey James (aka "Hawt Boy"): Uh, what is the deal with Casey's hair tonight? And I wish he'd lose the white jacket. (The look totally screams "lounge singer," though Casey's better than that.) Not that familiar with "Jealous Guy," which is not a bad thing. Just means I've got nothing to compare this performance to. (Though the spouse thought it was a poor song choice, especially considering ALL the songs he had to pick from.) Not the best performance of the night (despite what Simon said), but solid. My grade for Casey James: A-

Siobhan Magnus (aka "the Singer from Another Planet"): Well, Siobhan certainly looks (and acts?) like she came to American Idol from "Across the Universe." Not my favorite song choice (of all the Lennon and McCartney songs she could have chosen, she chose this?!) -- and not a good arrangement (WAY too slow), but I still think Siobhan has a beautiful, amazing voice. Just was not her best performance. My grade for Siobhan Magnus: B

Lee DeWyze (aka "Andrew Garcia's Bitch"): Nooooooooo! Anything but "Hey Jude." Sigh. (The spouse said "He should have sung 'She Came in Through the Bathroom Window.'" Agreed. Though I thought Lee should have song "Come Together," or, like, a hundred other Lennon-McCartney songs.) Na na na na-na-na-na... WTF?! Is that a bagpipe player?! I give the guy with the kilt an A and Lee DeWyze a B+. (I LOVE Lee, but it was not his best performance. And seriously, bagpipes? WTF?)

And so we come to the end of another episode of American Idol. Who will be going home? I've got no clue. Though my Top 4 is still Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus, Casey James, and Lee DeWyze. Will update the post manana.

Btw, rumor has it that Adam Lambert is going to be next week's mentor. We shall see.

UPDATED 4/7/10: And the judges use the save on Big Mike Lynche. I think it was a mistake, but time will be the ultimate judge. So now two go next week. Rounding out the bottom three were Aaron Kelly and Andrew Garcia. And, as rumored, Adam Lambert will be the mentor next week.

Which circle of Hell is Walmart on?

Like many people (translation: suburban moms), I have a complicated relationship with Walmart (translation: I hate it). But what's a mother to do when her tween daughter announces she needs a white t-shirt for a social studies project, like NOW? Well, if you live in the burbs, like I do, and the nearest Target is half an hour away, and you're actually trying to get some work done and don't really have the time to drive all over creation, you grit your teeth and drive to the Walmart just down the road during lunch. (The things we do for our kids.)

The fun begins in the parking lot, which, I am pretty sure, was designed by a sadist (or stock car driver) -- and always seems to be full, except for one space in the second-to-last aisle near the end (i.e., away from the store), which you have to carefully wend your way across the parking to get before some jerk busy yapping on his/her cell phone doesn't kill you/beat you to it.

Once you've completed the parking lot challenge (the first circle of Hell?), you enter the second circle of Hell, the store itself. (Seriously, someone should make going to Walmart a video game where, like in Dante's Inferno, the book and now the video game, you have to navigate the circles of Hell, or, in this case, the parking lot and aisles of Walmart, in order to claim your discount merchandise and return home to your loved ones).

Now maybe it's just me, but it seems like every time I go into our local Walmart (which, granted, isn't that often, but still), they've rearranged at least a third of the store, so you can't find anything. And then when you do finally find whatever it is you are looking for, you discover they have it in every size, except the one you need. Happens. Every. Time.

Now at this point (i.e., having not found exactly what it was I went there for/needed), I know I should turn around and leave. (Or in the words of Gloria Gaynor, "just go, walk out that door.") I know this, and yet I cannot. So I wind up aimlessly cruising the aisles that seemingly go on forever, looking for... I don't know. But somehow I wound up at the checkout 30 minutes -- 30 MINUTES?! -- after I entered, with enough stuff to fill two bags.

I know! Or rather, I don't know. But I am now the proud owner of a pair of NY Mets pajama shorts (no top because they didn't have one in my size -- typical), three boxes of Zone protein bars, a package of boys (L) white t-shirts, white ankle socks, and a container of Olay Regenerist Night Cream (the last item I actually needed).


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Baseball fans rejoice! (Except for you Mets fans.)

Baseball season officially begins tonight (YAY!) with World Series champions the New York Yankees (BOO!) taking on the Boston Red Sox (HISS!) in Boston. Tomorrow, the rest of the American League, as well as the National League, swings into regular season action.

I know some of my D.C.-area readers are taking tomorrow off to attend the Washington Nationals home opener against the National League Pennant-winning Philadelphia Phillies. (God, it hurt to type that. Oh, and for the record, the Phillie Phanatic? WORST mascot EVER. Mr. Met could totally kick his ass... maybe.) As an added bonus (unless you are a Republican), President Obama will be throwing out the first pitch.

As for my beloved, injury-plagued New York Mets, they start the season off at home tomorrow, taking on the Florida Marlins at Citi Field.

While Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies fans have much to look forward to this season -- even Nationals fans, with their signing of rookie pitching ace Stephen Strasburg, who despite starting in the minors is expected to be pitching in the big leagues by Memorial Day (if not sooner) -- Mets fans? Not so much, at least not with Mets starting pitchers Johan Santana, John Maine, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey, and Oliver Perez combining for an average 7.48 ERA during spring training. (And if you took out Santana, it would be much worse.) Why couldn't the Mets have signed Roy Halladay or John Lackey? Why? (Weeping.)

Sure, the Mets have some really strong bats, what with David Wright, Jeff Francoeur, and Jason Bay in the lineup, and (fingers crossed) short stop Jose Reyes and center fielder Carlos Beltran coming off the DL later this month, but it all comes down to pitching. And right now, aside from Cy Young award-winner Johan Santana, who had surgery last fall to remove bone chips from his left elbow, the Mets are seriously screwed starting pitching-wise -- unless, like Jesus Christ, the Mets starting rotation miraculously returns to life after being crucified last season. (Sorry, just had to slip in an Easter reference, cause, you know, it is Easter.)

Anyway, only time -- and 162 games -- will tell which teams will make it to the World Series this fall (though I've already heard "Yankees - Phillies rematch" and "Rockies and Rays.") But if you think you know who will still be playing in October, or just want to beat your chest about how your team is red hot (and every other team ain't doodly-squat), leave me a Comment (by clicking on the "Post a Comment" link, below).

Now play ball!

UPDATED: Red Sox beat the Yanks 9 to 7 last night. Up next: Mets vs. Marlins, Nationals vs. Phillies...

UPDATED 4/5/10: Mets win! Mets win! And they didn't just win, they pulverized the Florida Marlins, beating them 7 to 1. While I would like to give all the credit to the Mets offense and defense, the Marlins played so badly today I wondered if someone had paid the team to take a dive. Still, as one Phillies phan I know is fond of saying, "a win is a win is a win." Now if only we can get at least 90 more Ws this season. In other news, the Phillies routed the Nationals 11 to 1. Ouch. Though maybe the Redskins will return the favor this fall when former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb joins the team as Washington's new starting QB.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

No foolin': Lady Gaga calls Sesame Street and the Literal Version of David Bowie's China Girl

In honor of April Fool's Day, I present two of the most foolish (but fun) videos hot off the Internet!

First up, Lady Gaga's "Telephone," featuring the cast of Sesame Street...

(Who knew Grover had the moves?)

and the Literal Version of David Bowie's "China Girl"...

Oh oh oh o-oh...