Thursday, February 25, 2010

And in other news...

Though you might not realize it watching NBC (and its cable affiliates), there have been other big news stories this week besides the Olympics. In cased you missed them, here are a few that caught my eye, though may not have caught yours.

If Tiger Woods ran the Olympics.... Apparently the International Pole Dancing Fitness Association, professional pole dancers, and "supporters" of the "sport," have been petitioning the International Olympic Committee to make pole dancing (which, contrary to what some of you may be thinking, does not involve Polish athletes doing a traditional folk dance) an Olympic sport by the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio (which seems a more appropriate venue than London). And according to this article from the Associated Press, the petition to make pole dancing an Olympic sport has a lot of support. I bet it does.

They're called "killer" whales for a reason.... On Wednesday, while petting Orca Tilikum during the midday Shamu Show at SeaWorld in Orlando, trainer Dawn Brancheau was grabbed by the killer whale and taken for an unscheduled swim around the pool, drowning in the process, despite efforts to get the whale to release her. I cannot imagine how horrifying this must have been for Brancheau, her fellow trainers, and all those watching. The mere thought of it makes me sick. Almost equally horrifying is the fact that this whale was still at SeaWorld, as this was not the first time Tilikum had mauled someone to death, and the whale was considered so unstable or ornery that trainers had been repeatedly told to not get in the water with or near him. Yet another senseless, avoidable death, caused by man's need to tame and master nature at all costs.

Scientists discover Dick Cheney has a heart.... For those who hadn't heard, Dick Cheney was just released from a Washington hospital after suffering his fifth heart attack in just over 30 years. Cheney would have been released sooner, said a spokesman, but it took doctors days to realize the small, hard coal-like object on the left side of his chest was actually his heart.

New eligibility requirement being considered for President.... If newly elected Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown gets his way, there will soon be a new eligibility requirement for President of the United States: must have good jump shot. In what many are haling as a preview of the 2012 Presidential Election, Senator Brown has challenged President Barack Obama to a two-on-two hoops match at the White House, with Brown's daughter (former American Idol semi-finalist and Boston College guard) Ayla standing in for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his second.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

American Idol Season 9: Top 12 guys perform (UPDATED)

Here's hoping that the top 12 guys do better than the top 12 girls did last night on American Idol. Though I don't see how they could do much worse.

Once again, the contestants can choose pretty much anything they like (supposedly), as long as it appeared on some Billboard chart at some time. And once again, Simon Cowell is showing more cleavage than the female contestants.

Leading it off for the guys...

Todrick Hall: I LOVED what Todrick did with Kelly Clarkson's "Since You've Been Gone." I thought it was creative, and that it worked. Screw the judges. They are constantly telling contestants they have to be original, own the song, switch it up. And that's exactly what Todrick Hall did. Plus it was fun to watch. I guess what the judges meant was, be creative, just not too creative, at least with a song sung by a prior American Idol contestant. And speaking of the judges, does ANYONE really care what Randy or Kara has to say? I thought so. Next.

Aaron Kelly (aka the next David Archuletta, but not as cute): First off, what happened to the rule "If you forget the lyrics, you're gone"? So many really good people have been kicked off American Idol because they forgot a few words, and this kid makes it through? Yeah, he has a nice voice. Okay, better than "nice." But was "Here Comes Goodbye" a really smart song choice? (If he goes home this week, though I doubt he will, it will have been a self-fulfilling prophecy.) Sigh. Of course, the judges LOVED Aaron. But it was just all right for me, dawg.

Jermaine Sellers: Once again, it was just all right for me, dawg. Not bad. Not great. Just OK. Yawn. I think Jermaine could be in danger. (No one throws the band under a bus. And gets away with it. No one. Don't let those smiling faces fool you.)

Tim Urban: Looks 10, Voice 3. Now. Make. Him. Go. Away. Seriously, I am "this close" to pressing "mute" on the remote. And the only reason he won't get cut is the "Jonas brother" factor.

All together now people: SONG CHOICE SONG CHOICE SONG CHOICE. Seriously, if you don't know or can't figure out after eight seasons of American Idol what the judges like and and don't like, you don't deserve to be on TV.

Joe Munoz: Well, Jason Mraz is safe. I'm trying to decide whether Simon will say Joe Munoz's performance was "karaoke" or "cruise ship." Wait. WTF was Ellen listening to? And you, Randy! I cannot believe I did not hear the word "pitchy" out of Randy's mouth. And Kara, THE BEST?! Huh? Wha? Well, at least Simon said the performance was forgettable, which is totally was. Joe who? Next.

Tyler Grady: He's from Nazareth?! So what, does that make him, like, Jesus Morrison? As if. Love Simon's "It's like you went to Pretend to Be a Rock Star School." Yet another utterly forgettable performance. Also, is it just me, or does Tyler have a really long head and Jay Leno's chin?

Lee Dewyze: Pitchiness and song choice aside, I really like Lee's voice and think he has something. (Sorry, got no snappy comments. American Idol has finally worn me down. Or it could be the Chocolate Martini.)

John Park: To quote the spouse: WHY? I think that quick cut to Simon's face just said it all. That was a MESS. I can't believe anyone clapped. It was dreadful. See ya.

Michael Lynche: Maroon 1? Hey guys, it's karaoke night on American Idol with personal trainer Michael Lynche! Seriously, I have completely lost patience with these people. Send them all home. Now.

Alex Lambert: Wrong Lambert. And Florence Henderson wants her hair back. And I, too, just want to cry now. (Weeping.)

Casey James: He may be in "Heaven," but I'm in Hell. Can we just ban Bryan Adams songs from Idol? Please? (Don't know what the judges were listening to -- mostly each other.)

Andrew Garcia: Another forgettable performance. Sigh. Should have sung his version of "Straight Up" again.

I give up.

J-TWO-O out.

AND THE RESULTS ARE IN: And Joe Munoz (who?) and Tyler Grady are out. No surprise there, except that they kept any of them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

American Idol Season 9: Top 12 girls perform (UPDATED)

And so begins J-TWO-O's official live coverage of and running commentary on American Idol Season 9. I thought this night would never come.

FINALLY, some actual, live singing! Though I realize "actual" and "live" and "singing" are subjective. But I am hoping for the best tonight, because as Randy Jackson would say, "These girls can blow!" Though two of them will be going home on Thursday.

Tonight's theme: Songs from the Billboard charts, which pretty much means anything goes. And kicking it off for the Top 12 American Idol girls...

Paige Miles: So will it be "All Right Now" for Paige? As Randy would say (but didn't), "It was just all right for me, dawg." (J-THREE-O agrees.) Clearly, the acoustics on the Idol set are a whole lot worse (or better) than here in the bedroom, watching on our giant Sony Bravia HDTV, or we were not listening to the same performance. The best female vocally? Wha? Huh?

Ashley Rodriguez: Will this performance make me "Happy"? (J-THREE-O is psyched as she really likes this song.) So far, it's a little pitchy (which apparently is not a word according to Blogger's spellchecker). Make that a lot pitchy. And no, I am not happy with that performance, and neither were the judges. And it's a shame because I really liked Ashley during the early auditions. Buh-bye.

[Commercial break: Okay, that Old Spice commercial totally cracks me up.]

Janell Wheeler: So, what about Janell? She's got the "look," and the heart, but can she sing? And the answer: "She's going to be gone early," says J-THREE-O, and mom agrees. Pitchy pitchy pitchy. Totally the wrong song for her. (Randy, it wasn't the right song choice for me either. All together now: Song choice, song choice, song choice. As for Ellen, she so has the hots for Janell, because that performance was mediocre at best. Simon, as per usual, got it right. And Kara, not that we really care, is, surprise! right on. The song -- "What about love?" -- was too big for her.

Lilly Scott: Let's just get this out of the way: What is the deal with Lilly Scott's hair? And her voice? Eh. I can't decide if I liked that performance of the Beatles' "Fixing a hole" or not. I LOVE that Beatles' song, but I didn't love her version. Didn't hate it, but didn't love it. Which I guess makes me on the same page as Simon.

Katelyn Epperly: Oh darling, let this be a good performance. (The Beatles? The way Katelyn was dressed, I was sure she was going to sing some old Madonna.) Okay, didn't love it, but so far it was my favorite performance. I like Katelyn's voice and she's got "the look." I think she's safe for at least another week. Seems like Simon agrees. (And does anyone really care what any of the judges who are not Simon has to say?)

Haeley Vaughn: ANOTHER BEATLES SONG?! Well, let me tell you something I think you'll understand: I want to hold my hands over my ears. And here I thought the girls were going to bring it this week. Sooooo disappointed. Well, Haeley will always have her new nose stud to remind her of her Idol experience. (It was just, for me, a complete and utter mess, too, Simon.) Buh-bye.

Lacey Brown: And now channeling Stevie Nicks.... Lacey should send that backup singer some flowers. Definitely sounded much better with him backing her up. Again, didn't love it, but didn't hate it like the judges did. (Really? That was worse than Haeley and Janell?) Once more with feeling now: SONG CHOICE SONG CHOICE SONG CHOICE. Have you people learned nothing from EIGHT seasons of Idol?!

Michelle Dellamor: I keep on fallin' in and out of love with Idol, and tonight's performances are causing me so much pain. And I too have taken more than a fool. Oh oh oh oh, Michelle, that was just all right for me, dawg. Sigh. ("Fantastic," Ellen?! What show are you watching? Once again, Simon is the voice of reason. And is Randy on a first name basis with every major recording artist?! Feh.) Next.

Didi Benami: OMG. Could it be? An actually good performance? Or is it the second coming of Megan Joy? (Look it up, people.) A little pitchy, but I liked it. Didn't love it, but didn't hate it. Or else I am so worn down from listening to so many mediocre performances that I just don't care anymore. (I'm sorry, Kara. Did you say something?)

Slightly O/T: Okay, raise your hands if you remember your first kiss -- or you remember the first time you kissed your spouse/significant other and if it was "star material" or even memorable?

Siobhan Magnus: And the password is: INDULGENT. Or was it pitchy? I can never keep them straight. Well, no worries about Siobhan breaking anyone's heart, except her family's when she's eventually voted off. I liked Siobhan during auditions, but that was NOT a good song for her -- and I don't care what Ellen says. It started way too low, and it was way too slow -- and not memorable. I'd give it a B-.

[The only thing that could save tonight's American Idol would be a commercial for Hot Tub Time Machine. Pleeeaaaase...]

Crystal Bowersox: Please please please let Crystal Mamasox be good. Okay, everything's fine, fine, fine. But we need great, great, great. Nice harmonica, Hootie, but it's a singing competition. (I've got one hand on my keyboard and the other one... is also on my keyboard. And neither of them is clapping.) SIGH. Why why why? LISTEN TO SIMON, people. (Anyone else really miss Paula listening to Kara?)

Katie Stevens: And I feel... pretty good. (Spouse just said "she's got that Diana DeGarmo thing going on." And apparently Ellen and Simon agree.) Yet another indulgent song, and pitchy. Sigh.

All I can say is: THANK GOD IT'S OVER. Please, please, please let the boys be better.

J-TWO-O out.

AND THE RESULTS ARE IN: And Janell Wheeler and Ashley Rodriguez are out. A little bummed about the latter, though based on her performance Tuesday not that surprised. American Idol has not been very good to Hispanics and Asians (or people with ethnic sounding names, with the exception of Fantasia).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

So You Think You Can Ice Dance (UPDATED)

While watching the compulsory dance section of the Olympics Ice Dancing competition last night, the spouse asked, "So what makes ice dancing an Olympic sport?"

Good question. And one which I did not have a snappy response to (for once).

My reply: "Let's look it up online!" (Btw, that is my go-to reply now for most questions. Thank God for Al Gore and Jimmy Wales.) To save you the trouble, though, here's the Wikipedia entry for "Ice dancing."

Moments later the spouse again turned to me and asked, "What's the difference between ice dancing and pairs figure skating?"

While an ice dancer or pairs figure skater (or Wikipedia) would rattle off a thousand words of explanation, I can provide you with just two: "no jumps." Not allowed. Not even half jumps.

The way I (and many others) see ice dancing, it's basically ballroom dancing with ice skates. And no, I don't see "Ice Dancing with the Stars" showing up on ABC any time soon, though I could see "So You Think You Can Ice Dance" showing up on Fox next fall/winter.

As for last night's ice dancing compulsory dance, titled "Tango Romantico" (because, what, the tango isn't romantic enough?), the top four finishers were:


Next up: the original dance, Sunday night, followed by the free dance on Monday night. Woohoo! (Btw, to see the rest of the ice dancing compulsory dance results as well as the schedule for the next two Olympics ice dancing events, click here.)

Slightly O/T:
While a number of my female friends have the hots for American alpine skiier Bode Miller, after watching Aksel Lund Svindal ski and be interviewed last night I turned to the spouse and said "Honey, you know I love you and think you are the handsomest man in the world, but Aksel Lund Svindal may be a close second."

UPDATED 2/21/10 P.M.: Two words: USA! USA! First Bode Miller gets the gold in the Men's Super Combined. Then the U.S. Men's Hockey Team beat the Canadian Hockey Team tonight, 5 - 3. Awesome. (Though the men's Curling team lost to Great Britain and will most likely not medal. Boo. And my man Aksel was disqualified during the slalom portion of the Super Combined.) Am now watching ice dancing -- and I swear it is "So You Think You Can Dance" on ice. We've had Cowboys on Ice, Bollywood on Ice (Meryl Davis/Christopher Atkins - I mean Charlie White), the Hora on Ice (or as I liked to call it, Fiddler on the Ice), Flamenco on Ice (Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir), and now a traditional Moldavian Folk Dance (Tanith Belbin/Ben Agosto). (Huh?! Wha?!) So after the Original Dance, it's Virtue/Moir followed by Davis/White and then Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin. Free Dance coming up tomorrow. Woohoo!

UPDATED 2/23/10: And the gold medal goes to... the Canadians, Virtue and Moir (guess being Virtuous pays ;-); Davis and White score the silver; and the Russkies, Domnina and Shabalin, get the bronze. And Belbin and Agosto came in fourth. Go North America! Tonight... more Bode and Aksel, though I'll mainly be watching American Idol, aka the Olympics ratings killer.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Woods kicks off 2010 Mea Culpa Tour with press conference

Tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET at the Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida, golfer Tiger Woods will be kicking off the 2010 Tiger Woods Mea Culpa Tour.

Already generating the kind of buzz only befitting perhaps the world's greatest golfer and philanderer of our time, the Tiger Woods 2010 Mea Culpa Tour is also scheduled to stop at The TODAY Show (co-host Matt Lauer is an avid golfer) and on Oprah Winfrey's couch -- and no doubt at several major upcoming PGA tournaments. (The Master's begins just after Easter. Watch Tiger rise up and ascend to golfing heaven!)

Interestingly, according to National Enquirer executive editor Barry Levine (as reported on ESPN's E:60), the whole Tiger Woods mistress story was almost a non-story. Almost. As we all know what eventually happened. (Fore!)

Me, I don't really care about Tiger. Yeah, I'm a bit disappointed that the image was far from the reality. But that's the problem with our celebrity- and athlete-worshiping culture. We forget that celebrities are just actors and athletes are not heroes. They are just people who are really good at what they do -- and happen to get a lot of press coverage.

I just hope that Tiger's little coming out party won't hurt sales of the Tiger Woods Mistress Commemorative Plate Collection. (Order your set today! Supplies are limited!)

Note: For a more serious take on -- and good insight into -- Tiger Woods's upcoming no-questions-asked "press conference" check out PR Guru Peter Shankman's blog. (Shankman is also scheduled to talk about Tiger on Fox tomorrow at 11:10. But I won't hold that against him.) I also liked Richard Sandomir's article for The New York Times, "Woods Blazes a New Trail for the Celebrity Apology."

UPDATED 2/19/2010: Watched the Tiger Woods press conference and composed the following haikus:

Where were the show girls?
"Sorry" no longer hardest word.
Sorry, Elton John.

Tiger the Buddhist
Meditates on his options
Sticks it to Brit Hume

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The BEST pizza? Them be fighting words.

If you ever want to start an argument among a group of seemingly reasonable people, especially in a place like New York, ask them where to get the best pizza.

Like one's politics and/or baseball team, you just don't go telling a guy (or gal) their favorite pizza doesn't rate (or sucks) or that your favorite pizza place is the best. Though that hasn't stopped people from trying to determine what is the BEST pizza in a particular place if not the entire United States.

Have we learned nothing from the Travel Channel's "Pizza Paradise," people? (Before moving on, a quick warning about the Travel Channel's "Pizza Paradise": every time the spouse, kid, and I watch that show we get a mad craving for pizza. And the last time we watched we wound up having two deep-dish pizzas from Gino's East overnighted to us, in dry ice. Just sayin'.)

Apparently not, because now we have perky Rachael Ray in her eponymous magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, crowning the best pizzerias in America in an article titled "Search for America's Best Pizzeria," which features 64 of the supposedly "best pizzerias in the United States" organized by region in brackets, like a basketball tournament, ensuring that readers around the Unites States will have something to argue about, not just New Yorkers. (Btw, the spouse and J-THREE-O were devastated that our local favorite, Frank Pepe's, didn't make it out of the Top 64.)

And THE BEST PIZZA on the East Coast per Rachael Ray (and her team of "experts")? A joint named Motorino, with branches in the East Village (of Manhattan) and Brooklyn. The very same Motorino that New York Times restaurant reviewer Sam Sifton just declared "the city's best pizza." (All I can say is that fans of Totonno's, Lombardi's Pizza, Patsy's, John's, and, oh, a hundred other classic New York and New Haven pizza establishments will impolitely beg to disagree.)

So do you have a favorite pizzeria or pizza establishment? Btw, I don't just mean you New Yorkers. If so, let me know via the Comments. And I promise I won't say it sucks (unless it's Domino's or Pizza Hut or Papa John's or Little Caesar's).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Olympics vs. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show vs. American Idol

Yesterday, as most of you dog lovers and dog fanciers know, was the first day of the 134th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which is typically must-see TV in my household (even though we are cat lovers and owners).

However, this year, because of the XXI Winter Olympics taking place in Vancouver, BC, Canada, we were faced with a difficult decision: Which hot dogs to watch? (For some reason, maybe because at one point on our block there were a half-dozen Bichon Frises or Bichon Wannabees, or because the cold and the snow has finally made me snap, and they look like little snowmen, this picture of all the Bichon Frises lined up to be judged just cracked me up.)

As we do not have a TV with picture in picture, the spouse and I spent the evening flipping between the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, where the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding groups were being judged, and the Vancouver Winter Olympics, where NBC was airing the Men's Downhill and Men's Snowboard Cross, even though the results had been announced HOURS earlier on MSNBC (and everywhere else), and Pairs Figure Skating. To summarize, our viewing habits could be described as: DogShowOlympicsDogShowOlympicsDogShowOlympicsFoodNetworkDogShowOlympicsFoodNetwork.

(We got a little bored watching the pairs figure skating so watched Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on Food Network, flipping over to the Dog Show or the Olympics during the commercials.)

Btw, if you missed any of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, you can watch videos from the show here. This video of the Pekingese being judged is one of my favorites:

It's like watching the March of the Tribbles.

Now tonight, with my thumb still recovering from last night's ordeal, we will be flipping between the Winter Olympics, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and American Idol Season 9, where -- breaking news! -- they will be revealing some of the 24 semi-finalists tonight! (Btw, in case you were wondering, I will officially start my American Idol coverage next week, when the contestants actually start singing -- or when we, the home-viewing audience, actually get to hear them sing for more than 30 seconds.)

May the best hot dog(s) win!

UPDATED 2/18/10: Once again, American Idol beat out both the Olympics and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Tuesday night, at least in terms of the ratings. Indeed, the Olympics were a distant second (or silver) to AI's gold, with the Dog Show coming in a very distant third (or bronze), though apparently the Dog Show's numbers went up, albeit to only 2.5 million viewers, down from 3.1 million last year, for the crowning of Sadie the Scottie as Best in Show). Can't say I'm surprised. Anyway, to learn more, read this summary of the ratings numbers.

ANNOUNCEMENT: My live American Idol Season 9 coverage starts on Tuesday, February23!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My funny Valentine

We all know that Valentine's Day is a "Hallmark holiday," a conspiracy among greeting card makers, florists, confectioners, and jewelers to guilt men into buying a l'il somthin' somethin' for their little sugar love muffins during the winter doldrums.

And, okay, I'll admit, I love getting flowers (even though the spouse won't buy them anymore since the cats eat them, drink the water from the vase, and wind up sending the vase and flowers crashing to the floor, typically within 24 hours) and a small box of really good dark chocolates or dark- and white-chocolate-covered strawberries (hint).

But the real reason I have come to like Valentine's Day is JC Penney, or rather JC Penney's brilliant and funny "Doghouse" ads. Here's the latest Doghouse ad, titled Return to the Doghouse.

That Return to the Doghouse ad totally cracks me up.

Too broke or too jaded to buy your sweet pea some sugar this Valentine's Day? Give her a compliment instead, one that is heart felt. As I like to say, a compliment costs nothing, means everything, and lasts forever.

So with an open heart I thank you for continuing to read my blog and wish you all a very happy Valentine's Day...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Six more books to add to your reading list

Since my last book post at the end of last year, I've been on a bit of a reading tear, and have added many books to my reading list thanks to all of you who posted or emailed book recommendations.

Herewith, six more great books to add to your reading list (listed in the order I read them):

Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls by Stephen G. Bloom

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

The Great Man
by Kate Christensen

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People
by Farahad Zama

The Elegance of the Hedgehog
by Muriel Barbery

Btw, the first three are non-fiction, though don't let that stop you from picking them up. The stories and characters are amazing.

Note: I also read Dan Brown's latest, The Lost Symbol, and was disappointed. While a quick read (despite its length) I found it predictable, flawed, and unnecessarily violent/gruesome.

Wishing you all good reading...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

When did modeling a swimsuit become a sport? (Sports Illustrated 2010 Swimsuit Issue on sale now!)

While it certainly requires athletic ability to get into a swimsuit these days, if not an athlete's body (do I really need three catalogs every month, Victoria's Secret? I don't think so), I'm pretty sure modeling or wearing a swimsuit is not a sport. But that in no way has stopped Sports Illustrated from putting out its annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, available on newsstands now!

And what better way to pass the time on a cold, snowy day, stuck at home with the kids, than looking at beautiful women half your age in skimpy bathing suits (or only body paint) parading around some beautiful warm, sunny, exotic destination, right ladies? So I think you will agree with me (at least you female readers) when I say "thanks for nothing, Sports Illustrated."

Really, one image of model Brooklyn Decker -- on last year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue -- was more than enough, thank you. And now you have to put her on the cover again? (And for the record, I have no idea what Brooklyn Decker's bust, breast, or bra size is -- though my best guess would be Double D Ecker -- but for some reason when you type the query "Brooklyn Decker bra [or breast or bust] size" into Google, Google directs people to this post. Oh and for the record: they're fake.)

And while I can understand Sports Illustrated's desire to have an interactive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Website (cause it's all about the Web these days), did CNBC really need to go shoot a behind-the-scenes documentary about swimsuit modeling (which I happened to stumble upon late last night)? Really? Was this your idea Darren Rovell? Did you pick up any stock tips from Julie Henderson, Darren? Perhaps between her legs? Tough assignment, dude.

Okay, enough kvetching. I'm going to grab me some coffee then grab me a shovel and start shoveling snow.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Of Spanx and Men: Spanx finally launches its own line of men's compression underwear

Ever since I wrote this post about Equmen's compression underwear for men (i.e., "Spanx for men") back in June 2009, I have been the go-to site for "spanx for men," "male spanx," "spanx men," "men's spanx," "spanx mens" -- pretty much anything having to do with men and Spanx, even though, technically, there was no such thing as Spanx for men. That is, until now.

(Btw, those five quoted phrases are the top five Googled terms on J-TWO-O and combined have led thousands -- and I mean THOUSANDS -- of Spanx- or compression- underwear-seeking men and their mates to this blog. Only Brooklyn Decker, or rather, her breasts, have generated anywhere close to that many hits. Yes, I am weeping.)

And now, after being #2 on Google for the search term "Spanx for men" for months (the TIME magazine article on the subject, which appeared two weeks after my post, being #1), I have dropped to #8, thanks to news from Spanx that it is about to start selling (drum roll, please) a Spanx-branded compression undershirt for men (i.e., Spanx for men). Just in time for Valentine's Day!

Frankly, I am a bit disappointed. That's all you got Spanx, a cotton undershirt? Heck, my dad (who's been dead for nearly seven years) wore form-fitting white undershirts for as long as I knew him, as did his dad. This is news? Though I guess since "Mad Men," everything old (or 1960s) is new -- and hot -- again. But still, no cute little boxer briefs with that famous Spanx compression technology?

In related news, Hanes recently reported that sales of its men's underwear were up, which, according to former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, is a sure sign that the economy is recovering. (You can read about the so-called "Undies Index" here.)

UPDATED: Just received an email from Tug, the proprietor of the blog The Undershirt Guy, asking me to post his review of the Spanx for Men Compression Undershirt. You're welcome, Tug. ;-)

Four best Super Bowl XLIV ads

Good Super Bowl (congrats to the New Orleans Saints), not so good ads. Still a few (or should I say "four") of the ads really stood out, in terms of their creative humor, such as...

this ad for McDonald's with LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Larry Byrd:

(Great ad, but I still have a soft spot for the original McDonald's basketball shooting contest featuring Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.)

We also got a kick out of the Snickers ad featuring Betty White and Abe Vigoda (who is still not dead):

And I got a chuckle out of the FloTV ad featuring CBS sportscaster Jim Nance:

But our favorite Super Bowl XLIV commercial had to be this promo for "Late Show with David Letterman," featuring David Letterman, Oprah, and Jay Leno:

Got a favorite Super Bowl XLIV ad, which I didn't include? Let me know via a Comment.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Super Bowl ads (sneak peek) + Great ads, lousy beer

This Sunday, as (almost) all of you know is Super Bowl XLIV (or 44 for all you non Romans), which can mean only one thing: lots and lots of ridiculously expensive and ridiculous ads. But I bet you didn't know there was a website dedicated just to Super Bowl ads. The site's name/URL?

And right now, if you go to, you can see previews of many of this year's Super Bowl ads, some of which look to be very funny. (Being a former big-time Chicago Bulls basketball fan, I am particularly intrigued, and a bit saddened by, the remake of the Michael Jordan - Larry Bird McDonald's ad, now starring LeBron James and Dwight Howard.)

And, of course, it wouldn't be the Super Bowl without lots of Bud and Bud Light ads. Which only makes me wonder: How can a company that makes such great ads make such lousy beer? Seriously, just imagine what the real men of genius behind Bud Light could have accomplished had they poured the same amount of money they do into advertising into developing a light beer that actually tasted good.

In fact, some of my (and the spouse's) favorite commercials of late have been for Bud Light. (Those Tailgate Tested, Tailgate Approved! ads crack me up.) And I think Bud Light's ad agency (in this case DDB Chicago, which also produced the Real Men of Genius campaign) may have outdone itself with this latest ad, titled "Clothing Drive":

[Hats -- shirt and pants -- off to DDB Chicago associate creative director Galen Graham.]

I also really like DDB's Bud Light ad titled "Swear Jar":

Though really, you're going to spend all that money on a case of Bud Light? Aren't there, oh, at least 100 other, better beers you could be buying?

ANYWAY... Here's to a great Super Bowl -- and lots of great Super Bowl ads.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Punxsutawney Phil predicts five more weeks until Oscars

This morning, around the same time that Punxsutawney Phil was predicting six more weeks of winter, movie critics, morning news show anchors, and reporters began predicting who would be taking home an Oscar at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards on March 7.

My suggestion? Just have Punxsutawney Phil predict this year's Oscar winners. It would have been far more entertaining -- and could be the start of a whole new tradition.

Btw, for those five of you who haven't yet seen the list of Oscar nominees yet, here are the ones for the major categories:

Best Picture

* “Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
* “The Blind Side” Nominees to be determined
* “District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
* “An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
* “The Hurt Locker” Nominees to be determined
* “Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
* “A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
* “Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
* “Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Actor in a Leading Role

* Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
* George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
* Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
* Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
* Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role

* Matt Damon in “Invictus”
* Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
* Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
* Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
* Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Leading Role

* Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
* Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
* Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
* Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
* Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Actress in a Supporting Role

* Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
* Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
* Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
* Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
* Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

For a full list of the nominees, click here.

While I saw Up in the Air, which I thought was great (timely story, great acting) and highly recommend, I haven't seen most of these movies, so don't feel qualified to make any predictions (though I could have told you there would be at least six more weeks of winter).

But if any of you have any Oscar predictions, leave a comment.

Bonus Groundhog Day video clip [H/T to]:

Monday, February 1, 2010

What does confidence smell like?

According to the young men profiled in a recent New York Times article titled "Masculinity in a Spray Can," about how tween boys, like their older brothers, are now into wearing (or rather spraying, dabbing, and/or dousing themselves with) men's grooming products, confidence smells a lot like Axe. (Just an aside: considering the subject matter, maybe the editors should have called the article "Smells Like Tween Spirit.")

Equating smelling good to feeling good, or feeling confident and sexy, however, is nothing new, as the author of the article duly noted. Indeed, Hoffman (I'm not sure if "Jan Hoffman" is a he or a she) went so far as to prove the point by linking to an old Hai Karate commercial on YouTube featuring Regis Philbin and Joey Bishop. Though she (he?) really should have linked to this Hai Karate ad instead:

Of course, YouTube being YouTube (and me being me), one ad led to another which led me to this classic ad for Irish Spring. ("Manly, yes, but I like it too.")

(Interesting factoid: Irish Spring is a sponsor of Manly, with a sense of humor!)

So is confidence or sex appeal something you can just spray on or acquire or do you have to be born with it? Let me know what you think via a Comment.

For the record, while I find confidence very sexy, I have an extremely sensitive nose and colognes and after shaves completely turn me off. Though for some reason the smell of edge sensitive skin gel on a man drives me wild (as does the smell of barbecue sauce and sauteed onions).