Friday, February 29, 2008

Lost is back, baby!

Blah, blah, American Idol, blah, blah. Hey, did y'all see "Lost" last night? It rocked!
Okay, so I'm a total time-space-anomaly dork so the time "shifting" by Desmond was very cool instead of what surely confused and annoyed others who wish the show would stick with actual science in dealing with the supernatural forces of the island.
In fact, the episode reminded me of "All Good Things," the last episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," which Picard is the only one who is aware of his shifting between three time periods (via Q). That was an awesome episode as well.
Why else was this "Lost" so good? No Sawyer, Kate, Jack love triangle. In fact, the former two weren't in the show at all. Not that I haven't been enjoying the season thus far with the drama between Locke and Jack's groups, but it's nice to get away once in a while. That, and I adore Penny. If Desmond and she aren't reunited, I'll be annoyed again. Actually, pissed.
The first victim of the "kicked out due to lack of air time" that I truly hoped would advance, Alaina, got the boot, as did Alexandrea, Jason and Robbie, who might have actually lasted had he admitted he wasn't a rocker and was in fact a member of a boy band and dated Britney Spears prior to Idol. Jason will only be missed due to his cute kid in the audience who should take all Haley Joel Osment's castoff roles.
If my home run totals go up this season, I can truly point to the prescription the doctor at the Minor Medical Center gave me yesterday for steroids. He also gave me three more meds to manage this head congestion. I still have a headache and my nose is stuffed, but I'm not so lethargic, so I've got that going for me.
What else? I lost ten pounds this week. Wow. I should get so sick once a week for the next ten months, and I'll be down to an acceptable amount of pounds!
Tonight, the Christophers are in town (links on the side), with Amy and Michael making the trek from Atlanta. We'll be hanging out and showing them what we love about Memphis. So we'll go to eat at a restaurant that doesn't believe in low-fat foods, drive down Germantown Road and try to get caught at every red light, and cruise through Frayser with the windows rolled down and "Square Dance Rap" blaring so they can sense real fear.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The girls sing, not as good as the boys

Carly - Check for Carly Hennessey and you'll find her album for sale. You know, because the show likes to pretend that she's an untrained talent who just came out of nowhere and they discovered her. What did we discover in her song this week? Lots of yelling, notes flung everywhere, Simon still pimping her to the point of embarrassment. If they have an Irish theme night can she sing a song from her own album?

Sayesha - What more do we know about her? She's been in commercials and can mimic a baby crying. Just what we're looking for in a new Idol! Her "Mrs. Jones" was just OK. Simon said that it was awkward for a girl to sing it, but come on, it would be just as awkward for Danny Noriega, am I right?

Brooke - Beauty school dropout. No graduation day for you. This might explain Jason Yeager's hair. Broke out the guitar for "You're so vain." Is she singing to Simon? The "don't you, don't you" was very thin. I don't see how she has much of a fan base, so she might be in trouble this week or next.

Ramiele - Oh no, another hula dancer? Run! Our Tiny Asian tried a disco song that was too big for her and she sounded strained. 

Kristy Lee Cook - You really shouldn't sing "You're So Good" if you're not so much. Snoozefest. Why does she stand the entire time like she's straddling her horse?

Amanda - Cruella de Vil ate a cat. That's what her hair looks like. And guess what? She sounds terrible. I actually feel bad for her, because she seems cool, with that biker-rocker-nurse thing going on, but the judges ruined her by pushing her into the top 24 like this. And then I was disgusted when the judges turned on her. They pushed this image, and now they are using it against her? A-holes.

Alaina - CarrieBot No. 2 is up, and it turns out she's my food soulmate. If I was still eight years old. She doesn't let her food touch. This used to be a big deal, I'm just saying, in my childhood. Also out of my childhood she sings "Hopelessly Devoted to You." She does it justice, but the judges aren't impressed.
Alexandrea - The first time I've heard someone on the show try Chicago, and it's one of the girls. Go figure. Unfortunately for her, it's flat, uninteresting, worse as she goes and plain terrible.
Kady - CarrieBot No. 3 is clearly talented. Anyone who can sing like half the pop stars in the country, plus do opera, has great control of her voice. But on stage she's the mayor of Dull City. There's no "oomph" to it. Weird case study.
Asia'h. Or is it A'siah? A's'i'a'h'? The rule is, don't sing a song that will be ironic if you're voted off the next night. Case in point, "All By Myself," which could be sung tonight on her way out of the competition.
Who should go tonight? I say Amanda and Alexandrea. Who will go? Kristy Lee and Alexandrea. Neither were shown in the audition or L.A. rounds, and neither has shown us reason to vote for them as yet.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Glory be!

- Super cool morphing montage of women in Hollywood over the past 80 years.

- Apparently Obamania is such a religious fervor that people keep fainting at his rallies. He may not be presidential material, but when he loses he can at least take on a career as the new Benny Hinn. One touch of his garment will give believers universal health care, tax raises and granola will multiply like fish and loaves.

Idol, Loser, Sick

You know how you are sick for at least a few days, and you forget what life was like without feeling The Crud 24 hours a day? That's where I'm at now. Since Saturday my sinuses have been completely clogged, I have a ring of a headache around my head, and a persistent annoying cough. But hey, at least I'm back to work today, right?
When I'm running things, I'm instituting a new rule that anyone who is sick on their weekend gets to take off as soon as they're better for two freebie days. What a waste of my weekend. Monday and Tuesday I should have been finishing projects at our new house, but since I can barely breathe let alone paint, Val and I both lost valuable time. So move-in day looks to be next Friday at the earliest. Our first mortgage payment goes out Friday, so shouldn't we at least be living in a place we're paying for? And no, we're not crashing on cots.
Anyway, let's move on to Tuesday's reality TV offerings:
AMERICAN IDOL - The girls should be very, very afraid. The boys brung it last night, and it isn't easy coming up with a duo that "deserves" to go.
The best: David Archuleta, obviously. When he was being teased going into break and all the teeny-boppers were screaming I rolled my eyes and told Val that they were treating him like the Beatles. And then he comes out and sings a John Lennon song. Freaky. And he sang it amazingly. If he did that in the top five later this spring, the judges would have said that it was a winning performance and handed him the title then and there. So how does he top this?
The rest: David Cook finally rocked, Michael Johns shouldn't have shaved off the stubble (looks young), Luke "Orlando Bloom" Menard wasn't as bad as the judges thought but the song choice was odd, going home should be Robbie and Luke.
THE BIGGEST LOSER: COUPLES  - So much drama! The Blue Team apparently didn't learn the lesson that whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, because despite all that good fun they lost the weigh-in to those whiny, petulant Black Team members. And now that the Blues are outnumbered the show is ending the teams and going individual, meaning that the Blacks will band together and end up as the final four to my perpetual annoyance. I'm still a little disappointed, because the show previews made it look like something horrendous happened in Vegas, so I kept expecting Dan to wake up with a tranny in his bed.

Monday, February 25, 2008

And Jeff's 5th Annual Oscars contest goes to ...

And the Oscar contest goes to ....

Me and Val.

Yes, we both picked 14 correctly. Go figure. And no, there was no discussion beforehand, no collusion. Pinky swear.

Thanks all to playing, and here are the scores:

14 - Val, Jeff
13 - Dad
12 - Scott, Erin
10 - Stacy, Stephanie, Jenny H., Michael C., Jeremy
9 - Steve R., Heather K.
8 - Bill L.
7 - Kevin H.
6 - Amy C., Carol H.

Sorry I was 24 hours late with the results. Jeffy's sick. Jeffy no likey being sick. Jeffy remember good times of frolicking without headache, body ache, stuffy nose and desire to lay down. Jeffy need sleep..

UPDATE - Just a reminder of our past winners:

2007 - Dad (16 correct picks)
2006 - Stephanie (15; I had 17, but can't win my own contest, right?)
2005 - Jeremy (13)
2004 - Scott and Joe (16)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscars thus far

7:50 - Twenty minutes in, one award given. At least two montages celebrating the Oscars. Good thing I live in the central time zone now and won't have to wait until after midnight for the last award.
Who took the early lead with "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" as the winning pick for Costume Design? Erin, Carol, Steve, Jenny H., Heather, Bill, Stephanie.
7:55 - Ooh, "Ratatouille" just won for Best Animated Feature. Pretty much everyone had that, so not much gained there. Unless you didn't, then you're screwed *coughStephanieErincough*
8:00 - Y'all who picked "Norbit" for Makeup, that was funny, but seriously, did it have a chance?
Amy Adams coming out in character to sing her song from "Enchanted," well, enchanting.
John Stewart's been fine so far. Enjoyed the bit with the iPhone and "Lawrence of Arabia" on the "wide screen."
8:15 - Scores thus far, after 5 awards:
Val - 3
Me - 3
Carol - 3
Michael - 3
Stacy - 3
Stephanie - 3
Heather - 3
Jeremy - 3
Bill - 3
Steve - 3
Jenny H. - 3 
Scott - 2
Erin - 2
Amy C. - 2
Dad - 1
Kevin  - 1
8:20 - Apparently Javier Bardem won Supporting Actor for his haircut in the movie. Well, I guess you have to have one standard.
8:30 - Looks like the NASCAR race is rained out, so no late local news for us. Gotta go! Updates later!

My picks

Thanks to all who submitted picks for my 5th Annual Oscars contest. I'll try to compile the results tonight, but since I'm at work and not feeling well, it may take until tomorrow. Good luck!
I never posted my picks, so before the show starts, here they are:
Best Picture - "No Country for Old Men"
Best Actor - Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood”
Best supporting actor - Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men”
Best actress - Ellen Page in “Juno”
Best supporting actress - Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There”
Best animated feature film - “Ratatouille”
Art direction - “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
Cinematography - “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
Costume design - “Atonement”
Best Director - "No Country for Old Men” - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Best documentary feature - “No End in Sight”
Best documentary short subject - “La Corona (The Crown)”
Film editing - “There Will Be Blood”
Best foreign language film - “The Counterfeiters”
Makeup - “La Vie en Rose”
Original Score - “Atonement”
Original song - “Falling Slowly” from “Once”
Animated short film - “Peter & the Wolf”
Live action short film - “At Night”
Sound editing - “The Bourne Ultimatum”
Sound mixing - “The Bourne Ultimatum”
Visual effects - “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”
Adapted screenplay - “Atonement”
Original screenplay - “Juno”

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tiger Fever

Tonight is what's being billed as the "Game of the Century," at least by our station, as No. 1 Memphis takes on No. 2 Tennessee. My prediction? The homer in me says Tigers by 10. The pessimist in me says Vols in a squeaker.
One of our online polls asked what the most memorable sporting event in the city has been. My rankings based on the choices:
1. 1997, Memphis defeats Tennessee (with Peyton Manning at QB). I was a senior at Union at the time, and when the Tigers pulled out the win, Steve and I were out in the street celebrating, it was such a thrill.
2. Michael Jordan plays baseball at Tim McCarver Stadium. That was certainly the only time anyone cared when the Memphis Chicks played the Birmingham Barons. This was back in '94, and I went to one of the games of the series. The stadium was packed, and everyone went wherever Jordan wandered the field.
3. Bear Bryant in the 1982 Liberty Bowl. My Dad and brother went to this game, which unfortunately turned out to be Coach Bryant's last as the Alabama legend passed away shortly after.
4. 1977 Memphis Classic. The same tournament featured Al Geiberger's record 59 and Gerald Ford hitting a hole-in-one during the pro-am.
5. Tyson vs. Lewis. I wasn't living in Memphis at the time, but even I could sense that the city was excited to be on the big stage for a heavyweight fight that had the whole world watching as Tyson was KO'd in the 8th round.

Don't forget!

I've received many, but I know there are a lot of procrastinators out there, so here's your reminder! The ceremony is tomorrow! Sunday! I need them by tonight preferably, since I'll be at work during the telecast, but if you send them to me time stamped by 6:30 p.m. tomorrow you'll be accepted.

Here's this year's list of nominees to choose from, and please, hit
reply and play my game! I'm desperate for attention! (And if you know
someone else who'd like to play, please pass this along.)

Best Picture
"Michael Clayton"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Best actor
George Clooney in “Michael Clayton”
Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood”
Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah”
Viggo Mortensen in “Eastern Promises”

Best supporting actor
Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward
Robert Ford”
Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men”
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War”
Hal Holbrook in “Into the Wild”
Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton”

Best actress
Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
Julie Christie in “Away from Her”
Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose”
Laura Linney in “The Savages”
Ellen Page in “Juno”

Best supporting actress
Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There”
Ruby Dee in “American Gangster”
Saoirse Ronan in “Atonement”
Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone”
Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton”

Best animated feature film
“Surf's Up”

Art direction
“American Gangster”
“The Golden Compass”
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
“There Will Be Blood”

“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Robert

Costume design
“Across the Universe”
“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
“La Vie en Rose”
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

Best Director
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” - Julian Schnabel
“Juno” - Jason Reitman
“Michael Clayton” - Tony Gilroy
“No Country for Old Men” - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
“There Will Be Blood” - Paul Thomas Anderson

Best documentary feature
“No End in Sight”
“Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience”
“Taxi to the Dark Side”

Best documentary short subject
“La Corona (The Crown)”
“Salim Baba”
“Sari’s Mother”

Film editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum”
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
“Into the Wild”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood”

Best foreign language film
“The Counterfeiters”

“La Vie en Rose”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

Original Score
“The Kite Runner”
“Michael Clayton”
“3:10 to Yuma”

Original song
“Falling Slowly” from “Once”
“Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted”
“Raise It Up” from “August Rush”
“So Close” from “Enchanted”
“That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted”

Animated short film
“I Met the Walrus”
“Madame Tutli-Putli”
“Même les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)”
“My Love (Moya Lyubov)”
“Peter & the Wolf”

Live action short film
“At Night”
“Il Supplente (The Substitute)”
“Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)”
“Tanghi Argentini”
“The Tonto Woman”

Sound editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood”

Sound mixing
“The Bourne Ultimatum”
“No Country for Old Men”
“3:10 to Yuma”

Visual effects
“The Golden Compass”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

Adapted screenplay
“Away from Her”
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood”

Original screenplay
“Lars and the Real Girl”
“Michael Clayton”
“The Savages”

Friday, February 22, 2008

The top 24 curse; Lost in lost

America, you didn't eliminate the top four last night; the show did. The fact is, you have a better shot of riding a unicorn in a land of rainbows and teddy bears than making the top 12 if we don't know anything about you.
Three of the four ousted Thursday - Garrett, Colton and Amy - had never been shown before on Idol, not in the auditions and not during Hollywood week, so they were doomed before they even sang this week. Joanna, the plus-sized model, didn't have much air time either, but she was lost among similar singers with better voices.
Meanwhile, on "Lost," I'm lost. So the Oceanic 6 returns, Jack says on the stand defending Kate in the flash-forward that only eight survived the crash, so who are the two that supposedly survived only to perish? And what's up with Kate ending up with Aaron? Why wouldn't Jack want to deal with the fact that she's his "mom?" Of course, Val points out, the timeline doesn't support people believing that, since Aaron was born a week after the crash. Not to mention, wouldn't people be all over the South Pacific looking for the island and finding out that it's all a big lie? So confused. But entertained. You win, show.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The 12 girls sing, other stuff

First, a reminder! The Oscars are this Sunday, so get your picks in to me this weekend!
In case you looked up last night and thought the gods were angry, spelling doom for 12 young female Idol singers, it was just a lunar eclipse. You won't see one for another three years, when "Lost" is ending and you're forced to endure 25 clip shows rehashing all the confusing crap that's happened. Then you'll know the gods truly are angry. No word on if anyone got a good look at Uranus.
Did you know that the women are "in it to win it?" Because before season seven, they didn't care if they won, apparently.
KRISTY LEE COOK - A.K.A. the "Amazing Grace" girl from L.A. week, because that's all we've seen her sing. For good reason, apparently. She sang "Rescue Me," and no one did. Just another pretty blond who had to sell her horse to fly to the audition. Same old, same old story. Oh, but she's sick! Wait, why are so many of the women supposedly sick, but none of the guys were? My guess: A sexy slumber party featuring an epic pillow fight.
JOANNE BORGELLA - A.K.A. The Plus-Sized Model. She has a tinny voice, not strong at all. We kept waiting for that big belting chorus and it never happened.
Good news from Red Sox spring training camp: David Ortiz took swings in the batting cage Tuesday and said he's nearly fully recovered from knee surgery he had after the World Series. In case anyone else was worried. I know I wasn't. I'll just let those chickens run free a few more days, no need to sacrifice any. Yup, I'm not worried at all.
ALAINA WHITAKER - Never seen her, never heard her sing, but pretty doggone good as a Carrie Underwood clone if far too impressed by her own shoes. Simon pretends to never have heard her song, "Love you more today than yesterday."
AMANDA OVERMYER - A.K.A. The Biker Nurse. She will always sound the same, which might be good enough for an album but for this show, oh dear me no. The judges can't like that raspy voice, can they? Yes, they can. While Val and I were close to muting her, she'll last into the top 12 if only because the show's spent so much time on her that she no doubt has a big following by now.
House remodeling continues. I'm in painting-the-ceilings mode, with Val tidying up the trim and doors. We still want to move in by next Friday, but only if we're fully satisfied that our new home is move-in ready. I'm not sure what that means, but all the drop cloths and paint cans covering the floors will probably have to be removed. Val's pretty picky about that "not stepping over three paint bins on the way to the bathroom" thing.
AMY DAVIS - This girl, however, has no following, no one's ever heard of her, and she'll be out Thursday night because her performance was absolutely painful.
BROOKE WHITE - A.K.A. The Curly Crier. Bad. Whiny. But again, she had plenty of face time in the audition and LA., so she's safe.
There's a house we pass several times a week across from Orgill Park that has had Christmas decorations up since November. I would like to report that, despite the inflated ones being flat a few mornings ago, this morning they were back up and Santa was still circling. Keep it going! Fight the power!
ALEXANDREA LUSHINGTON - Never seen, never heard. Started out strong but weakened toward the end. I hate to make the voting all about groups, but it's always true, the black vote will be split just as much as the cute blond vote will be, so contestants need to stand out quickly to make the top six women.
Just checked, and Memphis is up 21 at Tulane in the second half. So much for looking ahead too much to this weekend's Game Of The Century against Tennessee. (The Vols also won easily.)
KADY MALLOY - A.K.A. Britney Impressionist. It's true, her Britney is impeccable, but apparently the judges aren't too fond of Kady's actual voice. I thought her "Groovy Kind of Love" was, well, groovy. Will she survive the Blond Cut?
Apparently that Jason Castro dreadlocked dude has/had a singer girlfriend named Cheyenne Campbell and was featured in her video for "Hanging On," I think is the title. Look it up for me, please!
ASIA'H EPPERSON - A.K.A. Her Dad Passed Away 3, 2, no 1, Day Before The Audition. Too breathy for me, such as singing "eart" instead of "heart." But she's likable and she's been on the show over and over, so she'll last.
On Monday, I accompanied Val and 13 of her students to the National Civil Rights Museum downtown. Her students wandered through barely reading a word, while Val and I at least tried to take in every exhibit. A group of students in their early teens - all white - strolled through and didn't stop, heading straight outside to play football and eat snacks. Guess that wasn't their kind of museum.  
RAMIELE MALUBAY - A.K.A. The Tiny Asian With A Big Voice. I was sure the judges would tell her this was too slow and old-fashioned, but I forgot that they're pushing hard for her to get votes so they, of course, adored the performance. She, however, only cares that she got to get in the makeup chair and put on cool shoes. Very adorable, at least.
Looking ahead to March, the new season of "Dancing With the Stars" looks to be interesting, with the likes of Kristi Yamaguchi, Priscilla Presley, Shannon Elizabeth and the legendary Steve Guttenberg tangoing for America's enjoyment. The only shocker? No "90210" veterans! Wherefore art thou, Brian Austin Green?
SYESHA MERCADO - A.K.A. Lost Her Voice In L.A. She has potential, and certainly the most powerful voice of them all, but I find her inconsistent. The judges will move mountains to make sure she makes the top 12.
CARLY SMITHSON - A.K.A. The Irish Chick, who, by the way, already has had a contract and an album, yet because she doesn't have a current contract gets to compete. What? Doesn't that mean that Michael Jackson is eligible? Boring, Randy and Paula loved it, Simon as usual agrees with me that she didn't "bring it." The criticism of her mic technique was a little picky, though.
Despite my initial negativity, it turns out the guys were in fact better than the girls, and certainly more entertaining. By 8 o'clock I was bored and lost interest, turning to the internet and funny squirrels for laughs. Tonight, four go home! You probably won't care who it is! Exciting!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Idol 24 - The Boys' Turn

If the opening round is any indication, it looks like the women will dominate American Idol again this season. It's difficult to pick two of the 12 guys who will be voted off Thursday, if only because, despite Randy and Paula's confusing positive reviews of the majority, so many were so underwhelming as to be worthy of elimination. Let's run down the list, shall we?
DAVID HERNANDEZ - I've got nothing. This dude has talent but I could care less. What can I say? I can say that I wish that "New Amsterdam" show would start already so it can stink and be canceled within two weeks. We've seen these ads since last summer and the show hasn't looked any more interesting ever since.
CHIKEZIE - Really, he dropped his last name? Is he competing for Idol or to be on a Brazilian soccer team? The attitude didn't help afterwards, especially since the singing was awful, and Simon calling him "Jacuzzi" will certainly be a keeper.
DAVID COOK - Everyone keeps calling him a rocker, but only in the sense that he could be on a Monster Ballads CD. I've yet to hear him actually, you know, rock. Not that I don't appreciate a good ballad, and he sings well, but don't sing about imagining "me and you" when I don't.
JASON YEAGER - Val and my mom-in-law agreed that he sounds like Aladdin from the Disney movie. I think he's less charming than he thinks with that goofy grin all the way through. I'd like for him to stick around, however, if only for the crowd shots of his little brother, who looks to be from "Petticoat Junction."
ROBBIE CARRICO - I thought Bret Michaels was busy with his own reality show, "Rock Of Love?" He sang "One," which is fitting since he'll find out how lonely it is when he's on stage Thursday night in the bottom of the pack.
I'm not sure why they had a 60s theme this week. We haven't heard many of these guys before, why not let the first round be singers' choice so we can figure out their styles? Just a suggestion. I don't have 25 million readers a week, so maybe my opinion isn't worth spit.
DAVID ARCHULETA - My wife finds this 17-year-old positively endearingly adorable and wants to squeeze his cheeks. He'll definitely make the top 12.
DANNY NORIEGA - He's still fabulous, thanks for asking. And I don't mean his singing. If he doesn't end up playing Jack in a Will And Grace stage production, I'll be shocked. I'm guessing he's got every vote from viewers of "The L Word."
LUKE MENARD - Huh. I would have thought Orlando Bloom was too busy for this competition. He sings alright, but really should stick to big budget Jerry Bruckheimer flicks. And like Bloom, Luke's not leading man material.
Over on The Biggest Loser: Couples, Paul is a tool and deserved to be voted out. What a moron. He goes home, won't take Jillian's calls and eats a giant plate of hot wings? What a moron. Did I say that already? And then at the end we see the montage of returning home, and not only has he not lost any additional weight, he's put on three pounds! Yeah, yeah, he claims he gained weight in the hospital, but really, does anyone not think that he went home and immediately downed four large supreme pizzas? Moron.
COLTON BERRY - Val would like for me to make fun of his hair. I say that's way too easy, especially when he provides much more enjoyable material, such as A) Humming the "Teletubbies" theme when he's nervous, and B) Happily shows that he resembles Ellen DeGeneres. And then he makes me wish Elvis were alive to smack this kid for ruining Suspicious Minds.
GARRET HALEY - Never seen him, never heard him, but I'm sure he was great as an extra in an episode of "That 70s Show" where Donna dates him to make Eric jealous. I'm pretty sure that happened.
That Apple MacBook ad featuring the thin notebook computer sliding out of an envelope is very effective. I can't afford one and won't switch to Macs anytime soon, but I am impressed.
JASON CASTRO - He won't win unless he washes his hair. There, I said it. The dreads have to go. Besides, he smiles far too much for someone who has dreadlocks. Still, even with that stupid gimmick of allowing instruments this year, his guitar-strumming was the second-best performance of the night, only to be upstaged by ...
MICHAEL JOHNS - Can an Aussie be the American Idol? Did you not see "Grease?" "Xanadu?" Come on, we love our doppelgangers down under! Dude's got style. Dude's got that "something" to be a star!
Who's going home? I haven't a clue. Robbie, most likely, and maybe Garret or Colton.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bright spots

In another article on the Union tornadoes, Kieran Darcy of focuses on the women's basketball team, 1998, 2005 and 2006 champions and currently undefeated and No. 1 in the NAIA. One of the people who impressed me with his charity is 2003 PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel, a Memphis native, who pledged to donate $500 to Union for every birdie he makes in this week's Northern Trust Open. Unfortunately he missed the cut shooting 76 in round one and 75 in round two, with a mere four birdies for the tournament.

In a much more shallow sign that the world is rotating into a more favorable position, yesterday down in sunny Ft. Myers, Florida, pitchers and catchers began working out for the 2004 and 2007 World Series Champion Red Sox for spring training. How desperate are Red Sox fans to see our team? Official network NESN actually spent two hours today just showing the players working out. No word on if this included post-workout showers.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A rainbow of confusion

Team Valfrey is awash in color, with Glint O' Gold, Daring Indigo, Golden Mellow, Carlsbad Brown, Sea To Sea, Sunflower Yellow and Hillary Clinton Pale Soulless White drowning us, then mocking us with their evil shiny semi-gloss.

If we were on HGTV, they'd have to create a new show for us. Save My Bath won't do, Save My Kitchen, neither, so how about Save My House!

Actually, I blame the previous homeowners. We're not sure, but we think they used paint on the walls that did not mix well with what we bought, because we needed at least two coats in every room. In the Brown Bedroom (all our rooms will named like Valfrey Estates is an actual mansion like The White House), when we put on the paint with the roller, on the way up it would coat, and then on the way down the paint would wipe back off. Under the chair rail in the dining room, not only was the paint looking awful, it was bubbled up and when we'd sand it down entire sections would peel off like the Blue Man Group in a hot shower. And we haven't even attempted to paint the popcorn ceilings yet!

If this was "The Money Pit," we'd be at the point where if we had a second floor, the tub would crash through the roof.

At least ours is all cosmetic. With the help of uncle Glenn, the master bathroom at least looks pretty good considering it was the most nightmarish of all the rooms when we bought the house. And he's helped a great deal with removing toilets, changing out the molding on doors and fixing cracks in the living room wall up high. Bro-in-law Randy has also helped a lot, installing new light fixtures and our new kitchen Price Pfister pfaucet, which is pfabulous.

I would say that by watching them there's a future for me as a handyman, but that's as silly and unlikely as Wesley Crusher playing a mob boss's kid in "Toy Soldiers." Suddenly all those hours as a kid spent reading books like "Sweet Valley High" and "Babysitter's Club" and "Are You There God It's Me Margaret" come back to haunt me. Sure, by my pre-teen years I moved on to Stephen King, but it was too late, I was already a girly-man who thought "spackle" was for pre-teen girls to put on their jean jackets.

For example, last weekend we figured out how many men it takes to install a new mailbox and post: Three. Or truthfully, two. My father-in-law and brother-in-law to put it in and me to look on approvingly.

Not that I want to over-exert myself. But if I did, apparently we could be covered. I guess when you buy a house you're put on every junk mailing list around the city. Either that, or about ten companies have seen how much we're working on remodeling, because they expect me to die any minute now and keep asking me to purchase mortgage-protection life insurance.

On the weight-loss front, the good news is that even with the Super Bowl last Sunday, because of all the work on the house I managed to lose a pound. The bad news is that I discovered a place near work that is both a Chinese takeout and Japanese steakhouse that also has a carryout/delivery service. Oh yes, sweet tapanyaki, you will be mine!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's not that I don't love you, reality shows, I just don't "love love" you, you know?

AMERICAN IDOL - Welcome to Hollywood! Now, go home. You're out. You, you're in, but it wasn't unanimous. You'd better make an effort to be better for the next round.

Perhaps it says something about the top 24 that of the "favorites," i.e., the ones the show is practically begging us to root for, one is from Australia and another is Irish.

The auditions and Hollywood week spent more time propping up this Josiah kid from here in Tennessee, and then he doesn't even make the top 24? What the heck? Why even bother to get us involved? I've never even heard of half of the top 24 but I can tell you Josiah's life story? If I was one of the unknown finalists I would be ticked off that the show creates stars so early and leaves others to fend for scraps once the competition gets into the voter rounds.

Also, during the auditions the show made a big deal of this country farmboy from Mississippi (the one with the curved cap on all the time). The only time we saw him in Hollywood was when he was thanking the judges after getting eliminated. Never heard him sing. Is there a deleted-scenes version on another network that I'm missing? Can't Fox Reality Network be used to fill in the blanks?

Early favorites (at least of the ones we've seen): Michael Johns, the Aussie, has a soulful scratchy voice reminiscent of Springsteen; David Hernandez, whom Val really liked; David Archuleta has the 16-year-old fresh-faced thing going on; Syesha Mercado, who lost her voice yet still managed to belt out the best L.A. song of the week; and Ramiele Malubay, who has that cute, tiny, humble Asian thing going for her. This year's possible Sanjaya: Danny Noriega, who is far too flamboyant for us. Not that it's a bad thing. I'm like Homer Simpson that way, "I like my beer cold, and my gays flaming."

THE BIGGEST LOSER: COUPLES - Stupid show. Instead of being an inspirational contest that focuses on the positives of losing weight and changing to a healthy lifestyle, we're thrown into the emotional gameplay pit that forces us to choose between teams, individuals and actively root against someone sticking around and changing their life for the better.

Because of the show pitting the contestants against each other in a Klingon honor battle-meets fifth grade playground politics, I find myself rooting for the Blue Team and hating the Black Team.

Why? Let's look at the Blacks:

Paul is a tool. Two weeks ago we found out he's got a girlfriend on the outside. And last week via a video from home we see that Kelly has a boyfriend on the outside, and when he gets all lovey-dovey in the video, Paul tries to steal her moment by talking about how hard it is to see that guy talking about his ex-wife. Idiot.

Maggie cries about how she can't find any true friends, but this season we've seen her as nothing but a ninny, whining early about how she should be able to win challenges simply as a 20-something, and this week she was making fun of the Blue team as a bunch of dumb jocks. Here's a clue, Maggie: Your friends don't not like you because of your weight. That cliche about "ugly on the inside?" True!

Kelly just cries. A lot. She must have some heavy tears, because that's the only reason she loses so much. People this season have far, far, too many issues. Half this show was spent with the Black Team boo-hooing to Jillian's psychologist mother about their problems and supposed reasoning for overeating. I'm with the Blues, I don't need to see a therapist to know that I just really, really like pizza, wings and fried rice.

Brittany and Bernie were likable at the start, the middle and up until this week, when they tried to meddle in the Blue Team's business after Jackie was voted off. This is still a game, so why was all the Black team pi**ed about Jackie getting voted off? Oh yeah, because she and Dan THREW THE WEIGH-IN a few weeks ago in hopes of kicking Mark and Jay off to save Paul and Kelly. Of course, when the Black team had the chance to save Dan with immunity after winning the reward challenge, they didn't, so I guess there's not as much devotion as they claim? All of a sudden they realize there's an element of gameplay involved? Shut up, Black Team.

Sure, on the Blue Team, Mark is kind of a jerk, but Roger and Trent have been nothing but genuine and Jay seems so as well, only he has to put up with his big bro Mark's mouth. Dan, however, lost me with his moaning about losing his mom's getting kicked off. Never, ever, is it good manners on a reality show - though it happens all the time - to ask someone not to vote for you by swearing on their kids' or spouse's life. This is a game, it's not life or death.

Well, actually, in this case it is. And that's the problem. I feel like the show is manipulating events for the dramatics and I want to see people lose weight. In the end, Trent was there for right reasons, and gets the shaft because of it, asking to be voted off due to his injury but I feel it was also to get away from all the infighting. This season kinda sucks. Did I mention that it got a little dusty in our bedroom when the guys on Blue were voting off Trent?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jeff's Top 5: 2007 Oscar Best Picture Nominees

Sure, I haven't seen any of the Best Picture nominees, but that doesn't mean I can't rank them, am I right? I mean, I've seen all the trailers and clips and read the reviews, and know the actors and directors, so why not pre-judge? Join me, because none of you have seen them, either!
1. No Country For Old Men - I enjoy a good Coen Brothers movie, and based on what I've heard I'm pretty sure I'd really like this one as well, especially if Javier Bardem is as creepily wicked as advertised.
2. Juno - This year's Novelty Comedy (Little Miss Sunshine being last year's entry) has the look of a quirky funny flick, a sort of Knocked Up for the unhip set.
3. Michael Clayton - On the face this George Clooney film looks boring. But I'm reminded that I've liked past lawyery movies like A Civil Action, and Clooney is always worth watching, so this is in the middle of the pack. Or it would bore me to tears. Is there at least nudity? And not of Clooney, I mean.
4. Atonement - Based on what I've already read about the ending, I'm pretty confident that I would leave this film angry. Plus, I rarely care for Keira Knightley's work. I'd probably only come away with thoughts about the WWII aspects, especially at Dunkirk, which from what I can tell don't last long.
5. There Will Be Blood - I've liked filmmaker P.T. Anderson's work before (Punch-Drunk Love being the main example), but I have absolutely no interest in a movie about an oil guy in the early 20th century who's like a snake-oil salesman and his sidekick religious figure who no doubt does not represent Christianity positively.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Valfrey's 2007 Christmas In Pictures

Hey folks!

People often ask me, "Sir, could you eat off your own plate?" But that's not important right now. No, people ask, "What's with the six week wait for pictures?" And to that I say, Hey, I never even posted our Chickasaw pictures because I never got around to captioning them, and that was July!

Sure, it's nearly Valentine's Day (I'll have those pictures up by Memorial Day), but I finally have my and Val's Christmas pictures up from holiday trips around Tennessee to see all the family we could!

Please do enjoy!

And if you get offended by any, don't worry, I've also offended someone else equally as much, and I'll surely disappoint you again on the next page!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Headline futures point to negative focus until Bush leaves office

- But don't question the patriotism of the City Council of Berkeley, Calif, that makes 'em mad:
In taking on the Marines, the council also directed the city attorney to investigate legal means of ousting the recruiting station, calling the Marines “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” in this bastion of liberal politics, 1960s free speech and high-minded nonbinding resolutions.
Since the Marines have a lease that runs through next year, what will the council do? Not that they'd be petty or anything, no, far be it, but they designated a parking space in front of the recruiting station for antiwar group Code Pink, which protests the Marines constantly out front.

- Does every American Idol featured contestant have to have a tragic story? I'm willing to bet a lot of these numnuts who try out even though they know they're crazy and awful have some sad stories to tell, too, but we don't see those in favor of making fun of the nutjobs who might actually cause someone harm someday.

- So last Friday was Wear Red day as a reminder than women die of heart disease. To go along with Wear Pink day for breast cancer awareness and every other day women remind themselves that they get sick sometimes. Men are still 50 percent of the population, right? And get cancer and have diseases too, right? Is it too much to ask for one, say, Wear Brown day for Prostate Cancer awareness?

- Here's a good reason for taking the mainstream media's business forecasts with a little doubt (courtesy
* "Stock Futures Point to Further Decline"--headline, Associated Press, Jan. 3, 7:02 a.m.
* "Stock Futures Point to Flat Open"--headline, Associated Press, Jan. 3, 8:22 a.m.
* "Stock Futures Point to Higher Open"--headline, Associated Press, Jan. 3, 9:21 a.m.
This is a product of having a Republican president. If you look at most any business story nowadays, even positive numbers are met with skepticism and followed with a "but."

- Can someone remind me if we're voting for Hope or Change this election?

- You know all those studies that seem to make fun of Americans for being ignorant about basic knowledge of the country and the world? Spread the hogwash around, will ya? Those enlightened English aren't so much:
Britons are losing their grip on reality, according to a poll out Monday which showed that nearly a quarter think Winston Churchill was a myth while the majority reckon Sherlock Holmes was real. The survey found that 47 percent thought the 12th century English king Richard the Lionheart was a myth.
Next up, a poll suggesting French youths aren't sure what fries and toast have to do with France.

- The English won't be getting medals for standing up to tyranny, and neither will Belgium or New Zealand. Why? Because they're making their Olympic athletes sign a contract promising not to speak out about China's appalling human rights record – or face being banned from traveling to Beijing. They also aren't allowed to put soy sauce on their fried rice, refuse to watch Jackie Chan movies or laugh at anyone named Dung or Fu King.

- Headline of the Day: Black History Month: 3 Ways To Get a Husband
Langston Hughes would be so proud.

- Headline of the Day II: Police: Crack Found in Man's Buttocks
Not exactly "Man Bites Dog," eh?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Schilling? WTF?

Not sure how I missed this yesterday, but Curt Schilling could end up missing the entire 2008 season with a bad shoulder?

Even worse, he and the Sox have differing opinions on the treatment and amount of time to be missed, so much so that their relationship could be severed!

WHAT?! Why? When? How? This is a joke, right? Well it ain't funny. Don't eat my cheese and poop in the fridge and expect me to be forgiving, okay? We need a Dr. Phil intervention, pronto!

Reality TV - Two of my antagonists are goners!

SURVIVOR: FANS VS. FAVORITES - Johnny Fairplay is a big wuss. Not that I mind, since he's out after week one. When he realized people wouldn't let him win, he asked them to "vote for him" on the pretense that he wanted to get home to his seven-month pregnant girlfriend. (As if someone would willingly have sex with him.) He insists he "didn't quit." Whatever. He will whine like a Hillary supporter at an Obama rally. When JF was going for the immunity idol and Yau Man out hustled him for it, JF got all huffy about his arm being "slammed" into the boat. Whatever, dude, y'all both wanted it, you screwed up, take it, or else I'll sick Bonaduce on you again! Not sure about this season, since all the "favorites" are from the last few seasons, seasons that have left me bored and/or not watching. Guess that means I'll be rooting for the fans.
AMERICAN IDOL - This week we went back to my old home in Atlanta and managed not to mention Mike Vick, had a "best of the rest" show to fill time and NOW it's time for Hollywood! Amazingly, the judges seemed to get along better, or at least it was edited that way, during the audition rounds this year. No obvious breakdowns by Paula, and she and Simon had some genuinely playful banter.
In Atlanta, the surprise audition was the South Florida Fair queen, who was set up for us to make fun of, but she turned into a bubbly blonde with a good heart and an awesome voice, and could be this year's Pickler. The Indiana Biker Nurse will get a lot of play, it seems, as this year's Rock Chick, although I think she sounds like any other singer in a band on Beale Street here in Memphis. Warning: When singers claim they have a "unique voice," RUN. 
In Hollywood it appears the contestants will get to show off all of their musical talents with instruments, so will America vote for the best all-around or stay with the best singers? The editing of the auditions made it seem like every person given the Golden Ticket has "a story," mostly due to family members dying, so we're going to have to vote on actual talent this time since no one has the obvious edge in tearjerkers.
PROJECT RUNWAY - Ding, dong, Crying Ricky is gone! Hallelujah! Besides this being the best week of the season (due to Ricky getting kicked off and despite no one getting bodyslammed), what started out as an eye-rolling challenge - dressing up WWE Divas - actually turned out to be one in which every designer had a decent design and enjoyed themselves. Chris won his first challenge, Christian got huffy since he felt his S&M Vixen design was better (it was certainly fierce, I'll give him that), and Jillian survived with little time-management problems.
BIGGEST LOSER: COUPLES - This week's show was pre-empted due to tornado coverage Tuesday night, and re-aired at 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning, so we haven't caught up yet.
DANCE WAR - We stopped caring.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Mid-South feels Mother Nature's wrath

Wow, what a night Tuesday here in the Mid-South. It started out with severe storms around 4 p.m. that spawned several deadly tornadoes in the Memphis area and ended with calls throughout Jackson to check on Val's gang and to make sure everyone was okay at our alma mater as Union was hit hard. A few dorms collapsed, trapping some students for several hours, the roof was torn off one of the new buildings, Jennings Hall, and students were shuttled off campus as soon as possible to safety while power was out all over the northern part of the city. According to fellow grad Tim Ellsworth (you'll see his link on the left as part of my esteemed blogroll), now News Director at the school, 51 students went to the hospital, nine classified with serious injuries, none life-threatening, thank goodness.

When we finally were assured everyone was fine and the storms had passed, we went to bed, only to wake up when Val heard the carbon monoxide alarm beeping a warning downstairs.

And to top it off, when I got up at 3 o'clock this morning to go to work and report on all this, there was no hot water. It could be worse.

UPDATE 6:26 p.m. -
Look at this picture of the devastation and you'll agree that it's a miracle no one died when what looks to be an F4 twister roared through Union's dorms. It doesn't even resemble the happy-go-lucky place I spent four years of college, playing video games and starting water balloon fights.

A blog called UU Emergency has been set up for those who need information and would like to help.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008

Interested 30 seconds at a time

I admit, I picked the Patriots to win, but if I had picked a score I would have leaned towards a New England win by at least ten points, probably two touchdowns in a relatively easy win. That's why I don't bet on games!

Not that I cared. I have never been so uninspired during a big game. I seriously couldn't care less what happened. While my wife and in-laws yelled at every play in support of Eli, and when I went to work my co-workers yelled both ways, the only time I raised my voice was to tell my mother-in-law how wicked awesome the feast was that we enjoyed. Growing up, my family would gather 'round and enjoy tacos and nachos and such, and last night was no different. It was like the old days, only now I had a wife!

Now, my awards for the best part of the game, the commercials!

Best: FedEx's carrier pigeons. Sure, at first the cute birds look harmless, but the 20-footers wreak havoc!

Bringing Crotch Pain Back: Justin Timberlake getting racked by a mailbox repeatedly in a Pepsi spot.

Inexplicably Fun: Lizards dancing to "Thriller," which I have no idea how is related to colored water. And Naomi Campbell? What's she been up to besides throwing stuff at her helpers or kissing up to dictators-in-training like Hugo Chavez?

Almost Makes Me Want To Drink: If only I was cool enough to drink alcohol, I'd really grab a Bud Light with ads like the one with the wine & cheese party where the guys sneak in beer.

Save The Squirrels!: The Bridgestone tires ad with the screaming animals, a Disney horror movie with a happy ending.

Gross Stuff You Usually Only See On CSI:'s "Follow your heart" campaign. Straight to the morgue, apparently.

Awwwwwww: The Budweiser Dalmatian trains a Clydesdale "Rocky"-like to make the team next year.

You Spent $2.7 Million, I Got To Pee: Every boring ad that gave the audience reason to go to the bathroom. I'm talking to you, annoying talking stain!

Badgers? We Don't Need No Stinking Badgers!: Toyota and its sleeping family of badgers that don't like loud noises.

SoBe Or Not To SoBe?: SoBe? G2? Vitamin Water? Life Water? How much colored sugar water does this country need?

You Think It's Funnin', But ...: That peanuts commercial with the chick who uses Planters as perfume? Seems silly, but Val smeared herself with Outback bloomin' onions on our first date and I was smitten from the get-go.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

NFL predictions come to roost

My call for Super Bowl 42, or for Roman Numeral beginners, Super Bowl IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII: The Patriots' water boy will get caught filming the Giants' water boy in hopes of learning the secrets of his hydration techniques.

On the field, the Patriots will win. I know, how daring of me to pick the 18-0 team. But at least I can say that I picked New England to win it all before the season.

My predictions for the AFC were mostly spot on, missing only the wild cards, but my selections for the NFC were awful:

East - New England
South - Indianapolis
North - Pittsburgh
West - San Diego
Wild Cards - Baltimore, Denver

East - Philadelphia
South - New Orleans
North - Chicago
West - St. Louis
Wild Cards - Dallas, Seattle

Super Bowl - New England over Philadelphia

Friday, February 01, 2008

House update, when reality meets reality TV

I've decided that a change in terminology is in order. Instead of saying that we're "fixing up" our new house, I'm going with the fancier "remodeling." Sounds more high end, more HGTV-ish, don't you think?

Work on Valfrey Estates is coming along slowly, but this weekend is sure to reignite a fury of activity, starting this afternoon when bro-in-law Randy installs our new bathroom fixtures. All week, Val's uncle Glenn has done yeoman's work on the master bathroom to make it presentable for painting and making up for the horror movie-worthy wallpaper removal.

I can only stand amazed and hope to pick up a few tips, because one thing I've realized is that there's nothing more emasculating than buying a fixer-upper when you're like me and your only skill set is that you are tall (for changing light bulbs and cleaning in high spaces) and big (to can carry heavy things). I picked up a new one yesterday afternoon, though. I loves me some spackle. Fill nail holes? I'm your man!

Seriously, earlier this week as Val was removing wallpaper and I was poking at it without success, she's all, "Get away, Wedge, you can't do any good back there!" So I'm wandering around the house with a duster and disinfectant wipes to at least clean the walls.

On the ol' boob tube, reality hits hard for some contestants ...

AMERICAN IDOL - At first I felt bad for feeling so entertained and glad when the girl from American Juniors was humiliated by the judges. And then I realized that the show was edited to manipulate us to make fun of a 16-year-old girl who just wants to be famous, and I didn't feel so bad.

What was up with Paula in Omaha? She was clearly off her meds, or on some stronger ones, based on the way she practically slithered around the room. If the table was a 15-year-old boy she would have been arrested for soliciting a minor, which I'm pretty sure she already does. Did you see how she molested the Venezuelan dude in Miami? Of course, he claimed to be 27 when he is obviously 45, but still, I'm pretty sure Paula wrote her cell number on his chest before he left.

THE BIGGEST LOSER: COUPLES - Stupid show. It shouldn't even have "couples" in the title anymore, because the couples will now compete as individuals in teams of two, like every other season. Then what was the point of getting us invested in everyone as a pair? I want my money back! Did anyone else think that the contestants took it a little too personally that Bob didn't pick them for his team? Way too many dramatics this season.

Last week I forgot to mention that it turns out Paul has a girlfriend! Which makes his constant talk of losing weight to get back with Kelly a little awkward now that he's back home, no? And instead of being the Biggest Loser, this does make him the Biggest Tool, so he's got that going for him.
Also, it turns out Bernie has a girlfriend back home, so no more talk of him trying to hit on Brittany. Though, his letter from home wasn't from his girlfriend, but "his dog." Unless ghost-written by her, must not be that serious, right? Or is this a made-up "girlfriend," like I used to tell people in high school? "Oh yeah, she's totally cute and cool, but you'll never meet her since she doesn't have a car and her parents won't let her meet anyone, and that's a shame."