Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back to work, suckers!

Everyone out of your turkey comas now? No longer stuffed with stuffing? Done cramming cranberries down your esophagus that is already backed up by gravy? Geez, just how much pie can you eat, anyway?
 
You know all those who bemoan starting Christmas until after Thanksgiving? Well, suck it, because yeah baby it's time to bring on Christmas!
Ahem. Anyway, Team Valfrey enjoyed two, TWO Thanksgivings, ah ah ah! (To borrow from "Sesame's Street's" The Count.) I've been working since Tuesday and will continue working through Wednesday, so I skedaddled out of here Thursday at noon in time to make it to Val's grandmother's for the feast. Saturday my mom-in-law's side had a Thanksgiving get-together, so more overeating before going to work, with the leftovers for dinner that leaves everyone else in the building wondering what that great smell is coming from the break room. Of course, if they touched any of it, they would pull back bloody stumps, so Happy Holidays, and all that.

The best part of the food: We bought a ten-pound Honeybaked Ham for Saturday, but needed only about seven. How convenient, more for us at home! Bwahahahahahaha! My precious!!!!

(Do I seem to be in a sinister mood tonight, like a friend of the Jonas "we believe in chastity" Brothers leaving naked groupies in their rooms as a prank? I'm really fine, but hey, it's Sunday night and I'm at work until 10, then coming back in at 3 a.m., so I think it's a natural survival response.)

Friday night was the highlight of the weekend, decorating the Official Thanks For Noticing Me Christmas Tree and the living room of Valfrey Estates for our first Christmas in the new house. All while watching that holiday classics, "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers," extended editions. Hey, there are snowpeaked mountains and gifts exchanged, so it counts. And most of the blood from the beheadings runs red, so that's festive in it's own way. 

Now I'm trying to figure out if I want to try to put up outdoor decorations. Is it too soon to attempt such a feat in our new house? Should I start simple, with some lights on the bushes and along the gutters, but avoid inflatables? Maybe some candy canes lining the driveway, a wreath on the door. No Santa on the roof with real reindeer, right? Too "Christmas Vacation?"
 
I'm sure y'all will be hanging on every update. I, however, will either be in a Honeybaked coma, working or napping until Thursday.

Jeff's Top 5: Silly Movie Moments

Five "That's just silly" scenes:

1. James Bond skis down a falling glacier in "Die Another Day."

2. Natalie Portman falls 200 feet from a speeding ship and dusts herself off and keeps right on going in "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones."

3. A frakin' UFO in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

4. Steve Buscemi shoots a machine gun in space in "Armageddon." Why are there so many weapons on those shuttles? And yes, I know, this is only slightly more silly than sending a bunch of roughneck drillers into space to blow up an asteroid the size of Texas that would end life on Earth.

5. Jack Nicholson pulls out a gun with a really, really long barrel and shoots down the Batplane in "Batman," after Michael Keaton's Caped Crusader misses the Joker with a barrage of gunfire.

Honorable Mentions:

Any of the embarrassing moments in "There's Something About Mary." No one's that stupid, right? I could also go with that "milking a cat" stupidity in "Meet the Parents."

Jason Statham flips his car 360 degrees to remove a bomb from the underside, scraping it against a shipping crane in "Transporter 2."

Bruce Willis rides a water main break in "Die Hard With a Vengeance."

Surviving with barely a mussed hairdo in the middle of an F5 in "Twister."

Mark Wahlberg lands at the feet of the Ape-braham Lincoln Memorial in the remake of "Planet of the Apes."

Anything with Marlon Brando in "Apocalypse Now."

It's raining frogs in "Magnolia."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What I'm Thankful For, 2008





Now that Obama is president, the oceans will recede and people will stop being sick.

Joel McHale and 30 minutes of hilarity every weekend on "The Soup."

My wedding ring, which I use like a superhero to ward off female admirers. (Stop laughing. I could have a couple. Or a desperate one.)

Quotable movies, or else my vocabulary would be cut in half.

The Masters, a tradition unlike any other.

Christmas music.

Soldiers at home and abroad doing what I'm too spoiled to do.

Hymns I can actually sing.

Our new house in January, moving into Valfrey Estates in March, making the home all our own.

Family and friends who helped remodel and make it happen, especially Val's uncle Glenn for fixing the bathroom walls and the leak in the roof, and Val's sister's husband, Randy, for changing out almost all of the light fixtures.

The big honking scar on my belly meaning a troubled gallbladder is gone, good health insurance for paying for all but $100 of it, and work allowing me two weeks paid leave to recover.

On a related note, gastrointestinal medicines.

The goosebumps I get when someone is baptized.

Dad living in Miami and doing so much to help us come down for our second anniversary.

Family and certain friends this summer, for you know what and you know why. Val and I can't appreciate y'all enough.

John 11:35, "Jesus wept," giving everyone at least one Bible verse they can remember.

Turkey and dressing at Old Timer's and blooming onion at Outback Steakhouse.

When waiters write down my order instead of memorizing it.

The Lord of the Rings movie scores.

Old Time Pottery.

Tigers basketball for an undefeated regular season and 38 awesome minutes in the NCAA championship game.

Playing fetch with in in-laws' dogs, even when Patches sits on a chair and barks while Sam actually plays along.

Wall-E.

Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jonathan Papelbon as the core who kept the Red Sox playing into October.

100 calorie Swiss Cake rolls.

Adorable nephews and cousins.

Kickers (the final stories of a newscast) that make working in TV news fun after all the horrible news at the beginning.

Crock-Pot to make Mom's chili.

Lower gas prices.

My Darling wife Valerie, with whom I never knew how much I enjoy snuggling on the couch watching our favorite shows and movies.


(Hop in the Way Back Machine for the 2007 edition and wayer back in 2004.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New phones

Val and I suffered through our Motorola Razr cell phones for two years and I heard this is a good time for hope and change, so I utilized that bogus "available for upgrade" B.S. that AT&T fed us and re-upped on the chance that wireless service isn't supposed to totally suck.

Val wouldn't let me get her a super-duper fancy phone, so she has to make due with a regular flip phone that at least can play music and hold a ton of pictures. I went with a Tilt, which is a touch-screen phone that also has a slide-out keyboard. I don't care to pay extra to check e-mail or surf the Internet, I just want the Microsoft Office tools to write blog notes and travelogues while out and about so that I'm not toting around fifty pages of scribbled notes everywhere I go. Plus it plays music and looks cool.

Seeing that he's on our family plan, we got Val's Dad's a new phone as well. In fact, his phone was purchased first by several days and arrived ten days later, a good five days after our phones arrived. Thanks UPS. Where's your magic marker commercial guy now?! Not that the package didn't make it to Memphis in the 3-5 days as promised. It's just that three days after that there was a note on the tracking site that informed us that his phone was now in Rocklin. That's in CALIFORNIA. Which, for the geographical misinformed, is a whole 'nother state. After a trip to Sacramento and Louisville, the package made it back a few days after that, with nary an apology or supervisor falling on a sword in shame.

Meanwhile, we couldn't get my Tilt to sync up with my PC and the memory card faltered so I had to re-format it and re-download all of the pictures and music, 4 GB worth. Even when I got it to sync up, it's easier to mess with the music by removing the teeny tiny card and inserting it into a USB adapter that plugs into the computer. Which seems primitive, just one step away from playing Pong. (I have Ms. Pac-Man and Tiger Woods Golf on the phone, though I have to pay for the whole thing to get more than a tease. Bastards.)

I'm thinking that I was just guilty of bad AT&T karma. Before I got my phone I wanted to go to the AT&T store to play with one on display. There weren't any, and one of the associates went to the back to open one up. I told him not to go through all the trouble, trying to warn him that I wasn't buying it from him, but he went ahead and opened the box and even loaded the software. I played with the Tilt, fell in love with it, and of course when I told him that I would be buying a refurbished one online he had the look like I just told him I was going to the nursing home to punch his grandmother in the face. He kept calling out about how he could do everything in the store that I could do online, but his pleas didn't work on me as I inched away awkwardly in guilt. Later I didn't feel so guilty when the AT&T chick at another store got an attitude with us when she wasn't understanding our desire to buy accessories to Val's phone that the store did not have, and kept pushing us to get stuff we either had or didn't want.

Meanwhile, has anyone else noticed that with phones like mine, technology takes a step back while making steps forward? At least, here's how I see the evolution of the internet:

Dial-up days - Bare bones sites, few graphics because it would take too long to load.

High-speed days - Very flashy, full of graphics, large sites made for widescreen LCD monitors.

Fancy cell phone days - Sites optimized for reading on a cell phone, all text, bare bones.

I really watch too much TV

Not that I'm going to stop, mind you, but I am aware. (At least I spend some of it on the exercise bike.)
 
On last night's DANCING WITH THE STARS, as with last spring the woman who was the best technical dancer with tendencies to be boring won, and thankfully it was Brooke and not Warren, who would have been the most insufferable "champion" in the history of any show.
 
For some reason they have the finale last two hours, and didn't start it until 8, meaning we had to wait until 9:55 to find out the winner, which is longer than it took for the Obamedia to give The Obamessiah the presidency on election night.
 
Over on NBC and THE BIGGEST LOSER, Amy C.'s lack of committing to a side cost her as Vicky cast the deciding vote. Amy can only blame herself for not voting out Vicky when she had the chance and siding with Renee and Michelle and tossing out the two most repulsive Losers in the history of the show in Heba and Vicky.
 
Sunday night on THE AMAZING RACE, Team Superbad seemed doomed (finally), but lived again in a non-elimination leg, even though they can't read clues, the neglected to retrieve their shoes from the previous leg, can't wrap their feet correctly in a Detour and can't march in formation. Seriously, you couldn't walk as uncoordinatedly as Dan if you tried. The broke drunk Russian soldiers even found him a laughingstock, and are probably thinking, "We lost the Cold War, how?" Meanwhile, Nick and Starr won this week's entry in "Who gets the worst, most lost cab driver," and the mother/son team won a leg for the first time, and continue to get our hopes up for a victory.
 
Onto non-reality TV, 24: REDEMPTION. Meh. After a year-and-a-half of waiting, I may have lost interest for the same old, same old political intrigue, shadow groups and Jack saving the day after a lot of yelling and torture. The only reason I'll start the new season in January is to see how they bring Tony back, and to hear Jack say "Flank two position" and "Tell me where they are!!!!!" a zillion more times.
 
You want to know the best comedy out there right now? HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. I know, I know, you're thinking, "Cute, but great?" Yes. Every week Val and bust out laughing several times an episode, and they've got the 24-35 year-old demographic down pat. Or, at least, what we imagine our generation to be like.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey, anti-dentite, Dancing finale

I'm sure many of you are enjoying your three-day workweek. I, however, am on day one of nine in a row. Don't weep for me, since I'll still get my share of turkey at two family gatherings (Thursday and Saturday) and I'll savor the L-tryptophan that makes napping easier with every bite.
 
Speaking of biting, my teeth are sparkly clean this morning. Okay, so due to years of tea they're still more off-white than "George Hamilton white," but clean nonetheless.
 
Before my dentist appointment Monday morning there was no sense of dread. I didn't think twice about it. And then I sat in the chair. And was reminded that when they do those bite-wing X-rays that I tend to gag. A lot. So while they're putting those things in my mouth I'm trying to breathe out my nose, they're frustrated that my tongue is in the way when I think subconsciously it's just trying to help, and my eyes start to water. I'm not saying that it's tough to feel like a manly man in that situation, I'm just saying that even the Hanson brothers would be like Rocky, Detective John McClain and Shaft in comparison.
 
Then there's the scraping. I still can't figure out what to do with my tongue, and I still can't breathe because there are pools of saliva and whatever is coming off my teeth pooling in my throat, and I can't swallow lest the scraper end up embedded in my gums. Which aren't perfect because I don't floss regularly. And by "regularly," I mean, never in my life. Isn't enough that I've had a lifetime of sticking toothpicks in there to get out popcorn?
 
At least my wisdom teeth are gone, she didn't find any cavities and I don't have to do the X-rays for a year. So I've got that going for me.
 
On HEROES, things are getting good. Sure, eclipses only last like, what, ten minutes, but this one seems to be worldwide (even the half of the planet at night?) and lasting for hours, but we're not here to talk plausibility. It presents a new situation, "what happens when their powers are gone?" Not good things, for the most part. Meanwhile, I like the addition of Daphne this season, so can we see more of her and less of Mohinder? Can he die horribly and soon? And what's up with Elle? She goes from evil to having a conscience in milliseconds. The producers need to figure out if we're supposed to think she's crazy or a hero.
 
It's DANCING WITH THE STARS! The final performances!
 
To give you an idea of how much filler was in this show, we started watching our DVR at 8:15 and were finished at 8:45. A half-hour of actual meat and another hour of useless air. (No comments from the Peanut Gallery on the worthiness of reality programs in general.) 
 
When the dancing actually began, the "Samba Smackdown" led off, with a lot of bright yellow outfits and the three couples doing their thing for a minute apiece, back-to-back-to-back.
 
Brooke and Derek started off awkwardly and I started to think of her as the Titans, undefeated but still with holes. She's starting to look afraid to make mistakes.
 
Lance and Lacey did a lively number and were the best of the three and have been getting better every week. I'm starting to think they should win this thing.
 
Warren and Kym were the same old, same old, he can't really dance that great but the judges don't care. Except Len, who surprised everyone by giving him a 7. Otherwise the judges are typical of finales, kissing the couples' tails that "You were great! And you were great! And you were great! Gold stars for everyone!"
 
It's time for the Freestyle round, which is usually pretty silly and just an excuse for lifts.
 
Brooke and Derek come out firing with "You're the One that I Want" from "Grease," and it was pretty awesome. Sure, Brooke looked stiff and seemed to be thinking ahead to the lifts, but doggonit if those twirls and jumps and flips weren't  spectacular and difficult. 10s from the judges!

I take it back. Lance and Lacey don't deserve to win. They go with a hip-hop number, which is neither hip nor is there much hopping. Val and I don't like the hip-hop, especially on a ballroom show, so to risk hyperbole this was an affront to everything we hold dear. 9s all around from the judges, who noticed that Lancey didn't actually, you know, dance half the time.
 
Warren and Kym start out slow, with actual dancing, at least, and then end fast and furiously. 9-10-9 from the judges, and here's where I have to question Len. A 10, Len, really, after you said this: "I know you lack technique." And then he always adds the "but," and credits Warren for entertainment value. Un-frakin' believable. Hey, Cloris was entertaining, so why not give her a 10? Lance and Lacey were entertaining, but you were too busy noticing that they weren't wearing shoes. Consistency, Len! It's not just about pooping at your age.
 
Who should win? Brooke and Derek. Who will win? I'm scared that Warren will, but the audience came through last year for Kristi, so I have hope.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Outwitted

That was one of the most entertaining "Survivor" episodes ever. Seeing blowhard bigot Randy look like the a** he is the entire episode, and get fooled at the end that he had the immunity idol was entirely satisfying.

The producers must have had fun with it, too, because that was the first time they spent the last half hour setting someone up without any editing to indicate that it would go down any other way.

In other news, Ken is a moron, getting his money plus Bob's at the food auction and never bidding enough to win, including a hamburger and french fries. Dude, it doesn't get better than that!

Jeff reviews "Quantum of Silence"

No, I have no idea what "Quantum of Solace" means. But I do know that so long as Daniel Craig keeps playing Bond pretty much the opposite of Pierce Brosnan and the filmmakers avoid cheesy double-entendres and ridiculous stunts, then the franchise is in good hands.

Following up where "Casino Royale" ended, with Craig still ticked off about his love's death, "Quantum" is driven by revenge and covers all the territory you'd expect: car chase, boat chase, foot chase, airplane chase. The only thing we didn't see him doing was chasing a guy named Chase into the Chase bank. Meanwhile, it all happens in Italy, England, Haiti, Austria and Bolivia, which we know because the native women wear those funny bowler hats.

Unfortunately the editing of these chases is done in that modern quick-cut way that is confusing and leaves the audience wondering who's who. This movie isn't driven by Sean Connery's charm or Roger Moore's wit, it's pure adrenaline. Although, watching "Thunderball" the other night I couldn't help but notice Connery's outfits, Craig is a dead ringer for Connery in style, with the tight button-down short sleeve shirts and form-fitting pants. Yes, I watch too much "Project Runway," and I'm okay with that.

"Quantum" is surprisingly short at only 1 hour and 45 minutes, maybe too quick because I didn't feel like the plot had developed enough. We knew that the bad guy (Mathieu Almaric), whom I call Oilfinger for a reason you'll find obvious, was bad, but supposedly he was trying to control most of the world's water though I couldn't tell how he was doing this, why he was, or how soon he could accomplish his dastardly scheme. We do know that he actually was just a pawn for Quantum, which looks to be the new SPECTRE, a powerful shadow group with an unknown leader and hands in every important cookie jar on the planet. (Mmm ... cookies.)

The opening song, a staple in Bond films, is an awful duet with Jack White and Alicia Keys called "Another Way To Die." There's some yelling, and whining, and that was just me squirming in my seat. Go grab some popcorn (and get me some Twizzlers while you're at it), and you'll be fine.

I know that this is an Obama world now and we have to get used to this "cycle of violence" nonsense where we pretend that the good guys are just as bad as the bad guys, but still the "Quantum" script gets too bogged down in talk about the idea that good countries must deal with the worst elements and make deals with them for practicality, and it starts to get preachy and gets too close to turning into a "Lord of War" annoyance.

John Beifuss, critic for the Memphis newspaper The Commie Appeal, is a touchy-feely guilty liberal who peppers his reviews for social statements supposedly to protect women and minorities so they'll be nice to him when he hits on them in bars, so he decides that the term "Bond girl" is "not only sexist but anachronistic." Dude, get over yourself. It's a fun term for the 22 films that features some of the most beautiful and strongest women on screen. I'm not sure how he watches Olga Kurylenko in "Quantum of Solace" and decides she's a damsel in distress. She's feisty, she stands up for herself and she can kick butt. That she's a hottie is just a bonus. *cough*

Conservative columnist Mark Steyn sums up this kind of Bond viewer like Beifuss: "There are, broadly speaking, three reactions to Bond: those who dislike him; those who love him; and those who love him but feel obliged to deplore all the frightful imperialism, racism, alcoholism, chain smoking, snobbery, profoundly unsafe sex, etc."

I don't know how far Craig will go with Bond, but it will be a sad day when he leaves the tux behind. He may not order a martini "shaken, not stirred" or have a dozen gadgets at his disposal, yet his steely blue eyes, deadpan humor and resourcefulness are just what a 2008 audience wants from the world's most famous spy. And so long as he's here the franchise needs Judi Dench as M. Dench actually deserves an Oscar nomination for her performance as M, Bond's authority figure with a heart of gold.

Any doubts that I had about how much better this movie is were rendered null and void when I stayed up until 2 a.m. the other night watching "Die Another Day" on cable, which is even more insulting to the brain having to wait around during commercial breaks. I only remembered feeling embarrassed for the filmmakers and Brosnan for the "surfing the falling glacier" awfulness, but I forgot about the terrible dialogue, the back-and-forth between Brosnan and Halle Berry that consisted entirely of bedroom suggestions. Just terrible.

"Quantum of Solace" is better on every level. EVERY. LEVEL. Okay, except for the song. I'll take Madonna's over that that White-Keys travesty. But that's it!

Over the top Obamania

And you thought I was joking about calling him the Obamessiah:
"Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope....Barack Hussein Obama did not win because of the color of his skin. Nor did he win in spite of it. He won because at a very dangerous moment in the life of a still young country, more people than have ever spoken before came together to try to save it. And that was a victory all its own."
That was written by Time magazine's Nancy Gibbs in the November 17 cover story.

Mark Steyn, meanwhile, has some problems with new Bond, Daniel Craig, choosing Obama as a better Bond over McCain:
Before we close the book on this election season, let me quote one of the most dispiriting asides on the subject. Daniel Craig, the star of the new James Bond movie The Audacity Of Solace – no, wait, A Quantum Of Hope - was being interviewed by Kevin Sessums for Parade (that supplement thingie that’s free in all the local newspapers), and as a final question was asked which of the two candidates would make the better 007:
Craig doesn’t hesitate. ‘Obama would be the better Bond because—if he’s true to his word—he’d be willing to quite literally look the enemy in the eye and go toe-to-toe with them. McCain, because of his long service and experience, would probably be a better M,’ he adds, mentioning Bond’s boss, played by Dame Judi Dench. ‘There is, come to think of it, a kind of Judi Dench quality to McCain.’
Oh, great. John McCain has survived plane crashes, just like Roger Moore in Octopussy. He has escaped death in shipboard infernos, just like Sean Connery in Thunderball. He has endured torture day after day, month after month, without end, just like Pierce Brosnan in the title sequence of Die Another Day. He has done everything 007 has done except get lowered into a shark tank and (as far as we know) bed Britt Ekland and Jill St John.

And yet Daniel Craig gives him the desk job.

On the other hand, Barack Obama has spent his entire adult life chit-chatting with “community organizers” and campus lefties – and he’s the last action hero? It’s true he’s offered “to quite literally look the enemy in the eye” without preconditions. But, given that he looked the Reverend Jeremiah Wright in the eye for 20 years and failed to notice he was an ugly neo-segregationist race-baiter peddling insane conspiracy theories, and that he looked William Ayers in the eye for almost as long and failed to notice he was an unrepentant terrorist, and that he looked Tony Rezko in the eye for an extremely beneficial real estate deal and failed to notice he was already being mentioned in the Chicago papers for various unsavory activities, I’m not sure Senator Obama is the go-to guy for in-the-field intelligence work.
In other news: " While demanding tolerance from others, gay activists apparently feel no need to show any themselves." - Thomas Sowell. Read why he says it, and be amazed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

There's good and there's bad

The good: Congrats to plucky Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia for winning the American League MVP award yesterday! He's the first Red Sox player to earn the honor since Mo Vaughn in 1995; it is the 10th MVP award in club history. Well, actually 11. I still give Ted Williams the 1941 award for hitting .406, which instead went to Joe DiMaggio of the dang Yanks. Oh, make that 12. Mike Greenwell also should be given the award after finishing second to Jose "I'll make out with a horse as long as I get paid" Canseco.
Some stats to back it up, because I'm sure a lot of folks who root for other teams are quite surprised:
 
Pedroia led the majors with 54 doubles, tied Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki for first with 213 hits, and ranked second with 118 runs and 61 multi-hit games, both AL highs. He also stole 20 bases in 21 attempts. He became the third Major League second baseman ever to tally 100 runs, 200 hits, 50 doubles, and 20 steals in a season, joining the Yankees' Alfonso Soriano (2002) and the Astros' Craig Biggio (1998).
 
Even more important, with Manny gone, Big Papi hurt and the Sox in need of a big bat for a playoff push, he batted .345 with an OPS of .949 in the second half, and in August and September, he batted a combined .353 with a .995 OPS.
 
Now, some TV (the bad):  
 
THE BIGGEST LOSER - I take back all the Amy-love from last week. She really is in it for herself, and voted for Coleen and not evil Vicky who vowed to do everything but stab Amy in the kneecaps this week. Strategically the right move but it looks more like she caved into pressure from Bob and the other Blue Teamers to stick with the gang. Very disappointing. If Vicky and Heba are in the final three, I'm not sure we can watch. They are dead to us. When they talk, they're muted or fast-forwarded.
 
DANCING WITH THE STARS - Two hours of recaps and singing, when we all knew that at 8:59 Cody would be eliminated. There was more suspense when Tim Robbins was asked who he voted for president, not to mention whether Aretha Franklin would make it through her two songs without turning blue and passing out. Seriously, as one of our anchors said, Aretha is now the Queen of Soul Food.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hey Jeff! What happened on TV?

Glad you asked ...

HEROES - I'm not talking about this show, because the people who program at NBC are a bunch of stupidheads who decided to let the show run over the 9p end time and thus my DVR didn't record the ending. Up yours, NBC!!!!!

THE AMAZING RACE - This is the absolute worst season for Racers with common sense. It doesn't take any smarts to read a clue, and double-check it before, you know, as a vegeterian you race to a challenge that involves eating local meat (in this case, sheep's butt). Not that I'm complaining, because Beta Male Terrence and his soon-to-be-leaving girlfriend Sarah are on the outs. Team Superbad tried to blow it, between bad luck with drivers and not reading a clue correctly, and they're sure to be gone before we get to the final three, Nick/Starr, Toni/Dallas and Ken/Tina, who also failed to read a clue correctly (twice). Toni's son Dallas was the winner in this episode for his hilarious "moo"ing cow costume antics.

DANCING WITH THE STARS - The judges know who they want in the top three next for the final next week. Sucks to be you, Cody, because there was no chance that they'd score you well enough to stick around with Brooke, Warren and Lance, even when Brooke and Warren were called out for several mistakes and problems, and still managed to score higher after two dances Monday night. It's almost like the whole thing is set up ...

Brooke and Derek's jive was just awful. Way, way off, and yet she managed 7s across the board. Why? Because the judges could only give Cody one more point even though he didn't make any mistakes, and he and Julianne's paso doble wasn't as bad as they ripped him. Warren, meanwhile, gets two more points than Cody with his mambo even though the judges call him out for failing to improve his technique and footwork. So musicality is more important than, you know, dancing well all of a sudden? Wrapping up the first round, Lance and Lacey performed a mambo that would have garnered all 10s instead of 10-9-9 had the judges not been biased. It was fun, it was smooth, it was full of movement, but it wasn't Brooke or Warren.

The second time around, the judges rewarded Brooke and Derek not screwing up with 9-10-9, even though it was a mild salsa. Cody and Julianne's salsa was given the typical rip by the judges. Warren and Kym's jitterbug was good and actually might have deserved all 9s instead of 8-9-9. Lance and Lacey won the round again and the judges liked their jitterbug better than we did, and their 10-9-10 might have been inflated by being impressed by Lance kicking off a show accidentally near the beginning and dancing with one shoe on, one off for the last minute.

The scores:
Lance - 57
Brooke - 49
Warren - 49
Cody - 46

Hope you enjoyed your time on the show, Cody, because Tuesday night is your last time on the floor as a contestant.

If Obamania means a new Rosie show, count me out

- YES, I STAYED UP LATE to watch the Memphis game on ESPN. The Tigers won going away, giving Coach Calipari his 221st win as Memphis coach, most in school history, topping Larry Finch, one of the biggest names in Tigers lore.

- NOBODY ASKED, but NBC has somehow decided to give Rosie O'Donnell her own variety show. A hilarious take from The Live Feed TV blog:
NBC announced this morning that Kathy Griffin, Jane Krakowski and Alanis Morissette will appear on Rosie O'Donnell's upcoming NBC variety special "Rosie Live" on Nov. 26. It's like some ill-conceived "Saturday Night Live" skit about a faux cable network -- ShrewTV. It's tough to imagine a more intentionally grating collection of oft-bitter-acting personalities. To avoid seeming gender unbalanced, NBC should enlist Danny Bonaduce, Dane Cook and Joe Francis for an obnoxious male douchebag version.

- MY RIGHTEOUS ANGER twitch kicked into overdrive when I heard that the Tennessee Valley Authority, which just raised energy rates 20 percent, raised the CEO's salary $200,000 (23.5 percent) and approved a $500,000 bonus.

- BOLDLY GOING where many have gone before, J.J. Abrama is making a "Star Trek" prequel focusing on the young Kirk and Enterprise crew that looks pretty slick, based on this brand spankin' new trailer.

- AN INTERESTING MAP showing voting patterns of how the Cotton Belt shapes the South.

- OBAMA THE MYTH is being propogated mainly by the mainstream media, according to Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post.

- YOU MIGHT BE A "24" FAN if you saw this headline and thought, "Finally, it got Kim! Thank goodness!"

Cougar mauls 16-year-old girl

Yes, I know, I'm desensitized and on the verge of being evil. Hey, I work in the media, it comes with the territory.

- GAS IS CHEAPER AND WE'RE DOOMED! At least, that's what CBS is telling us. Pardon me if I'm not concerned and just thankful that I can fill up my car for less than $30.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quantum Leap in Projector Technology

- VAL AND I WENT TO THE FIRST SHOWING of Quantum of Solace Friday at noon, which was great until an hour in the projector broke. After ten minutes the manager told us in no uncertain terms that there was no chance of it restarting and offered free passes. Instead of waiting around for the 2:25 showing we went home, napped and came back for the entirety of the 4:50 showing. So now we've seen Quantum one and a half times. Positive review coming soon.

- IT WAS CUTE when I had to get glasses last year for reading, but now I find that I have to wear them all the time, or stuff starts to get blurry, especially watching TV. How did my eyes go from zero to blurry in ten seconds?

- GO TIGERS GO! After Memphis blew a nine-point lead with two minutes to go in the NCAA championship in April, we can start putting it behind us as the Tigers' season started Saturday night against Fairfield, and it looks like this year could be similar to the last eight of Calipari's reign. Watching a Memphis game, you have to wait until "the run" happens. Sure, they were down by nine to Fairfield in the first half, but it wasn't long before Coach Cal's men led by 15 at halftime.

If you really think that the NCAA and schools have the interests of student-athletes in mind first and foremost and doesn't want to exploit them (the main argument against a college football playoff), I would like to point out that Memphis' game against Massachusetts Monday night starts at 11 p.m. to accommodate ESPN. That's right, the game won't end until Tuesday morning.

Could the Tigers actually be rewarded with fouls against them this season? Last year Memphis shot 61.4 percent from the free throw line, and every trip there was a cover-your-eyes adventure. Saturday the Tigers were 24-of-30 from the charity strip.

- HEADLINE OF THE WEEK: "Bodies of Two Men Who Were Shot Found in Cemetery"

The rookie cop first on the scene radioed in frantically: "Get backup, there are hundreds of dead bodies in here!"

- QUICK TV UPDATE with Thursday's "Survivor": Ken is a pipsqueak with his self-flagellating bragging about controlling the game. At least Richard Hatch was kind of likable with how he manipulated everyone. Ken's a nerd who didn't earn any adoration as a nerd before his ego grew ten sizes too big, since back home he's back to Loserville. We're quickly running out of decent contestants to root for, and for me it's down to Sugar, Matty and Bob, and maybe Susie, though she hasn't done anything to earn it, her win would really tick off Corinne and that would be worth it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quantum of Awesome

Before Quantum of Solace, revisit my Bondapalooza! back in 2006 when Casino Royale and Daniel Craig debuted to resounding success and praise.

Here are the No. 1s:

My Top Five Bond Films:
1. Goldfinger

Top Five Bond Girls:
1. Ursula Andress

Top Five James Bonds:
1. Sean Connery

Top Five Villains:
1. Jaws

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Flushed with annoyance

IN THE LITTLE BOYS' ROOM ... Hello, gentlemen, I'm the guy who walks into a public restroom stall and has to flush the toilet. If you are a caveman confused by these newfangled automatic flush doohickeys, allow me to instruct you that there is indeed a button you can press on all of them to flush manually, should the auto feature not work. If you are at another, old-school toilet, there is a lever on the back of many that you can press down, and it flushes your waste. Please proceed accordingly.
 
IN THE KITCHEN ... We finally broke down and abandoned bottled water as our main source of water intake for one of those PUR filtration system thingamajigs (sorry, I don't know how to put those umlauts above the U). It works great and makes us feel better when making pitchers of Kool-Aid and tea, even though Memphis consistently rates as one of the best cities in the world for tap water which makes us spoiled idiots.
 
- I loves, adores, must have my new Scotch Brite soap-dispensing dishwand. If I ever learned they were not going to be sold anymore, I'd stock up with boxes and boxes of the dishwands like Elaine on "Seinfeld" buying up all the women's sponges.

- One of the benefits of marrying Val was that she prefers to use Electrosol tablets that we toss in the bottom of the dishwasher instead of Cascade and filling that annoying cup. It saves a grand total of 15 precious seconds to download the "Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals" SNL sketch on Hulu.com.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

By now I probably seem bitter

HEADLINE OF THE DAY

- "Tourist Bashed to Death by Waiters for Being 'Arrogant'"

Well there goes your tip!


LET'S SEE ... CARRY THE TWO ...

- I knew we were in trouble when Dixville Notch, New Hampshire voted at midnight Tuesday morning as the nation's first Election Day ballots were cast. Obama received 15 votes, to 6 for McCain. The town has 19 registered voters. Do the math.


WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA?

- Juan Williams, resident left-winger on Fox News, on the media's Obama swoon:
If you were going to events during the primaries, what you saw was that the executive editors and the top people at the networks were all rushing to Obama events, bringing their children, celebrating it, saying they were, there's this part of history. I think they plugged into the Obama narrative in a way that they said, "you know what, out with the past." And they've been very critical of President Bush and Senator McCain, as an extension of Bush, playing into the Obama campaign theme. I don't think there's any question about this.

- Nicholas Kristof, liberal weenie columnist for the New York Times, concedes that liberal journalists slant social coverage due to the fact that they think social conservatives might as well be Gorillas In the Mist with their strange views:
But on the social issues -- gun control, abortion, gay marriage, religion -- I'm not sure we're that even-handed....Journalists move easily in the world of business Republicans, less easily in the world of Evangelical Republicans. So that makes it easier to slip into caricaturing social conservatives at times, and we should try harder to avoid it.

- In an interview, CNN reporter Drew Griffin told Sarah Palin that conservative National Review magazine thinks she is "incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt or all of the above," when in fact the entire quote was about the slanted and hateful media coverage of her: "It's sometimes hard to decide whether Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, backward or - well, all of the above."

Griffin later had to apologize for the screw-up.


BUT HOW WILL IT AFFECT THEIR LIVES IN THE BOUDOIR?

- Sex author Erica Jong, in an interview with an Italian newspaper: "if Obama loses it will spark the second American Civil War ..." Notice nobody ever says "If McCain loses it will spark a civil war"? Could it be that expectations of the followers of the two candidates are a tad different?


NO HOPE, BUT PLENTY OF CHANGE

- "Barack Obama's senior advisers have drawn up plans to lower expectations for his presidency if he wins next week's election, amid concerns that many of his euphoric supporters are harbouring unrealistic hopes of what he can achieve," reported the London Times on Oct. 31.

Way to set the bar high!


A ROSE FOR EMILY, AND EMILY, AND EMILY

- Not that it mattered for the presidential election, but here in the Mid-South one wonders what to make of such stories: Miss., Ala. counties have more voters than adults:
More than a third of Mississippi counties have more registered voters than residents old enough to cast a ballot, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

DANCING WITH THE STARS - The result show featured Brad Paisley, so did Dad break down and watch it despite his hatred of reality shows?

Then again, he could be excused for only watching Paisley's two performances, because like every other results show it was worthless until the last two minutes. They brought in Dr. Drew for an extensive segment of what you thought could be funny psychoanalyzing of the contestants. No, he was dead serious, and some of the dancers were in tears, for goodness sake. On a fun, light reality dancing competition. This isn't a drama, ABC!
 
But all is forgiven since Maurice is gone and we're down to the final four that I picked: Brooke, Lance, Warren and Cody.
 
Samantha continues to say that Maurice "coined" the quote, "Winner winner chicken dinner" instead of acknowledging that he brought it to the show from numerous sources, beginning with Al Pacino over a decade ago on the big screen. Since then I'd estimate I've heard it on sports talk radio and on SportsCenter about 157 times. Then again, Samantha would probably also think it's the coolest thing that you just said something off the top of your head like, "Jane, stop this crazy thing!"

THE BIGGEST LOSER - YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amy C. is my new reality goddess, and long shall she reign! When all hope was lost, as Heba's hubby Ed won his way back on the show, making the Heba-Vicky-Brady evil triumvirate even stronger, Amy C. sees the light and defects from the Blue Team to save her self and knock out Brady, one of the members of the most vile group I've ever seen on a reality show that doesn't include strippers, wannabe wrestlers or drunk bachelorettes.

I didn't think it possible, but those three got even more evil this week. Heba making faces at Bob behind his back wasn't even the most irksome thing. No, it started with Vicky and Brady laughing when the Black Team got back from last week's vote and told them how hard it was to vote off Phil and how much Phil missed his wife. Vicky and Brady didn't just smirk, they openly laughed. So by the time all the voted off contestants came back to vie to get back in the game, repulsive Vicky had no problem telling all of them that she hoped Phil would lose so she wouldn't have to see him anymore.
 
Next week: Vicky might try to strangle Amy C. in her sleep. We already know she posts a message saying "REVENGE" in big bold letters, so this could get delicious, so long as she or Heba go home.
 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Instant Karma's going to get you

HEROES - The episode was a look back to events 12-18 months ago, but while interesting there was nothing revolutionary revealed.

Papa Petrelli is bad, and always has been nefarious.

Bennet is an idiot and an a-hole for pushing Elle to get Gabriel/Sylar to kill someone even though he was expressing remorse for his first murder.

Something about Claire's mom joining The Company and then not and her brother is the blue fire bald guy. Yawn.

THE AMAZING RACE - Finally, I can believe in a just God watching over reality contestants. The Divorcees could never read a clue right, and even though Cheating Ken and Tina had to do a Speed Bump they still caught up and passed the nattering negative ninnies while providing needed assistance to Team Superbad.

Other highlights include Terrence being a bigger wuss than we ever knew him to be, I totally expect to see websites dedicated to the Indian Groundskeeper Willie who Phil had to call over from watering the lawn to say "Welcome to India" to the teams, and if the mother-son team doesn't win it had better be Team Superbad, although that seems improbable now.

DANCING WITH THE STARS - I have no idea who will win this show. The worst of the worst are gone, and the rest are so-so to pretty doggone good, but the voting could go any which way.

Monday night, more twists, as the star will have to do a 15-second solo in their second dance.

Cody and Edyta do a foxtrot after his friends nearly bust their shorts upon meeting Edyta. He looked good, even fluid, definitely his best elegant ballroom effort. Scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 8, and Bruno 8. Same as Maurice gets later, who was clearly worse.

Brooke and Derek tango, and it's technically great but boring as usual, and Carrie Ann and Bruno give them 10s, and then Len goes psycho and gives them an 8 because he's judging her like she's a professional, not an amateur who's just really good. What?

Maurice and Cheryl do a quickstep, and his posture is slumped over in the shoulders. Scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 8, and Bruno 8. Same as Cody. And Len thought Maurice was as good as Brooke? Is it all about expectations?

Lance and Lacey foxtrot, attempting to please Len and the audience with a quirky personality, which, yeah, is what they should have been doing all along? It's good, not as good as Brooke but better than Cody and Maurice, so 9s all around are warranted but of course Len gives them an 8 just to remind them that he's their Darth Vader.

Warren and Kym do the tango, and it doesn't matter how good he is because the audience and judges adore him and don't know his negatives like football fans do, but even through my bias I acknowledge that it was in the top three of the first set of dances.

Cody and Edyta are up first in the Latin round with the mambo. After leaping down from the platform Cody's timing gets off, but otherwise it's a fun routine, though his solo didn't seem 15 seconds (none do) and it definitely didn't look like a mambo. Scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 8, and Bruno 8.

Brooke and Derek's mambo is fast and rocks, but Brooke spends her entire solo just twisting her legs by the judges' desk, so close that the judges can't see below her waist to see the actual leg work. Odd. Carrie Ann 9, Len 9, and Bruno 9.

Maurice and Cheryl do the paso doble, which, conveniently, he did as the team dance last week. I just do not like how he stands up straight in these dances, but the judges don't seem to share my concern. His solo is just flipping around the cape like all guys do in the paso, so that was weak. Carrie Ann 8, Len 8, and Bruno 8.

Lance and Lacey get the samba, and it's fine. Lance's solo looks like everything he ever did on stage and in videos for N'Sync, not that I've ever seen them perform. They, um, did "Hanging Tough," right? The judges couldn't figure it out, either, based in their scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 7, and Bruno 9.

Warren and Kym do the jive, and while I praise Warren for being a big guy and never stopping his movement, it doesn't mean the footwork was that great. And the judges totally all say that his footwork is terrible, and then give him a 9-8-9 anyway. Did I mention that sometimes this show seems rigged?

The standings are:
Brooke and Derek: 28 + 27 = 55
Warren and Kym: 28 + 26 = 54
Lance and Lacey: 26 + 24 = 50
Cody and Edyta: 24 + 24 = 48
Maurice and Cheryl: 24 + 24 = 48

Who's gone? I'm hoping Maurice, but afraid for Cody.

On the Vine

The latest Political Grapevines from "Special Report with Brit Hume":

Hot Flash

- The New Hampshire State Senate is now the first state legislative body in the nation's history with a female majority. So at least the state's laundry and cooking will finally get done. *ow* Stop throwing things!

Chutzpah watch

- John Edwards says he'll keep a speaking engagement to a U. of Illinois student group, but his fee has gone up $10 grand since he admitted to adultery to $65,000.

Overheated about warming

- The British Parliament passed a massive piece of global warming legislation as Londoners experienced their first October snowfall since 1922.

- The California Legislature passed a bill last week to ensure electric and hybrid cars make more noise because otherwise the blind can't hear them coming before BOOM.

- The World Meteorological Organization says the first half of 2008 was the coolest in at least five years. It expects 2008 will almost certainly be cooler than recent years, although temperatures remain above the historical average. The United Kingdom Meteorological Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Change says data shows worldwide temperatures have declined since 1998.

What Liberal Bias?

- A journalism research group finds that Fox News was the only balanced network during the presidential campaign, with 40 percent of stories on John McCain were negative, while 40 percent of stories on Obama were also negative. In contrast, on MSNBC the study found that 73 percent of stories on McCain were negative while Obama received just 14 percent negative coverage on that channel. On all networks and other media outlets, the Pew Research Center found Obama's coverage to be more positive than negative while McCain's coverage was 57 percent negative to 14 positive.

- From the Washington Post: Oh well, we're biased. Sue us.
The Post provided a lot of good campaign coverage, but readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama. My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that they are right on both counts.

- In case you thought the Obamedia might get a little tough on Obama after they got him elected, Chris Matthews would like you to know that he considers it his duty to "do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work."

Spiteful much?

- Now that Sen. Majority Leader has a sizable advantage and doesn't need Joe Lieberman's vote (it was a 49-49 split before, with Joe an independent who caucused with Dems), Reid is planning to remove Lieberman as chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Democrats are, of course, bitter that Joe supported his friend McCain in the election.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Getting to business

- OBAMA'S FIRST HIRE, Rahm Emmanuel as Chief of Staff, is a partisan bulldog. Dude's nickname is actually "Rahmbo."

Remember how the Left refused to allow John Bolton to serve as ambassador to the U.N. because of his alleged temper? Well check out the guy they'll be praising to the hilt as a perfect hire:
A finger-jabber who's been known to pinch men in the arm and leave a bruise, Emanuel took up residence in a closet-sized office. That didn't diminish his mega-sized ego and thirst for the fight.

One day shortly after the demotion, he summoned a reporter to his office, shut the door and berated him. Each sentence was laced with profanity. His face was tomato-red. He wagged his finger in the reporter's face and yelled.

After several minutes, he suddenly stopped and shot out of his seat to fling open the door. Bowing with a wide, showy sweep of his hand — an exaggerated smile plastered on his face — Emanuel said loud enough for the women in the outer office to hear, "And, dear sir, the horse you road in on."
Gosh, and I thought Obama would be different. A uniter. The guy to bring us together.

- FORMER KKK Grand Wizard and current Democrat Senator Robert Byrd is stepping aside as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Well, that's nothing new, after all, the Senate probably needs younger leadership to keep up with Obama's "mandate." Or not. Next in line for chairmanship is 84-year-old Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.

- IF MY FUTURE KID'S teacher browbeat my child about supporting McCain like this Obama-loving teacher did this kid, there'd be a serious talk going on at the school district administration building, the local media and face-to-face.

- OBAMA GAFFE WATCH: The Obamessiah had to apologize after he joked that Nancy Reagan held seances at the White House.

This weekend after speaking with the President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, they came away with entirely different ideas about the conversation on missile-defense, with the Obama camp essentially calling Kaczynski a liar.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

(Very) Randomly Thinking

- My doc switched my blood pressure medicine from Norvasc to something called Exforge. I like it. Exforge sounds strong, like a "Highlander"-type show where I'm standing on a hill overlooking a loch next to my trusty sidekick Malcolm, telling him how I must take "Exforge to control the power of the blood that runs through my veins." Then I kill a warlord to steal his lifepower. Awesome.


- I haven't mowed the lawn in two months due to my gallbladder surgery, and when I decided for one final mow before winter sets in it turns out that the self-propelled function is broken. How does that happen, sitting in my garage? Do we have Gremlins? I don't remember feeding any furry pets after midnight. So after mowing the front yard (which is a big hill) I was so exhausted that I had to put off the back yard until this week. I am out of shape, and I accept that.

- In a dream I came up with a new electronic board game invention, Wheel of Fortune meets Bingo. Players have their own handheld device with their own puzzles, and call out letters, in theory to solve their own puzzle, but it could also unwittingly aide their opponents solve their word puzzle. Make a loud commercial with groups of four friends yelling and laughing, and I'm a millionaire!

- Personally I find it hilarious that the same minority voters who swept Obama into office also cost the liberal left-wing's gay rights amendments across the country. But I'm a bitter right-winger, so don't take it from me.

- If McCain had won do you think the media, left-wingers (but I repeat myself), entertainers, editorialists, et al., would be saying this "it's time to heal" crap? Not after how they treated Bush for eight years, I can guarantee you.

- 51-41. 58-40. 53-45. Those are the margins of victory by Reagan (twice) and Bush Sr. All larger than Obama's 52-46 percent win, and yet I don't remember the media fawning about celebrations when the Republicans won, nor do I remember them calling for peace and hope and time for the winners to acclimate to the office, and especially I don't recall any of them saying the GOP had a mandate for change based on their margin of victory.

- Chief Obamaniac Oprah Winfrey now says she has invited Sarah Palin on her show after refusing to during the campaign. How big of her. Real saint, that Oprah.


- The night of the election there were several reports in Memphis of Obamaniacs shooting their guns in the air in celebration. Which sort of made me glad that the Obamessiah won, since I'd much rather those guns be pointing upwards than towards me.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Was there always a monkey in a Red Sox jersey in "Head over Heels?"

I have to steal this from my sister Stacy, who emailed me these "literal music videos" from FunnyorDie.com:

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dear Confused: Duh.

Advice columns really should just be called Masters of the obvious: Get some common sense already you morons.

Then again, maybe I don't have the empathetic nature to write such daily pieces when people like this right in to Annie's Mailbox (laughed at daily in the Memphis Commie Appeal):
Dear Annie: I am a widower and recently got engaged to "Dyann." We are planning on getting married soon, but a few things have me puzzled.

My wife-to-be told me she had been married and divorced. She had a child living with her who I thought was her only child. I'd been seeing her for a few months when I found out she had three other children who were living with their father. When I asked her why she hadn't mentioned them, she said she didn't like talking about that part of her life.

When we applied for a marriage license, Dyann put down that she'd been married twice before, not the one time I knew about. I also noticed she hadn't been truthful about her age. I haven't said anything about these falsehoods, but I think they're odd.

Are these red flags I should be concerned about? — Confused
Thankfully the columnists didn't respond, "Maybe you should give her the benefit of the doubt."

Now, speaking of my own experiences, I didn't find out until the morning of the wedding about Val's secret past as a Cambodian motorcycle gang member with an addiction to Jeff Bridges movies and a majorette in high school whose purity ring was made out of dust from the Ark of the Covenant, so it's not like I could change anything.

Why do the bad people keep doing well on reality shows

A bad week for those who root for likable people on reality TV:

AMAZING RACE - The Divorcees may be witches, but they're awesome karma magnets. Sure, it's probably just the editing, but every time they say something mean or derogatory they promptly do or say something completely idiotic.

SURVIVOR - Once again, the producers mix up the contestants, and once again, it costs someone who was actually productive and a strong performer. The weak weasels keep on going, and we're quickly running out of people to root for.

DANCING WITH THE STARS - The exception to the title of the post. Susan Lucci may be likable, but she's an awful dancer. Thank you, America and DWTS voters for doing our bidding and making sure she doesn't rack up the levels of suckitude again!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

True colors

This is our neighbor's tree two-doors down, compared with our crappy trees. Proof that not all trees are equal. Maybe I can get the Obamessiah to make them give some of their pretty limbs to us.



Look at that!

Their tree. Our trees.
Their tree. Our trees.
Their tree. Our trees.
Awesome foliage. Ugly growth.
Wow! Blah.

And this is how neighborhood "wars" begin. I must go to Home Depot and buy the coolest, bestest, most powerful stuff to keep up with my neighbors!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Did the Duty

Val and I voted at lunchtime this afternoon, and it took five minutes. Four minutes to get through the paperwork, one minute to navigate the bruising 4 pages of electronic ballots. A total of six votes. Not much going on around here, I guess, besides the presidential campaign.

5 minutes. Literally. And we were gonna wait for early voting why?

Now, to avoid the constant drumbeat of networks proclaiming an Obama landslide by watching something else ...

More TV notes

I don't know why I'm mentioning this a week later, but last week during the results finale, when Cloris was shaking with Corky and saying "I'm not leaving!" it reminded me of Rizzo in "Grease" saying "That counts us out!" when the announcer tells the rules before the dance. I feel like you should know these things.
 
I hate bullies in reality TV. I have specific enemies this fall. First is Corinne on "Survivor." To ridicule another contestant she says he must have been a "fatty" in high school and made fun of to account for self-esteem issues. When another, Susie, dares say that she would've voted for Corinne (admittedly stupid), Corinne's eyes go all crazy and she demands Susie get kicked off and probably given a wedgie. Do you get the idea that Corinne was one of the popular "mean girls" in high school who picked on all the fatties, and didn't hear much negativity towards her, and probably didn't realize that half the school wished she'd be the one taught a valuable lesson via humiliation at the prom?
 
Meanwhile, over at "The Biggest Loser" (which is off this week) upon reading Television Without Pity's recap, I realized that the Blue Team was even more repulsive last week than I saw. I didn't hear this, but after the height challenge, the only decent member of the team, Amy, says that she loves the Black team, and Heba couldn't help but reply, "I hate them, actually." We were flipping channels so we didn't catch Bob confront his Blue team about his suspicion that they threw the previous week's weigh-in in order to get rid of Phil's wife, Amy. Naturally, they denied it, but Vicky gave her tell-tale smirk that told you they are a bunch of self-absorbed, unlikable ninnies who completely lack self-awareness.

Get out the vote

Vote, don't vote, I don't really care. I don't buy into this "Vote or Die" nonsense. If you don't, it's not the end of the world. If you do vote, good job, it's your privilege. It is not a duty. If you don't know the issues, definitely stay home.
 
Now, for what's really important, reality TV!
 
I am shocked! Shocked, that the last Bachelorette, DeAnna Pappas, called off her engagement to snowboarder Jesse. Even better, HE had to be the one to release a video confirming the news, and had this to say about it: "She's a great person, but she wasn't willing to try anymore," he says. "She wanted something different. The answer I got was, 'I love you, but I'm not in love with you.'" Ouch. In other words, "She was doing this for the fame and to start a TV/acting career, and I was a pawn in her game." Duh.
DANCING WITH THE STARS
 
Susan and Toni - The judges gave her 8s for her cha cha, and in two weeks when she's still on the show and someone like Lance or Cody is gone, like Cloris sticking around too long they'll only have themselves to blame. This was the slowest, most undramatic paso doble ever on the show, and that's after the slowest cha cha, slowest jive, etc.
 
Warren and Kim - The foxtrot wasn't great, and he doesn't know what to do with his hands. He looks like a T-Rex the way he holds his arms in close when he doesn't have anything specific for him to do.
 
Maurice and Cheryl - Once again he gets to avoid a ballroom dance with a cha cha, and naturally it's fun and upbeat and fun.
 
Cody and Edyta - Without Julianne Cody did just fine, though the judges disagreed. I didn't think he looked any worse than any other guy on this show making all those flowy arm movements and trying to make it look natural.
 
Lance and Lacey - Their rumba will be forever known as the controversial barefoot number. The judges gave them a reverse Flatley, 9-7-9, because Len did NOT like the shoeless act, and he will not abide by this "So You Think You Can Dance" nonsense of dancing however Lacey likes and without shoes. It was actually pretty darn good, but I'm starting to see why half the women viewers of SYTYCD hated her, and seemingly two-thirds of DWTS women viewers hate her.
 
Brooke and Derek - Their foxtrot might have been technically brilliant, and judging by their three perfect 10s it must have been, but it was doggone dull.
 
The Team Dances - Please, make it stop. No more. For one thing, Team Cha Cha was severely handicapped by having Susan on their team, so Cody and Lance got lower scores than they deserved because she didn't rehearse enough and stunk at what she did learn. Team Paso Doble had the easier dance and had a women in Brooke who could keep up with the professional women. It was unfair and if Cody or Lance go home as a result, we will not be happy.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hubble Hubble



From the AP via NASA:
This undated handout photo provided by NASA, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows a pair of gravitationally interacting galaxies called Arp 147. The Hubble Space Telescope is working again, taking stunning cosmic photos after a one-month breakdown. The Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore said the $10 billion telescope is as good as it was before a shutdown in late September. That glitch scotched plans for spacewalking astronauts to upgrade the telescope this month. (AP Photo/NASA)


God is either showing us how he can blow smoke rings, or our Supreme Being is actually Gandalf the wizard from Lord of the Rings.

Political stuff, please move on

Just unloading a backlog of stuff before Tuesday makes it all moot.


AS MARK STEYN says it: “The media have simply announced that they’re content to be the eunuchs in Sultan Barack’s harem,” and Michelle Malkin has compiled her top 5 examples of how ridiculously the Obamedia has been in the tank for their guy.

OBAMA’S AMERICA IS ONE in which his followers (I would say supporters, but the religious fervor towards him leads more towards worship than adoration) can suspiciously and illegally plumb the records of anyone who dares speak ill of the Obamessiah and receive no punishment:
After the last presidential debate, during which John McCain invoked Joe the Plumber’s anti-socialism shot heard ‘round the world, several taxpayer-subsidized employees in Ohio immediately rifled through government databases in search of damning information. The Columbus Dispatch identified Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, as one of the dirt-diggers. She also happens to support Barack Obama and contributed the maximum amount to his presidential campaign.

On Wednesday, Jones-Kelley admitted that the records checks on Wurzelbacher that she approved were far more extensive than she first acknowledged. In addition to pawing through his child-support papers, the agency “also checked Wurzelbacher in its computer systems to determine whether he was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes.” …

In addition to Jones-Kelley, investigators have uncovered at least three additional suspicious uses of state computer systems to access Wurzelbacher’s data. Toledo police records clerk Julie McConnell has been charged with gross misconduct for accessing the Law Enforcement Automated Data System to retrieve Wurzelbacher’s address. She reportedly did it as a favor to a reporter. Authorities also say the Cuyahoga County social services office was compromised and an outside contractor with access to the state attorney general’s test account similarly searched Wurzelbacher’s data. Moreover, his driver’s-license and vehicle-registration information were obtained from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.


IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING if the fix was in during the Belmont debate, my Aunt Lynn emailed us during it to tell us to look for her Uncle Charles in the front row, who is pretty darn left-wing, yet only "undecideds" were supposed to be in the audience.
This is how my Aunt Bev put it in an email:

"Uncle Charles is as far left as far left gets...and David (his son...our cousin) is even more left than that. There is NO WAY he should have been there tonight other than David had a hand in it. And you notice he sat to the right of Tom Brokaw.

And for those of you who don't know David tormented Mom in her last years of life with Liberal propaganda and actually ran her out of their house yelling at her for being a Republican all the while she sat in a wheelchair on oxygen...defenseless..."

Charles wasn't alone. Newsbusters blogs that another of the "undecided voters" on the panel at the Town Hall Debate - Ben Raybin - is a former staff writer for BuzzFlash, a left-wing, pro-Obama, "independent media" website, where you can support the cause by purchasing Obama stickers and liberal books.

DEMOCRATS WHO PRESSURED former Florida Republican congressman Mark Foley to leave office after inappropriately texting underage pages, are now involved in trying to cover up for his replacement, Democrat Tim Mahoney, to make sure he gets re-elected after it was reported that he had an affair with an aide and agreed to $121,000 settlement when she threatened to file for a sexual harassment lawsuit.

MORE ON MY POST about the so-called Angry Right. I'm still waiting for the media to produce any indignation over how Sarah Palin and her children are being treated. Think of the alternatives to this disgusting shirt worn by Palin-haters and imagine how much the press would swoon with disgust. You also won't read or hear the media condemning Palin haters who protest her appearances by yelling things such as “Let’s stone her, old school" or “Wait till your daughter wants an abortion, you hypocrite.”

NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER Adam Nossiter seems to think that racists weren't going to vote against Obama until the big mean Republicans started running negative ads: "The McCain campaign's depiction of Barack Obama as a mysterious 'other' with an impenetrable background may not be resonating in the national polls, but it has found a receptive audience with many white Southern voters....Other voters swept past such ambiguities into old-fashioned racist gibes."

PROOF WE’RE WINNING IN IRAQ ironically comes merely from the lack of reporting on it, as chronicled by the Media Research Center:
Over the last few months, the big three broadcast networks have paid extremely little attention to the progress in Iraq. ABC's World News last presented a report from Iraq on September 16 -- 23 days ago -- as reporter Jonathan Karl covered the ceremony in which General David Petraeus handed his over his command over to General Ray Odierno. NBC Nightly News last carried a report from Iraq on September 7, more than a month ago. And the CBS Evening News hasn't broadcast a story from Iraq since July 31, 70 days ago.


NO WONDER THE OBAMESSIAH BELIEVES in “spreading the wealth” by the government, he clearly can’t do it himself with his millions to his own flesh and blood:
Barack Obama has lived one version of the American Dream that has taken him to the steps of the White House. But a few miles from where the Democratic presidential candidate studied at Harvard, his Kenyan aunt and uncle, immigrants living in modest circumstances in Boston, have a contrasting American story.

Zeituni Onyango, the aunt so affectionately described in Mr Obama’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father, lives in a disabled-access flat on a rundown public housing estate in South Boston.
You’ll also note that this story comes from the London Times, not any American media who long ago decided not to look at Obama’s life, but know everything about Wasilla, Alaska and Joe the Plumber.

IN THE VP DEBATE, Joe Biden tried to make himself sound like a regular guy despite spending a bazillion years in the Senate, referencing his visits to a favorite place in Delaware, Katie’s Restaurant. I mean, sure, the restaurant closed in the 80s, but that’s just semantics. He’s just so real, you know?

WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA?

After the first debate, Chris Matthews said McCain looked like a troll.

The Associated Press insinuates that Palin must have released her tax returns on a Friday to hide something, yet said nothing of the sort when Biden did the same thing three Fridays earlier.

TENNESSEE’S DEMOCRAT OFFICIALS now feel that since the rules don't forbid it, they can just pick and choose which candidates they want, voters be darned:
Tennessee State Sen. Rosalind Kurita won her primary by 19 votes. Certainly, that's close. But the election was certified and the results declared final.

The Democratic winner would have been the state senator, because no Republican filed to run in the GOP primary.

State Democratic Party officials, still miffed that Kurita voted for a Republican for lieutenant governor, declared a do-over.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Support McCain, buy QVC!

McCain's appearance on SNL last night was pretty darn funny, and as usual, the only thing worth watching on an increasingly dreadful show:



MY NEW PET PEEVE: TV programs that make graphics for the 5 percent of the population with HDTVs while the other 95 percent of us can't read words cut off on both sides of our screens. I'm talking to you right now, SNL, but you're not alone.