Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Take me! Take me!

Question for my commenters:

If you were an African orphan, would you rather be adopted by Madonna or Angelina Jolie?

We're going hopping, but Cal's going north

I won't get riled up about Coach Calipari most likely leaving Memphis for the elite and fanatical world of Kentucky Wildcat basketball. Leaving with a wicked awesome 252-68 record at Memphis, Calipari stayed here for nine years, which is at least four more than I ever expected he'd stay on his way to a bigger, more popular program. Like Kentucky. Unfortunately, of course, this means that all of our prized recruits will skedaddle as well, leaving Tiger basketball lean for a few seasons. Guess it's back to the days of being 20-10 and on the bubble.

Let's check out the telly:

On my own time I like to watch "Ax Men" on the History Channel, if only to make myself feel better by seeing how whiny and petty a bunch of "real men" can be. It makes me feel better about getting winded just spraying weedkiller on my yard today. Front and back!

HEROES: Sheesh. Just great. They focus an entire episode on all of the characters who have annoyed us the most this season: Nathan, Claire, Peter and Sylar. Slow. Drab. Humorless. Nothing revealed or advanced. Val's threatening to stop watching, and I'm not exactly inclined to convince her otherwise. So now that he's not in charge of it anymore, has Nathan decided it's not as good an idea to round up people with abilities? But it was okay when he was running things? We are not pleased that Sylar has shape-shifting abilities now. It can only be used as a crutch to confuse the viewer and take us places we'd rather not go, the way Hiro's time travel began to be bugging.

THE AMAZING RACE: I was going to say that it's refreshing to be in a season in which none of the top six teams are vile. And then the editors decided that the Cheerleaders are now mean Mean Girls. Specifically Jaime, who said that people speaking different languages bugs her. It didn't help when they nicknamed the Small Stuntment "The Tweedles," a.k.a. Tweedledee and Tweedledum. In the end, the Gay Son/Dad duo couldn't recover from bad advice by their taxi driver and got Philiminated. The Stuntmen got the Pit Stop first, but had to sit out an entire hour for two penalties, one for not reading a clue right, the other for sabotaging the other teams in the Detour, which makes them a-holes, too. Hey Racers, let's try to keep this civil and likable again, agreed?

DANCING WITH THE STARS: Sure, Shawn Johnson has a stalker who was in the studio armed with a gun and duct tape last week, but hey, let's focus on how Holly and Steve-O are so distracted with a few boo-boos.

Now that the Obamessiah has decided to stick his hand into private businesses by deciding who stays and who goes, maybe he can help us out and make sure Apple Steve is kicked off on Tuesday night?

Chances are helped that two will go, though that's no guarantee, no matter how low the judges keep judging him in an effort to undermine idiot viewers who are trying to keep him on.

The dancers performed two new dances this week, either the Lindy Hop, which is energetic, and the Argentine Tango, which is passionate. How'd they do ...

DAVID & KYM - There was an obvious mess-up in their lindy hop early, and she seemed to do most of the moves, and yet he's a fun guy and puts in enough effort to stick around a few more weeks.

LIL' & DEREK - There was nothing sensual about their tango. It was so technical, and what's with all the leg kicking in this dance? What do I know, of course, as Bruno gives them a 10.

CHUCK & JULIANNE - He has potential, though I think he's having trouble finding the music and rhythm. Or he can't because Julianne is so energetic and awesome that she naturally diverts attention.

L.T. & EDYTA - Their tango involved him standing around while she danced around him. Not "intense," just "tense." A 5 from Len was surprisingly low, but he'll be fine.

TY & CHELSIE - Jeepers, they got 9-8-8 from the judges, and I think it's because Ty has been most improved, which they love, someone who grows and learns as opposed to having natural talent. We think he's great, but I hope next week he stops trying to be the rodeo cowboy and starts trying to be the bull.

STEVE & KARINA - All fours from the judges, who have decided that Cloris should never happen again. They gave her higher scores last year for butt-slapping and no actual steps performed.

MELISSA & TONY - They really went for their lindy hop, full of tricks and lifts. Wowzers, that was exciting.

HOLLY & DMITRY - Like Apple Steve she uses a chair for their tango (a stool in her case), which is already a sign of weakness, and then she slips off it.

STEVE-O & LACEY - He spends most of his time running after her, then the rest avoiding kicks and hops. More like a double lindy then a triple lindy hop.

GILLES & CHERYL - Carrie Ann did all but toss her panties on stage afterward, she was so hot at their tango. Tom calls it "fierce." I didn't actually care either way, so of course the judges give them the first perfect 30 of the season.

SHAWN & MARK - Their lindy hop was cute, fun and athletic, though with only a 25 score obviously the judges felt there wasn't enough actual dancing.

Clap Off!

- DID YOU TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS Saturday night between 8:30 and 9:30 to observe "Earth Hour," a phony baloney way for climate change advocates to berate you for having planet-destroying electricity in your home? If so, I hope you weren't driving at the time. Reuters claims one billion took part, which seems low when you realize that, what, two, three billion, don't have electricity in their huts? If you didn't follow instructions and don't care that you just doomed a tiny island in the Pacific to drowning, don't worry, even the Tree Hugger In Chief, Al Gore, didn't see to it that his own house observe the edict. I had to work, so instead we at Valfrey Estates took part by turning off our outside lights 12 hours earlier. Sure, it didn't have the same effect, but it's the snooty thought that counts, right?

- ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE GAFFES that would have been a big deal if Bush or one of his folks had made it. This time it's Hillary, she of the mistranslated Russian button recently, and a few days ago asked "who painted" the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe enshrined in a Mexico City cathedral since 1531. Maybe someone on her staff could have given her a heads up that tradition states that one of Catholicism most popular shrines is that the image was miraculously imprinted by Mary on a cloak belonging to Saint Juan Diego in 1531.

- Ed Gillespie doesn't mince his words about media cheerleading for Obama:
Over the past few months, a steady stream of journalists from mainstream-media outlets — at least eight, led by Time Washington-bureau chief Jay Carney — have abandoned journalism for positions in the Obama administration or with congressional Democrats. Fortunately for them, the difficult transition from objective reporting to ardent advocacy of a party’s agenda was made easier by the head start they got in last year’s campaign. Though there have long been concerns about liberal bias in the media, 2008 was the year the referees took off their striped shirts and donned a team’s jersey.

- SO YOU KNOW HOW Obama campaigned on middle class tax cuts and promised that he would only "punish" the top 5 percent of wage earners in the country to fund his overly ambitious new New Deal? He's a big fat liar.

Jesus didn't say how to get dunked

Monday, March 30, 2009

The difference between men and women

Velvet Adam

Remember my early worries that Adam Lambert was nothing but a fake Broadway gay 70s rocker and this is all just a show?

I'm feeling like I'm right about this. Just a feeling.

Maybe also it's because he looks to be one pitchy note away from being on the Broadway run of Velvet Goldmine.

It is a charismatic show that Adam puts on, I'll give him that. But once it looks like he has a chance to win and these videos go mainstream and other pictures come out, well, it will be interesting how the media and fans handle the fuss.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

That certainly narrowed down things

With Louisville losing big, my chances of bracket bragging circled the drain, and when Oklahoma said adios, Karen P. (Velvit) did, too.

The scenarios for winning my March Madness Challenge:

North Carolina wins, it's all Steve (Tarheels and Tigers)
Villanova takes the title, my big bro, Scott (Bruins Commodores Bears oh my!) is the man.
Michigan State wins, Scott again.
UConn beats Villanova, Scott still wins.
UConn beats North Carolina, Syd (It's CaliPERR-EE) can party.

Scott and Kevin H. (Bubba Keg 52) were the only two with two Final Four teams, and Scott was all alone with his Michigan State pick. Five of us didn't have any.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


We spent Friday afternoon up in Brighton to watch superstud nephew Cody and bud Kevin play some tennis, hosting Tipton Rosemark Academy.

They both swept their singles matches, 8-0, and gave up one game in an 8-1 win in doubles, which they always end with a chest bump:

Meanwhile, at work Thursday "American Idol" Memphian Alexis Grace visited our studio. She was as sweet as you'd expect, and even tinier than you'd imagine. She could have used one of my socks as a sleeping bag.

Check out plenty of pictures of our Good Morning Memphis crew as well.

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Tournament

Syd has the lead as we head to the Elite Eight, though it’s misleading since all the big points are coming up this weekend and next. Who’s capable of winning?

If Louisville wins, it'll be me, since Stephen can't pass me based on the remaining scenarios.
If North Carolina wins it's all Steve, with Jonathan and Dad/Rann finishing second and third.
A Villanova victory gives Scott the bragging rights.
Karen will move up from 16th currently to the No. 1 spot if the Sooners win it all.
Should Pittsburgh take the title, either Randy or Jorge could win based on who wins North Carolina-Oklahoma. A UNC win is good for Jorge, Oklahoma is the factor for Randy.

Interesting side note: Randy is the only one with a chance at having his entire Final Four make it.

1. 78 - Sydney (It's CaliPERR-EE) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
2. 77 - Scott R. (Bruins Commodores Bears oh my!) - Michigan State, Missouri, Villanova, Syracuse (Villanova)
2. 77 - Val (The Bean's Picks) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
4. 76 - Cody B. (Belewspickstothetop) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
5. 75 - Steve (Tarheels & Tigers) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (North Carolina)
5. 75 - Cheryl - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Memphis)
7. 73 - Jorge (Struggling From Day 1) - Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Syracuse (Pittsburgh)
8. 70 - Jonathan (Longhorns0465) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (North Carolina)
8. 70 - Rann R. (redsox0407) - Louisville, Memphis, Duke, North Carolina (North Carolina)
8. 70 - Erin M. (Bracket Buster) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga (Memphis)
11. 69 - Me (Jeff's Tiger Blue) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Louisville)
12. 68 - Randy B. (Rider's Winners) - Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Pittsburgh)
13. 61 - Carol H. (Carol's Picks) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
13. 61 - Jenn. R. (RoarRRR!) - Wake Forest, Memphis, Duke, North Carolina (Memphis)
15. 60 - Kevin H. (Bubba Keg 52) - Wake Forest, Memphis, Villanova, North Carolina (Wake Forest)
16. 59 - Karen P. (Velvit) - Kansas, Memphis, Duke, Oklahoma (Oklahoma)
17. 53 - Stephen M. (Bracketerrible) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga (Louisville)

Tigers are blue, March is Madness

Call me psychic, but I got a bad, bad feeling about Memphis' chances at making the Elite Eight last night when - in the final minute of the first half - they missed a straight-up dunk attempt, Missouri banked in a two on the next trip down, and then Missouri made a three-pointer at the buzzer - FROM THE OPPOSITE THREE-POINT LINE, some 60 feet away. That hurt. Memphis made a valiant run to get within six in the last few minutes after falling an embarrassing 24 down at one point, but it was too much to overcome.
I can't complain. This was supposed to be a so-so year for Coach Cal's guys. And then they ended up in their fourth straight Sweet 16, earned a No. 2 seed, won 27 straight and were the fashionable pick to win it all by many pundits. And next year is supposed to be the best recruiting class yet!  
My big bro, Scott, would be the only contestant in my March Madness Challenge who is whistling a happy tune after Memphis lost last night, having picked Missouri to make the Final Four. Good job. Jerk.
Those who picked Memphis to win it all (whoopsy daisy!) are in serious doo-doo, and with Kevin H. crashing with Wake Forest last weekend, that leaves eight of the 17 pickers almost out of the running. To stay alive you need to hope that Louisville, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Villanova and Oklahoma all lose before the title game. Those who have Duke in the Final Four took another hit on Thursday night.
Tonight we should have some doozies, what with Syracuse-Oklahoma and North Carolina-Gonzaga. Most everyone has Louisville winning over Arizona, and most who didn't miss with West Virginia will have Michigan State advancing against Kansas.
Current standings:
1. 65 - Scott R. (Bruins Commodores Bears oh my!) - Michigan State, Missouri, Villanova, Syracuse (Villanova)
1. 65 - Val (The Bean's Picks) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
3. 64 - Cody B. (Belewspickstothetop) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
4. 63 - Cheryl - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Memphis)
5. 62 - Erin M. (Bracket Buster) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga (Memphis)
5. 62 - Sydney (It's CaliPERR-EE) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
7. 61 - Jorge (Struggling From Day 1) - Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Syracuse (Pittsburgh)
8. 59 - Steve (Tarheels & Tigers) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (North Carolina)
9. 58 - Jonathan (Longhorns0465) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (North Carolina)
10. 57 - Me (Jeff's Tiger Blue) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Louisville)
10. 57 - Jenn. R. (RoarRRR!) - Wake Forest, Memphis, Duke, North Carolina (Memphis)
12. 56 - Randy B. (Rider's Winners) - Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Pittsburgh)
13. 55 - Karen P. (Velvit) - Kansas, Memphis, Duke, Oklahoma (Oklahoma)
14. 54 - Rann R. (redsox0407) - Louisville, Memphis, Duke, North Carolina (North Carolina)
15. 53 - Carol H. (Carol's Picks) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
16. 52 - Kevin H. (Bubba Keg 52) - Wake Forest, Memphis, Villanova, North Carolina (Wake Forest)
17. 49 - Stephen M. (Bracketerrible) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga (Louisville)    

Back to the oil rig

No real surprise last night on the AMERICAN IDOL results show. Michael also lost sight of the main rule of picking songs on IDOL, don't pick a song that will seem ironic if you get voted off the next night. And thus he had to sing "Ain't Too Proud To Beg," while in fact begging for the judges to save his butt. They did not, despite this odd pause after he sang for his life with the judges pretending that they didn't already know he wouldn't get their vote. What the heck were they doing while he sang? They really are a bunch of fools, aren't they?
Also in the final three were Scott and Matt, the latter of which was a surprise since most figured Megan was in trouble. I guess with only three girls left the voters decided one of the generic guys had to go. At least Michael made it into the top ten to make the tour and all the moolah that comes with it.
Meanwhile, Joss Stone and Smokey Robinson continued a strange pattern of celebrity guest singers performing slow, boring songs with a snoozing audience that wants nothing more than to dance and holler along with a fun, peppy song. (I call this my "Bon Jovi Crapped On Stage Award.")
Next week, will Megan finally go, or will Scott's goodwill finally run out?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tigers and Idol

Tonight, the Sweet 16, Memphis Tigers vs. Missouri Tigers. Oooh yeah! It's on! Val and I look forward to staying up late (yes, 11 is considered "late" in the Valfrey household), eating a few naughty cookies, a big bowl of chili and settling onto the couch to root for the good guys in blue and gray.
For my March Madness Challenge, of the four games tonight, only Duke-Villanova could create some separation, unless Connecticut, Memphis or Pittsburgh lose. Could we finally get some upsets? Eh, we'll see.
Meanwhile, last night on the television ...
LOST - A very Sayid-centric episode, made better by the fact that Sawyer and Juliet are still - for now - the power players of the Oceanic Lostaways while Jack and Kate sit on the sidelines. Sayid tries to end the cycle of getting screwed over in the head by Ben with a shot to kill the young (though still manipulative and devious) Ben, though I think we all know he'll survive and still end up with The Others. I don't even want to contemplate all of the paradoxes that come with this decision, so I'll just "let it be," like every other episode this season. Nice inclusion as the Dharma torturer of Larry from "Newhart," as in, "I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl ..." Did anyone else catch on when the paranoid Dharma guy says he's going to ask for help from "Ann Arbor?" Did we know that Dharma was a University of Michigan operation? That's the only thing that comes of that city, right? Except for pseudo-Commie hippie thinking, I mean.
Let's be honest. There are way too many plain white kids on "AMERICAN IDOL" this season to produce any sort of decent Motown tribute week. And the one singer whom we all expected to blow us away, didn't, unfortunately.
The four judges walk in from the stage again, with Simon in a t-shirt and jeans, next to Paula who looks to be wearing a tutu. A study in contrasts, there.
What's with the constant harping on "making a song your own" nowadays? I don't remember the judges employing that criticism in the first few seasons. In fact, I think it was Daughtry, who would use other rockers' remixes as his own that started it, and David Cook took it to a winning level last season. Otherwise, if you don't have enough musical knowledge to redo a song, then the judges should be happy that you sang it well, at least. (Getting off soapbox.)
Let's rank them and try to figure out who's going home tonight:
ADAM  - I feel queasy for putting him first, but he was only one who put together anything that could be considered original or memorable. Plus, he tossed the fake rocker look in favor of something resembling a young Elvis with the slick-backed hair and suit, and I'll give him points for that, even if it just tells me that he's all show.
MATT - Thankfully he did not dedicate "Let's Get It On" to his mother, like that guy a few years back. He has the voice even if I wonder if he has the personality to stand out and win.
ANOOP - Decent with his "Ooh Baby Baby" until I got bored by the end and ended up in a trance. I'm pretty sure Val mentioned something about having chicken and I let out a "BRAWK!" Next week he needs to turn it up while still toning down the cheesy factor. Good luck with that.
LIL - Big mistake for our Memphis girl. "Heat Wave" is a fun song, sure. We expected, however, Lil to bust out with a power ballad that would create what Simon calls "a moment." She didn't sound that good, either, which made it even worse. Is she vulnerable now? Only if she blows it again in the next few weeks.
DANNY - Fun, but very karaoke and lots of yelling.
MICHAEL - He may be "too proud to beg," as the song goes, but he'll need to do so pretty darn quick, because the judges know he won't win, we know he doesn't have winning potential, and pretty soon that will be a self-fulfilling prophecy as he's shown the exit. I actually thought he was better than the judges thought, which tells me that they're just trying to make sure that another worthy singer like Alexis isn't gone before those who would stink as finalists.
KRIS - "How Sweet It Is?" More like, "How dull it is, to get sung by you." Pleasant voice and performance. Boring delivery. 
SCOTT - How I wish he was a better singer, because then he'd be near the top of my list every week. He should probably hire his own stylist, though, since the show's seems to take pleasure in dressing the blind guy in salmon pants and a paisley shirt.
ALLISON - I didn't understand at least half of the song, and sometimes she'd sing an entire line and I wouldn't know any of the words she just sang. I think if you like her, you'd love this version of "Papa Was A Rolling Stone," and if not, this won't help. Val thought it was better than expected, and I agree, but we have low expectations as it is.
MEGAN - Alexis could have been awesome this week with her deep dirty voice suitable for Motown, which makes me get more and more annoyed every time Megan sings in that awful vibrato voice that makes me angrier and angrier that she's still in the competition. It's not Megan's fault. She's adorable, and probably a great person. But she makes the top ten and thus the publicity and money that comes with touring, and Alexis is back home here in Memphis? Fiddlesticks. Yeah, I'm bitter. But come on, Megan stinks.
My bottom three guesses: Megan, Michael and in a surprise, I say Kris. Then Megan hits the bricks, finally.
Is there much doubt that the top three will be Lil, Danny and Adam? I'm not sure who else I would accept at this point, and none of the others would find an audience to sell any albums.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday roundup

Last night Val and I made English muffin pizzas for what must be the first time since I was a kid. A pleasant memory. Doesn't beat the real deal with a side of buffalo wings, of course. Tonight, maybe some grilled cheese sandwiches! (It must be Relive Your Childhood Night at Valfrey Estates. We will top it off by watching "Facts of Life" and playing Uno.)
Congrats to the Union Lady Bulldogs, winners of the NAIA women's division one national tournament last night! It was nice to be able to see the game on CBS College Sports network, as they topped cross-town rival Lambuth (HATE), 73-63. That is now zero titles during my four years at Union, and four titles since I got my degree and skipped town. I'm not bitter.
Now, onto the TV reviews ...
HEROES  - Ah, do you smell that fresh air? So crisp, so clean. No Clair, no Sylar, no Nathan, barely any Peter this episode, and plenty of Hiro and Ando up to some hijinks. Good times. Baby Matt Parkman has a cool ability to "turn on" electronics, or in this case, Hiro's ability to freeze time, but if you have to touch something for it to work then you still have to use a remote control for the TV, and that's no good. It will be good for his teen years, though, with the ladies.
In other news, Mohinder's still an idiot for thinking Danko wouldn't tase him instead of using his scientific knowledge, and the rumors are all true about Micah being Rebel. The downer, however, was killing off Daphne. How is that necessary? Why not just kill her off five episodes ago or however long ago she was shot? This whole season is a problem with dragging things out.
Always happy to see it happen, Ali Larter has now died from fire and from ice. How will her final triplet, Barbara, be introduced and ultimately die? Dirt? Wind? Or will she be the "Fifth Element" and save us from evil?
THE BIGGEST LOSER - I will not accept my new champion if it's either Sione or Felipe. Not only did they go running back weeping to Bob when they had the chance to pick trainers last night, in their interviews they also used it as another excuse to belittle Jillian, which makes them total a-holes. The rest of the players made their choices as well and it seemed like an exercise in talking about Bob's precious feelings, while Jillian gritted her teeth and surely in her head pictured ways of killing those who spoke nicely about her then went sobbing to Bob.
It came down to Aubrey and Filipe, and Aubrey got the boot because the other players forgot that he's the bigger threat. Not that I'll miss Aubrey, who ran her yap too much. Tara rocked again as usual, pulling her NASCAR car a half-mile in the fastest time despite being piled on with extra weight by the other players in one of those "Let's see who hates each other the most" challenges that I despise. So good for you, Tara! You are a machine!
DANCING WITH THE STARS - The biggest revelation is that next week, two will go, which I think is the judges way of saying, "Seriously, we have GOT to get the Woz out of this competition." Apple Steve scored a ten on Monday. Total. And yet he still got more votes than both Hef's Ho-lly and Denise Richards, which tells you just how hated those women are in this country. Denise couldn't even overcome partnering with Maks, who has his own following that votes for him. Denise is gone, and no one cares because she was wearing a feather duster Monday and rolled in her samba like a stiff ballerina from a music box.
THE AMAZING RACE - It's time for the annual "I can't believe there's so much poverty in India, and yet they're all happy and generous" episode, as the teams leave frozen Siberia for the hot and dusty sub-continent. The Stewardesses started in last after being non-eliminated last week, and with the Speed Bump they lose precious time as they finish in last again and get the words no one wants to hear from Phil, "You've been grounded. Please hand over your peanuts and teeny tiny cups of water."
The Asians somehow got way far ahead of everyone else right off the bat from the airport and finish in first due to having the best taxi driver and being able to figure out that if there are two big red phones under an ancient and spiritual tree in the middle of nowhere, you should probably look at it for a clue.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Still wondering what is a Salty Prime Minister

In case you were watching "How I Met Your Mother" on Monday night, yes, they did in fact go there and create CanadianSexActs.org.

Don't worry, it's safe for work, and Alan Thicke is hilariously involved.

Union News Alert

The Lady Bulldogs will be on CBS College Sports, a network that may or may not be on digital cable systems tonight at 7 for the NAIA championship against crosstown rival Lambuth, a school where students and grads are rumored to be Methodists, which I think means they are vampires. I don't have the research to back it up because I'm too lazy to look it up, but take my word for it.

Ranked No. 1 all season, Union won 73-48 over Oklahoma Baptist Monday in the semifinals, causing much wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments all over tiny Oklahoma towns.

Clovers and cheese biscuits and dance

This may be a first for Valfrey. We sat at a table at Red Lobster this afternoon for what seemed like "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" but was probably closer to "November Rain," and after not one employee came by to at least say "Hang on, gotta take a smoke break," we got up and left for Logan's around the corner.

We were treated very well by our new best friends at Logan's, and chowed down, leaving a thankful tip. That does not mean that I couldn't still go for some cheesy biscuits, but I wasn't willing to wait an hour to get my food and still feel like I was expected to tip such bad service. Isn't that the worst? I can't leave a small tip. The server could admit that he scratched my burger with his butt, and I'd think, "Okay, 20 percent, but no higher, punk!"

This morning I mowed the lawn for the first time this spring, which was only necessary due to the vast number of weeds growing throughout the yard. In fact, maybe I should petition the state for one of those interstate signs that says "Wildflower Project," which is really just an excuse for the state to not have to pay someone to mow the median.

I'm wondering, if I let the island of clovers covering half the backyard to spread, I could just say that I have an Irish Garden and let it be.

Or, I'll get some weedkiller and go to town. Kill! Kill! Die! Die! Weeds must perish horribly at my hands! Bwahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

Our neighbors on either side haven't had to mow, on account of their pristine sissy lawns that lack character or toughness. I subscribe to the Battlestar Galactica theory when it comes to my lawn, if it isn't raw or flawed, then it's not "real" or suspenseful. This is my story, and I'm sticking to it.

I didn't find any golf balls, though several might have been hidden in the clover patches and ended up embedded in our neighbors above-ground pool, windows or dentures. I'll wait for the knock on the door. If they ask, "Is this yours," I will politely point towards the golf course and claim that I saw a bunch of hackers aiming for my neighbors' homes.

No "24" update today since Val and I have stopped watching it, and no "Heroes" update either, since the story hasn't advanced since January and it's getting repetitively boring, so we'll watch it on the DVR eventually. We did, however, find time to catch "Dancing With the Stars."

We're down to 12 after Belinda got the ignominious honor of being the first booted this season. She wasn't going to last long, but she certainly wasn't the worst dancer, as we'll see ...

DENISE & MAKS - Bad song choice, going for a rock song to a samba, not that it wasn't awkward enough watching Denise moon the audience every time she did a roll and that feather skirt stood up.

CHUCK & JULIANNE - They danced to a Sugarland song, a group my lovely wife despises, pretty much more than anything else in the whole world other than my breath after eating onions. Seriously, five days later, she'll be all "Eww, did you eat onions?" And I'll confess, "No, but I did walk past produce last weekend. My bad." Oh, and Carrie Ann said that Chuck could "be a contender." I disagree.

HEF'S HO'LLY & DMITRY - During rehearsals she whined, "I don't understand." I'm betting she says that a lot. And her samba wasn't good, either. She couldn't shake a bottle of Coke enough to make it erupt when opened, let alone her hips.

STEVE-O & LACEY - At least he's dancing live this time, though a bit robotic. We're told that his back is still bothering him, but I'm not buying it. Doesn't he make a living on "Jacka**" by running naked through acid showers with honey bees stinging his crotch?

LAWRENCE & EDYTA - Let's not overlook the obvious reason, what with his darker skin due to his African ancestry that he has a rhythm advantage written into his DNA, which is also why I hear that Obama is trying to get 50 Cent's "In Da Club" named the new national anthem. I read it on the Interwebby, so you know it's true.

SHAWN & MARK - She's great at the ballroom stuff, not so much with the booty shaking. Not that we're prepared for our gold medal pixie to do so. I do wish she'd stop wearing the revealing dresses that show how her body is a block of muscle with nary a curve. Unflattering.

GILLES & CHERYL - Ooh la la, he is French, so not only can he do the samba with a glass of champagne on his head, he will also surrender to any challengers.

DAVID & KYM - He's going to get votes if only for his showmanship, but he still stood in place too much and let Kym orbit around him.

APPLE STEVE & KARINA - The judges are not going to let a Cloris happen this year, hence the 4-3-3 scores. They really, really want him gone, even if his goofiness is exactly the kind of thing they over-rewarded with Cloris last season. When anyone else pulls a hamstring they hobble to the doctor's office, so why does he get wheeled out in a stretcher into an ambulance?

MELISSA & TONY - She's having a ball out there, and why shouldn't she, she's dancing with Tony, the envy of all friends and family, and making Bachelor Jason look increasingly stupid for dumping her on national TV. I'm worried that like Brooke last year, the judges are going to start judging her against herself, meaning not against the competition but against their expectations for her.

LIL' & DEREK - She's just a lil' ball of sunshine, isn't she? And then you check iTunes and almost all of her best-selling songs have the "Explicit" label. I was going to quote some but I couldn't manage more than one or two lines that didn't involve something that would make your grandparents get the vapors. By the way, she was in prison for three counts of conspiracy and one count of perjury for lying to a Federal grand jury about her friends' involvement in a 2001 shooting in Manhattan. And yet, I kind of adore her.

RODEO TY & CHELSIE - I actually audibly gasped when Chelsie slipped. This will not make Dad love me more. Now that he's won the Most Improved Award he'll have to keep it up or risk getting the What Happened Award. I think Len's just happy that Chelsie isn't such a rebel like Lacey when she came over from SYTYCD.

Who should go? Apple Steve by a big margin. Also in the bottom two will either by Denise or Holly. It's a toss-up.

Atta boy, Curt

- "Curt Schilling's Most Memorable Games in Boston" courtesy Tony Massarotti on the Boston Globe's site.

In case you haven't heard, Schilling officially retired on Monday, and will be enshrined into Red Sox fan lore. Dude could light his bloody sock and throw it into a busload of nuns, I don't care, I will always be grateful for what he did in 2004 and 2007.

- In news that will not help him become a legend in New York the way Curt is in Boston, it turns out that cheating heart A-Fraud likes his women naughty:
A former Manhattan madam who supplied Eliot Spitzer with hookers also counted Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez as a customer - and found him so charming she dated him herself for free, former employees of the call-girl agency tell the Daily News.

A-Rod wooed ex-madam Kristin Davis with flowers, jewelry, persistence and heated e-mails, according to the sources.

"Throughout the years, there were a number of clients that I befriended and it was not uncommon for them to want the women they can't have whether it be the phone bookers or the madam," Davis said.
Then again, I don't know New Yorkers that well. Maybe this will boost his image!

If only he was as successful at the plate with two outs and tying/winning runners on base, maybe he'd be less of a national joke.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jeff's Top 5: 2009 Summer Movie Anticipation

1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - We've been waiting so long for this series to get to the end that most viewers have had time to spread out ten, eleven horcruxes just to make sure we're around for the end. (July 17)

2. Star Trek - Our favorite characters from the original are fresh out of the Academy and in charge of the Enterprise. Here's guessing Kirk (Chris Pine) beds any female of any species, Spock (Zachary Quinto of "Heroes") raises an eyebrow and Scotty (Simon Pegg) provides the one-liners. (May 8)

3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Hugh Jackman is really old, but has an exoskeleton of steel that I guess makes him unkillable? Either way, this is Wolverine's back story, and it looks pretty cool. (May 1)

4. Terminator: Salvation - If Christian Bale is half as feisty against the robots as he was against that poor cinematographer in the famous blow-up, the final(?) Terminator tale should rock. (May 22)

5. Inglorious Basterds - Quentin Tarantino has been promising his World War II epic for years, and finally we get to see what he'll do with a war movie. I'm guessing a lot of blood and cursing, but I'm sure that's just a guess. (Aug. 21)

Waiting for the reviews:

G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra - All those years of my childhood spent watching or playing with my action figures, it's far too overdue. Will anyone actually die, though, or will all the bad guys jump out of their tanks at the last second? And if it's like how I played with my action figures, will He-Man or Chewbacca show up in a cameo? (Aug. 7)

Year One - A comedy starring Jack Black and Michael Cera ("Juno") as outcasts way back in time. I'm guessing "Clan of the Cave Bear" meets "Revenge of the Nerds?" (June 19)

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian - The first was surprisingly entertaining, though I'm unsure if Ben Stiller can do it again. (May 22)

Public Enemies - I doubt it will have one ounce of the charm and rewatchability of "The Untouchables," but I'm willing to see Christian Bale as an FBI agent chasing infamous American gangster John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) in '30s. (July 1)

Obamessiah no more?

BADA BOOM: Steve Kroft of CBS' "60 Minutes" to Obama: "Are you punch-drunk?"

BADA BING: "The leading liberal voices of the New York Times editorial pages all criticized — and, in some cases, clobbered—President Obama on Sunday for his handling of the economy and national security."

I admit to being a little surprised that the media liberal elites are turning on Obama so soon. If it were an 80s teen comedy I'd be expecting a slow clap in the lunchroom.

The Republicans don't have to do a thing but watch the left implode, and hopefully the public will catch on to their Big Government plans and nix it sooner than later.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sweet 16 looks familiar

This will either go down as the most boring NCAA Tournament ever for the lack of upsets (only one team lower than a 5 seed is in the Sweet 16, and that's perennial competitor Arizona), or the most competitive, since what's left are almost all considered the most well-known and respected basketball programs in the country.

As one of the few in my March Madness Challenge who picked Louisville to win it all, I'm not entirely excited by them the first two rounds against such *cough*popular*cough* teams as Morehead State and Siena. Go ahead, try and figure out where they play. You might get one, but not both.

I was rooting for Marquette to upset Missouri, but I'll be fine with a Tigers-Tigers matchup in Phoenix on Thursday night. It should definitely be a high scoring affair since they both like to run the court.

At least, next week we'll start to see some separation by my contestants. As of right now, only Kevin and his regrettable Wake Forest pick as the champion is out of the running. That leaves 16 more still interested in the tournament.

I'll update later with point totals.

54 - Erin M. (Bracket Buster): Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga (Memphis)
53 - Val (The Bean's Picks): Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
52 - Cody B. (Belewspickstothetop): Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
51 - Steve (Tarheels & Tigers): Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (North Carolina)
51 - Cheryl: Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Memphis)
51 - Karen P. (Velvit): Kansas, Memphis, Duke, Oklahoma (Oklahoma)
50 - Syd (It's CaliPERR-EE): Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
50 - Jonathan (Longhorns0465): Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (North Carolina)
50 - Rann R. (redsox0407): Louisville, Memphis, Duke, North Carolina (North Carolina)
49 - Jorge (Struggling From Day 1): Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Syracuse (Pittsburgh)
49 - Scott R. (Bruins Commodores Bears oh my!): Michigan State, Missouri, Villanova, Syracuse (Villanova)
49 - Jenn R. (RoarRRR!): Wake Forest, Memphis, Duke, North Carolina (Memphis)
48 - Randy B. (Rider's Winners): Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Pittsburgh)
45 - Me (Jeff's Tiger Blue): Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Louisville)
45 - Carol H. (Carol's Picks): Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
41 - Stephen M. (Bracketerrible): Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga (Louisville)
40 - Kevin H. (Bubba Keg 52): Wake Forest, Memphis, Villanova, North Carolina (Wake Forest)

My teams having success on the court

While wondering how stupid the network execs are who decided to rename the Sci Fi channel "Syfy" ...

Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez provided the bulletin board material for the Tigers on Friday, saying that Memphis would have a losing record if they played in the ACC. Thanks, dude! After Saturday's 89-70 blowout he had to admit, "They proved me wrong."

Down by 29 at one point, Maryland showed less fight in the second half than CBS play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson here in Memphis at Blues City Cafe last weekend.

Valfrey's alma mater, Union, is having great success in the NAIA tournament. At the least the women are. Ranked No. 1 for 25 straight weeks, the 31-1 Lady Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals of the NAIA Division 1 national tournament, which they won in 1998, 2005 and 2006.

Alas, the men disappointed as usual in the national bracket. Despite being ranked No. 4 in the country at the end of the regular season and Coach Turner being named Coach of the Year, the Bulldogs lost in the second round to unseeded Columbia of Missouri, 83-64.

In the Tennessee AAA High School State Championship, Raleigh-Egypt took on fellow Memphis school White Station. The Pharaohs have been great for several years but hadn't been in the title tilt since 2005, which ended in a loss. Add another one. The Pharaohs lost, 64-61, in overtime.

No, I do not know how my junior high and elementary school teams are doing.


- Michelle Malkin and her commenters have some ideas about what to call "enemy combatants" now that the Obamadministration has done away with the term:

“Undocumented Protagonists”
“Next Life Enablers”
"Jihadis Without Borders"
“Future Democrats of America”
“Freelance foreign policy activists”
"Theological Pyrotechnicians"
"Targets of the Great Jewish Conspiracy"
"Community Disorganizers"
"Graduates of the William Ayers Academy of Societal Realignment"

- First, the Obamadministration insulted the Brits, and this week they continue their classy streak of treating allies with respect, this time from Brazil: "His meet and greet with the U.S. president was bumped to Saturday, and when the White House announced his official visit, they misspelled his name."

- This my favorite headline of the week: "Obama White House bars press from press award ceremony."

- The Teleprompter in Chief compared AIG executives to suicide bombers: “It was the right thing to do to step in. Here’s the problem. It’s almost like they’ve got — they’ve got a bomb strapped to them and they’ve got their hand on the trigger. You don’t want them to blow up. But you’ve got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger.” Then why are we negotiating and giving into to them to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars? Just goes to show Obama's foreign policy weakness.

If I was one of the common workers at AIG and the government wanted me to return my bonus, I would say, not necessarily in these words, "Up yours, pricks," and tell the populists feigning outrage at legally protected contracts that Congress signed off on last month, "Don't make me the scapegoat for your incompetence and overspending."

I'd tell the AIG guys to nod and take the reprimands at the hearing, then do nothing, because in one week there will be another distraction created by the Obamadministration to distract from the spending spree currently going on and increasing government control of our lives.

I would also point out that as a senator, Obama "earned" $101,332 in bonus money as Congress's second-biggest recipient of donations from AIG employees.

- Few, if anyone at the big four networks is excited to have Obama interrupt primetime sweeps programming for yet another primetime address: "I believe in the president and his policies, and as broadcasters we have a responsibility to provide the airtime," said another network insider. "But these frequent primetime requests are wreaking serious havoc with our schedule and our advertisers. Ratings are down everywhere and the airtime is costing us all significant dollars when we can least afford it."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Galactica ends with a clean slate

So "Battlestar Galactica" ended up being a cautionary tale. About humanity creating robots that will eventually be at war with us. In what seems like a related story, "Terminator: Salvation" is in theaters this summer.
Last night's series finale gave us what we expected, an hour of almost nonstop action and cool stuff getting blowed up and Athena shooting Boomer to death and Cavill killing himself, and the second hour gave humanity a new home, "New Earth" as it turns out, which is our Earth, a pristine Garden of Eden that happens to be 150,000 years before our present time. In other words, they came here a long time ago from a galaxy far far away.
I came away mostly positive about how the show ends, since it gave me a lot of bullet-riddled toasters and wrapped up the mythology with answers and just a few questions, but questions I don't really care get answered, such as how Starbuck was a ghost/angel or if Chief, Tigh, Ellen and all the other cylons are still alive since they don't die unless acted upon like Elves from "Lord of the Rings."
I admit to being quite sad when Laura finally succumbed to her cancer, even if we all knew it was coming. In the flashbacks, though, she was quite the reckless cougar, wasn't she? Rowr. She was the one character who rocked my world from day one. All the rest looked like drunks full of angst, but that was the theme of this entire series.
Big ups to producer Ronald D. Moore for playing the original show's theme as Galactica made its way to a very hot death on the sun. And I thought the last half-hour or on Earth was most pleasant. Western Canada, er, Tanzania was beautiful and serene, and a great place to restart civilization, albeit one without grand cities or comforts. Couldn't they have at least saved the toilets from the ships before burning them like a New World conqueror burning his ships to motivate the explorers?
By the way, were they supposed to interact with the primitive early humans? The tribes had to have seen these fancy ships buzzing overhead, right? The Colonial humans would have been like gods, which makes me wonder if that's Moore giving a smirking nod to those who preach the idea that humanity got help from aliens to get civilized and build the wonders of the world.
If Hera is supposed to be the "Earth Mother" from the fossils seen at the very end by Angel Six and Angel Gaius, does that mean since she was half-cylon half-human, that she married an Earth human to start a family and the DNA sequence we enjoy today? Eh, it doesn't matter, does it? The series is finished, and for the most part I enjoyed being a part of the phenomenon.

First round in the books

The first round of the this year's NCAA Tourney didn't get truly exciting until the final few games last night, which is also when the most drama emerged from my March Madness Challenge. When Wake Forest lost to 13 seed Cleveland State, most of us lost at least a Sweet 16 team, but Kevin lost his national champion and Jenny lost a final four pick, so their chances of winning slid faster than the Goonies down the water slide to One-Eyed Willie's ship.

What else matters? Most of us had West Virginia going to the Sweet 16, and some like me had them in the Elite 8, so those picking Kansas in the second round will gain some points. Half had Florida State beating Xavier in the next round, so those with Xavier should be okay with Wisconsin winning. The biggest difference to look for today? Purdue vs. Washington.

1. Steve (Tarheels & Tigers) - 25
Jorge (Struggling From Day 1) - 25
Karen P. (Velvit) - 25
Jenn R. (RoarRRR!) - 25
5. Erin M. (Bracket Buster) - 24
Rann R. (redsox0407) - 24
Cody B. (Belewspickstothetop) - 24
Sydney (It's CaliPERR-EE) - 24
9. Val (The Bean's Picks) - 23
Cheryl B. - 23
Scott R. (Bruins Commodores Bears oh my!) - 23
Carol H. (Carol's Picks) - 23
13. Randy B. (Rider's Winners) - 22
Jonathan (Longhorns0465) - 22
15. Me (Jeff's Tiger Blue) - 21
16. Stephen M. (Bracketastic) - 19
17. Kevin H. (Bubba Keg 52) - 18

Friday, March 20, 2009

From the Great Communicator

Last night on Leno, the Obamessiah made light of his bowling game by seemingly making fun of the disabled:
Towards the end of his approximately 40-minute appearance, the president talked about how he's gotten better at bowling and has been practicing in the White House bowling alley.

He bowled a 129, the president said.

"That's very good, Mr. President," Leno said sarcastically.

It's "like the Special Olympics or something," the president said.
On Good Morning America Friday morning, Tim Shriver -- chairman of the Special Olympics -- pointed out that in Detroit there's a Special Olympian who has bowled three perfect games.

Which means, I think, that he just said that a black man can't bowl as well as handicapped people.

Take it from here, race-demogogues!

UPDATE 6:30 - Jim Treacher provides "outtakes" that didn't make it on air from Obama last night:

"Ya know, I thought about picking a female VP too. But I've already got somebody to clean my house and fetch me beers! Am I right, fellas?"

"Thanks for having me on the show, Jay. You seem like a pretty nice guy... for an Italian. [Tony Soprano impersonation] Ayyyy! Fuggetaboutit!"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A very special moment for our friends

Congratulations to Amy and Michael, who are finally in China and finalizing their adoption of LynnMarie, who just had her first birthday. So much patience, work and money went into this moment, and it's amazing that Amy and Michael's dream is coming true. God bless your new family, guys!

Okay, so I was nervous

I admit I got a little worried that the Tigers would throw away their first-round matchup against Cal State-Northridge, but not until 10 minutes left and the Matadors in the lead, draining long arching three-pointers and making wild displays of acrobatic layups, which was most impressive. If you've seen any Memphis game this year, you know to wait until "the run," in which Coach Cal's guys have a stretch where they outscore their opponent 10-0 in five minutes and put it away. That didn't happen until the final five minutes today, hence the anxiety. March Madness is fun, but not if you're a fan of the two seed getting upset in the opener! If they lose any of their next three games, you can be sure that I'll refer to this season as The Curse of Obama, for the pres. picking the Tigers to make the Final Four.

Looking at my March Madness Challenge, it would appear that the contest could be very close in the end since many of the Final Four picks are exactly the same. Will someone's risk pay off? Or will you have to win it in the Sweet 16 or pick the right upsets? Although, the seven of you who picked Memphis to win it all must have been sweating profusely and ready to flush your bracket down the toilet!

Me (Jeff's Tiger Blue) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Louisville)
Val (The Bean's Picks) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
Steve (Tarheels & Tigers) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (North Carolina)
Randy B. - Rider's Winners - Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Pittsburgh)
Syd (It's CaliPERR-EE) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
Karen P. (Velvit) - Kansas, Memphis, Duke, Oklahoma (Oklahoma)
Jenn R. (RoarRRR!) - Wake Forest, Memphis, Duke, North Carolina (Memphis)
Carol H. (Carol's Picks) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)
Cheryl - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (Memphis)
Jonathan (Longhorns0465) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (North Carolina)
Erin M. (Bracket Buster) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga (Memphis)
Stephen M. (Bracketastic) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga (Louisville)
Rann R. (redsox0407) - Louisville, Memphis, Duke, North Carolina (North Carolina)
Jorge (Struggling From Day 1) - Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Syracuse (Pittsburgh)
Kevin H. (Bubba Keg 52) - Wake Forest, Memphis, Villanova, North Carolina (Wake Forest)
Scott R. (Bruins Commodores Bears oh my!) - Michigan State, Missouri, Villanova, Syracuse (Villanova)
Cody B. (Belewspickstothetop) - Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina (Memphis)

Well that was a bummer

Memphis' own Alexis got the boot last night on IDOL, and that's just depressing. Don't get me wrong, I like being right in that I've been saying all along that she wouldn't last but a few weeks due a lack of a fan base, but still, she could sing really well and she's local. But she lacked a strong personality, didn't smile enough and looked overwhelmed by the big stage most of the time.
We knew the judges wouldn't use their one "save" on her, either, not with five weeks left to make sure Danny or Lil aren't in the bottom. Next week I'll be sure to be extra bitter as we have to watch Megan, Michael, Scott, Kris and Anoop sing, all of whom were nowhere near Alexis in ability. Time to bring on the snark!
Did you hear Ryan say that the show is on Wednesday and Thursday next week so that the Obamessiah can take some more airtime next Tuesday? What the heck? Is the president going to invade our prime time every few weeks for the next four years? Does anyone really care if he's taking questions or making statement at 7 p.m. versus 10 a.m.? When will the networks get some cajones and start saying, "No thanks"? Stop taking off my shows, Barack!
Meanwhile, on LOST, Jack shows up out of the blue on the island after Sawyer's been waiting for three years and infiltrating Dharma, and he starts criticizing Sawyer? Up yours, doc. Jerk. I like Sawyer being in charge and Jack being a lackey who has to take orders and shut the heck up. And so help me, if you mess with Sawyer and Juliet's relationship, you will be dead to me. You hear me? Same goes for you, Freckles! So why is Sun the only one who stayed in present time? Except for the resurrected Locke, of course. Good call on the paddle to Ben's head, though, and bringing Frank along instead. And has anyone seen Rose and Bernard and the rest of the unnamed Lostaways? Where are they? WHEN are they?
In unrelated news ....
Go Tigers Go!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Join the Madness!

Last chance to join, the fun gets started tomorrow morning in my annual NCAA Tournament challenge!

Click here to go to Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, click on Join Group and join group number 39035. The password is 12345.

Last year our nephew Cody won and earned respect and admiration from all his peers:

1 Cody B. - 142
2 Stephen M. - 138
3 Val - 127
4 Erin M. - 120
5 Randy B. - 117
6 12345 - 113
7 Cheryl B. - 112
8 Dad - 105
9 Me - 103
10 Sydney G. - 98
11 Carol H. - 96
12 Natalie M. - 88
13 Steven R. - 86
14 Michael C. - 85
15 Scott R. - 74
16 Stephanie L. - 72
17 CUT THE NET - 70
18 Jenn R. - 53

Here are the 2007 results:

1. Me - 151 points; 44 out of 63 picks correct (Florida)
2. Dad - 143; 48 of 63 (Florida)
3. Jorge - 138; 47 of 63 (Florida)
4. Michael C. - 128; 41 of 63 (Florida)
5. Karen - 107; 36 of 63 (Florida)
6. Syd - 104; 46 of 63 (North Carolina)
7. Carol H. - 99; 47 of 63 (Memphis)
t8. Kevin - 93; 45 of 63 (Georgetown)
t8. Erin - 93; 45 of 63(Memphis)
10. Val - 91; 46 of 63(UCLA)
11. Steve - 90; 39 of 63(Ohio State)
12. Southern Girl - 87; 45 of 63(Kansas)
13. Cody - 83; 46 of 63(Texas)
14. Scott - 64; 37 of 63(Kansas)
15. Jenn R. - 50; 33 of 63(Memphis)
16. Amy C. - 28; 23 of 63(Miami-OH)

1,000 words on shows that don't really matter, but we love to watch them anyway

Okay, hold your breath, there's a novella here, and let's get started!
Yeeeeeee Hawwwwww!!!!! It was country night on AMERICAN IDOL last night, or as Kara called it, "Opryland," not, say, the Grand Ole Opry. Maybe she just really likes the hotel. Or misses the Screamin' Delta Demon from the old amusement park where I had my sixth-grade field trip. There were a few surprises, not the least of which is who is at the top of my rankings:
1. ANOOP - I know! Seriously! When he doesn't get all cheesy and karaoke and Sanjaya-esque the dude's actually got a decent voice. Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind" was the perfect choice. I was only more surprised when Val really liked that McDonald's filet-o-fish song with the singing fish on the wall.
2. ALEXIS - Memphis' "dirty" girl went with Dolly's "Jolene" to success, though the judges have decided to pigeon-hole her as a bluesy "naughty" singer, so up yours, judges. I do think, though, that she's not building a connection with the audience and I fear she'll be gone in a few weeks.
3. DANNY - Iron Man started slow with Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel" in a jacket he borrowed from the set of "Ice Station Zebra," but built into a slammin' chorus of big notes. Points taken off for flipping his collar up. Stop that, guys, unless you have the T-Birds logo on the back of your jacket.
4. MATT - He may be boring and I still have trouble remembering he's in the contest, but he does have a soulful voice.
5. LIL - Memphis' own went with Martina McBride's "Independence Day," which took too long to develop, and with the audience clapping along sounded a little too peppy for my tastes, what with the song being about domestic violence and all. The judges wished she'd have sung something like "I Will Always Love You," except that Whitney already covered that, and if Lil had done it they would have said she was being obvious. Simon truly is an a-hole, isn't he? Why did he keep calling her "Little?" Her name isn't Lil', like Lil' Kim. It's Lil as in Lilian, and she's said that many times on the show, which just proves that Simon doesn't actually know anything about the contestants, doesn't care, and spends all his time off camera spiking Paula's drinks.
6. SCOTT - He took a risk and I don't the judges gave him enough credit for making Martina McBride's "Wild Angels" into his own style. Did Paula really advise the blind guy to get away from the piano and sing in the middle of the stage? Does she know how awkward that looks? Would she ask that of Stevie Wonder, or say that his keyboard is his "crutch?"
7. KRIS - Extra points for singing Garth's "To Make You Feel My Love," which is on one of the six Valfrey mix CDs (I jest you not), but it was a slow and forgettable performance, though Simon called it "terrific," which might help.
8. ADAM - Whoa. That was interesting. Sorry, dude, you may think you're pulling a David Cook by taking a classic and using someone else's remix of it, but that was a joke, a Middle Eastern version of "Ring of Fire." He pulls this high-pitched falsetto crap, and dresses like he saw someone on NYPD Blue dressed like a rocker 15 years ago and thought that's how they all dress, and he's a big fakey faker, and Simon was spot-on to call it "indulgent."
9. ALLISON - Her Patty Loveless wasn't that bad, she's just not our style. Her voice is so raw and deep that she'll always sound the same.
10. MICHAEL - I expected more out of the Texan. He couldn't keep up with Garth's "Callin' Baton Rouge," which will always come off as karaoke. A little disheartening after I defended him all week.
11. MEGAN - She may "Go Out Walking After Midnight," but only so long as she finds somewhere to buy a bra for that dress. I'm not saying she was loose, but even Princess Leia was all, "Wow chickadee, get some support." Don't pretend you didn't notice. I have nothing else to say about her voice. There's no room for growth or surprises. She is what she is, and she's not our style.
By the way, Ryan, funny St. Patrick's Day reference at the beginning and the joke about getting a few drinks down, but dude, your audience is made up of 14-year-old girls. Inappropriate!
24 - Looks like we'll be skipping the next several weeks. Val decided the preposterousness of this Jack-on-the-run story is too much for her, and it doesn't bother me to skip it. After reading the recap online, it looks like we made the right decision, since apparently Jon Voight's goon killed Senator Red from "That 70s Show" and Jack's blamed for his death as well. Stupid.
CSI MIAMI - I don't normally review this one, since it's the same week in and week out, but I felt I needed to express my displeasure that this season has done away with Horatio's quips before the opening credits. Such a disappointment. And we could really, really, really do away with Horatio's son, Kyle, and his ex, Elizabeth Jessie/Showgirl Berkley, who are both wastes of minutes that could be spent on people in their swimsuits, showing off fancy new equipment that just happened to be bought the week before the crime in question, and Horatio saving the day.
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER - I just want to point out that this is the funniest show on television. Hands down. And I don't even know what "hands down" as a cliche means. All I know is that we look forward to laughing out loud every Tuesday afternoon when we watch it on our DVR. This week, between Lilly sabotaging Ted's relationships that included a "You need me to help you!" "A Few Good Men" moment, to Barney and Marshall sleeping side by side in nightgown, er, "night shirts," and then all the conversation happening with the TV on mute while no one notices that on Robin's morning show there's a guy on fire, a baby born on set and the weather guy collapses at the green screen. Just a hilarious episode, as most are nowadays.
BIGGEST LOSER - We didn't watch very much since Idol and Dancing With the Stars were also on, and we had no interest in what happened when the remaining contestants went back home for the week. Blah blah, big cheers from family and lots of temptation. Once back at the ranch, the Curse Of Kicking Off Dane continues for the Blue Team, losing big time when Kristen gains weight and mom Cathy loses a pound, then takes one for the team and volunteers to go home. Once she's gone is actually the best and most inspiring part of the show, with Cathy working out with her two other daughters who are losing all kinds of weight with her, which was pretty neat.
THE AMAZING RACE - This episode was classic for one thing, Phil stripped down to his boxer briefs in Siberia to demonstrate the Road Block. Phil's the best. Still in Siberia, the show hasn't explained why many pit stops are longer than 12 hours this season. Too cold at 3 a.m. to leave? One of the Detours involved a "Russian bride," which to me was an awesome acknowledgment that the major export of Siberia to the U.S. is its women who are trying to flee the drunk unemployed jerks in their homeland. Most of whom took the time to ogle or hit on the Racewomen who ran the Road Block, 1.4 miles in below freezing temps, in their underwear. Including the stewardess who only had on a thong. Her parents? So proud. I would have either annoyed or thrilled half the country during my run by yelling out like Sly in "Rocky IV," "You can change. I can change. We can all change!"
DANCING WITH THE STARS - I'm surprised and a little miffed that Belinda was told to go-go this week. (Sorry, had to be done since this was her last time on the show.) Jacka** star Steve-O was hurt, couldn't even perform live Monday night, and yet he survives another week? If he can't dance next week with his bad back, I'll be even more upset, far more than I should be for a cheesy reality show. Speaking of focusing on silly stuff that doesn't matter, what was with Samantha's dress last night? Did they add pockets so she'd have somewhere to put her hands, because she's too dimwitted to figure out what to do with them otherwise?
Anyway .... Here's how the contestants stacked up Monday night in their second dances:
HOLLY - Hef's former Girl Next Door did the Quick Step, which spent 15 seconds on the stairs and then she fussed with her dress, but give her a few more weeks and she'll be pretty smooth. Len points out that her "bust is a little bit forward." Yeah, and she paid a lot for the privilege!
Hey, new glittering point paddles! Sparkly!
DAVID ALLEN GRIER - He and Kym did a salsa, and she did all the work. Not as good as last week, now that we have raised expectations.
DENISE RICHARDS - I was distracted singing along with "Grease," but since Denise makes me nauseous it's for the best. (Really, how did she end up the prude and not get topless in "Starship Troopers" instead of that other girl?) Maks is actually growing on me, through, so either I'm getting more slimy or he's getting less so, or it's because he got her to pinch Tom's butt at the end.
BELINDA CARLISLE - A salsa that featured mainly her shaking her chest at the judges, otherwise very slow, deliberate and awkward.
TY - I'm hoping he sticks around longer if only for Chelsie from last season's "So You Think You Can Dance" as his partner. Last week I thought that he actually preferred the risk of getting gored in the booty on a weekly basis, but he actually moved around in the quick step and provided a pleasant surprise. Plus, they danced to the Rascal Flatts' version of "Life is a Highway," so bonus!
Courtesy Samantha, the Metaphor Queen, afterwards, "The cowboy turned into a caterpillar and blossomed out there." That's at least three in that sentence, right?
SHAWN JOHNSON - The gym pixie wasn't as good in a salsa as last week's waltz, but the judges disagreed with our assessment. We didn't see any fluid shaking of the hips, especially in movement, but the judges were too distracted by all the, "Ohmygoodness she's so cute!"
APPLE STEVE - Dancing with a fracture in his foot, he's having so much fun it's a shame he's so clunky and the dance is all antics, no substance.
CHUCK - Girlfriend and partner Julianne gets him to salsa, and like all the other guys ever on this show he has to act manly and pretend not to like the hip-shaking. C'mon guys, let it loose, have some fun, stop thinking that if you shake your hips that the viewers will start thinking that you prefer to wear buttless chaps in gay pride parades. We thought he was pretty good, but the judges thought she did all the work. I think they were distracted by her outfit, which looked like she looted Big Bird's feathers.
LIL' KIM - She's adorable, I don't care if she was a federal prisoner recently. I'm sure it was a misunderstanding. She rocks the floor and is stylin', so book her for the final four.
BACHELOR REJECT MELISSA - They say the best revenge for a break up is to live life fabulously. I'll say she's got the upper hand here, since Jason is relegated to being hounded by paparazzi on "TMZ" and making out with Molly to avoid answering their questions. Melissa did a salsa, and she's ready to be a professional, she's that good.
WHO DAT? GILLES - So he's French? Did we know that? And has he done anything else than be the naked guy in the "Sex in the City" movie? At least he's a good dancer, very technical, and for flair I liked the Clark Kent-turns-into-Superman routine that partner Cheryl cooked up. But like Albert a couple of seasons ago, if the audience doesn't know you, don't expect to last long.
STEVE-O - He hurt is back during the week and in the final rehearsal it bit him some more, so the judges ended up judging he and Lacey by their rehearsal, which is apparently in the rules and is stupid. There's no audience, no live dance, it's a dumb rule. They score it accordingly low, but instead of dropping out like he should he sticks around. Boo.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Always after me Lucky Charms!

May the leprechauns be near you,
To spread luck along your way.
And may all the Irish angels,
Smile upon you St. Patrick’s Day.

I have issues, and opinions, and issues

The Tigers finished second in the final regular season poll for the coaches and No. 3 in the AP. How often has it happened that a team is ranked No. 2 or 3 in the final poll of the season and isn't a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament? Not that Coach Cal needs extra motivation for his players, but Memphis can seriously play the "no one believes we're any good" card.

It's ridiculous how often my work's email requires us to change our password. I started in March '07 with ******01, and have now worked my way up to ******08. Do the math, that's every three months I have to update something that nobody outside of my workplace gives a rat's patootie about.

"So You Think You Can Dance" was in town Monday for tryouts, as Memphis is one of just six audition cities this season. Yesterday was the initial cattle call of thousands of hopefuls, and we had our morning show on location to take in the fun. And it was. Even though I stayed in the studio for my part, I was doggone giddy when we interviewed host Cat Deeley. We even got her to dance a little with our anchors at the end, which she definitely won't do on air, so points to us! The judges weren't here, though, they'll show up today and tomorrow at The Orpheum to pick apart the crappy dancers brought back for a laugh, and those who actually have a chance.

Life as a homeowner continues to amaze. Shelby County just mailed out 86,000 new property tax appraisals from the county assessor, including to those of us in Lakeland. My initial thought was, "Wow, they are really looking to boost our taxes!" The average increase for Lakeland was 10 percent, ours went up eight percent. We already bought the house last year for a few thousand dollars less than the 2005 appraisal, but now this means that the price we paid for our house is $17,800 less than what it's now going to be taxed. Mind you, only those of us in the 'burbs are seeing a boost. Those in the city are either staying put or have gone done in worth, so the county is looking to get us to pay for everything. Welcome to Memphis.

"Why doesn't my phone dial the interwebby thing?"

- FROM THE "IF IT HAPPENED TO BUSH OR QUAYLE" FILES: VP Joe Biden, in an interview about the stimulus package last month and trying to remember the Obamadministration's chief online resource, asked an aide off camera for the "Web site number?" You know, like www.555-GAFFE.com.

- REMEMBER WHEN WE WERE IN A "CATASTROPHE?" UM, NEVER MIND? The Obamessiah has decided that the economy isn't so bad, so buck up, America! When Dems are running for office and then elected to power we always hear that the politics are over and it's time to be real. They are a bunch of big fat liars. Really, this is rich (no pun intended):
The economy is fundamentally sound despite the temporary "mess" it's in, the White House said Sunday in the kind of upbeat assessment that Barack Obama had mocked as a presidential candidate.

Obama's Democratic allies pleaded for patience with an administration hitting the two-month mark this week, while Republicans said the White House's plans ignore small business and the immediate need to fix what ails the economy. After weeks projecting a dismal outlook on the economy, administration officials -- led by the president himself in recent days -- swung their rhetoric toward optimism in what became Wall Street's best stretch since November.

During the fall campaign, Obama relentlessly criticized his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, for declaring, "The fundamentals of our economy are strong." Obama's team painted the veteran senator as out of touch and failing to grasp the challenges facing the country.

But on Sunday, that optimistic message came from economic adviser Christina Romer. When asked during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" if the fundamentals of the economy were sound, she replied: "Of course they are sound."

"The fundamentals are sound in the sense that the American workers are sound, we have a good capital stock, we have good technology," she said. "We know that -- that temporarily we're in a mess, right? We've seen huge job loss, we've seen very large falls in GDP. So certainly in the short run we're in a -- in a bad situation."

Just a week ago, White House Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag declared that "fundamentally, the economy is weak." Days later, Obama told reporters he was confident in the economy.

WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA - CNN International’s Jonathan Mann labeled Rush Limbaugh the “anti-Obama” in a CNN.com article, and condescendingly listed the reasons why the talk show host is the antithesis of the president: “Rush Limbaugh isn’t black, slim, stylish or well schooled.” He later described why Democrats are so eager to portray Limbaugh as the leader of the Republican Party: “They think that Limbaugh, 58, is the very personification of an ugly Republican stereotype: he’s a small-town college drop-out, an angry white man, who they believe offends the ethnic, urban and educated Americans the Democrats want to attract.” (Courtesy Newsbusters.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's a one-way trip from here

After several years of equal parts on-again/off-again adoration and head-scratching, Battlestar Galactica's two-hour series finale is next week. The artsy-fartsyness of the last several weeks is at an end, now the show can blow the special effects budget and kick some bad-cylon tail. And then surely get all artsy-fartsy again by the end and confuse the heck out of us by however the show will resolve its mythology.
At least they'll have wrap it up without the title ship, since it's going to be used as a sacrifice, surely, after the past weeks saw it stripped down by anyone in the fleet with a socket wrench set and a hankering for cheap spaceship parts like at a salvage yard. ("Come to the Colonial Strip Yard, where parts are cheap, and you'll feel like you got lucky off the savings!")
I kind of liked the flashbacks to Caprica pre-holocaust, though they largely served to depress us even more, what with Roslin's father and sisters killed by a drunk driver and Baltar verbally abusing his aging father. And what the heck was with the 30 seconds of my life wasted by watching a drunk Lee try to get a pigeon out of his apartment? Is it a magic pigeon? Is it a representation of Starbuck as a Starchild a la the confusing ending of "2001: A Space Boredyssey?"
So here's something I don't get. After the cylons wiped out the colonies, Anders and his ragtag bunch of human rebels were able to survive and fight back on Caprica. But you're telling me that after 2,000 YEARS, Earth is still a nuclear wasteland? Nothing has grown back? People still live and thrive in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and it's only been 64 years. Less than ten years after Mt. St. Helens annihilated the surrounding countryside in Washington, plants and animals were back and happy. Nature survives, recovers and flourishes. So what I'm saying is to the producers, that was lame.
And then there's this, humanity was in such a hurry to get to Earth, hey, now that it's a big fat disappointment, why not turn around and head back to Kobol, which looked green lush and stocked with water? Seems a decent place to rebirth a civilization, am I right?
Or am I thinking about this too much?
In reality show news ...
SURVIVOR - I never even knew Spencer's name before this episode, which told us that he would be going this episode. Somehow we're supposed to think that his being gay played a role, even though he never even got a chance to tell his tribemates before he got kicked off, because, ironically, he was playing like a sissyboy in the challenge that the team lost. In a private interview, Spencer tells us that he didn't want to tell his tribemates that he was gay for fear of them treating him poorly and getting the boot as a result. Really? Would anyone on the team care? Now who's stereotyping? This is a game, it's about building alliances and making yourself useful. Did he not notice that big fabulously gay Richard won the first season? Heck, the girls in his tribe might have liked him even more and been best friends once they realized he wasn't ogling them in their skivvies all the time.
Meanwhile, Taj and Brendan aren't very good at hiding their alliance with Stephen and Sierra, and Brendan is being targeted by his tribe for their next tribal council. Hope Sierra has a backup plan! I'd encourage them to bring in J.T., the 'Bama country boy, because that dude is the king of survival, whether kicking butt in challenges or catching all their food.
I love the idea that Charmin sponsored the reward challenge. That would have been a pooptastic reward! I would be so crude as a contestant in that episode, expounding on the awesomeness of having toilet paper after a big meal after two weeks of rice and beans, that Val wouldn't want to be seen in public with me. (Maybe Val won't want to be seen with me after all.)
HELL'S KITCHEN - An interesting episode, in which the battle between J.P. and Francisco the "fabulous" Bar Mitzvah planner got as much air time as the kitchen square-off between Carol and Andrea. Then, once again, something as simple as cooking a burger turns out to be the downfall of someone, Coi, who used to be considered a contender. Please, chefs, if you can't cook a decent burger, why are you in the business? Learn the basics before you move on to the frou-frou Frenchy stuff!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March Madness is ON!

It's time for my annual NCAA Tournament challenge!

Click here to go to Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, click on Join Group and join group number 39035. The password is 12345, which may also be the combination to your luggage.

Last year our nephew Cody won and earned respect and admiration from all his peers:

1 Cody B. - 142
2 Stephen M. - 138
3 Val - 127
4 Erin M. - 120
5 Randy B. - 117
6 12345 - 113
7 Cheryl B. - 112
8 Dad - 105
9 Me - 103
10 Sydney G. - 98
11 Carol H. - 96
12 Natalie M. - 88
13 Steven R. - 86
14 Michael C. - 85
15 Scott R. - 74
16 Stephanie L. - 72
17 CUT THE NET - 70
18 Jenn R. - 53

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tigers kicking serious CUSA booty

Go Tigers Go!
Here we go again! Expectations are high for the next few weeks as the Bluff City's finest, our Memphis Tigers, won their fourth straight Conference USA title today, their 61st straight win in the conference, set an NCAA record for wins in a four-year period with 135 (two more than Duke in from '91 to '01) and Coach Calipari is the first coach to win 30 games for four straight seasons.  
And yet, despite Pittsburgh and UConn losing in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament and Oklahoma in the Big 12 tournament on Thursday, despite North Carolina and Michigan State losing in the semifinals of the ACC and Big Ten tournaments Saturday, I still have this nagging feeling that the Tigers are going to end up as a No. 2 seed, and then shipped out west to play in what will end up being the toughest region in the bracket.
Even after they were up nine with two minutes to go in the NCAA Championship against Kansas a year ago, beat UCLA, Texas and Michigan State handily, and are on a 25-game win streak heading into this year's tournament, the basketball world still sees the Tigers as an intruder and unserious contender. I know, it's easy to play the "we get no respect" card, but in this case I think it's warranted. The establishment isn't looking for a non-BCS school to play with the big boys.

It's a one-way trip from here

After several years of equal parts on-again/off-again adoration and head-scratching, Battlestar Galactica's two-hour series finale is next week. The artsy-fartsyness of the last several weeks is at an end, now the show can blow the special effects budget and kick some bad-cylon tail. And then surely get all artsy-fartsy again by the end and confuse the heck out of us by however the show will resolve its mythology.
At least they'll have wrap it up without the title ship, since it's going to be used as a sacrifice, surely, after the past weeks saw it stripped down by anyone in the fleet with a socket wrench set and a hankering for cheap spaceship parts like at a salvage yard. ("Come to the Colonial Strip Yard, where parts are cheap, and you'll feel like you got lucky off the savings!")
I kind of liked the flashbacks to Caprica pre-holocaust, though they largely served to depress us even more, what with Roslin's father and sisters killed by a drunk driver and Baltar verbally abusing his aging father. And what the heck was with the 30 seconds of my life wasted by watching a drunk Lee try to get a pigeon out of his apartment? Is it a magic pigeon? Is it a representation of Starbuck as a Starchild a la the confusing ending of "2001: A Space Boredyssey?"
So here's something I don't get. After the cylons wiped out the colonies, Anders and his ragtag bunch of human rebels were able to survive and fight back on Caprica. But you're telling me that after 2,000 YEARS, Earth is still a nuclear wasteland? Nothing has grown back? People still live and thrive in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and it's only been 64 years. Less than ten years after Mt. St. Helens annihilated the surrounding countryside in Washington, plants and animals were back and happy. Nature survives, recovers and flourishes. So what I'm saying is to the producers, that was lame.
And then there's this, humanity was in such a hurry to get to Earth, hey, now that it's a big fat disappointment, why not turn around and head back to Kobol, which looked green lush and stocked with water? Seems a decent place to rebirth a civilization, am I right?
Or am I thinking about this too much?