Saturday, January 31, 2009

Squirrels have more meat in their legs than this chick


Of all the hullabaloo concerning Tony Romo's girlfriend, Jessica Simpson's new, fuller body lately, frankly I'd rather watch Jessica with some curves than ever look at this picture of Tom Brady's squeeze, model Giselle Bundchen, and her gross legs as they're lying by the pool. Yick.

Friday, January 30, 2009

One way street for bipartisanship


What liberal media?:

"Not one Republican voted for (the economic stimulus plan)," ABC anchor Charles Gibson huffily announced on World News with "Rescue Plan" as the on-screen heading, "turning a cold shoulder to the President's appeal for bipartisan support."

In other words, if not for those partisan Republicans refusing to go along with what Obama wanted, the bill would have been hunky dory.

Getting hot in here


The Obamessiah got a lot of press for telling Washingtonians to man up and not freak out during every snowfall, claiming that Chicago never closes schools when the white stuff drops out of the sky.

Of course, when it comes to his personal tastes, the new pres isn't one to save energy and buy one of those "free" Amish heaters for the Oval Office:
Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat.

"He's from Hawaii, O.K.?" said Mr. Obama's senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. "He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there."
Last May, Obama had a different view on how Americans battle over the thermostat:
This is hardly in keeping with candidate Obama's declaration last May: "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times . . . and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.
(Hat tip: OpinionJournal.com.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Val 1, Jeff 0

In a battle of high school alma maters, my Raleigh-Egypt Pharaohs fell one point shy of Val's Millington Trojans in a pair of lopsided boys/girls games Monday night.
 
On the boys side, REHS, ranked No. 2 in the state, won, 73-36. When the girls played, Millington prevailed, 75-37, which was no surprise since the Lady Trojans are in the top five in the state and finished runner-up last year in the state title game.
 
Total score, for our purpose ... (adding in my head ... carry the two ....) : Millington 111, REHS 110.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Wonderland (if only briefly)



We had a snow event early this morning, which of course if you know the Memphis area you know how significant that is, since all schools eagerly canceled classes even though all but rural side streets were melted by 8 a.m. I like to think of it as a lot of the fun of winter weather, without the hassles of downed power lines, snapped trees, massive car accidents, et al.

Here are some pics I took at work as it happened about 5:30, then Val took some in the front and back when she got up and still hoped not to have to go to work, and I snapped a few more when I got home at lunchtime:















The bigger they are ...

A boring BIGGEST LOSER last night, and annoying since Silver Joelle did just good enough to stick around another week while a more deserving contestant, Orange Dan (the biggest visitor to the ranch ever), ends up going home. But we already knew that it came down to Orange and Brown, so there was absolutely no suspense whatsoever. We watched Idol at 7, then fast-forwarded through Loser in an hour, and didn't seem to miss a thing.
 
I did enjoy Green Tara going off on Dan's teammate Dave, who admitted that he didn't care to be on the show, and that he was a slacker back home and ate whatever he wanted.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Means nothing, just rambling


- IF RESTAURANTS WANT TO BE GREEN and save a few trees, they can stop giving us so many receipts receipts when it's time to pay the check. I walked out of Olive Garden tonight with four, FOUR, slips of paper, not counting the wrapper after eating the yummy mint. Unnecessary, anyone? The paper, I mean, not the mint. All restaurants should provide mints like that on the way out.

- I HATE THAT I MISSED THIS over the holidays, so a belated rest in peace, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. Wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who passed six years ago, she was prominent in all of the Trek universes, and in particular, my favorite as the sassy Betazoid mother of Deanna Troi in "The Next Generation."

A week or two before her death, Roddenberry Productions announced that she would be providing the voice of the ship's computer once again, this time for the 2009 motion picture relaunch of Star Trek. A family spokesman said that she had already completed the voice over work.

- I'M NOT SAYING THAT IT WAS A BUNCH OF HOOEY when the Obamedia keeps saying that the Great Unifier is acting like a bipartisan moderate, but in his first week in office his major actions were executive orders to restart federal funding of international abortions and vowed federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, close Guantanamo Bay and end "harsh" interrogation techniques, and call for $1 trillion in new spending.

- THE YAHOO MUSIC staff already really, really, hates that chick from Louisville on last week's American Idol audition who used to be on a music label.

- WHY DO I REFER TO THE NEW PRES AS THE OBAMMESSIAH? Because the media does it in quotes like these:
"CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith reflected on Barack Obama's inauguration: "Politics, and patriotism, and the presidency. It is the place where the secular and the religious merge. And one of the sacraments of our national religion is the inauguration...So it was that as many as 2 million pilgrims made their way to Washington and the Mall to witness this most sacred event." ... "As the oath was recited, as the speech was delivered...emotions were laid bear. Tears were shed...An inauguration is a renewal of faith...A confirmation that the republic, and our belief in it, endures." - CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith.

"The coming political pilgrimage to Washington is similar to another grand event in both size and preparation -- the Hajj, the most important religious pilgrimage in the Muslim world." - CNN correspondent Zain Verjee, in a report posted on CNN.com on January 17.

- WHEN WILL THE OBAMADMINISTRATION'S LIES END? Remember when the pres promised during his endless campaign that he would never hire a lobbyist for his administration? Never mind. You'll recall that this wasn't good enough for Cheney to recuse himself from millions of dollars in Halliburton stock when it came to the Left's deranged hatred of the man. Will anyone say a thing about William J. Lynn and Raytheon when he's the deputy defense secretary? Don't be silly you divisive Repub.

- IS DISSENT STILL THE HIGHEST FORM OF PATRIOTISM? Now that Obama is president, will the Left still nod to that to their right-wing counterparts? After all, points out a reader to Jay Nordlinger of National Review Online, half the lefties' cars have bumper stickers saying as much the past eight years.

- DOUBLE DOG DARES GO WAY, WAY BACK. From the Commercial Appeal's Memphis Memories:
125 years ago: 1884

Last night, a youngster stuck his tongue on an iron post at Third and Monroe and it was so cold that it immediately stuck to the metal. His mother, attracted by his moans and groans, was preparing to pour a kettle of hot water over his head to thaw his tongue when a passerby stopped her and freed the tongue by blowing his warm breath on it until the boy and the post were unstuck.

- SINCE OBAMA MENTIONED HIM in his first week in office, I'd say this will be a good four years to listen to Rush Limbaugh again.

The difference between men and women, No. 430


On the site for local Ellendale Baptist Church, here is all that is under the site for the Men's Ministry:
A Men's Breakfast is held the first Saturday of each month. Good food, great fellowship - what more could you ask for?

Join us at 8:00 a.m. on February 7 in the Fellowship Hall for our next breakfast.
Meanwhile, the page for the Women's Ministry is packed with information, links, and even has a table of contents.

And then there were five

Wisely, Jason decides to forgo a top six in favor of a top five, because even he knows that there have only been five serious candidates out of the 24 to begin with, because way, way too many times Val and I have said the past month, "These women are psycho!"

Example: In a confessional Nikki the VA VA VOOM girl says that she deserved a chance with Jason more than Stephanie because, seriously, she said this, Stephanie had her chance at marriage and he died: "She already had a man. She married him, had his daughter, and sadly, he died. I want my turn." It's just not fair, is it, Nikki?

At night during the group date, all of the women were emotional and crying and telling Jason that they're falling for him and it's just so hard to see him giving sloppy smooches with these other women, because, gosh, they just didn't think of him liking any of the other 23 women on a reality dating show.

Melissa especially has a serious case of "I can't believe I'm falling for him"-itis. The editors show her at least ten times making such a comment when talking about Jason making out with the other girls. It's this complete lack of self-awareness that makes us enjoy it so much.

Who had to go? The obvious, catty, insane ones who crashed and burned one on one with our bachelor: Blunt Lauren, who twice told Jason that he had to give her a rose and asked why he kept Megan; Bitchy Megan, who even when sober rubs everyone the wrong way; Stalker Shannon, who is like the American Idol wacko picked by producers to look weird and then claim that they should have won all along; and Nikki, who still didn't get it that no matter how much she talked about how pretty and smart she was, she had all the personality of Steven Wright on Quaaludes.

Rating the final five:

1. Melissa - Dark hair, dark eyes to look like Deanna and young and impressionable enough to get broken in before breaking Jason's heart.
2. Molly - Perky, easy to talk to, doesn't appear to kick puppies.
3. Jillian - Likes mustard on her hot dogs, Canadian so she's funny like Mike Myers and Jim Carrey.
4. Stephanie - Has a little girl, can do a cartwheel, i.e, flexible.
5. Naomi - Tattoo on her back means she's easy. (Kidding!)

Jack never sleeping or going pottie is not on the list

The most ludicrous moments on "24," as compiled by Television Without Pity. And yes, Kim and cougar are on there. Duh.

This week, there wasn't anything that ridiculous, but the First Dude coming out of his chemical-induced paralysis just in time to choke his Secret Service agent bodyguard to death was a little far-fetched.

So Jack choked Agent Walker to sleep, shot her in the neck and buried her alive, all in the span of two hours. I'm seeing a new love interest!

The annual "We don't have much time" count now hits one. DING!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ooh, this should be juicy!

Former Dang Yanks skipper Joe Torre is releasing a tell-all book on his time as manager of the Evil Empire, and from the early excerpts it looks to be fabulous bathroom reading (which is when all reading about that team should take place):
Scorned skipper Joe Torre is blasting the Yankees - calling many of his former players prima donnas, confessing he stopped trusting the powers that be years before he left the team and charging that general manager Brian Cashman betrayed him.

In an explosive new book called "The Yankee Years," Torre gets most personal in his attacks against Alex Rodriguez, who he says was called "A-Fraud" by his teammates after he developed a "Single White Female"-like obsession with team captain Derek Jeter and asked for a personal clubhouse assistant to run errands for him.

Torre, who left the Yankees and became manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 2007 season, says Cashman never told the brass that the manager wanted a two-year deal and instead remained silent during Torre's tense final sitdown with the bosses.

The book also reveals that, during spring training in 1999, team doctors revealed to owner George Steinbrenner that Torre had prostate cancer - even before informing the manager himself. ...

A father figure in the dugout, Torre became the second-winningest manager in Yankee history, bringing the team into postseason play every year from 1996 to 2007.

Torre spent years trying to bring out a winning performance from A-Rod, the highest-paid player in baseball, which from all reported accounts included a lot of hand-holding and battling the insecurities and demons Rodriguez struggles with.
I love the bit about calling A-Rod "A-Fraud." It's like they've been secretly reading my blog!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Please place item in bag"

Apparently now that I'm married, or because I'm dieting, Kroger thinks that I'm a woman. Almost every time I checkout now, the machine spits out a coupon for some feminine product. I blame the yogurt I buy for my Darling Valerie.

Is it a law that the first grocery cart you grab when entering the store is stuck to one or more carts in front of it? And how long do you tug like a moron before giving up and trying the one next to it?

Am I the only one who feels odd carrying around a giant roll of toilet paper in the grocery store? I feel like all my fellow shoppers are thinking, "Wow, that guy must poop a LOT!"

I'm going to invent a TiVo device that automatically skips food ads. I'm tired of drooling at pizza I can't eat!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Now serving as the opposition blogger

- I THINK IT'S SAFE TO SAY that we won't be hearing reports of the Bush folks trashing the White House like we know happened when the Clintonites left in 2001.

- "In 2004, George W. Bush continued dividing America with his divisive policies by divisively winning the election with 50.7 per cent of the vote. In 2008, Barack Obama united the entire world in a unifying spirit of unity by winning with 52.9 per cent of the vote." (Courtesy Tim Blair)

- THIS HEADLINE really says all you need to know about how easy it is to make France jokes: "Former French President Chirac hospitalised after mauling by his clinically depressed poodle".


- MY FAVORITE DEFENSE of George Bush's foreign policy comes from a Socialist Brit who voted for Obama, writing in a left-wing e-zine.

- OBAMEINSTEIN IS GOING to have some interesting views if he listens to his new science adviser, a wackadoo extreme environmentalist who has said that the U.S. needs to stop growing and that "some form of ecotastrophe" would take place before 2000, which of course was wrong, and "carbon dioxide-induced famines could kill as many as a billion people before the year 2020."

- HOLY COW, the AP actually fact checks Obama, on the day of his inaugration!
It didn't take long for Barack Obama to make the first mistake of his presidency.

In the third sentence of his inaugural speech Tuesday, the newly sworn-in president said, "Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath."

While there have been 44 presidential administrations, there have been only 43 presidents; Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms in the late 1800s.

Heck, it could actually get downright testy between Obama's press staffers and the White House correspondents, what with lying about that whole "more transparency" pledge:
A growing media frustration with Barack Obama’s team spilled into the open at Thursday’s briefing, with reporters accusing the White House of stifling access to his oath re-do and giving Obama’s first interview as president to a multi-million dollar inauguration sponsor.
When Obama tried to charm his way out of it, he got a little peeved that the reporters dared to ask questions:
President Obama made a surprise visit to the White House press corps Thursday night, but got agitated when he was faced with a substantive question.

Asked how he could reconcile a strict ban on lobbyists in his administration with a Deputy Defense Secretary nominee who lobbied for Raytheon, Obama interrupted with a knowing smile on his face.

"Ahh, see," he said, "I came down here to visit. See this is what happens. I can't end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I'm going to get grilled every time I come down here."

Pressed further by the Politico reporter about his Pentagon nominee, William J. Lynn III, Obama turned more serious, putting his hand on the reporter's shoulder and staring him in the eye.

"Alright, come on" he said, with obvious irritation in his voice. "We will be having a press conference at which time you can feel free to [ask] questions. Right now, I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself to you guys - that's all I was trying to do."

- A NEW PHOTO OF FIDEL CASTRO was released this week. You can see why Cubans now refer to him as "Bernie."


- STAY CLASSY, Funkadelic Leftist Entertainers:
An inaugural ball honoring U.S. military veterans ended in a kerfluffle as several veterans walked out when a musical act's attempt at humor backfired.

During the Heroes Red, White & Blue Inaugural Ball honoring the nation's veterans, a vocalist with George Clinton and the P. Funk All-Stars held up a white towel with large block letters saying "[Expletive] GEORGE," perturbing many audience members who walked out after the display, interpreting it as a jab at the outgoing commander-in-chief, George W. Bush.

- STAY HUMBLE, OBAMMESSIAH:
President Obama listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning - but he also left no doubt about who's in charge of these negotiations. "I won," Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation.

- THE AP REPORTS separately on two mayors in trouble. The first in Racine, Wis., tried to lure a 14-year-old girl, and the second, in Portland, Ore., admitted this week that he lied to cover up his relationship with a teenage legislative intern. The AP does not tell us to which party these mayors are affiliated. Which, of course, means they're both Democrats.

- MORE MISSING AFFILIATIONS, in Chicago and Alabama. In Chi-town, an Alderman says she shouldn't have been arrested for drunk driving because she didn't have to go No. 1 while in custody, and in Roll Tide country, a state senator and his reverend pal, convicted for illegal kickbacks from a nonprofit foundation. Finding out that the politicians are long time Democrats is not easy.


- AND SO THE LIES (LIES!) BEGIN: Prerecorded music at inauguration causes flap.

"When I die, don't tell nobody. Just bury me in the backyard and tell everybody I left you."


If you're a playwright, you really can't go wrong with a Southern comedy full of backwoods eccentrics acting eccentrically. And thus it was that me, Val, her parents and brother found ourselves watching Val's cousin Stevie in "Dearly Departed" Thursday night at the Bartlett Performing Arts Center.

What's the plot? Dead old guy, dysfunctional family, lots of good old boy jokes, wacky Southern names, wild characters who aren't actually in anyone's real family, but we all seem to know someone who knows someone exactly like that. These folks are living lives that even country songwriters would scoff at, "Nah, that's way too offbeat."

The production itself could be considered eccentric. Instead of using the hundreds of auditorium seats, the director put 80 seats on the stage. It made for a much more intimate production, and allowed for a few fun interactions among players and the crowd. I don't mean like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," but random things, like the widow thanking audience members in the front row for coming to the "wake."

It wasn't difficult to find Stevie, he was the one in the mullet that would make Billy Ray Cyrus jealous, wearing a rock-n-roll shirt and covered in beer cans on the couch when we first see him. And no, I don't think he used method acting to get ready for the part.

No offense to Stevie, but the real standout was an actor playing a fidgety and very overweight young girl who speaks less than five words for two hours, yet steals every scene. He had this bouncy walk and ear-to-ear smile the entire time, not to mention having to eat candy almost the entire time, pulling out at least a dozen candy bars out of his dress, including handing out candy to audience members sitting behind "her." I probably missed a good five minutes of dialogue during the play just focused on this guy/girl.

To wrap, I shall share master thespian Stevie's blurb in the program. No doubt he's had practice, having been to L.A. to pursue an acting career and gracing stages all over the Memphis area: "Thanks to the family and friends who are reading this right now, as that probably meant you paid $10 to see me. I would like to ask that you please hold your applause for me until the end of the show, as it might be disruptive to the other actors."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jeff's 6th annual Oscars contest

It's that time again, try to completely guess the winners of the Academy Awards, because like me, you've no doubt not seen the majority of nominees for any category. Email me or post your picks in the comments by 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, and good luck!

Previous winners:

2008 - Me and Val (14 correct picks)
2007 - Dad ()
2006 - Stephanie (15; I had 17, but can't win my own contest, right?)
2005 - Jeremy (13)
2004 - Scott and Joe (16)


Performance by an actor in a leading role

* Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor"
* Frank Langella in "Frost/Nixon"
* Sean Penn in "Milk"
* Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
* Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler"

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

* Josh Brolin in "Milk"
* Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder"
* Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt"
* Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight"
* Michael Shannon in "Revolutionary Road"

Performance by an actress in a leading role

* Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married"
* Angelina Jolie in "Changeling"
* Melissa Leo in "Frozen River"
* Meryl Streep in "Doubt"
* Kate Winslet in "The Reader"

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

* Amy Adams in "Doubt"
* Penélope Cruz in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
* Viola Davis in "Doubt"
* Taraji P. Henson in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
* Marisa Tomei in "The Wrestler"

Best animated feature film of the year

* "Bolt"
* "Kung Fu Panda"
* "WALL-E"

Achievement in art direction

* "Changeling"
* "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
* "The Dark Knight"
* "The Duchess"
* "Revolutionary Road"

Achievement in cinematography

* "Changeling"
* "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
* "The Dark Knight"
* "The Reader"
* "Slumdog Millionaire"

Achievement in costume design

* "Australia"
* "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
* "The Duchess"
* "Milk"
* "Revolutionary Road"

Achievement in directing

* "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" - David Fincher
* "Frost/Nixon" - Ron Howard
* "Milk" - Gus Van Sant
* "The Reader" - Stephen Daldry
* "Slumdog Millionaire" - Danny Boyle

Best documentary feature

* "The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)"
* "Encounters at the End of the World"
* "The Garden"
* "Trouble the Water"
* "Man on Wire"

Best documentary short subject

* "The Conscience of Nhem En"
* "The Final Inch"
* "The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306"

Achievement in film editing

* "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
* "The Dark Knight"
* "Frost/Nixon"
* "Milk"
* "Slumdog Millionaire"

Best foreign language film of the year

* "The Baader Meinhof Complex" - Germany
* "The Class" - France
* "Departures" - Japan
* "Revanche" - Austria
* "Waltz with Bashir" - Israel

Achievement in makeup

* "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
* "The Dark Knight"
* "Hellboy II: The Golden Army"

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

* "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" - Alexandre Desplat
* "Defiance" - James Newton Howard
* "Milk" - Danny Elfman
* "Slumdog Millionaire" - A.R. Rahman
* "WALL-E" - Thomas Newman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

* "Down to Earth" from "WALL-E" - Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman
Lyric by Peter Gabriel
* "Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire" - Music by A.R. Rahman
Lyric by Gulzar
* "O Saya" from "Slumdog Millionaire" - Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Best motion picture of the year

* "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
* "Frost/Nixon"
* "Milk"
* "The Reader"
* "Slumdog Millionaire"

Best animated short film

* "La Maison en Petits Cubes"
* "Lavatory - Lovestory"
* "Oktapodi"
* "Presto"
* "This Way Up"

Best live action short film

* "Auf der Strecke (On the Line)"
* "Manon on the Asphalt"
* "New Boy"
* "The Pig"
* "Spielzeugland (Toyland)"

Achievement in sound editing

* "The Dark Knight"
* "Iron Man"
* "Slumdog Millionaire"
* "WALL-E"
* "Wanted"

Achievement in sound mixing

* "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
* "The Dark Knight"
* "Slumdog Millionaire"
* "WALL-E"
* "Wanted"

Achievement in visual effects

* "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
* "The Dark Knight"
* "Iron Man"

Adapted screenplay

* "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
* "Doubt"
* "Frost/Nixon"
* "The Reader"
* "Slumdog Millionaire"

Original screenplay

* "Frozen River"
* "Happy-Go-Lucky"
* "In Bruges"
* "Milk"
* "WALL-E"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Valfrey Estates, one year later

One year ago today, Val and I lost our property virginity and became first time homeowners.

Sorry I didn't post these earlier! They're actually from last spring, so a few things have changed, but not too much. One of the first things we did was put in that mailbox. The old one was bent over and looked like it had been run over a few times.


The azalea bushes look very nice for the few weeks they're in bloom, but otherwise end up looking drab the rest of the year, so they'll be replaced eventually:


Looking out the backyard to No. 14 at Stonebridge Golf Course. You can see the neighbors' bird house apartments being set up in what I'm pretty sure intrudes into our land. But they planted squash and zucchini later, and gave us some, so I quickly forgave the trespass:


I've since started taking down the lattice around the patio so that Val and I can sit and look out to the backyard and course:


The neighbors have a big, but quiet and friendly dog, plus a yappy one (not seen here):


Here's how the living room looked before we bought the house:


Here's how it looked a few months later:




Here's what the dining room looked like then:


And now:


The bathroom when we bought it, a wallpaper disaster:


And after some major reworking of the walls:


Here's how our kitchen looked after remodeling, though it now has red walls:


The Stonebridge water tower at the end of the cove is the major landmark to direct people to our house, since it's right off I-40 east of Memphis (this was taken over a year ago as we inspected the house):

All kinds of TV to keep you busy

Oh sweet respite of my television, with temperatures in the 20s and 30s, Democrats taking over Washington and a diet forbidding me from the taste of pizza and wings during the football playoffs ...

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - Ye gads, what a way to start the final season. All kinds of weirdness (Kara finds her own dead body? Cylons inhabited a bombed-out Earth?) and angst (Adama wanting to kill himself?). If the next nine are as dramatic and depressing as this, I'm not sure my heart can take it. Dualla offing herself was quite the shock, but not as much as making Ellen Tigh the 12th and final Cylon. Really? Where'd that come from?

THE BACHELOR - All you need to know about which women will make the final five is watch the catty rose ceremony and note who didn't speak up: Melissa, Jillian, Molly, Stephanie and Naomi. Next to go has to be Megan, who has perfected the Bitchface, then Nikki, who has revealed herself to be snotty and not a good conversationalist, not to mention a bad kisser. That near-miss kiss with mimbo Jason was painful to watch, as was her earlier conversation in which Jason had nothing to say to her. Awk.Ward. She keeps talking about how being smart and beautiful isn't enough, which means she has no personality or sense of humor. Doomed!

Stephanie won't make the top four, I'm guessing, after watching that "play date" with her daughter for her birthday. Mimbo Jason wants sexy, and Stephanie looks to be 34 going on 48, and he wasn't exactly yearning to make out with her.

The biggest shock of the night was actually when perky little cheerleader Melissa revealed she had breast reduction surgery when she was 17. Jason was probably thinking when she told him, "How do I look down at her chest without it seeming like I am checking out her new knockers?"

Shannon gets more and more creepy and will probably require a restraining order by Jason after she's let out of the asylum.

The dates, they're just so romantic, aren't they? Just Jason, the girl, the sound guy, the camera guy, the guy holding the equipment, the guy in the back on the phone with the producers eating peanuts too loudly .. it's like it's just the two of them, in their own world.

I almost - almost - felt sorry for blond bimbo Natalie when Jason gave her the boot in Vegas, and she had to take off the $1 million worth of jewels that he gave her for the date. Then I remembered that later that night she'd probably happily hook a rich gambler who'd buy her anything to be eye candy on his arm, and I didn't care anymore. What really cost Natalie was when Jason came to pick her up, and she wasn't nearly ready, and didn't appear to be in a hurry, either. Big no no on a first date.

The women keep thanking him for his gifts and crediting Jason for his dates as if the producers aren't arranging anything and all he has to do is get in a limo and be driven from one place to another to make out with yet another girl, some of whom might not even be on the show.

THE BIGGEST LOSER - Joelle, Joelle, Joelle. That's what this show has been all about, and it won't go away. SHE won't go away, at least not anytime soon. She even gets to take Bob back to Detroit to work out with her Silver partner, Carla, who ate a whopping 2,700 calories in a temptation challenge to get them home, and then proceeds to browbeat Joelle the entire time. They're just not people that should hang out with anyone else.

Green Tara wins another immunity challenge, and I'm thinking this will continue. She's athletic, focused and cocky enough to know she can do it and convince others that they can't beat her. I'm still not sure if I like her, though.

Red Damien is my guy. During the temptation, he said that he doesn't have a "sweet tooth," he has a "meat tooth." Eat those nuggets, dude!

Jillian found her mentally and emotionally weak contestant this year in Yellow Mandi, who seemingly cries for no reason. Dr. Phillian will get right to it, I'm sure.

Alli Baby Bump Watch - She's showing now, and only getting bigger.

We really, really hate it that the show feels the need to replay the last 30 seconds before the break, after the break. We just saw it, we know what's going on!

Orange Dan's partner back home continues to be an idiot, eating fried chicken and hush puppies while having the gall to make fun of his friend for eating "lettuce and cheese."

Joelle and Damien end up in the bottom two, but while Joelle's team wants her gone as much as us, Jillian's team saw an opportunity to get rid of a potential finalist and leave a weak member on Bob's team. Ugh. Val notes that she's partly upset because it used to be that your own team voted, but now the other team has a say, and can vote off someone for their own purposes, like this week. Or, they knew they were preventing a homicide by Carla should Joelle return home.

Back home, Damien unfortunately hasn't done well, only 44 pounds since leaving the show, while his fiance has lost a few more pounds total, all at home on her own. Hopefully he'll get it together for the finale. Though I'm starting to wonder if, by picking heavier-than-usual contestants, the show isn't going to have a lot of contestants return for the finale without being thin.

The previews for next week already tell us that the bottom two will be the youngest contestants this season, Orange Dan and Brown Mike. Which means frakin' Joelle is safe again. Unbelievable.

AMERICAN IDOL - That makes two Memphians getting a lot of airtime in the past two weeks. Dare I get my hopes up for a Bluff City sweep? I'm not one to watch the tryouts, because the loons don't make me laugh as much as cry. The laughingstocks have to know that they're the kooks being made fun of, don't they? How do they not have parents and friends to set them straight?

24 - I'm still with this season so far. Usually by now I've checked out for a couple of months, but at least we're still sticking with the main plot. The prime minister of Madeupcountry needs to sue the manufacturer of his panic room. Worst ever, if it can be gassed through the ventilation. And how is the FBI 21 miles away? Where's the FBI office in D.C. located, West Virginia? They're laying it on thick to get us to be suspicious of the slick-haired FBI tech nerd. There's more to him than being an adulterer with his blond co-worker, right? That's like putting the FBI in Arlington outside of Memphis, with all of the government work done downtown. Would the Attorney General really be sending out a cronie to investigate the chick Bauer of the FBI for torture, an hour after the event? That would take two, three months to investigate.

LOST - Val set the tone for us this season, just watch and "whatever happens, happens. Let it go." Tonight's debut, with all the time-shifting, was right out of the "All Good Things" finale of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." I kind of dug it, but I wish they'd hurry up and get the Oceanic 6 on their way to the island.

MOMMA'S BOYS - I'm almost embarrassed to have been manipulated into liking this show, especially when they made Jojo go on a "date" with his mom. I apologize to my Darling Valerie for making her watch it with me for the past month. In the end, Jojo goes against his crazy racist mother's wishes and takes the blond Southern belle Mindy away on vacation, Rob picks Lauren and not the more exotic Camilla to go with his Jewish-only mom's wishes - though we're told he later left alone. Wonder if he called Camilla to apologize and hook up but once off the show she realized he was a nerd. Michael, who's on the show only to pick up chicks who normally wouldn't speak to him in public, went against his mother's wishes, which turned out to be the Penthouse Pet of the Year, probably because he's mad that his mom forced him to dump the blond bimbo who posed in Playboy. Will I watch this show again if they make one? Nope. But will I try out the next silly dating show that makes fun of all the women looking to further their acting careers? Absolutely.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jeff's thoughts on inauguration day 2009

Being that I work in TV, I had plenty of time to watch the inauguration Tuesday morning, because I love the pomp and pageantry of America at its best, the peaceful transition of power that has happened among 43 presidents 44 times in United States history.
 
And this time was an added benefit, the Obamessiah spoke and all were healed! Hope! Change! The gulags have been opened and the Dixie Chicks have been freed! Glory be!
 
I didn't hear the crowd booing president Bush, or even Joe Lieberman, and I couldn't believe it when I read that even MSNBC anchors were put off by the crowd singing "Nah Nah Hey Hey .... Goodbye." Though I admit to being perplexed that Tom Brokaw said that the scene on the National Mall resembled the Velvet Revolution of the former Czechoslovakia in the 80s. Really? Bush shaking Obama's hand and wishing him luck is akin to an overthrow of a tyrannical regime?
 
On the booing, Jay Nordlinger of National Review pulls out a quote, "When the Left asks for a classless society, now I know what they mean." Hey libs, your guy won, Bush is gone, let it go.
 
Rhetorically, the speech sounded good, although a few items left me vexed, specifically where he took cheap shots at the outgoing president and his administration.
 
"Restore science to its rightful place." As if science is the be all to end all, and as if rejecting global warming isn't based on science.
 
"... Where the answer is no, programs will end." I look forward to seeing which programs he thinks should end when they don't work.
 
We must "no longer ignore the suffering outside our borders." Is that what Bush has been doing? Launching the biggest offensive against AIDS in Africa, freeing 50 million in Iraq and Afghanistan from tyranny?
 
"It's time to quit putting off unpleasant decisions." Oh, like when Bush tried to make changes to Social Security, flattened by Congress and their allies in the media?
 
"We are ready to lead once more." Because being loved by Europe is more important than making decisions that are right for Americans.
 
We must now "leave Iraq to its people." Which wouldn't be possible without Bush.
 
One pledge I hope he keeps and that America should have been doing for the past 50 years to win hearts and minds and keep people thankful and anti-Communism and anti-Islamofascist, to poor nations he made a pledge, to help provide clean drinking water and make farms work.
 
I'm assuming work has already begun to add Obama's face to Mount Rushmore?
 
On his show last night, Jay Leno said Obama missed a great chance to balance the federal budget. He says they should have made all those porta-potties pay toilets and at two bucks apiece we'd have a budget surplus.

"The presidency was a joyous experience, but as great as it was, nothing compares with Texas at sunset," former president Bush told a crowd of about 25,000 in Midland, Texas yesterday evening. "Tonight I have the privilege of saying six words that I have been waiting to say for a while: It is good to be home." And I know Texans will gladly have him.

What was with the benediction by Rev. Joseph Lowery, "The white will embrace what is right." Here's your colorblind society.
 
The poem was tripe, nonsense, full of flowery flourish existing merely because the "poet" owns a thesaurus.
 
Obama should almost be thankful of the economic downturn as he takes office, because any natural uptick will be credited to any policy he implements.
 
If Laura Bush had worn a dress for the inaugural balls like Michelle Obama that looked like she plucked the Aflac duck, I think we'd hear some scoffing by the pop culture press. But Michelle is already called the new Jackie-O, so that means she can do whatever she wants with immunity. But hey, I'm just a bitter partisan Repub.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A fond farewell, Mr. President

President Bush, for nine years know that I have had your back against an onslaught from the Left and the media (but I repeat myself). Good luck and God bless you in your retirement years.

I'm shocked, just shocked


If I told you that moviegoers were shot at in a theater in North Carolina, what movie do you suppose they were going to see? No, not "Paul Blart: Mall Cop." If you said "Notorious," about the life of rapper Biggie Smalls and all that East Coast-West Coast nonsense, you are a master of the obvious. Congrats.

Now, if I told you that four people in New York were stabbed at a nightclub advertising an after-party for a movie premiere, which movie would you suppose was it for?

No, not "Hotel for Dogs," still "Notorious," but that was easy, wasn't it?

And finally, if I asked you what movie won the box office this weekend, what would you say?

No, not "Notorious!" But seriously people, who went to see "Paul Blart: Mall Cop?" Nearly $40 million this weekend? Why? Couldn't you have stayed home and removed the popcorn ceiling? It's more fun and less hazardous to your health!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Uggh

IT'S NOT JUST ME - Over Christmas when we went to Nashville, I couldn't help but notice how many girls in Nashville wear those Ugg boots that went out of style in Hollywood three years ago. Sports Illustrated's Peter King noticed the same thing last weekend when in town to cover the Titans:
Coffeenerdness: Hard by the campus of Vanderbilt is a Starbucks on West End Avenue, and if you went in there over the weekend, you saw (presumably) Vanderbilt students come in by the dozens, looking like they just got out of bed, some in pajama pants, and I think about half the girls in Uggs boots. Starbucks has it figured out -- or did, until they started building stores across the street from each other. Get kids hooked on tasty caffeine early, and it'll last a lifetime.


HEADLINE OF THE DAY: "The Stink in Farts Controls Blood Pressure"

As if you needed another reason to make your special Extra-Bean Chili.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

They also made a fabulous onion volcano

Of all the places to rob, a Japanese restaurant - with all the chefs and their knives - would seem to be one of the more risky:
Two men carrying a knife and an electronic stun gun stormed the Planet Sushi restaurant in the city's Latin Quarter on Sunday night, demanding money from the till.

But the team of Japanese staff turned on the men, stabbing one to death with a fish knife used for preparing sushi dishes, while the other was pinned to the ground outside the restaurant. ...

"History will show that George W Bush was right"

Historian Andrew Roberts:
The American lady who called to see if I would appear on her radio programme was specific. "We're setting up a debate," she said sweetly, "and we want to know from your perspective as a historian whether George W Bush was the worst president of the 20th century, or might he be the worst president in American history?"

"I think he's a good president," I told her, which seemed to dumbfound her, and wreck my chances of appearing on her show.
As always, read it all.

A sobering admission

National Review Online's Jay Nordlinger on how the Right has lost the culture war and the presidency as a result:
It seems to me that the Left has won: utterly and decisively. What I mean is, the Saturday Night Live, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher mentality has prevailed. They decide what a person’s image is, and those images stick. They are the ones who say that Cheney’s a monster, W.’s stupid, and Palin’s a bimbo. And the country, apparently, follows.

I have a friend who teaches at a prominent university, and she says that, when Palin’s name is mentioned, the people laugh. In the course of the 2008 presidential campaign, an extraordinarily accomplished woman — more accomplished than most of the rest of us will ever be — was turned into a laughingstock.

What are the shaping institutions of American life? The news media. Entertainment television. The movies. Popular music. The schools, K through grad school. In whose hands are those institutions? In what areas do conservatives predominate? Country music, NASCAR, some churches? (Talk radio too, I suppose — no wonder so many on the left want to shut it down.)

Backing down before being sworn in

The Obamessiah then, vowing to chase Osama to his dirty cave:
* "When John McCain said we could just 'muddle through' in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the gates of hell--but he won't even go to the cave where he lives."--Sen. Barack Obama, Democratic National Convention speech, Aug. 28, 2008
And now, well, Obama's schedule is busy, see, at Obamalot, and hey, look at that bird!:
* "I think that we have to so weaken his infrastructure that, whether he is technically alive or not, he is so pinned down that he cannot function. My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him. But if we have so tightened the noose that he's in a cave somewhere and can't even communicate with his operatives, then we will meet our goal of protecting America."--President-elect Barack Obama, CBS News interview, Jan. 14, 2009
(Courtesy OpinionJournal.com)

Meanwhile, from the "If Bush did this the media would absolutely freak" files, a tidbit on how the Obamedia accedes to their guy, from a Chicago reporter:
The Obama news conferences tell that story, making one yearn for the return of the always-irritating Sam Donaldson to awaken the slumbering press to the notion that decorum isn't all it's cracked up to be.

The press corps, most of us, don't even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who've been advised they will be called upon that day.

More from the media backing their guy even in the face of obvious hypocrisy, from the Media Research Center:
At a time when the United States is fighting two wars and faces a severe recession and huge budget deficits, the inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation's 44th president is estimated to cost $45 million. Bush's 2004 inauguration cost roughly $40 million. But though the figures are similar, there's been a major shift in the tone of coverage at the New York Times.

While the Times spent much of January 2005 making clear its disapproval of Bush extravagantly celebrating his inauguration during wartime, that concerned tone is conspicuously absent from the Times in January 2009, although the country is not only still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in danger of a deep recession. The difference? Perhaps because this time, it's the Times's favored candidate who is readying to assume the highest office.
Read the whole thing for complete quotes and excerpts.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Randomly

Oh dear, we missed this on American Idol this week, but apparently Jason Castro's brother - complete with orange fauxhawk hairdo - made it to Hollywood on Idol. No word on how high he was or if he forgot any lyrics. 
 
I unashamedly admit to being a fan of the TMZ show on TV, but only the first ten minutes. By the second block they're reduced to hounding obscure celebs, like, "Here's one of our paparazzi asking the backup singer for Devo if he is going to finish that hamburger."
 
I've never been as happy to have a house with a garage as the last two days, leaving for work at 2:30 a.m. with it 10 degrees outside and windy. It wasn't until I got to work that I got out and realized, "Holy frakamole it's freezing out here!"
 
Those "G" ads for Gatorade are confusing, freaky, and the creepy mimes at the end give me the heebie-jeebies. I am not encouraged to drink Gatorade by this. I am encouraged to report them to the authorities.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jeff's Top 5: 2008 Movies

Yeah, I go to the theater one-tenth as much as five years ago, but I'm okay with that. The artsy-fartsy films suffer as a result in these year-end lists, but frankly I'm just not in the mood nowadays to waste two hours on a movie that makes me "feel" or has "hard hitting issues." I only seek entertainment. Which is what I got in 2008, for the most part:  
 
1. "WALL-E" - I wanted to go hug the screen for 90 minutes, is how adorable this animated Pixar movie is, and sweet, and makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over.

2. "Mamma Mia!" - It was light-hearted, it was bouncy, the songs are sing-a-long-licious, and I don't care how much I'm made fun of for enjoying a movie that came along at the perfect time for Team Valfrey.

3. "The Dark Knight" - I can't rank it as high as so many other critics and Batman fans, if only because this was such a sadistic movie, no matter how great Heath Ledger was as the Joker. By the last third I was just ready for it to be done.

4. "Quantum of Solace" - Daniel Craig is smooth, he's suave, and he's got some kind of vengeful temper, and yet, Judi Dench was the best part of the newest Bond flick.

5. (tie) "Iron Man" and "Tropic Thunder" - Both for the same reason, Robert Downey Jr. Whether a superhero tycoon or an over-the-top method actor, dude's funny and believable.

Honorable mentions: "Valkyrie"; "27 Dresses"

Such a disappointment: "Indiana Jones and the Aliens of Doom"; "Prince Caspian"

Still want to see: "Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; "In Bruges"; "The Bank Job"; "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"; "Appaloosa"; "Fireproof"; "The Incredible Hulk"; "Australia"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jack is Back, and Jason's a mimbo

Reality TV had to take a backseat for a second last night to real reality, Memphis Tigers college hoops, as Antonio Anderson went down the court in 4.5 seconds to make a shot at the buzzer for a win in Tulsa. Thus, the Tigers' 45-game win streak in Conference USA continues. This year's squad has some serious deficiencies in leadership, accurate shooting and point guard play, but another trip to the NCAA Tourney will be just as much fun in March. I will get my hopes up, and they will be dashed like Tiger free throws clanging off the rim in the final minute.
 
Now on with the vast wasteland:
 
24 - We're four hours in, and nary a nuclear bomb has gone off, thousands of civilians haven't been killed, and Jack's body count is way under 50. Could it be that for the first time, a season of 24 won't go downhill after the first four hours? Usually we can tune out for the next three months and not miss anything good, then come back in time for the finale.

Not to toot my own horn, but HOOONNNNKKKKK!!!! I, and probably four million others, totally called the Tony-is-still-good twist within the first ten minutes, when Tony was too reluctant to off the government dude who was Dr. Phlox in Star Trek: Enterprise (update: Sorry, had that wrong at first, mixed him up with dude from Voyager - I didn't really like either Star Trek series, anyway). And then we find out that Tony's working in an underground sting operation with Buchanan and Chloe! The gang is back! Let's get that unethical law enforcement ON!

Though, seriously, with all the threats in the world, why is so much of this show dedicated to rooting out moles within the government, which is apparently 90 percent on the take from nefarious groups?

Alas, I do have reservations, such as the use of Janeane Garofolo as the FBI's version of Chloe. And I don't like the actress playing the president. I do, however, like the FBI agent who has a touch of Bauer in her methods, even after he supposedly double-crosses her.

The whole premise of the president's dilemma is stupid. It's either withdraw forever from the invasion or go full bore, accepting thousands of civilian deaths? How about withdrawing for a week or so, regrouping, finding the bad guys, and then going ahead with the invasion?

So we've left Los Angeles for the nation's capital, where even fewer people apparently live and drive. The First Dude is outside on a beautiful day, yet no one is walking around the lake by the Jefferson Memorial?

THE BACHELOR - I don't watch this for romance. I watch it to thank my stars that I'm not single with these crazy women out there in the dating pool, and because the editors are awesome.

Jason, who is turning out to be as much a womanizing mimbo (male bimbo) as any slutty man on this show, much to my wife's disappointment, is making out with every girl whose face is within five feet of his lips. So the editors have no problems, when Jason talks about Nikki's "amazing qualities," showing a slow pan of her expansive chest region as he says it.

There are only a few women who aren't nuts, yet Jason doesn't care since he's too busy trading saliva with all the bimbos who look like Deanna, whom ABC reminds us constantly is the Bachelorette who picked a snowboarder instead and then dumped him a few months later. At least he's not fretting about hurting their feelings like Deanna pretended to do. He's too busy investigating the health of their tonsils with his tongue.

Crazy chick watch: I don't have a side to pick in the Megan vs. Erica battle. They're both wrong. Erica is a two-face, Megan is too high-strung. They've seen him twice, yet Natalie was in tears because one of the other 13 women went on a date with him. Lauren claimed to be happy she wasn't chosen for a date because she didn't know what to do with her hair. Shannon, who has memorized everything about Jason (included his brother's family), is tossing ice cubes on the balcony to disrupt his conversation with another girl.

Stay tuned for more desperate women catfighting and claiming that they can't believe how quick they fell in love with a guy they've met three times.

THE BIGGEST LOSER - No matter how they justify being home, the nine people kicked out last week have no responsibility to work out and stay in shape, and no guarantee that they'll return in 30 days. To prove my point, David of the Orange team goes home and immediately orders two hot dogs and french fries, and thinks he's being good! And the three people at the table with him don't seem to care. No accountability whatsoever. But why should he try? The show kicked him off after a week, so he has no clue what to do on his own after years of piling on the pounds.

Joelle shouldn't be here anyway. Her friend Carla only went home to be a martyr and push off the pressure of staying in the game onto the weaker of the two, and Joelle nearly blows it in week one by slacking off and admittedly (in private) going through the motions to "fake it" until Carla returns. As a result, Bob blows a gasket and - very entertainingly to Jillian nearby - uses all kinds of foul language in disgust.

The Week Two Blues affect only a few, and unfortunately the bottom two end up being the Oldest and the Biggest/Youngest, both of whom need to be there more than any of the others. But it turns out pretty well for Larry the Old Guy who gets the boot, because back home he's lost 84 pounds in three months, and looks great.

AMERICAN IDOL - Meh, we watched five minutes, total. The tryouts don't excite us. And yet in that five minutes we still managed to see the bimbo in the bikini from the previews who makes Simon's eyes go all googly and vote through a so-so singer who will be cut immediately in Hollywood. And really, why should we care? This is only a talent show by April. Until then it's a farce, and I refuse to believe that so many of the people trying out don't know that they're on the show as comedy fodder only.

MAMMA'S BOYS - Way, way too much drama for a show this delicious. How can I justify watching this crap? Um, at least it's not one of those dating shows that parades the skanks and tramps like "Rock of Love?" Even the producers don't try to justify this as a real dating show. Two of the women eliminated this week, Val and I had never seen nor heard of, yet they were in the top three? Next week, the finale, and the boys have to choose between the girls and their moms! (Put money on the moms.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Red Sox red hot in the offseason


IT'S ABOUT TIME!

Finally, Jim Rice gets his due from the petty baseball writers. After 15 years of waiting for the call, Rice - who spent his entire 16-year career with the Red Sox - was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and will get his much-deserved bust in Cooperstown, as I've detailed the past few years.

Meanwhile, for those still playing at Fenway, please welcome a few veterans and a young buck full of promise currently hopping planes to Beantown to join the 2004 and 2007 World Series champions.

The Dang Yanks added Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett in the offseason, so the Red Sox responded with John Smoltz and Brad Penny on the mound and Rocco Baldelli off the bench, along with a 38-year-old in the bullpen (filling the geriatric gap with the departure of Mike Timlin?). And yet I feel okay with this.

In his blog at the Boston Globe site, Tony Massarotti isn't exactly jumping up and down with joy at this week's signings, but like me knows it doesn't matter much what chess pieces GM Theo Epstein starts out with, it's what he does with him once the game starts:
Is it a championship roster? For now, that is impossible to say -- but then, at the moment, it doesn't need to be. Epstein has between now and July 31 to further address whatever deficiencies the club may develop between before then, and we know the Red Sox have the wherewithal and resources to plug those holes.

The Sox are spending less than $15 million (before potential bonuses) on four players who could play a major impact on how the Sox win back the AL East. If I have any doubts about any of them, just having lived in Atlanta for nine years, I can vouch for future Hall of Famer Smoltz as a class act, a veteran leader and a hoss when he's in the game.

And as for why Teixeira didn't pick the Sox, Boston fans should have fun with this tidbit of info via Peter Gammons:
He wanted to go to the Yankees, his wife doesn't like Boston -- apparently she doesn't like the stores on Newbury Street or something -- and in the end that's the way it goes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

In case you're curious

The picture under the title of the blog is of our switcher at work.

I always marvel that I share a country with such folks

I declare thee Prime Minister of Stupidopia:
Authorities say a ring of criminals bilked distressed San Diego homeowners by persuading them they could declare their properties to be independent nations.

The district attorney's office in San Diego says homeowners who were facing foreclosure were told they could buy "land patents" that would make their homes sovereign nations.

The idea was that bank officials then would be barred from coming onto their property.

One suspect, 55-year-old Jessica Refuerzo, was arrested Friday. Two other suspects remain at large and two others were arrested earlier.

At least 17 victims lost tens of thousands of dollars in the scheme.

The honeymoon was spent in the restrooms:
Wedding bells meant Taco Bell for Paul and Caragh Brooks.

Customers inside the fast-food restaurant continued to order tacos and burritos as the couple sat Friday in an orange booth at Taco Bell and exchanged vows.

"It's appropriate," groom Paul Brooks said. "It's an offbeat relationship."

Employees displayed hot sauce packets labeled with the words "Will you marry me?" They decorated the restaurant with streamers and balloons.

The bride wore a $15 hot pink dress and the entire wedding cost about $200. Several dozen guests looked on as the couple's friend, Ryan Green of Normal, administered the vows while wearing a T-shirt. He was ordained online.

"This is the way to go — there's no stress," said the groom's mother, Kathy Brooks.

Caragh Brooks, 21, of Australia, met Paul Brooks, 30, on an Internet dating Web site. They already had the same last name.

The couple wrote back and forth and talked on the phone for nine months before Caragh Brooks moved to the United States. ...

He proposed on New Year's Eve and, because they like to spend time at the local Taco Bell, they decided to wed there.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Donovan McNabb is a punk

You'd think someone who was widely made fun of for not knowing the overtime rules and got benched midseason for inept play would be a little more humble and gracious in victory. You'd be wrong.
 
I can't believe the Arizona Cardinals will host the NFC Championship, and I hope they win by 50.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jeff's Top 5: Alternative Careers

Jobs I would be doing if not in the TV news biz, besides "being rich and/or famous":

1. FBI agent - I actually looked into this in my mid-20s, what with the prospect of wearing cool suits and showing off an FBI badge like I was in "The X-Files." Then I remembered that creepy incest episode and it didn't seem so spiffy.

2. Park Ranger - Preferably working at an historical battlefield. With a cool hat. And if it's legal to smack people who ask who won the Civil War.

3. Film Critic- See all the movies, tell people what stinks and what's worth seeing, and they think you're some sort of expert. Downside: Extra 50 pounds due to extra Twizzlers, hot dogs, nachos and popcorn, plus the potential of going on a murder spree for having to watch Anna Ferris movies.

4. American Idol judge - Crazy Paula, crazy tryouts, and it must be refreshing to actually see some crazy good talent. That, and to touch Ryan Seacrest's garment and be healed. 

5. Golf pro - Not the local club pros. I'd rather be the ones who get to travel, make $10,000 by barely making the cut and finishing last, and get applauded just for finishing a hole.

Honorable Mentions - Social Studies teacher/high school coach; Outback Steakhouse food tester; male model; absolutely nothing (win lottery, retire, do whatever the heck I want).

Friday, January 09, 2009

Jeff's Trailer Park, Spring 2009 edition

"Friday the 13th" - Okay, fess up, who requested another remake? Raise your hand, so Jason can chop it off. This isn't a sequel, it's Michael Bay's version of the origin of the guy in the hockey mask. Of course, it still means a lot of sinful young adults having unmarried sexual relations with each other will get killed in creatively horrible ways, so it won't stray much from the original (classic?), I'm guessing. I would get on my soapbox, but I actually saw "Freddy vs. Jason" for the campy factor, so I have absolutely no standing here to criticize.
 
"Wolverine" - Not a documentary about the ragtag rebels in  "Red Dawn," alas. This is Hugh Jackman, fresh off being named People's Sexiest Man Alive, and his "X-Men" character's origin story. I admit, I wasn't interested until seeing this preview. Might be some decent action scenes, and Liev Schriber should be good as Wolverine's evil rival. Bonus: No Halle Berry? (May 1)
 
"Angels and Demons" - The sequel to "The Da Vinci Code," Tom Hanks will take on The Illuminati, that shadowy world-controlling group not named Amway, and somehow the Pope is involved. No doubt the Catholic church will be thrilled. (May)
 
"The Soloist" - I'm positive the original title was "For Your Consideration," because this film was made with winning awards in mind. Robert Downey Jr. is a journalist who discovers a Julliard-trained homeless schizophrenic, played by Jamie Foxx. There's all kinds of drama and no doubt an inspirational scene or two to tug at Hollywood's hearts and make them feel good about themselves (because they're usually so humble and lay low).

Thursday, January 08, 2009

But the sesame chicken is divine


Today's fortune cookie says, "Don't sniff the flour."

An interesting find in today's Commercial Appeal. The Chinese buffet Val and I frequent for lunch, Mandarin Palace, was searched as part of a sting of an Asian drug crime ring that stretched from Memphis to California:
2008 traffic stop leads to arrests

Authorities on Wednesday announced the arrests of 11 people they say were involved in a marijuana ring in Memphis and California.

The arrests came from a tip received in a traffic stop last year, Acting U.S. Atty. Larry Laurenzi said.

That stop eventually led to the local seizure of 45 pounds of marijuana, about 500 ecstasy tablets, firearms and cash. In California, authorities seized almost 20 pounds of cocaine.

Seven of those arrested are Asian and Laurenzi said this was the first local drug case he's aware of that includes so many Asian defendants.

Arrested in Memphis were Gum Chung Lum, Chon Leong, Chun Leong, Feng Liu, Victoria Sanders, Alexander Cook, Dusin Khahn Vo, Max Terhune and Angela Sweat. Arrested in California were Wai Lai and Weitao Zhu.

On Wednesday, authorities searched six homes and two restaurants -- Wasabi Sushi and Sake Bar at 1134 N. Germantown Pkwy. and Mandarin Palace at 2845 Bartlett Blvd.

The operation included officers from the Memphis Police Department, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Barry's 2008 Obama Year in Review

I know he's just a funny guy and going for a laugh, but Dave Barry reveals a lot about what we know about the Obamessiah and the election season in Barry's 2008 year in review column, as these excerpts are everything I posted, only hilarious:
(January) On the Democratic side, the surprise winner is Barack Obama, who is running for president on a long and impressive record of running for president. A mesmerizing speaker, Obama electrifies voters with his exciting new ideas for change, although people have trouble remembering exactly what these ideas were because they were so darned mesmerized. Some people become so excited that they actually pass out. These are members of the press corps.

(March) Barack Obama addresses the issue of why, in his 20 years of membership in Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, he failed to notice that the pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is a racist lunatic. In a major televised address widely hailed for its brilliance, Obama explains that . . . OK, nobody really remembers what the actual explanation was. But everybody agrees it was mesmerizing.

(April) ... tensions run high in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, which all the experts agree is extremely crucial. Barack Obama gets into trouble with rural voters for saying that rural Americans are ''bitter'' and ''cling to guns or religion.'' Responding to charges that this statement is elitist, Obama responds: ``You are getting sleepy. Very sleepy.''

(June) ... In other campaign-related news, Chicago developer Tony Rezko, a former Obama associate and fundraiser, is convicted on corruption charges, but the press realizes that this is not an issue after Obama explains that it is not an issue.

(July) . . . Barack Obama, having secured North and South America, flies to Germany without using an airplane and gives a major speech -- speaking English and German simultaneously -- to 200,000 mesmerized Germans, who immediately elect him chancellor, prompting France to surrender.

(August) . . . Barack Obama, continuing to shake up the establishment, selects as his running mate Joe Biden, a tireless fighter for change since he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1849. The Democratic Party gathers in Denver to formally nominate Obama, who descends from his Fortress of Solitude to mesmerize the adoring crowd with an acceptance speech objectively described by The New York Times as ``comparable to the Gettysburg Address, only way better.''

(October) Obama, ahead of McCain by double digits in the polls and several hundred million dollars in money, skips the debates so he can work on his inaugural address. The New York Times declares his performance ``masterful.''

(November). . . Barack Obama, in a historic triumph, becomes the nation's first black president since the second season of 24, setting off an ecstatically joyful and boisterous all-night celebration that at times threatens to spill out of The New York Times newsroom. Obama, following through on his promise to bring change to Washington, quickly begins assembling an administration consisting of a diverse group of renegade outsiders, ranging all the way from lawyers who attended Ivy League schools and then worked in the Clinton administration to lawyers who attended entirely different Ivy league schools and then worked in the Clinton administration.

(December) President-elect Obama, continuing to bring change in the form of fresh-faced Washington outsiders, announces that his secretary of state will be Hillary Clinton. The position of secretary of defense, currently held by Bush appointee Robert Gates, will be filled by Bush appointee Robert Gates.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Reality TV is back!

I've only half taken down our Christmas lights outside since it's been rainy and cold, and falling off the ladder doesn't seem romantic or healthy. I figure my neighbors understand. Most of them still have things on their lawns. Inside, bins are piled up and I just need to load them in the attic. *Sigh* Christmas is really over.
 
Now, onto unreality television, which I adore so:
 
BIGGEST LOSER:
Wow, NBC wasn't kidding. These are some big folks, almost all of them bigger than any season before. The "smallest" guys are still 350 pounds, which used to be on the high end, and the "smallest" women are at least 240-250, which used to be the highest starting weights. I'm wondering if this season took longer to shoot so that by the time of the finale they'll be able to look as thin as past seasons.

Without resorting to anorexia or bulimia I don't see how it's possible in a few months to lose 75 percent of their weight. Not to mention that they might all die during stressful workouts. The old guy passed out BEFORE Jillian even got to work him out!

Yo, Biggest Loser producers, we hate the twists. This season they promised us couples, and then break up nine of the eleven after week one. Nine got sent home last night, and only four or five were promised to return after a month (so long as their partner was still in the game). Stupid. We were hoping that the nine sent home would form a different team instead, trained by Kim and come back in the game later.

We have a new game this season as well: Watch Allison grow. During the December finale she was very preggers. As this season starts you can slightly tell she's starting to grow, so we'll get to see her belly go the opposite direction of the contestants.

THE BACHELOR:

In the end, 24 of the 25 women will walk away disappointed, weeping that they "had a connection with Jason and think he's making a big mistake by not giving" them a rose. Val and I will laugh when the dumb ones get cut, and groan when the "good ones" are offed. We will care way too much about this.

Single father Jason, who got down on one knee only to be rejected by camerawhore wannabe starlet Deanna in last year's Bachelorette is now the sucker who tries to find love on a reality show only to surely see it bomb three months after the finale. Jason's even more doomed after seeing in the preview that ABC goes Level 3 Evil and lets Deanna back to try and woo him, claiming she made a mistake in choosing snowboarder Jesse (they "broke up" a few months back, but come on, we all knew she was in it for the celebrity), though we know she just feels out of the spotlight and needs the attention.

It's easy to figure out who will stay for a while, usually, based on how ABC edits their profiles. If you're featured in a bikini, acting ditzy or being catty, you have little chance at making the top ten.

How to stand out in that crowd? Some attempts Monday night involved dancing (twice), showing her golf swing and getting Jason to eat a hot dog to see what he puts on his wiener (as if that's a tell-tale sign of anything; 99 percent of people put mustard on their hot dogs). Cue wiener jokes.

Who's the frontrunner after week one? Nikki, by a mile, and I called it. Out of the 25 women who emerged from the limos, she was the one who made Jason's eyes bug out and tongue roll up as he all but yelled "AYOOOGA! AYOOOGA!!!" Seriously, dude needed a cold shower.

Elsewhere, look for Stephanie to advance far based on how the show has shown her as well. Probably the single mom connection helps, although two of the four single mothers were given the boot in the first elimination, along with a few others whom we thought would last.
 

Val: "I thought he was on this show to find a wife and a mother?" Oh Val, so naive, so trusting. Jason's an idiot like all other Bachelors and Bachelorettes. Against our wishes he picked far too many of the Woo Girls, as "How I Met Your Mother" calls them. The forums online think he just picked every girl who reminded him of Deanna, which would just be sad.

Will he be as annoying as Deanna was in her "woe is me" mode where everything, and I mean everything, revolved around how she was hurt and stood up on the show, as if she's the first person rejected on a reality dating show.

Over/Under on how many times he's shown with his shirt off in each show? Ten.

MAMMAS BOYS

The guys see what the moms don't, this is their only chance to make out with hot chicks who wouldn't acknowledge them outside of a reality show. Michael's taking advantage of it more than anyone, getting a chance to make out with a blonde bimbo wearing a naughty Mrs. Claus outfit while everyone else was upstairs playing house.

Amanda turns down Robert's ticket invitation, because she fell for Michael during the endurance challenge in which Robert needed oxygen and Michael looked the studly one. A defeat for nerdy Jewish boys everywhere, surely. (Heck, Val and I couldn't even remember the dudes name for most of the show, so he hasn't exactly made an impact with us, either.)

We didn't even recognize a few of the ones who are staying. But that's not our fault. The show doesn't show us any dates, because it's not about finding true love, just ticking off the moms.

Mrs. B. wins, getting JoJo to reject Misty, the black girl with the attitude who was only wooing him to poke at his mom. Is her "open-minded" eye-opening real? Doubtful. At least, not if the producers have anything to do about it. They'll probably try to set him up with a native girl on the island, just so Mrs. B. will pluck a dolphin out of the ocean and kick it in the dorsal fin. It will be hilarious and wickedly awesome. 

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

BG is back!

I'm not sure why my big bro Scott or lil' sis Stephanie (fellow Battlestar Galactica fans) dropped the ball on informing me of this, but prior to the new season this month, there are a series of webisodes starring a gay Gaeta (did we know that?) and the Asian skinjob (Sharon? Boomer?) to pass the time.

You can also Catch the Frak Up, which gets down to the basic nitty-gritty for those who have no clue what's going on. It's pretty entertaining.

Watch the final 10 episodes, starting Friday, Jan. 16! So say we all!

Golden, not much green

In case you're wondering why no one's going to care about the Golden Globe Awards this Sunday night, let's take a look at the box office numbers of the ten best picture nominees:

Picture - Drama

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - 79.3 million
Slumdog Millionaire - 28.7
Frost/Nixon - 6.3
The Reader - 3.6
Revolutionary Road - 1.4

Picture - Comedy or Musical

Mamma Mia - 143.8 million
Burn After Reading - 60.3
Vicky Cristina Barcelona - 22.8
In Bruges - 7.8
Happy-Go-Lucky - 3.3

Not that these aren't all amazing films, but for mainstream appeal these aren't exactly a feast of blockbusters.

(Numbers via Box Office Guru.)

Monday, January 05, 2009

A Valfrey Year in Review, 2008


JANUARY

- We closed on our new home after a nine-month search while living with Val's parents since moving back to Memphis. The house needed some remodeling, which ended up taking another six weeks before we moved in. We were disappointed to find out that we had to make more than three or four payments a year, but we'll manage over the next 30 years.

- I had a colonscopy. I've been violated three times in my life as doctors told me I had prostititis. That didn't compare to having Dr. Roto-Rooter do his thing. The preparation was actually worse than the procedure.

FEBRUARY

- The Union family took a deep breath as a tornado leveled the campus, and exhaled upon learning that no one was killed.

- Val and I tied to win my 5th annual Oscars contest. No one outside L.A. has still seen most of the nominees.

- At the new Valfrey Estates, we painted every single room AND ceiling. Several coats, many times, because it seemed like the previous homeowners were sabotaging us from the past the way they left the walls. Later in September we painted the kitchen red, because we like to punish ourselves and we ran out of rosaries.

MARCH

- We were all set to wake up on the first Saturday in March and move into Valfrey Estates. And then Friday night it started snowing. When we woke up Saturday morning it had snowed several inches, which provided some fun play in the white stuff. Finally, the next day we flexed our muscles and moved into the new house.

- The Red Sox started their 2008 season with a win in Japan. Alas, they did not go 161-0 the rest of the way, and lost the next day.

APRIL

- Memphis lost the NCAA Championship game after blowing a nine-point lead with two minutes left. That was painful in a "waited my whole life for this" kind of way, like a girly girl waiting for her big white wedding and getting stood up at the altar. Via singing telegram.

- Nephew Cody won the inaugural March Madness Challenge. I'm pretty sure this was a bigger feat for him than bowling a 299.

- I figured out that doing yard work is actually one of the joys of home ownership. I love mowing the yard, clipping branches, digging up the garden and making Valfrey Estates into our own creation. Expectations aren't exactly high after the previous owners. One of our neighbors stopped to thank us for simply making sure the lawn was mowed once in a while.

- I had all four of my wisdom teeth pulled with a little oral surgery that left four gaping holes in my mouth for a month, and hurt like the dickens for two weeks. That is the LAST time I get my wisdom teeth pulled!

MAY

- In May, we got our economic stimulus check, which immediately went back to the government to pay my taxes. I applied for a bailout, but haven't heard back yet.

- Our A/C stopped working a few days before my family was set to visit for Memorial Day. The company that my warranty group sent out was a bunch of no-good frauds and wanted to replace the whole unit, but after a week of dawdling and complete ignorance I contacted another company who said "no problem," it just needed freon and a good cleaning of the coils, and worked just fine. My righteous anger knows no bounds for being without air for two weeks for something the first company (Reeves) could have fixed on day one.

- David Cook made Valfrey happy and made teeny-boppers weep uncontrollably when he won American Idol over little David Archuletta.

JUNE

- The new Indiana Jones movie was about aliens. For real.

JULY

- Spent at week at Chickasaw State Park with Val's family for my third year enjoying several days of relaxation, good food, games and no contact with the outside world. Life's so good that the yearly lament, "Chickasaw's almost over," started by Monday.

AUGUST

- Val and I took a much-needed weekend to get away from it all in Hot Springs, stayed at an old B&B with a jacuzzi tub and got pampered at the spa. Jeff's life experiences: Bathed by another guy. Check.

- We were addicted to the Summer Olympic games in Beijing. Strange how every four years you can be transfixed watching ping-pong at 2 a.m.

SEPTEMBER

- In what would normally be the most dramatic moment of a year (it wasn't), I an organ removed, specifically my gallbladder. My tummy had been unusually rumbly for well over a year, and doctors finally figured out that the gallbladder was so full of sludge as to be useless and potentially harmful. And then I had to get the more serious surgery that involved a big cut across the stomach and three days in the hospital, plus six weeks of limited physical activity. It was actually a bummer not to get to mow the lawn. I was embarrassed that Val had to pick up the big cases of bottled water in the grocery store while other shoppers quietly judged.

OCTOBER

- The defending World Series champion Red Sox lost in the ALCS to the stinkin' Tampa Bay Devil Rays in seven games, and had to come back just to make it interesting. And I vowed to never watch TBS again.

- Val and I spent our second anniversary with Dad in Florida, driving over to Captiva Island in the Gulft for a few days of sunning on the beach, cruising around the small Gulf town on a golf cart and eating at some awesomely delicious restaurants. It was decadent, like Romans laying in lounges being fed grapes. Without the Romans.

- Valfrey Estates had to get a new heater, which also had the ability to cool my empty wallet.

- A sleep study revealed that I had severe sleep apnea, so I was given a CPAP to control breathing while sleeping. Except for sounding like Darth Vader with my full-mouth mask, it's working very well. I don't have bruises from Val poking me several times a night, and I don't wake up feeling like a dog spent three hours licking my throat.

NOVEMBER

- We voted for Sarah Palin, but will have to make do with being entertained at four years of the Obamessiah.

- We got new cell phones via an upgrade with AT&T. Five weeks later, my new touch-screen cell phone, cracked and AT&T said "tough luck". Hopefully their management is feeling toasty right now as they feel the creeping of Hell behind them for being so evil.

DECEMBER

- We decorated Valfrey Estates for our first Christmas in the new home, and although Val has enough Christmas stuff to fill the Smithsonian, I'm still a long ways from my master five-year "Griswold Vacation" lighting plan.

- Even with the house all aglow, since we're still the "young marrieds" of our families and friends, no one saw the house before Christmas as we visited five homes for the holidays and saw an amatuer production of "A Christmas Carol" that will have us remembering Tiny Tom for a long time. Over the holidays we then gathered to give thanks for not having to go to the mall for another 11 months.