Thursday, April 30, 2009

Faraday dies in his now, which was then, which makes me sad now

Matt, a.k.a. "Justin Timberfake," and his fedora got the boot last night on AMERICAN IDOL, and no one was surprised. Who was surprised? Adam, who ended up in the bottom three with Matt and Kris, while Allison and Danny looked shocked and in awe of being safe.
 
The real story of the night was on LOST and the death of Daniel Faraday.
 
Dang. That stinks. And his mum, Eloise, shot him in 1977, meaning that she knew that she'd have a boy, he'd be brilliant and she'd tell him about his destiny and the island, knowing all along that he'd be dying. That's f'ed up, dude.
 
Meanwhile, Jack and Kate have been on the island, what, three hours, and already they're exchanging gunshots with the loony paranoid fringe of Dharma, so Sawyer, Juliet, Miles and Jin have to abandon their happy-go-lucky existence with the Initiative.
 
Back in real time, we find out that Widmore is Faraday's father, so he and Eloise were kicking it among the Others, meaning he also knew she'd kill him when she was giving him grants and send Daniel out to the island on his cargo ship. Dang, these people are harsh.
 
As for continuing the plot, what Daniel was trying to do was detonate the H-Bomb we saw in '54 to prevent The Incident that causes the energy surge that results in the typing of the numbers by Desmond for a few years and ultimately the crashing of the Oceanic flight. Daniel hoped that if the bomb goes off it would dissipate the energy and keep it all from happening. Which would save his life, too, right?
 
But then Kate would still be a fugitive headed to jail for a long time, Jack would be a boring doctor without a destiny, Sawyer would be a two-bit crook without purpose or people to give snazzy nicknames, and Rose and Bernard wouldn't be somewhere on the island being cured of cancer. So maybe it wouldn't be a good idea for them to land in L.A. as if it never happened.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Does Filipe have two wives who are twins?

THE BIGGEST LOSER - After approximately ten hours of looking back at their fatness-turned-awesomeness (again), Tara wins another challenge, thus proving that she is, in fact, a machine, and the vote comes down to Ron and Filipe, which is obvious since Ron has his son's support and when he's not whining and throwing a hissy-fit, Filipe loses a ton of weight and would have been tough to beat by Tara and Helen. 
 
After getting voted out, in his farewell package Filipe's wife is interviewed twice, the first time her name is Olivia, the second time it's Levila. So which is it? Or is it both! Did they accidentally give away that Filipe has two wives who look just alike? Scandalous! Next week the final four go home for 30 days, waste an hour and a half of our time, then return to weigh in, where the bottom two will face a vote by fans to decide who gets to make the finale. Which is just a way for the show to lengthen the show since these were the biggest Losers of all time and needed an extra few weeks so NBC can show off a bunch of super-skinny contestants.
 
Did anyone else find the dramatic weight loss this week to a bit suspicious? I'm thinking tricks were used (diuretics?), or the final week at the ranch was more like two weeks.
 
Val's really rooting for Mike, so much so that she was getting upset when it looked like Mike couldn't lose enough weight to stay safe for the final four. Everyone else seems enamored with the teen as well. So why do I not care if he wins? I'm thinking that Mike is 19 and has a whole life ahead of him to enjoy without needing the money, and his father ticked me off way too much this season for me to be comfortable letting his tactics actually work.
 
DANCING WITH THE STARS - Well that was an unwelcome surprise. No way country singing stars and cute couple Chuck and Julianne should have gone this week. We thought it would be between Ty, who is fun but not as good as the rest, or Melissa, who couldn't even dance the night before because she has a fractured rib. Nope. Both safe. So Ty goes one more week than he should and if Melissa isn't up to doing two dances a week from here on out, we're going to be ticked, because this show is way more important than it should be to us. Speaking of ...
 
AMERICAN IDOL - Simon and the other judges are always looking to make the singing contest young, hip and modern, so hey, what better way to do that than make the final five sing standards made famous 50 years ago by the Rat Pack? THIS, is American Idol! And who better to mentor the singers on these hits than ... Jamie Foxx? Really? Isn't he a singer like Eddie Murphy was a "singer" in the 80s? How was this a good idea? What is a mentor supposed to say anyway? "Dude. Crash. Burn. You might want to learn a trade. Everyone needs a pharmacist eventually, am I right?"
 
Let's see who does things "My Way," In order of my rankings:
 
Adam - Yeah, Randy points out that he is theatrical, he's over-the-top and as Val says, one step away from starring in a drag queen revue, but he's also a showstopper and the only one out there putting on entertaining performances week after week. This isn't even a contest anymore, just a "This is boring, but just wait for Adam" show.
 
Danny - "Come Rain or Come Shine," by the end Paula was ready to unwrap that huge red bow in the front of her dress. Hey now! Of course, to me it was just a great karaoke effort, but that's all you can do with this if you're name isn't Adam.
 
Kris - He croons "The Way You Look Tonight," and even though it's old-fashioned he still finds a way, like Danny, to pick it up by the end and sound passionate. Val calls him a dark horse before Kara, so bonus points to my wife! The judges all ride the Kris train, except Simon, of course, who calls it "safe."
 
Allison - I think the judges want her and Adam in the final together. That's the only reason they could be complimentary about the raspy, slow, dull way she sang "Someone To Watch Over Me." Jamie Foxx did not advise the newly turned 17-year-old, like Miley, to do a sex tape and take heroin. I guess she's already done all that.
 
Matt - He already wears the fedora all the time, so what could do wrong? I know, he could sing "My Funny Valentine" very slowly and put the audience to sleep. Simon and Paula love it, but after Randy and Kara sent Matt Valentine candies that read, "U Blew" and "Please stop."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bloggy Monday in review

Last week's fortune cookie: "This year your highest priority will be your family." Ya know, I think I can handle that.

Val had to go in to work at 2:30 Monday afternoon, when she's usually heading home. So what does the Jeffmeister do to fill the afternoon?

We started at lunch where Val and I went to Logan's. I had a hankering for their triple shrimp skewers.

Next was the Dollar Tree, where I am almost embarrassed over how giddy I was to find 100 calorie Swiss cake rolls, since the only other place I've seen them is Wal-Mart, and ours was out a week ago.

On the way home I headed to Kroger to stock up on groceries, where even though Val and I will be in Nashville and Chapel Hill from Thursday through Saturday, I still managed to spend way, way too much on snacks, drinks and household items like Glade plug-in refills.

I pompously patted myself on the back some more for not paying any attention to the NFL draft this past weekend.

I mowed the lawn, front and back. I can confirm that with warmer temps and windy conditions, the duffers are out of hibernation. I found SIX balls in the backyard, of which the grass wasn't even that high since I mowed last week. So that means more probably ended up in my yard, but a full six golfers were too embarrassed or lazy to look around and find: One Nike; one Callaway; one Top-Flite; one called Snake Eye; one Bridgestone; and one Titleist that is a collector's edition seeing as how it's stamped with the logo for the Stanford St. Jude Championship, now just the St. Jude Championship since Stanford is a big fat liar thief and can't afford to sponsor the tournament.

I hauled two loads of the pile in the backyard to the front, mostly rotting firewood and now I'm discovering a cache of bricks that are also old and cracking apart and must be disposed of. I haven't even gotten down to the four railroad ties underneath it all, and that should be a heavy undertaking (not to mention I'll be dressed in a hazmat suit in case of any varmints down there).

Back inside to the glory of A/C for three loads of laundry, two loads of dishes, including all of the utensils for the grill, getting ready for a cookout Memorial Day weekend with our families. Bring your own meat. And potato salad.

How about some of our favorites on the ol' boob tube ...

HEROES - Last night was the season finale, and unless we're persuaded otherwise possibly our finale as well. After all the focus of Danko and Building 26 and rounding up the people with abilities, it still all came down to Sylar being evil. And now Sylar is Nathan, whom he killed, except now Matt mind-bended him into thinking he's Nathan and only he, Noah and Angela know, but we see in the end that of course it isn't that easy, and frankly I'm not sure I care to watch. Peter borrowing Sylar's shape-shifting ability and turning into the president to trick Sylar was pretty cool, though. And The Company has returned, and Tracy isn't ice anymore she's water and she is killing off all the former Building 26 agents, so I guess that's next season's plot. Do you care? Do we care?

AMAZING RACE - Still in China, the Racers head to Beijing where they get a foot massage and take a swim. Naturally it's not as easy as it sounds.

On the way, there are dramatic airport hijinks to end up on the same flight, and a dramatic taxi ride (/sarcasm) where the Cheerleaders end up arriving first to the Roadblock despite leaving the airport last.

Meanwhile, the Sistas make fun of Chinese people, and forget that you don't have to speak the language to ask the people behind the airport counter that you would like a seat up front, so stop thinking that the Asian Siblings are trying to tell Chinese workers that "those Americans over there are here to protest your human rights violations."

The foot massage turns out to be pretty painful. Cheerleader is writhing in pain for ten minutes, the Sista is biting her jacket and Deaf dude is biting his hat. Asian chick takes it pretty well, actually, and doesn't even look to be in pain most of the time.

There was some weirdness with Asian chick trying to steal the Cheerleaders' cab, but we didn't understand what was going on.

At the Detour the Racers had a choice to try to make a synchronized dive from a 3-meter springboard, which turned out to be too hard for both the Asians and the Sistas, and a 400-meter medley swim, which is 4 laps back and forth apiece, and harder than you remember when you swam a lot. Especially since the Sistas are terrible swimmers and never learned right and one is afraid of the water, and the Asian chick just learned. What adult doesn't know a basic idea of swimming nowadays? How do you not learn this?

When the Cheerleaders arrive to the mat first, Phil gives them the dreaded "You are still racing. Here is your next clue." Bad Phil! So the teams continue next week with the same final four, surely bunched up since it's late at night and nothing will be open.

DANCING WITH THE STARS - Monday night we learned that Melissa has a hairline fracture of her ribs but is still competing, the dancers all had some upbeat numbers and then teamed up for a group dance-off. Let's see who did what ...

Gilles and Cheryl do the lindy hop after nearly killing each other in rehearsals with all the drops and injuries. Val and I weren't feeling the energy and it seemed like the dance could have been more frantic, but the judges were overwhelmingly positive. (9-9-9=27)

Lil Kim and Derek followed with a paso doble, and it was a good dance for her because she came out fierce and sassy without needing the booty shaking. (9-9-10=28)

Chuck and Julianne do the cha cha cha, and he's really enjoying the satin pajama costumes even if their performance wasn't as quite as good as last week's breakout. (9-9-8=26)

Shawn and Mark might be technically good, but it just wasn't inspiring us. Maybe we need surround sound and the volume blaring to feel more involved. The judges apparently can't figure it out, either. (10-8-9=27)

Melissa and Tony aren't dancing tonight, but like Steve-O earlier this season we have to watch their rehearsal for judging purposes. Unfortunately for Melissa they aren't in costume and they're just walking through a lot of their jive steps. (7-7-7=21)

If crowd favorite Melissa goes it can only help Ty who would stick around a week longer than he should. He and Chelsie do a salsa, which was tons of fun if not exactly technically proficient. He doesn't shake his hips so much as move his entire body in a circle. Carrie apparently likes it more than anyone else. (9-7-8=24)

Now for the team dances! Team Mambo leads things off, with Lacey filling in for Melissa just so the routine has consistency for the other dancers, though it seems unfair that Melissa receives the same scores as the other stars even though she's not here. Shawn didn't look comfortable, but Chuck got his groove on, and the routine ends with the guys in tights on the desk doing the Beyonce dance to "All the single ladies." It's darn hilarious, and prompts Bruno to make a "men shopping in the women's section" joke. Idol reference, or did he come up with that on his own? (8-8-9=25)

Team Tango has Gilles and Lil Kim, so you'd think they'd have an advantage, but it's Ty who gets all the praise from Len! The judges loved this routine though I thought it was rated a tad high because Lil did have a glaring misstep. (9-9-10=28)

Who's going home? If it's about dancing, then Ty, but Melissa has to be too hurt to go on so the audience needs to do her a favor and not pick up the phone.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full (and everyone's still on edge, moron!)

From the "Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?" files:

Someone at the White House had a Top Gun moment this morning, deciding it was a good time to "buzz the tower."

Unfortunately what they had in mind was a photo-op that involved Air Force One (without Obama on board) flying low over New York City for several minutes, trailed by an F-16 and freaking out the entire city and the mayor who had no clue what was going on.

Maybe Obama can explain the stupid decision when he gives his THIRD primetime address in his first 100 days. Kudos to Fox for saying "No way, Jose."

It was a fulfilling weekend (Not all baseball related)


SWEEP!!!!!

Red Sox dramatically take all three against the dang Yanks this weekend, winning 10 straight overall!

So happy birthday, Dad! Keep this up, maybe in 38 years the Red Sox will make you an honorary bat boy.

Dad happened to be in town this week for work, so we were able to catch up with he and Nana for a couple of dinners, first at Olive Garden (Official Restaurant Of The Rushing Family), and then at Shogun, a nearby Japanese steakhouse with all that volcano-fire goodness. We hit up Baskin Robbins for some serious desserting afterward on what was a most pleasant evening. We had to sit outside, actually, because it was literally over 90 degrees inside the ice cream eatery. Sound Yet Unsolicited Jeff Advice Of The Day: Someone should look into resetting their A/C now that's 80 degrees all day.

And oh yeah, Friday night the Red Sox came back to tie the Dang Yanks in the bottom of the ninth on a two-run jack by Jason Bay and win in the 11th on a walk-off homer by Kevin Yoooouuuuukkkilis.

ESPN statistic: Future Hall of Fame and Dang Yank closer Mariano Rivera has 61 blown saves in his career. Number of those that have come from the bats of the Red Sox: 12. Owned!

Saturday, Boston 16, Dang Yanks 11. Boston came back from a 6-0 hole early, overcoming the largest deficit against New York for a win since 1968.

Sunday, centerfielder speedster Native American Jacoby Ellsbury steals home with what turned out to be the winning run, and despite the awkward slide he'll get plenty of Boston love this week for the gutsy move. Only 16 more of these between now and October, if you can take the drama!

This morning we went to Brighton Baptist for a graduation recognition of all the seniors, including superstud nephew Cody. He's currently on his "All-Around Awesome Student-Athlete-Person Award Tour," so catch him in your hometown soon. Ah, thinking about the past when I first met him, he'll always be that precocious 15-year-old to me. (I only joke like that because to hear the stories of my Darling Val and her sister and my mom-in-law, Cody's still six years old. They're so cute.) Graduation is the 14th. Remember Cody, in all of your celebrations if you get out of sorts from, you know, getting full on cheese and crackers or drinking too much Red Bull, give your Uncle Jeff a call any time of the night. No questions asked. I only request juicy details. You: Free ride, get to pick the XM channel. Me: Living vicariously through your exploits. Everyone wins.

What else is on my mind this weekend:

The Cardinals swept the Mets, won two of three against their rival Cubs this weekend, but Val and I could only agree on one thing, Rick Ankiel's mustache has got to go.

Mail still comes to our house, 16 months later, for the previous homeowners and their daughter. At first I would write "No longer at this address" and return to the sender, or collect it to drop off at their realtor's office, in case something important was in there. Now? We just throw it away, not caring what's inside. If they can't be bothered to fill out a simple Post Office change-of-address form, that's their fault, and it's our problem for clogging our mailbox with their junk.

Ole Miss must be very proud. Lineman Jerrell Powe was cited by police for a noise violation—then told the officer that he couldn't sign the citation because he doesn't know how to read.

That's enough for now. You know the old trope: Boy meets bed. Boy and bed fall in love. Boy has to tearfully leave for work at 2:30 a.m. three days a week. Yeah, I could use some "catch up" sleep. See ya!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I don't trust any of them

UPDATE: Guy came this afternoon and refilled the Freon. Coolness prevails. Valfrey Estates is comfy again!


Temperatures hit 80 for the first time yesterday, so I finally decided to turn the air-conditioner on for the first time this year. April 23 has to be a record. This spring has been so pleasant that our MLGW bill was $70 cheaper last month, since the air never came on and the heat was needed only sparingly.

Of course, it would appear that the A/C needs Freon because after turning on the unit, two hours later the temperature was two degrees HIGHER. At least we're finding out before temperatures hit 90, but wow, it went from 65 to 85 in two days! Come on, how about a buffer zone of 70s?

I put in a call to my warranty people, told them I wouldn't use their No. 1 recommendation after last year's debacle, and then the company I did go with isn't on their list anymore. When I asked about using our own people recommended by my in-laws, I was told that we'd have to pay everything upfront and get reimbursed, which sounded like a lot of money out of pocket. So I went with another company on the warranty folks' list, and let's just say I'm not entirely confident that this will go well and go quickly. *sigh* Let's pray that this won't be a "Here we go again" moment.

SURVIVOR - Oh snap! Last week Coach talked a big game about karma when his alliance of "warriors" voted out Brendan. Unsurprisingly, he probably won't say the same next week after his partner Tyson was voted out, thus saving Sierra, whom those guys call an idiot and liar (for reasons unknown to us). Except she had nothing to do with it. Hard to believe two months ago that of all people to be controlling this game, nerdy weak Stephen is The Man.

HELL'S KITCHEN - Ben thankfully gets his jacket taken from him by Chef Ramsey, leaving Andrea, Paula and Danny, and if Andrea makes the final two then, well, the show already has no credibility so what do I care? But she's a panicking loon, meaning the Chef will be glad to take her along to the finale to provide drama. With a lot of cursing, no doubt.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lil now an afterthought

When even the elderly guy talking too loudly on the cell phone in the next booth at Subway is talking about Susan Boyle of "Britain's Got Talent," then she's overexposed. Good story, but enough, please, before she becomes a punch line for all the wrong reasons.
No real surprises on AMERICAN IDOL last night with Lil getting an unceremonious boot just 15 minutes into the show, and Anoop Dawg getting the more dramatic sendoff later. Maybe the show figured they should be done with messing around with Lil and were afraid of her family's death stares? Matt got the save last week, and wasn't even in the bottom three this week, so I guess that worked out for him, since now he's in the top five and I'll have to look at that annoying pimple in the center of his forehead some more. Why does it never go away? It's like the Red Spot on Jupiter. May I suggest a little makeup? Or a sharp razor?
Did anyone else notice that during the group dance that the finalists were totally lip-synching? Check your DVR and look at their faces instead of their uncoordinated bodies, there's no way that singing wasn't taped. Not that I care, but this is a singing show, ya know? And I know I'm not his fan base, but we were not digging Archuleta's guest appearance. Lame song, lame performance, so thankful that Cook won last season.
LOST was a clip show, so no updates here. To fill the time I suggest the Jay and Jack podcast on iTunes. They cover the entire show and provide plenty of "crackpot theories" to add to your own. Think Jack is an alien and this entire project takes place in a galaxy far, far away? Okay, it's not on their show but someone probably agrees. Go crazy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lil could be coming back to Memphis very soon

HEROES - Next week is the season finale, and perhaps the last time Team Valfrey watches it together. Monday was a Sylar-centric episode, and I really really (really) don't care about his shape-shifting identity crisis, with all the tears and the whining and the schizophrenic talking with his dead mother - whom he killed - and being told what to do by Danko. Not only that, but it was BOR-ing.

Memo to producers: If you end the episode by showing all of the heroes getting captured by Danko's agents, in the preview for next week don't kill the suspense by revealing that every single person we just saw get caught is now roaming free. You think someone will let them go in the first two minutes, or five?

Good call on Clint Howard guest starring as a guy with abilities who gets offed by Sylar. If Howard hasn't been on your show, well, you haven't placed the one call it apparently takes to get him hired. Do you think his answering machine just says, "Hey, this is Ron's brother, you need a socially awkward and weird-looking guy? I'll do anything. ANYTHING."

DANCING WITH THE STARS - Ty is saved for one more week, and L.T. goes home, so thank you America, for doing our bidding! Bwahahahahahahaha! *cough* Ahem. Next week should be Ty's last, however, so let's not go crazy. In the new contest to vote in a new member of the professional dancing crew, I'll ask you to avoid bringing in either of the "blond" Russians or greasy guys and pick Afton, even if she's got this sense of entitlement of following her sister to the show.

THE BIGGEST LOSER - Ron pulls his biggest Godfather move yet, telling Mike - in what he thinks is in secret without microphones listening in, but oh those rascally Loser producers and their glasses held up to the door - to vote against Ron's Bob-teammate Kristin, thereby ensuring she would go home and keep Helen, Mike's Jillian-teammate, in the game, because Kristin is supposedly the bigger competition. This, after Ron told Kristin and her mom that he would never vote for Kristin and he would work hard to make sure she made it to the end. Ron totally lied at the vote, too, saying he didn't know Mike would vote against Kristin.

Will this come up at the finale? Probably not, since they shy away from controversy at the feel-good celebration, but you know Kristin was watching at home and after hearing him say to everyone at the table, "I promised Kristin's mom that she would be there to the end," immediately went out for a bucket of chicken, over which she spewed some serious cursing at Ron for being a double-dealing, no good, backstabbing a-hole. And you thought Vicky was an evil queen last season. She's met her match in Ron, since he does it with a smile and soft, "this is what's best" voice, as opposed to Vicky's smirky snarkiness.

After the vote, Mike answers Ally's question a little too honestly when Kristin says that Mike is going to win, and Ally turns to him and Mike answers affirmatively that yeah, he's totally going to win. The look on Tara's face? Fierce determination. Oh man, don't make her mad, dude. Remember, Mike, this will come down to a nationwide vote, and between looking arrogant and your father's underhanded weaselness may be costing you $250,000.

In other news, it was high comedy watching Bob watch a video food journal that Kristin, Ron and Filipe made to try and impress their trainer with creative meal choices. Bob did not approve, and picked apart every little ingredient and ripped them for portions that were too small and not enough protein and carbs to keep them fueled for working out. Perhaps this was a precursor to letting us know why Kristin gained a pound this week?

AMERICAN IDOL - Did you catch Disco Fever! If so, there are antibiotics for that. With Matt getting a save for some unknown reason last week, two will go home tonight!

Does anyone else think that Alexis should have been saved way back in the top 11? Wasn't she better than Anoop, Matt, Megan, Scott and Michael? I think she'd be doing better than Lil now, too.

In order of my rankings ...

Kris: The most original of the night, he takes Donna Summer's "She Works Hard For The Money" and turns it into an acoustic, bongo Santana-esque number. The perfect example of making a song "their own."

Adam: Adam is Adam. He unsurprisingly used his high-pitched voice for a Bee Gees song, turned it into a ballad and made Paula all tingly, because he's pretty much the most brilliant performer ever, and hey, why hasn't he won a Grammy yet?

Anoop: He goes all ballad-y and belts it out with some great vocals and a good arrangement, but singing "Dim the Lights," I'm sorry, I just can't see him as a sex symbol and Idol. He will always be a dorky frat boy college kid who should be spending his evenings TPing the provost's lawn after drinking too much Red Bull.

Danny: He goes with "September," and even though it's fun and upbeat, it sounds as karaoke as Lil's but the judges have decided he'll be in the top two with Adam so they'll hold off criticism any negatives. One of our problems with his and Lil's performances was that the backup singers were louder than the leads, and since this is a singing competition you'd think that the contestants' microphones would be turned up more?

Matt: Disobeys the rule that you never sing a song that will sound ironic when you have to sing it the next night after getting eliminated. And thus he picked "Staying Alive," albeit with a soulful arrangement. He got his Justin Timber"fake" on as only he can.

Lil: She sings "I'm Every Woman," and can't avoid the inherent Karaoke-ness of disco music. My Better Half noted that every disco performance sounds like karaoke, because we've heard all the popular ones done poorly by tipsy friends in front of group of people who pretend that this is great fun but really would rather be somewhere else. And Lil would rather be somewhere else, because after she sings the judges start with the criticism, she looks TICKED, like, "I could hire someone to throw pipe bombs at your house" kind of angry. She should go tonight, if only as a mercy elimination.

Allison: Not exactly "Hot Stuff." She was back to singing down and dirty rock and thus difficult to understand half the time, and she's not our style and that's just the way it is.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Peanuts, caramel, chocolate=10!

I would like to shake the hand in friendship and thanks to the Weight Watchers folks for coming up with a 3-point version of the Snickers ice cream bar.

THE AMAZING RACE - The Racers fly to China for a leg that doesn't matter much since the Small Stuntmen are several hours behind, never in danger of catching up and are doomed from the start. So the show tries to fill the time with the drama between Team Deaf and Team Sistas.

The editors show us early on who's to blame with an interview with one of the Sistas saying, "I will knock them over," referring to anyone in their way, especially after last week when they thought Team Deaf gave wrong directions when they in fact did not.

So twice this episode we see confrontations with the Sistas and Team Deaf, both of which are initiated by the Sistas, who call Luke a "bitch" for daring not to step aside after getting to the clue box first, and then the second time blocking him from getting to the clue box at all.

At the Pit Stop they pretend like it's none of their fault, and laugh when Luke gets hot and bothered, clearly enjoying that they got under his skin. By the end we just wanted it to be over and started fast-forwarded through the countless clips of each pair blaming each other for the argument.

Elsewhere, Team Asian enjoys speaking Chinese to actual Chinese people and the Cheerleaders still hate foreigners for being in foreign countries and speaking foreign languages.

DANCING WITH THE STARS - We're down the final seven, and once L.T. and Ty get the boot, the final five should be one of the better collection of C-list dancing stars of any season. Let's see how they ranked in my humble opinion, from best to worst:

Chuck & Julianne - The samba used to be described as one of the harder dances to get right, but this country couple was red hot and not just their outfits. Chuck has completely given himself over to the "gay arms" so long as it means better scores, and so far, so good. Judges give them their first nines. (9-9-9=27)

Shawn & Mark - They did the Cha Cha to Michael Jackson's "Pretty Young Thing," and it was a hoot! Flawlessly fun and entertaining. (9-9-10=28)

Gilles & Cheryl - Their Viennese Waltz definitely couldn't be described as "frantic" for once, but Val and I were thinking the same thing, that they went the other way. The lyrics included the phrase "I go to sleep," and their dance nearly put us to sleep, no matter how technically graceful. (9-9-9=27)

Lil Kim & Derek - Their rumba looked good, but like Carrie Ann I noticed that she didn't seem to do anything independent of Derek, as if following his cues from one move to the next. (9-8-9=26)

Melissa & Tony - I guess I'm just not a fan of the Argentine Tango. I don't get the leg flicks. The music stunk with this one, too. It was a lot of distracting talking. And yet this is the judges' best scored routine. Go figure. (9-10-9=29)

Ty & Chelsie - Their Waltz was sweetly done to "Strawberry Wine" and he smartly didn't stray from her at all, because the rodeo dude has no fluidity at all. (8-8-8=24)

L.T. & Edyta - They were overscored last week, and the judges backed off this week, acknowledging that the partners' waltz missed a few beats after he lost his balance and she got caught up in her dress. (7-7-7=21)

The episode ends with the annual group dance, crazy and fun and you can pick out the better dancers fairly easily. In this case, L.T.'s solo with Edyta was lame-o, and Ty had a lot of trouble keeping up with the wacky 60s-inspired steps. Not that I could figure out the Mashed Potato from The Watusi, but I'd love to try!

Star Wars a capella

I'm not sure whether I'm impressed by this effort, or worried about the amount of time the dude wasted.

Monday, April 20, 2009

You go, Miss Cali!

This won't surprise you, but I find it ridiculous and offensive that in Sunday's Miss USA pageant, Miss California lost because she dared answer a flamboyantly gay Hollywood blogger's question about gay marriage politically incorrectly in favor of a man and woman, which just so happens to be the view of the majority of Americans and Californians.

The blogger and judge goes back home, stews and calls her a "dumb bitch" on his blog. And yet why do I get the idea that she's going to be the one skewered by the mainstream media and pop culture press?

22-4

I believe that instead of denigrating your enemies, you should praise your own people first. So I'd like to point out that the Red Sox have won four in a row, and go for a four-game sweep of Baltimore this morning at 10 a.m. CDT for the annual Patriot's Day game.

And now for our "suck that!" portion of the blog. The Cleveland Indians scored 14 runs in the second inning en route to a 22-4 win over the dang Yanks at New Dang Yank Stadium. The 14 runs were the most scored in the second inning of a major league game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Hoo yeah, rad.

Who's having a worse weekend than the dang Yanks? The Washington Nationals equipment manager after he found out that their jerseys were misspelled as "Natinals."

Red Chan

It would appear that Jackie Chan has taken too many blooper hits to the head:
Action movie star Jackie Chan questioned the need for freedom for Chinese people during a speech Saturday, prompting outrage from lawmakers in Taiwan and Hong Kong, who accused him of insulting his own race.

The 55-year-old star of "Rush Hour" said at a business forum in the southern Chinese island province Hainan on Saturday that a free society may not be beneficial for authoritarian mainland China.

"I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not," Chan said at the Boao Forum. "If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic."

Chan added, "I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want." ...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Obamania doesn't translate to Latin American nutjobs


Obama is quickly learning during his worldwide "The U.S. Sucks" tour that nefarious leaders will gladly exploit their time with him, and so far he's just taking it with a smile.

During his visit with Latin American states all weekend long anti-American Venezuelan fascist-in-training Hugo Chavez manhandled Obama at every chance, including publicly handing our prez a "gift." Which is a book that rips the U.S. as ruining Latin America, "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent."

He also endured a 50-minute diatribe from socialist Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, during which I'm hoping he thought to himself, "Maybe Reagan was onto something trying to overthrow this Commie loon." What he really said was, "I'm grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old."

Good job, Obama. Way to stand up for the U.S. I'm so proud.

She stinks on "24," too


Janeane Garofalo this week regarding Republican tea parties:
Let's be very honest about what this is about. This is not about bashing Democrats. It's not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea party was about. They don't know their history at all. It's about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up...
Garofalo then when it was the libs protesting Bush:
There has been so many inappropriate responses to dissent, which is the most patriotic thing you can do. And the First Amendment guarantees everyone's right to speak out. The pillorying that was endured by the Dixie Chicks and Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins and now Johnny Depp is absurd. And, again, it is promulgated by the kind of Archie Bunker mentality that dominates the right wing of the Republican Party and also right-wing radio and some of the faux populist right-wing cable news shows.
It's not hypocrisy when you're too deranged to understand it.

UPDATE: Senior White House adviser David Axelrod denounced dissenters on CBS this morning: “I think any time you have severe economic conditions there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that’s "unhealthy." Dissent must not be patriotic anymore.

Tip well, and all will be forgiven

COGIC, the Church of God in Christ, is a black denomination based in Memphis. They announced their convention would leave the city for the first time in 102 years for St. Louis in 2010, and what was unleashed in the paper would suggest that the leadership needs to advise members to treat locals better when visiting, especially at restaurants, lest their reputation precede them:

"Yes, I'm familiar with the longstanding complaints about the presence of the "saints," as COGIC members are called, in Memphis each November. They don't tip. They're demanding diners. And what's with those big hats anyway?" - Wendi Thomas, race-baiting columnist normally blaming whitey for everything.

"My daughter used to work as a server while she attended school, and she worked very hard. On one memorable occasion she waited on two tables with nine "saints." They ate, talked and laughed for more than two hours. They left her a $1 tip. " - Letter to the editor.

"And as a server who is tired of putting up with the outlandish demands and terrible (if any) tips, I would rather put up with the drunks who are pouring out their money on alcohol, which is more profitable for my restaurant and me." - Another letter.

"Having been a server in a local restaurant for several years, there's more food waste and food loss when they are here. The supposed "saints" do not tip, send more food back and complain more than a local patron. If I owned any kind of business I would close and give employees the week off COGIC was in town. I would lose less money by offering paid vacations than I would dealing with the hypocrisy of this denomination. COGIC again wants free everything, from meeting places to hotels. If someone's convention annually causes loss of revenue and doubled hotel rates, it isn't worth having." - And yet another.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

You got served!


- THEY JUST LIKE TO PUT ON A SHOW: What life is like on the bottom of the AL East: Red Sox spot Orioles 7 run lead, come back to win 10-8.

- A COUPLE IN ARIZONA went through the drive-thru at McDonald's on Wednesday and got their food just as they ordered.

Just kidding. The golden arches fell on their car.

- MAKE IT SO: The 8 Most Shamefully Stupid Star Trek: The Next Generation Episodes.

Mine would have all involved Data and the Holodeck, which were made for each other in a "Anakin and Padme were quite a pair!" kind of way.

I appreciate that they include the episode where Tasha Yar is killed by an evil oil spill or something, but later they acknowledge that hers was a big fast waste of a cool death scene, and let her die honorably in a cool time travel episode where the old Enterprise-C is blown up to save some Klingons.

- AT THE END OF "Battlestar Galactica's" series finale many wondered what happened to the Raptors and Vipers that transported everyone to Earth. Now we know. NBC/Universal is selling them, which currently is near $30,000 for this rare and 150,000 year-old find.

- I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS: New York Times online blogger Dave Itzkoff thinks too many shows are referencing Star Wars nowadays. Shut up, scruffy-looking Nerfherder.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Drunks and guns? Sure, why not?


Do you remember those Bad Idea Jeans fauxmercials on Saturday Night Live 20 years ago? You know, the ones where the guys are lacing up for a basketball game and saying things like, "Normally I wear protection, but then I thought, 'When am I gonna make it back to Haiti?'" Or "Well, he's an ex free-base addict, and he's trying to turn around, and he needs a place to stay for a couple of months."

That's what I thought about when I saw that the Tennessee legislature approved carrying guns into restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages. What could go wrong?

Flippant Friday

- HEADLINE: How Barack Obama resurrected The Dead

Lazarus! Come forth! (And throw a contribution into the 2012 till, eh?

- A DENIM BEATDOWN: James Lileks has a hilarious Fisking of columnist George Will for his elitist views against blue jeans and denim wearers, of all the things to gripe about nowadays. Besides, has Will never seen Ugg boots?

- TIMES, THEY ARE A'CHANGIN': Obama succeeded in changing the tone of the relationship between Europe and the U.S., including stereotypes, it appears. Now the French president thinks ours is weak and makes fun of him. So proud.

Welcome to my Circle Of Trust


I'm getting worried more and more every time I see the previews for the new Star Trek movie. I'm worried that there are too many special effects, shaky cameras and quick edits, and another cheesy/creepy villain with a questionable motive like in Nemesis, not a deliciously evil one like a Khan.

Martika's "Toy Soldiers" song from 20 years ago came on the XM radio the other day, and having forgotten how great it is I downloaded it on iTunes and placed it in regular rotation. Which usually means adding it to the end of all the podcasts I listen to in the car. Which makes me want to see the movie of the same name that was so ridiculous it is awesome, starring Sean Astin and what's-his-name, Wesley Crusher, who's the son of a mobster(?!), among others, saving their all-boys boarding school from terrorists. Why doesn't it play late at night on TBS anymore? Who dropped the ball on this? I mean, Louis Gossett Jr. is the Dean! Come on!

Wednesday's LOST was Miles-centric and not very revealing. Yes, we're sure now that Miles is the son of the Asian guy, Chang/Candle/whatever, so that mystery is solved. And I'm pretty sure that we were supposed to pay very close attention to what that Ram/Bam/what's-his-name was telling Miles when he kidnapped him for a few blocks, asking if Miles knows about "what lies in the shadow of the statue" and warning against Widmore's intentions. When they tossed him out - without paying him back for his fish taco, mind you - Miles asked them, "What team are you on?" Their reply: "The team that's gonna win." But I don't think he was with Ben, either, so is there a third group trying to control the island? Is it Dharma?

The episode spends most of the time on Miles' issues with his father, but don't you think he'd be an emotional wreck with his now-deceased mother alive and well in the Dharma Initiative? I would think it would be like the Ghost of Christmas Past in "Scrooged" telling Bill Murray to prepare for breaking down in tears like "Niagara Falls."

It wasn't until later when I was listening to a Lost podcast that they clarified that the Dharma worker died when his filling went through his brain due to the electromagnetism of the Swan station being built. Ohhhhhhhh.

In other news, Sawyer was found out by the little paranoid dude for taking Ben to the hostiles, and Ben's dad was upset, then just drunk and not really looking for him anymore within what, two hours? Juliet rocks my world. She lies to Ben's dad about him being missing, and just calmly tells Kate after, "Well, here we go," knowing that they've been there before when the fit hits the shan, so to speak.

At the end Daniel returns from Ann Arbor, so I guess that explains what they meant when he was "gone." Was he figuring out the time travel? Working with his mom? Building that instrument to find the island that we saw a month ago?

Bonus points to Hurley for "writing" the script for "The Empire Strikes Back," and then double bonus points for using Star Wars logic to explain Miles' Daddy issues, that Luke and Vader wouldn't talk, so it led to the Death Star going explodey, Boba Fett getting eaten and then the hated Ewoks. (I love the Ewoks, but I was seven when ROTJ came out.) I think I'd be more inclined to place bets on the Super Bowl, like Biff in "Back to the Future," to get my fortune, or invest early in Apple and Microsoft.

I finally caught up with the DANCING WITH THE STARS results show, which normally I wouldn't care to watch because the "Stars of Dance" segment usually stinks. But this week they had on Rascal Flatts for two songs, so that became a must see. But it wasn't the band that made it worth watching, it was watching Tony and Julianne dance during their first number. Great googly moogly! That was dangerous! She must have spent half the dance six feet in the air. Just awe-inspiring.


It was time to fast-forward, however, when Carmen Electra came out with a troupe of burlesque dancers. So I guess we decided that this isn't a family show? Did I miss a meeting?

Speaking of family hour, Burger King is running a commercial for a kids meal that uses Sir Mix-a-lot's "Baby Got Back," complete with women in skimpy clothing and butts shaped like squares, because it's sponsored with SpongeBob SquarePants, ha! Isn't that hilarious! What five-year-old can't appreciate that you don't want none if you ain't got buns, hon, am I right?

SURVIVOR - There are a million over-eager fans of the show poring through every bit of media they can find to prove whether or not that dipwad, a.k.a. "Coach," is telling the truth about being caught by Amazonian Indians, beaten, tied up and escaping down the Amazon. Which, according to him, is just "5,6,7, or 8 life and death situations" he's faced.

The best comparison of Coach comes from the TWOP forums:
You know who he is? He's Penelope from SNL--that character Kristen Wiig plays who keeps one-upping everyone to ludicrous degrees. At the challenge: "None of us have done this before..." "I have. I've done this before. Actually I'm doing it right now, with my eyes. Actually I invented tiles. Actually I am a tile."
And yet, I might actually be disappointed when he's gone, if only because I'll miss his insane stories and "warrior" talk, like Brendan being a dragon and he being a dragonslayer, convincing Stephen to think of himself as a wizard and just randomly bringing up tales of ninja and vikings in battle. Who talks like that? Besides my brother-in-law, I mean.

I'd rather see Tyson get the boot first. He's a prick without being unintentionally funny.

Not that Taj, Sierra or Brendan deserve to make it to the finals. The show spent a lot of time on their budding alliance, and they just seemed to drop it at the merge, and now Taj and Stephen are trying to find their way with the other tribe, which is just dumb. Why wouldn't Taj, Stephen, Sierra and Erinn team up, try to get someone like J.T. to join? Bunch of idiots.

HELL'S KITCHEN - The final five become the final four within 15 minutes when Robert has to check out with a heart ailment, leaving us rolling our eyes at Andrea and Ben getting yelled at during dinner service for a half-hour, and neither getting kicked off the show. If Paula and Danny don't make the final two it will be a travesty, but Chef Ramsey doesn't care because no one actually gets to "run" his restaurants. They just get a paycheck and stand in the back while someone in charge makes sure things go smoothly, I'm sure of it. I'm hoping, if I were to ever eat there, or else I would make sure not to order risotto, scallops, beef wellington or even spaghetti lobster, all of which are screwed up regularly on the show.

What's Japanese for "aggravating nitpicker?"

The Red Sox placed Dice-K on the DL for "arm fatigue." Which, by "arm fatigue" they mean "sucking up the joint."

Spotted a 3-0 lead Tuesday night, he promptly gave up five runs in the bottom of the first to Oakland and was pulled after throwing 43 pitches, only 22 for strikes. He nibbled and nibbled and got whacked, whacked, whacked.

When will he return? After he learns a knuckleball, I'm hoping, because Tim Wakefield rules.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reality check: Libs think conservatives are evil and dumb


I try not to be surprised by the absolutely mean-spirited hatred that can come from those who profess to be open-minded and liberal in their thinking. But every once in a while I feel the need to post comments by some of the more offensive progressives, such as actress Janeane Garofalo, who called the Tea Party protesters racists for speaking out against Obama's policies. She also tossed in cookie-cutter left-wing reasons for people becoming conservatives like "ignorance, apathy, hate, fear."

And then I go to a favorite site of mine for recaps of my favorite shows, Television Without Pity, and the derision of anyone not like them just drips out with this nasty, hateful vitriol, such as the "American Idol" recapper's rant about Miley Cyrus:
Then Miley Cyrus sings some kind of hick song through her inbred nose that I'm not interested in. Bleep-bloop. I mean, you know how much I love Metro Station but whatever, LA trash is preferable to the trash of the Ozarks. I prefer LA trash to any other kind of human being, if I'm being honest. So in that spirit I don't think it's really that rude to explain that this entire segment of the Cyrus family is deeply revolting, and needs to (bleeping) cut it out, and if they can't do it on their own, then you have to help them. If you are a parent and you have contributed one dime to the increasingly strident and proud American Yokel stupidity that Hannah Montana represents, go (bleep) yourself. I'm dead serious about this, stop reading this recap, go (bleep) yourself, don't come back. And don't hand me some excuse about how relentless your kid is about it, because they're just following their trashy stupid friends in the first place, and your kids deserve better than that, and you are the boss of them. They deserve to know the difference, and you're going to need to be the one to explain it to them, and if you honestly don't understand the problem here then your kids are (bleep) anyway. A real parent with one ounce of faith left in them does not have the money to spend on this hillbilly.
Angry doesn't come close to describing how I feel after that kind of ridiculousness.

Obamessiah doesn't abide false idols


Remember the brouhaha when John Ashcroft's people used a backdrop and the leftwingers and the media (but I repeat myself) started ripping Ashcroft as a Christian fascist prude for allegedly wanting to cover up a statue showing an exposed breast?

I guess it's okay when a Democrat president's people cover up Christian imagery:
Georgetown University hid a religious inscription representing the name of Jesus during President Obama's address there Tuesday, FOXNews.com has confirmed, because White House staff asked the school to cover up all religious symbols and signs while the president was on stage.

The monogram IHS, whose letters spell out the name of Jesus, and which normally perches above the stage in Gaston Hall where the president spoke, was covered over with what appeared to be black wood during the address. ...

Georgetown is a private Catholic institution founded by Jesuits in 1789. The auditorium where the president spoke Tuesday is adorned with religious imagery, but only the symbols directly on the stage -- those likely to be picked up by a television camera -- were obscured.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, accused the university of "cowardice" for acceding to the White House, and criticized Obama's team for asking a religious school to "neuter itself" before the president made his address.

"No bishop who might speak at the White House would ever request that a crucifix be displayed behind him," he said.

And yet Notre Dame is still probably just fine with inviting Obama and his close-minded minions.

Pay the tax man, catch up with Idol


A note to a local tax preparation company: I'm never going to use a service that uses people dressed as the Statue of Liberty to drum up business. Just a personal choice.

Val's been sick with chest congestion for the past week, full of hacking and coughing, and I feel bad because I'm working the evening shift Monday through Wednesday, so I'm not home taking care of my sick wife. How can she make hot tea on her own? Who will force her to suck on Halls Breezers? There's only so much her Slanket can do! (And don't insult us by comparing to a Snuggie. A Slanket is fluffy and colorful, unlike the Snuggie, like comparing a big warm down comforter to a bedsheet!)

Meanwhile, we have a lunchtime dilemma. We've been going to a Chinese place near Val's work for over a year, but now there's a bigger, newer one down the street. Do we stay with the one we know, even though it has a smaller selection, but also less crowds, or go to the new one, which is the same price yet shiny, has a lot more options and bigger bathrooms, but is tough to exit? Or stick with healthier options and forgo Chinese altogether? Bear in mind how much I love fried rice, honey chicken and those crispy crisps next to the weird soups.

AMERICAN IDOL - Tuesday night, Adam was the only one who rocked out, the rest slogged along in ballads, and Lil talked back to Simon. Wednesday night, Miley is not actually a good live singer, Jennifer Hudson sounded awesome (was Lil listening?), and Matt (or "Justin Timberfake" as one co-worker dubbed him) got the coveted judges' save for some reason. This could be bad for Lil, because she was in the bottom two as well and now two will go next week.

DANCING WITH THE STARS - Phew! We were scared for Rodeo Ty, but he survives another week and Jacka** Steve-O gets dance-off with partner Lacey. And Rascal Flatts sang twice, so good times for all.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER - Val and I finally saw Monday's episode, and I looked up the joke in question that "sent Lilly away mad" and for my sense of naivete I'm happy to say that it took me a while to figure it out. Eww. I didn't realize that the reason Lilly actually left is because Alyson Hannigan was very close to giving birth, and that Cobie Smulders (Robin) is pregnant, too, hence all the robes and flowy shirts! By the way, Ted's story about the architect who didn't take the books into account when building a library? Snopes.com says it is poppycock.

THE BIGGEST LOSER - Table-smacking Filipe starts the show boo-hooing about:Sione's exit and says he's sick of seeing Jillian win all of the finales of every season. So if he loses, I guess it's Jillian's fault? I'll enjoy that when Tara or Helen or Mike win the whole thing. He probably blamed Jillian when Tara slipped off her ropes in the scary high-rope challenge, then still caught and passed his butt, because Tara is a machine and she is The Loser Terminator. She also gets a prize from Jennie-O Turkey. DING!

Then hey, it's Tim Gunn! We miss you, Tim! Project Runway returns this summer! He picks out new clothes for the final seven, and passes them on to that Bravo hair-b*tch Tabatha, who chops and colors their locks. Helen looks amazing, Kristin's blond highlights are gone, Laura's dirty blonde do is now naturally brown, Tara nearly busts out of her short and tight dress, while Filipe has the afro chopped and Ron loses the beard.

It turns out that the producers lied to them about attending a movie premiere but they're actually showing off their makeovers to family and friends and watching a "movie" about their journey. It's very touching, what with Tara's mom losing 40 pounds at home and I admit that it got a little misty when Mike's brother started bawling about being the "only one" left who was fat. He totally needs to be on the next season.

In the weigh-in, Helen wins by a full two percentage points, Kristin and Laura end up in the bottom two. I feel bad for Kristin, since she started as the biggest woman to start the show ever, by a full 60 pounds, so after losing over 100 pounds she still weighs more than most women in the past have started at.

At the end, Ron pulls on his Loser Godfather hat to tell Laura, who has a stress fracture in her hip, that she should go home and rest and hey, he just has her interests at heart, right? Except that she's on Jillian's team and the other person below the yellow line was Krisitn, who happens to be on Ron's team with Bob. Of course, Ron doesn't see the irony of him telling someone else that they can't exercise. This from the guy who quits challenges in the first 15 seconds due his bad knees, and yet his son has convinced everyone else to keep Ron five times when he's been below the yellow line. Ron also doesn't seem to notice the irony of his son defecting from his teammates to vote against Laura, when Ron practically threatened Filipe and Sione's existence for daring to vote against Ron three weeks ago. Ron can't win, but he shouldn't be the one deciding what's right and what's wrong in the game, either.

I have issues with Ron, is what I'm saying. Oh, and Laura gets voted out. Admittedly she should have voluntarily left due to her injury, but not at Ron's insistence. Next week, more Ron and Mike drama, if you can believe it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dressed as a coconut, sure, but a pineapple? Crazy!


- ONE OF THE BEST THINGS about going to the ballpark is the chance to see something that's rarely happened before, or in this case, never:
Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko each reached 300 career home runs with consecutive drives in the second inning as the Chicago White Sox defeated the Tigers, 10-6, in Detroit. Carlos Quentin went 4 for 4 with two homers and four runs batted in for the White Sox, who have won three in a row. Dye went 3 for 5 and Konerko was 4 for 5, becoming the first teammates to pass a century milestone of at least 300 home runs in the same game, according to Elias Sports Bureau.


- WHEN THE LEAD OF A STORY compels you to know more ...

"Police say a Japanese pop star dressed up as a pineapple has been robbed while shooting a music video in southern Sweden."

You know you have to know the rest of the story.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lil has to deliver, because Simon doesn't think she can win anymore

It's movie night on AMERICAN IDOL, and Quentin Tarantino is there to provide, er, what exactly? Will he poke someone's "gosh darn" eye out for being pitchy? Cut off their "effin" ear for forgetting lyrics?
 
With the exception of Anoop being there and Alexis being out, the top seven has pretty much gone according to plan. Let's see who is "Death Proof," and if the "Usual Suspects" can deliver, in order of my rankings:
 
ADAM - "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf for "Easy Rider." And he's back to thrashing around the stage like a loon and I'm frankly hating that his performance value is a million times more than any other contestant. Paula: "Fortune rewards the brave." Or favors the bold, but hey, she was almost there. Simon says it was like watching the "Rocky Horror" musical in parts, and hey, that's as close as any judge has gotten to explaining why Val and I are resistant to jump on the bandwagon.
 
KRIS - When I try to run through the contestants before the show and figure out what they'll sing, I always forget Kris. Which is all you need to know about what I think of his chances of winning. He tries out the Oscar-nominated "Falling Slowly" from the critically acclaimed indie film "Once." No one knows the song, but that may be good? Or bad? (I know, I'm a font of knowledge.) It's very slow to start, but has a beautiful chorus and Kris' voice fits it well. Good job. Randy then calls it pitchy. Kara calls it one of his best moments. See, good and bad! I'm both right!
 
ANOOP - "Everything I Do, I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams for "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves." Quentin tells him to "dirty" it up, so that won't confuse Anoop, who looks like he wants to get away quickly. I was worried that we've all heard this song a million times and any performance will sound karaoke, then Anoop sang it very well. Dude needs to be a ballad singer and quit with the "I like R&B" nonsense.
 
DANNY - "Endless Love" by Lionel Ritchie in the movie of the same name. Danny did not take Quentin's advice to keep his hands still, like we care. And now I spent the whole song watching his hands, and I think the vocals were okay, but not a great performance. 
 
The show decided to have only two judges critique each singer to save time, and then they end up filling time by the 30-minute mark. Hey producers, how about you just schedule them all to run an hour-and-a-half or two hours, and take your time? We'll manage.
 
ALLISON - "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" by Aerosmith in "Armageddon." Very breathy, not her best. The judges loved it, of course. Simon calls her the girls' best hope. Not good for Lil!
 
MATT - He's going with "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" by Bryan Adams for "Don Juan DeMarco," and on the piano while trying to have sex with me with his eyes. Creepy, dude. But not bad, but not original, either. Oh, and then he does this falsetto stuff and he's not going to get good marks from the judges. Randy, who is wearing a shirt that looks like a villain from "Flash Gordon," isn't positive, and Kara seconds.
 
LIL - The Memphis girl gets to finish, which will help her vote totals in theory, especially if she roars. Except she's singing "The Rose" by Bette Middler, not "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney, which the judges requested several weeks ago for Dolly Parton night. Oh dear. Will their expectations be met? She's going for a gospel version, and it starts out shaky at best. When she hits the gospel section, I don't think she's any better. Simon's right, Lil's not going to win this, and she may not last more than a few more weeks. So sad. And then she tries to talk back to Simon and say that she did her own thing, but what she did wasn't good, and it's not going to help.

A big long weekend and TV review

Team Valfrey has returned! I know, some are saying, "Wait, when were you not in Memphis?" Thursday through Saturday, as it turns out.

Val had a conference in Nashville for work Thursday and Friday, so we took off way, way early Thursday morning in my newly "remodeled" Aztek.

Really, I'm the one who bought a house with an attached garage, so it's all my fault. I was loading up our two suitcases and four assorted duffel bags and cooler for the two-and-a-half-day trip (we tend to overpack), and needed to back out to close the garage and leave via the front door, since we were giving my garage door opener and key to the door in the garage to my brother-in-law for his use this weekend. Unfortunately I forgot to close the hatch before backing out, and immediately heard a *CRUNCH!!!!!!* That would be the sound of the spoiler on the hatch of my Aztek getting halfway ripped off and broken. Anyone got any Auto Superglue?

It drives fine and only rattles in high winds coupled with 80 mph speeding, but won't fall off and shatter someone's window behind me. I used to use it to grip the hatch for closing purposes, so that will make it more difficult to shut the heavy and tall rear, but otherwise I'm just embarrassed for my idiocy. So of course I'm telling all of you instead of keeping it between myself and my dear, nonjudgemental and sympathetic wife.

The trip was for a conference for the Tennessee Library Association (featured roundtable: "How to put your hair in a tight bun, keep your glasses on the tip of your nose and look down suspiciously upon giggling students trying to checkout books on sex ed."). The gathering was held at the Airport Marriott, which, crazily enough, is near the airport.

Val's employer has a deal with certain hotels in the area so we got a free room out of it on Thursday night, at the Comfort Suites in Goodlettsville, which was about 20 minutes north of the conference via interstate. I would point out that there is also a Comfort Suites less than a half-mile away from the Marriott, but it was free, so beggars, choosers and all that.

While she conferenced I kept busy by bringing a lot of reading material and splurging on McDonald's milkshakes and apple pies. Decadent, I know. I would drop her off, pick her up for lunch a couple of hours later, drop her back off and pick her up about 3:30 both Thursday and Friday, and thus with a lack of time to play a round of golf or watch a long movie, I was perfectly content to drive to the back corner of the parking lot on top of a knob far from anyone else, roll down all the windows to allow a cool breeze, and catch up on reading.

Thursday night Val had a reception at The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's crib. Could someone tell Nashville that there's no signage on Lebanon Pike northbound to Old Hickory Blvd letting us know to turn left? We ended up in the next county before we figured it out. Good job on that, Nashville. (And cue Scott's defense of his favorite hometown ....)

Friday Val finished up the conference, but not before we lunched at Longhorn Steakhouse with two other librarians from Val's employer. It started storming while we were there, and it turns out that two major tornadoes rammed Murfreesboro just miles away while we lunched unawares. In fact, we were eating on Murfreesboro Road. Later, on the way to Mom's in Chapel Hill south of Nashville we drove in that direction, though we didn't see any damage.

Friday night we dined with Mom, Aunt Lynn, Granddad and Aunt Bev, Jennifer and Alex all came up from Petersburg for good times and lots of food. Saturday morning we bade them farewell and returned home, ready for a busy Easter where Val got to see a lot of long lost family, and I had to work. But I got my share of Easter food, and that's all that matters, am I right?

Now, to the television!

HEROES - Oh, Angela's angst! It burns! She's at Coyote Sands to assuage her guilt in running off with the cool kids of the internment camp for people with abilities and leaving her sister to get prodded by Mohinder's Dad, freak out and inadvertently start a massacre by the government against her folks. Oops! Sorry about that! All that was interesting and compelling. And then, elsewhere, Peter and Nathan and Claire and Bennett and Mohinder convince each other that they're good people, and *yawn* already. The Alice-is-alive revelation was cheesy, easy and seriously can we get down and dirty with the last two episodes of the season already?

24 - It may be time to start watching again now that we've gotten past The Fugitive plot and Kim, and Tony's gone all rogue bad guy again by offing FBI agent Larry Moss. Let's hope the show doesn't waste Jon Voight's coolly evil character in jail for a six-episode run. Let him free! Let him be evil!

SURVIVOR - Didn't miss much. Joe left due to an infected wound on his leg, so the rest of the merged tribe make mischief with alliances, including Stephen, who may jump ship because he, Taj, Brendan and Sierra formed the worst alliance with the least communication ever.

AMAZING RACE - On their way to Bangkok, the Cheerleaders yell at the taxi drivers for not speaking English, and once on the ground the Sisters think the Deafs had their cab driver tell the Sisters' driver the wrong directions even though they didn't. This could explain what started next week's tiff. Stay tuned. The bottom two of the week came down to who decided to bring their backpacks along after the Detour and who ended up abandoning them: the Sisters and the Small Stuntmen. The rest enjoy the freedom of not worrying about their status as they cruise around Bangkok in a party taxi full of local transvestites, which was hilarious. Then the Small Stuntmen break the rule about using personal possessions for bartering instead of actual money, and do it twice. So that's a four-hour penalty, most of which will be assessed at the start of the next leg since this ended up being a non-elimination leg. Good luck with that, little dudes. Oh, the look of disappointment on Phil's face when he scolded them for their disregarding rules for the second leg in a row. I would melt in apologies and groveling.

HELL'S KITCHEN - I"m surprised that Giovanni got the boot, but then I read in the recap that he gave Robert second-degree burns on his fingertips by leaving a hot pan in the fridge. I know. And then at the end, apparently Chef Ramsay gathers the rest of the final five and asks how can they be so awful? The recapper at Television Without Pity has an idea: "Well, my theory is that they were chosen on the basis of dysfunctional personality traits and photogenic cheekbones instead of actual cooking skill."

Finally, the recap of DANCING WITH THE STARS! Let's go in order of my favorites:

CHUCK & JULIANNE - The show is doing them a favor. If they can't get sexy and romantic in the rumba, it's time to assess the long term viability of their relationship. No worries. It was STEAMY! Rowr! I tried not to focus on Julianne in her lingerie (Hi Sweetheart!) and more on Chuck, and he's doing a really good job of bringing out the "gay moves" in his arms and legs that we noted last week. The judges scored them too low, though. (8-7-8=23)

LIL KIM & DEREK - She's apparently riding the wave of image rehab for naughty celebs, has captured the hearts of the judges, fans, and frankly, surprised the heck out of me with just how cute she is when she stops with the raunchy lyrics and attitudes of her rap persona. Derek's choreography was exactly what I was looking for in a jive with all the recognizable moves and high-energy kicks and spins. So of course Len thought it was too theatrical. (10-8-10=28)

GILLES & CHERYL - They jived, it was incredible as always, and can we have them perform twice a week in place of, say, L.T.? Len calls it "frantic" again, though, which is an indictment of Cheryl's choreography, not Gilles. (9-8-9=26)

SHAWN & MARK - Their rumba is smooth and sweet, not so much on the romance side. Mark lets Shawn start the dance alone on the floor, which was nice to showcase her talents against those at the bottom who aren't left alone for two seconds by their partners. Len thought it was hot, but not too hot, and had me hungry for porridge. (8-9-9=26)

MELISSA & TONY - In rehearsals Tony totally reminds Melissa that she was dumped, but Bruno brings it back by admiring how her "body can assume the most incredible shape with such ease." Take THAT, Jason! Tony's totally her rebound guy, and with dances like that hopefully she made Jason drool with jealousy. (9-9-9=27)

TY & CHELSIE - They jive, and when they practice, Ty says he doesn't know "which part to loosen up," which is not a good sign. It's mostly a country line dance with more kicking, and while entertaining he did spend a lot of time watching Chelsie for his next move. The judges were very critical. (6-6-6=18)

L.T. & EDYTA - They jive, I think. He had the same two moves over and over again: Step to the side to hold Edtya while she flips and twirls, and kick his legs side to side without any flicking or noticeable jive moves. And yet the judges go ga-ga. I don't get it. (7-7-8=22)

STEVE-O & LACEY - The most polarizing dancer of the night, it may not matter since he wasn't even in the bottom two last week due to a fanbase I have yet to figure out. Their rumba had less chemistry that he had with his dog in rehearsals, and Lacey channeled her inner Edyta by distracting us with her skimpy clothes and moving around him in a flowy show. (7-4-5=16)

Tonight we get to see Rascal Flatts perform, and hopefully watch either L.T. or Steve-O go home. Save Ty!

Obama finds The Duke

If you can get over the press treating Obama as if he personally shot the pirates holding Captain Phillips hostage, we'll see just how wicked awesome our military is, how incredibly skilled they are in the situations in which they're called to perform perfectly:
The snipers could see two pirates peering out from the back of the enclosed lifeboat and the third pointing his assault rifle at Phillips. President Barack Obama had cleared them to shoot if the captain faced imminent threat of death.

When the order came to shoot, former SEALs said, the hard part was not the distance – about 75 feet, an easy range for an experienced sniper.

The biggest risk came from the many moving parts: the bobbing lifeboat, the rolling ship, hitting three targets simultaneously in darkness.

With deadly accuracy, the snipers fired their rifles in unison. They killed the pirates with exactly three shots.
Not that I'm not crediting Pres. Obama for giving orders to kill the pirates if it had to be done. As Andrew McCarthy writes, Obama used to join the chorus of those who criticize the "John Wayne mentality," and when confronted with evil he did the right thing and embraced his inner Duke:
‘We have this strong bias toward individual action.” It was 1995, and Barack Obama was diagnosing the American character. His conclusion was not a happy one: too much self-reliance, too much self-determination, too much self-confidence.

“You know,” he continued, “we idolize the John Wayne hero who comes in to correct things with both guns blazing. But individual actions, individual dreams, are not sufficient.” The aspiring young Chicago politician insisted that we needed to temper the American spirit with a socialistic inclination: “We must unite in collective action, build collective institutions and organizations.”

On Easter Sunday 14 years later, Pres. Barack Obama called up John Wayne.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Air out of the balloon on the links, diamond


Well that was a letdown. Sunday at The Masters started with a near-monumental charge by Tiger and Phil on the front nine, then we settled into the final two hours ready to celebrate Kenny Perry as the oldest major champion ever, and then finally we had to watch a boring smoking Argentinian - whom most have never heard of and totally forgot that two years ago he won the U.S. Open - take the title in a playoff only after Perry blew a two-shot lead with two to play.

As much as my pre-2004 Red Sox Fan Personality would like to come out and panic after the first week of the season in which Boston has lost four of six, been outscored 29-22, their pitching staff has a 5.02 ERA, the offense is hitting .242 and they're 3 for 29 (.103) with two or more runners on base, considering the circumstances I'm okay with it. Losing two of three to Tampa Bay hurt but the Rays are still on their 2008 high. And the trip to Anaheim was emotionally tragic following the death of Nick Adenhart, a rookie Angels pitcher. There was no way the Red Sox could fight in this series, and they just need to get to Oakland tomorrow and restart their engines.

Plus, MVP Dustin Pedroia is kind of a knucklehead and he needs to head back home in Northern Cali and mend fences.

SUPER windy


Entertainment is entertainment no matter how long ago it happens. Check out this Memphis Memories from April 12, 1909:
The high wind which swept around the corner at Main and Madison yesterday played such pranks with the skirts and lingerie of women pedestrians that a detail of police was necessary to disperse the crowd of men who gathered to see the sights. Sgt. Bob Crosby and his detail of five men dispersed the crowd estimated at up to 1,000.
There weren't any cell phone cameras back then, but I do hear that there are several drawings on alley walls downtown depicting the hilarious event.

A jury in Paducah, Kentucky, didn't just find a guy guilty, they found him SUPER guilty!
(AP) Darrin Hicks isn't just guilty -- he's SUPER guilty. A jury in Paducah, Ky., convicted the 6-foot-3, 335-pound Hicks of resisting arrest. Police said they used martial arts, pepper spray and eventually batons to subdue Hicks. Officers were responding to a call that he was a hitting a woman. The jury cleared Hicks on several counts of felony assault. But the jury's report to the court said he was SUPER guilty on the resisting arrest charge. The jury wrote SUPER in all capital leaders. The Paducah Sun reports he's to be sentenced next month.
He's also AWESOMELY stupid and FANTASTICALLY going to be rooming in prison with a guy named "Killer" who hates guys who hit women.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Turner's exit

UPDATED TO REFLECT A CHANGE IN TONE ...

Union coach Ralph Turner earned the NAIA Coach Of The Year this spring but is no longer with my alma mater after 15 solid seasons, including 10 national tournament appearances and six conference championships.

Coach Turner is an awesomely nice guy and he gave me an A in a P.E. course that I had to miss a lot for other activities, and I'm sure he's pretty sad to have to go, no matter the circumstances.

Good luck, Coach!

Oh Hillary


- Following her apology in Mexico for American drug users supposedly fueling the drug wars south of the border, I'm surprised, in the wake of the Somali pirates nabbing an American vessel, that Hillary didn't come out and blame the U.S. for our "insatiable desire to ship aid to poor and hungry African nations."

- Brown University is taking the "Columbus Day" out of their Columbus Day weekend, calling it "Fall Weekend" instead. What's next? Calling Ohio's capital, "That city in the middle of the state of Ohio?" Or Colombia, "The country where that Harrison Ford movie was about the drug trade?" How about their Ivy League competitor, Columbia University? "That college in New York City that's named after the guy who mistreated Native Americans after he couldn't even figure out he wasn't in India?"

- Thomas Sowell on the New Old Age of Obama Economics: "Barack Obama seems determined to repeat every disastrous mistake of the 1930s, at home and abroad. He has already repeated Herbert Hoover’s policy of raising taxes on high income earners, FDR’s policy of trying to micro-manage the economy, and Neville Chamberlain’s policy of seeking dialogues with hostile nations while downplaying the dangers they represent."

- Headline: "Obama May Block Sun's Rays To End Global Warming." The Obamessiah can control the shiny yellow ball in the sky! The gods must be crazy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Most Awesome Golf Hole Ever




Here's the story behind it all. Quick explanation: It's in South Africa, and not part of the actual course, and requires a helicopter ride to the tee box.

Stuff you haven't heard


- THERE ARE SO MANY FLAWS IN THE FIRST COUPLE: "First Lady Admits: I Hide My Hips With Pleats" Pleats! By a fashion icon!

- OBAMA GAFFE WATCH: The pres thinks that Austrians speak Austrian, not German. I'm sure the media will give him the benefit of the doubt like the courtesy they provided his predecessor's rare misspeaks.

- ShamWow? More like Sham OW!: "Vince Schlomi, the ShamWow guy, was arrested in South Beach after punching a prostitute at the Setai last month, the Smoking Gun is reporting. The police report said Vince punched the prostitute in the face several times after she allegedly 'bit his tongue and wouldn't let go.'"

Speaking of prostituting yourself for undeserved money ...

- NOT SO FAST, MAC: The White House, Congress and their puppies in the media went absolutely ballistic over AIG's legally binding bonuses a month ago. Well, Peeps are just for Easter, because you haven't heard one about the $210 million in retention bonuses headed now to employees of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, both government entities run by political cronies of the Left, and at the heart of the housing collapse.

- UNITED FRONT MY BOOTY: Back in December, the New York Times thinks the recession "actually makes unions all the more important."

Today, the New York Times "has threatened to shut down one of its journalistic jewels, the Boston Globe, unless the New England paper's unions agree to sweeping concessions."

- SYMBOLISM OVER SUBSTANCE: When Sec. of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, appears on camera, stocks crash. So the White House decided to have him speak with no cameras present instead. I have another crazy idea that might be responsible. Maybe it's the policies he's advocating? Just going out on a limb here.

- IS THE OBAMADMINISTRATION MADE UP OF WANNABE JEDI? When asked by a reporter last week about increasing federal debt, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag said, "I don't know what spiraling debt you're referring to."

- OH HECK YEAH. Speaking of Star Wars, for summer fun check out this line of inflatable pool toys!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Jeff's Top 5: Golf favorites

The Masters is this weekend, so my mind is on plush fairways and undulating greens... the best golf weekend of the year, a tradition like no other.

As a kid I worshiped at the golf altar of Jack Nicklaus. I can't do that with Tiger Woods, even though I think he's the best ever. He's amazing. I want to see him break all the records. And yet I get tired of watching him win. I don't like watching tournaments his leading. I'm tired of the aura that he's supposedly intimidating all the other professionals. I know, I'm a mystery.

And as I've said before, it comes down largely to Tiger's caddy, Steve Williams. He's a big bully. And it says something to me that Tiger never has reigned Williams in, for anything, such as throwing a spectator's camera in the water. Plus, I don't get any sense of Tiger's personality, but on the course I do see plenty examples of his temper and foul mouth, which is a bad example for the youngsters. When he stops his swing at the top just to glare at a person who stepped on a twig fifty yards behind him, that's all show. The rest of us have played when those around us are noisy, or when you're near heavy traffic, and you know what? You concentrate and get over it.

COURSES I'VE PLAYED:

1. Colonial Country Club (Memphis) - The South Course used to be home of the St. Jude Classic, Memphis' annual PGA tournament.

2. Doral Golf Club (Miami) - Home of the Doral PGA Tour event, the Blue Monster course is the hardest and it kicked my butt.

3. Henry Horton State Park (Chapel Hill, Tenn.) - My junior and senior years I played in the state high school tournament here, and then my grandparents and now my mom and aunt live just a few miles away. It has some challenging hills and approach shots, and if you're not careful you'll peg a deer in the bum with a shot off the fairway.

4. The Golf Club of Tennessee (Kingston Springs) - Have any of you other golfers ever seen those paintings in clubhouses with ridiculously impossible holes built on mountains? It was like that. Picturesque, fun to walk, difficult to play.

5. Southwind Country Club (Memphis) - New home of the St. Jude Classic, it's too generic and takes forever to walk, and I wish the tournament was still held at Colonial. But, Southwind is plush. The zoysia grass fairways are like walking on a mattress, there are a few interesting holes to keep it entertaining, and who doesn't like to try their hand playing where the pros do it so well?

Honorable Mention: Jack Nicklaus Golf Center (Cincinnati), The Vineyard (Cincinnati), Clarksville (Tenn.) C.Club, Ridgeway C.C. (Germantown), Farmington C.C. (Germantown).

PUBLIC COURSES IN MEMPHIS

(Excluding the ones in the suburbs like Stonebridge, Quail Ridge or Orgill, for example. Bear in mind that I haven't played many since moving away for college and returning in 2007.)

1. Galloway - Essentially my home course growing up (when we weren't members of Houston Levee Country Club, now called something else), I knew every nook and crannie and could fire low scores almost every time out. When I first won my age group in the annual summer junior tournament, I earned a trophy almost as tall as I was, and it remains my favorite award.

2. Davy Crockett - Yeah, sometimes you could lose your ball despite hitting it down the middle of the fairway, and surrounded by forest with the Frayser projects on the other side, you're best to leave it and drive quickly away. But the course has so many quirks and fun holes, plus you could shoot a 70 or 90 just as easily any given day depending on a few breaks, I enjoyed playing here.

3. Overton - The oldest course in Memphis, it's the official "learn to play golf" course as well due to being just nine holes and very short. Yet, it has a lot of character and provides some interesting shots around trees, over creeks and avoiding busy streets next to holes, all the while you can hear the Siamang primates at the zoo nearby.

4. Fox Meadows - This should be Dad's favorite, since it's where he shot his only hole-in-one. (After decades of competitive playing, I still haven't managed one, which might be No. 1 on my "Bucket List" someday.) I don't know about exact numbers, but Fox Meadows feels like the longest of the public courses, spread out and without having to avoid many trees or cross streets. Good memories here, too. I won the Memphis high school championship here, and finished in the top five of a Junior PGA event in '92, which helped me qualify for the state tournament that summer.

5. Audubon - For some reason I rarely played this course well. It's the most like a links course in the city, with few trees and area to spray your shots and still recover, and yet I couldn't shoot par in competition.

If I could include others in the area, I'd put Edmund Orgill in Millington first. It was always enjoyable to be one of the first groups to tee off at dawn. Stonebridge used to be private, but when it became public we frequented the course in Lakeland where my wife and I now own a home on the 14th fairway.

COURSES I WISH TO PLAY

1. Augusta National Golf Club (Georgia) - Home of The Masters, my favorite major, and my favorite course.

2. St. Andrew's (Scotland) - I've been there for the British Open in 2000, but without my clubs.

3. Pebble Beach (California) - Gorgeous views along the cliffs overlooking the ocean, and considered one of the best courses in the world.

4. East Lake (Atlanta) - Bobby Jones' home course, site of the Tour Championship at the end of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup. I volunteered there one year, and you can feel the history oozing from the grounds.

5. TPC at Sawgrass (Florida) - If only to hit shots at the 17th island green for an hour.