Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cooper gets in some light reading


Idol & Lost

SPOILER WARNING
 
It was Jin and Sun night on LOST, and they have some problems to address. On The Island, Sun loses her ability to speak English (though she can understand it and write it) and Jin is tranquilized and dragged to Widmore's cozy storage locker. In Alt-2004, Sun and Jin are still in love, unmarried and doing the sexy humpty hump, but Jin is supposed to deliver money by Sun's dad to kill Jin at the hands of creepy dude who killed Alex back on The Island, then saved by Sayid only to see Sun shot in the tummy before she tells him she's preggers. Meanwhile, I don't remember who to give credit for it (Val? Aunt Lynn?), but good call on the locked sub room holding our Desmond, dragged back to The Island by Widmore. Welcome back, Des. Sorry about that. Hope Penny's okay. Richard returns with a call to action to destroy the second plane, much to the dismay of those who want to use it to get out of there, and Not Locke wants it to leave as well and spread evil around the world.
 
SPOILERS OVER
 
The good were good on AMERICAN IDOL, while the bad were bad, and that's the way it will be until we get down to the final four of Crystal, Casey, Lee and Big Mike. Six weeks to go until that point. Usher was our mentor, and you know he's super cool because he wears sunglasses indoors. Or he just had his eyes dilated, and if so, I apologize.
 
The highlight of the night wasn't even a song, but a critique. After crapping all over Didi, Simon completely insulted the singers on "Dancing With the Stars," which was awesome, because yeah, the singers on that show regularly "murder" the songs, as he said. (By the way, Shannen Doherty is the first to go on DWTS, meaning at least one more week to rip into Kate for being an awful person.)
 
Let's see how they ranked on my sliding scale of "Awesome" to "Holy Crap Is This On Live TV?":
 
Lee, "Treat Her Like a Lady" - Rocked it. Always reliable.
 
Crystal, "Midnight Train to Georgia" - My favorite performance of hers so far, it was like watching her in concert.
 
Casey, "Hold On, I'm Coming" - He's going to sell more albums than anyone else on this year's stage.
 
Big Mike, "Ready for Love" - Sincere, strong, one of his best.  
 
Andrew, "Forever" - Nice. Pleasant. The judges praise for the most part, breaking their eight-week streak of beating him into submission.
 
Aaron, "Ain't No Sunshine" - Dude, you're 16, sing me one youthful song. One!!!!
 
Didi, "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" - Poor girl doesn't know what to do to impress the judges anymore. They've turned on her, it's over, say goodbye in a few weeks.
 
Katie, "Chain of Fools" - Your run-of-the-mill karaoke-type performance, although without the drinking and thus without the fun. 
 
Siobhan, "Through the Fire" - Finally the judges see my point, that without the big notes she's more pitchy than an army pitching tents.
 
Tim, "Sweet Love" - Usher, for some reason, told Tim to "connect" with the audience, which to Tim meant to stare at us so much as to make us uncomfortable with creepy eyes trying to steal my soul. Thanks, Ush.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just a thing or two

- MEMPHIS NEWS FOR THOSE WHO MOVED AWAY: With Libertyland closed forever, the Zippin Pippin - the world's oldest wooden rollercoaster and Elvis' favorite ride - was dismantled and sold to a theme park in Green Bay. Yes, someone in northern Wisconsin will now get to feel what it's like to be in the front car and feel like the wheels are leaving the track. *sigh*

- HEADLINE - "NASA Finds Shrimp Dinner On Ice Beneath Antarctica" - AP, March 16

So they like a nice cocktail, but I guess it's a delicacy for penguins to get some friend shrimp down there.

- WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA? The Seattle Times reported that Republican thugs threw a rock through the window of a Ohio Congressman's office this week. The problem? His office is on the 30th floor.

Speaking of "dangerous rhetoric," I need not remind you that just a few years ago CNN was lobbing softball questions at a filmmaker who made a faux-documentary fantasy about assassinating President Bush, and never had a problem when anti-war protesters were carrying around signs saying stuff like "We support our troops when they shoot their officers."

TV update

FLASHFORWARD - In last week's episode, the AA Sponsor is a total bada** who stupidly gave away his daughter despite it being very clear to us that her old "friend" was on the take for that secret military outfit. Val and I do not like the storyline of the fiancee of Agent No-FlashForward. She bugs us. And apparently neither she nor Joseph Feinnes can wrap the paradox around their head that because you've seen the future that you can cause exactly the negative event that you're trying to prevent. Lesbian Agent sure seems to understand it, since she's trying to get inseminated to fulfill her FlashForward, although now she has to go to Somalia and will have to get knocked up by either Merry, Agent No-FlashForward or New Black CIA Agent.
 
"24" - I guess I'll have to watch the season finale of 24 now, since the May 24 finale is supposedly the last of the series, unless a movie is made later.

PROJECT RUNWAY - Alas, Anthony is gone. The most entertaining contestant this season was thankfully not annoying, and thus the only funny one is unfairly out with a dress that wasn't nearly as bad as Mila's fifth-grade artwork design last week.

DANCING WITH THE STARS - After two dances, tonight the first star will be out. Will I care? Doubtful, until Kate is gone.

Pussycat Doll & Derek - The first 10s (from Carrie Ann and Bruno), about as you'd expect from a dancer and sometimes singer with choreography experience. Will Derek ever get a partner who isn't already a fabulous dancer?

Evan & Anna - As good as you'd expect from a figure skater with experience with choreography.

Erin & Maks - She's a charmer, and will be very good after a few more weeks, given the chance.

Pamela & Damian - Cheeky.

Jake &  Chelsie - Looks like he's thinking through the steps.

Niecy & Louis - She's just adorable, and even had a little rhythm this week.

Shannen & Mark - In a short skirt this week for a jive, I was surprised that she has skinny, gangly legs that flailed in all directions.

Aiden & Edyta - Feel bad for Edyta, because she really, really, doesn't want to leave early again. And Aiden, even though he was better this week, still lacks smoothness.

Chad & Cheryl - Ouch. Awkward. Why is he staring at the balcony the entire time?

Kate & Tony - Blech. Such drama. She's so clueless as to why everyone can't stand to be around her. Tony's one of the most likable pros in the competition, and she even drove him to nearly quit. And yet, based on the "Dial Idol" forecast she's getting tons of votes. Stop!

Buzz & Ashly - I was kind of insulted by the gimmick of the saluting at the flag and earth at the start. We love you, Buzz, you're an American hero, but that was the equivalent of the IDOL chick singing "God Bless America" last year.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Jeff's March Madness Challenge - With your host bringing up the rear

Scott correctly picked West Virginia to make the Final Four, while Dad, Natalie, my Mom-in-Law, Carol, Kevin and Michael C. were good on Duke, and everyone else turned out to be a bunch of dopes.

There are three pickers with a chance to win:

Scott, if Duke loses to West Virginia.
Michael C., if Duke beats West Virginia and loses the title tilt.
Carol, if Duke wins it all, which would be fitting since she's the only one who picked them to win it all.

Here are the standings after the Elite Eight:

1. 68 - Scott [Bears Commodores Bruins oh my!] - Kansas, Kansas St., West Virginia, Baylor
2. 63 - Dad [redsox0407] - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Duke
3. 61 - Michael C. [Mike Does Not Watch Basketball] - Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke
3. 61 - Kevin's Picks - Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke
5. 60 - Natalie [lucky] - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Duke
6. 57 - Carol's Picks - Kansas, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Duke
6. 57 - Cody [Belew'sPick] - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Villanova
8. 54 - Erin [Not So Picky] - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Baylor
9. 52 - Stephen M. [One Shining Bracket] - Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Baylor
10. 51 - Jorge/Miami - Ohio St., Kansas St., Kentucky, Villanova
11. 50 - Jose [Torch the Twine] - Kansas, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Notre Dame
12. 48 - cheryls picks - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Villanova
12. 48 - Val [Cooper's Mom's Picks] - Georgetown, Syracuse, Kentucky, Villanova
14. 41 - Jeff's Best Guesses - Georgetown, Syracuse, Kentucky, Villanova

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cooper is 5 months old!

Can you believe it's been five months since our mini Cooper joined us! And to celebrate, today he rolled over on his own for the first time! He's been trying and trying and trying for a week or two, and today while I was napping and Val was in the kitchen, the little guy made it!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Idol top 11, Lost, FlashForward, Tiger's lies

- B.S. ALERT! Tiger Woods told some monumental whoppers in his interviews this weekend with ESPN and The Golf Channel, such as, "I tried to stop, and I couldn't stop. And it was just, it was horrific."
 
Oh, really? Let's take a look at one of Tiger's sextings to one of his dozen-plus ho's: "I want to treat you rough, throw you around, spank and slap you." Yes, clearly he's having a tragic time.
 
The next obvious fib? "I'm sure if more people would have known in my inner circle, they would have stopped it or tried to put a stop to it. But I kept it all to myself."
 
Really? None of your buds had any idea? None wondered why you were always snogging the hostesses at every restaurant you ate at? None ever said, "You know, that adult film star looks just like one of Tiger's "good" friends?" Either his buddies are morons or they're all lying, and if the friends did know then they're even bigger jerks than Tiger.
 
- So that's settled. After last night's LOST we know that Richard came aboard The Island via the Black Rock (originally from the Canary Islands) in 1867 and has been working on Jacob's behalf ever since. It seems pretty irrefutable that the Man in Black (Not Locke) is definitely a bad guy, and Jacob is a God-like figure (at least to himself) who has been bringing people to The Island to prove that with free will they can make good choices. Of course, they end up getting killed in heaping numbers, so he's still working on that theory while figuring out which of the candidates will take his place. It was a doggone good episode, if only because it revealed all about Richard with minimum work on the main cast, and no distractions of the Alt-2004 parallel universe. When Richard's wife's ghost is talking to him via Hurley's ghost-to-human translator (not available on Google), she says that "they already are" together. What does that mean? Is it a nod towards everyone being dead, or just saying that her ghost is nearby, a la Patrick Swayze?
 
- Is no one else watching FLASHFORWARD? Can Val and I not discusses the nuances of the wickedly awesome spring premiere with anyone else? Seriously, Dominic Mognahan kills Ricky "I'm a villain" Jay, we unlock the rest of Joseph Feinnes' flashforward and there are at least five scenes in the two-hours that made me and Val go, "Whoa, that was cool." Join us and value your entertainment freedom!
 
- As for last night's AMERICAN IDOL, I watched in fast-forward as usual. I never saw any of Miley's mentoring, and I feel that I'm a better person as a result.
 
According to my rankings here's how the contestants fared, and if they stunk, I guess they can blame it on Miley:
 
CRYSTAL, "Me And Bobby McGee" - Of course she sang Janis Joplin, and well. Do you really think she heard a word Miley said? Would she give a rat's patoot?
 
CASEY, "Power of Love" - Sort of kudos for a fun 80s song, sort of lame for a corny song. Still, I can already see that he's lining up his concert already for a solo tour in a year.
 
LEE, "The Letter" - Nice touch, singing the biggest hit by Memphis Alex Chilton, who died last week and even though I'd never heard of him despite growing up in Memphis, apparently he had a lot of influence in the music world. I didn't like Lee's arrangement, though I do like his sound.
 
AARON, "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" - He continues to sing syrupy love ballads, and he continues to be 16-years-old doing so, and now he's just trying to tick me off, isn't he?
 
MICHAEL, "When A Man Loves A Woman" - No surprises with this song choice now that he's locked into a male-power-ballad mode. He's sailing through with the knowledge that he won't have to worry for a good three to five weeks.
 
SIOBHAN, "Superstition" - Now I think she's bought into the judges' hype that she's more awesome than she really is, and after that faux-hawk she will always be Sanjay to me. Oh listen, she ends with a big note. What a surprise.
 
ANDREW, "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - Watching it, I couldn't help but think that this is exactly what Simon means by a "Vegas lounge act" performance. The judges have messed with his head so much, I hope he stays in a few more weeks.
 
KATIE, "Big Girls Don't Cry" - The judges were largely positive. Sounded nasally to me.
 
DIDI, "You're No Good" - She starts off singing on those stairs at the back of the stage that remind me of Gozer's staircase at the end of "Ghostbusters." If only Didi had Gozer's powers. She neglected to follow the rule, "Don't sing a song that will seem ironic if you have to sing it after getting voted out the next night."
 
TIM, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" - And the countdown to his imminent departure begins the second after our next contestant's name is read tonight.
 
PAIGE, "Against All Odds" - Another ironic song title, because she should be singing it out at the end of tonight's show.

Lady Dawgs rule!

Congratulations to the Union Lady Bulldogs, who won their second consecutive NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship with a 73-65 victory over Azusa Pacific (Calif.). The women now have five titles, all of which in the years since I graduated in '97.
 
In other news ...
 
Obviously I'm against the new health care bill, so I only want to echo a couple of sentiments by conservative writers elsewhere as a warning to what to expect in the future with your coverage:
 
"Any time your slogan on a piece of legislation is "In time, you'll learn to love it," it begins to remind people of an arranged marriage." - Jim Geraghty, National Review Online.
"Normally, politicians sell their programs to the public before enacting them into law. Representative democracy is premised on the consent of the governed, not the idea that it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission." - James Taranto, Wall Street Journal.
 
And now for the fluff ...
 
PROJECT RUNWAY - I'm not sure who the favorites are this year, but I do know that Anthony should stick around to Bryant Park if only for the entertainment value he brings. We only watch the first ten minutes and the runway show nowadays, so we're missing any personality clashes. Doesn't seem to be any hateable contestants this season on the level of Irina, at least.
 
DANCING WITH THE STARS - It's back, but I'm not sure I care as much this season. Maybe it's because Val and I can't watch it together, but more likely because I don't want to see Kate Gosselin on my TV. Ever.
 
Mr. Ochochinco & Cheryl - The determination of the Super Bowl, the ability of an exhibition game.
 
Shannen & Mark - Haven't seen her that determined since she led Dylan upstairs at the prom.
 
Erin & Maks - The dark horse. She has a LOT of horny college male fans who watch ESPN constantly (like me and my roommates used to do, with the same SportsCenter playing in our dorm from 6 a.m. to noon). 
 
Jake & Chelsie - He's a d-bag.
 
Niecy & Louis - She's a hoot.
 
Evan & Anna - Finally she has a worthy partner, because I could watch her dance all day.
 
Buzz & Ashly - Ouch. Gravity sucks, eh Buzz?
 
Nicole & Derek - I will NOT root for a Pussycat Doll any more than I will ever watch any reality show on E!
 
Aiden & Edyta - Same likeable goofiness as co-star and DWTS alum Cameron on "All My Children" but with one-tenth of the talent. Didn't Edyta look really, really sad when the judges were ripping him and seeing his scores? She's terrified that she'll have an early exit two years in a row.
 
Kate Minus 8 & Tony - The most dislikable contestant in DWTS history. It seems that she and the judges are trying to play on our sympathy, but heck no, I've seen her elsewhere, she's a horrible person. I refuse to feel sorry for her in this competition. Get off my TV next week in the first eliminations, and go back to pretending to raise your kids.
 
Pam Anderson & Damian - She's flighty and spunky, and all the guys are so smitten it's easy to forget that she's way past "bombshell" status and inching towards "bombed out" status.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Go Tigers!

Yeah, so Memphis lost Friday night, but Cooper's still a fan!

Woo Hoo! Jester's Dead! Rock Chalk Jaysucks!

Ha Ha! Take that, Kansas pickers, and your smug Kansas picking! Oh, how high and mighty you've been feeling with the consensus No. 1 as your easy pick to win it all, and how you laughed at me for crashing and burning with Georgetown. Don't worry, there's plenty of room in my boat on its way over the falls. Pass the wings and inhale the scent of failure.

Who is feeling pretty good about themselves? Dad, for picking Kentucky, my Mom-in-Law and her Duke selection, and Jorge, who went with Kansas State.

My Darling Valerie picked Kentucky, so she has a realistic shot of winning as well, but I'm not sure I can root for her because it also means rooting for Calipari, and frankly I'm not ready to make that sort of deal with the devil.

Here are the standings after Saturday, keeping in mind that they will change drastically next weekend:

31 - Cody [Belew'sPick] - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Villanova
30 - cheryls picks - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Villanova
30 - Jose [Torch the Twine] - Kansas, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Notre Dame
29 - Dad [redsox0407] - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Duke
29 - Jorge/Miami - Ohio St., Kansas St., Kentucky, Villanova
28 - Scott [Bears Commodores Bruins oh my!] - Kansas, Kansas St., West Virginia, Baylor
28 - Natalie [lucky] - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Duke
28 - Erin [Not So Picky] - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Baylor
27 - Carol's Picks - Kansas, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Duke
27 - Michael C. [Mike Does Not Watch Basketball] - Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke
27 - Kevin's Picks - Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke
26 - Val [Cooper's Mom's Picks] - Georgetown, Syracuse, Kentucky, Villanova
26 - Stephen M. [One Shining Bracket] - Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Baylor
25 - Jeff's Best Guesses - Georgetown, Syracuse, Kentucky, Villanova

Friday, March 19, 2010

Whatcha lookin' at?

Cooper making sure he's not missing anything back there!

Did you remember your carnation?

Some traditions don't stick around. Check out this Memphis Memories from Jan. 28, 1910:
Carnation Day, honoring the birthday of the martyred president, William McKinley, will be observed tomorrow and local florists are laying in heavy stocks of the flowers. Since the death of Mr. McKinley it has been the custom throughout America to wear a red carnation on his birthday anniversary.

Aaarrgghh!!!!

So that was fun for about, oh, eight hours yesterday. And then my pick to win it all, Georgetown, got drilled by a team that was the ninth seed in the Mid-American Conference. Day 1. Done. Holy frakamole.
 
But at least now that I'm out of it, I have the freedom to watch and root for whatever team I want, no pretending to like the Big East.
 
And if you believe that, I have a used jockstrap from the Hoyas to sell you.
 
Now I can focus all of my attention on following the Tigers in the NIT! They play at Ole Miss tonight at 5:30. Go Tigers Go!
 
In other news from watching far too much sports on TV ...
 
Those Buffalo Wild Wings commercials bug me. Why would I want to go hang out with the Worst Fans Ever? Watch it again, closer next time. You'll see that the fans in the restaurant are wearing Boston shirts, and ask to extend the game, where a message is sent to distract a Boston player driving to win the game. So you'd rather spend an extra 15 minutes eating Asian-flavored wings than watch your team win? You suck, fans.

Cooper's visitor

Val's friend Sarah (formerly of the Jackson Gang, now living in Miss'ippi) drove through town Wednesday afternoon and had to get a Cooper fix!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jeff's March Madness Challenge - Final Four picks

Not many people went against conventional wisdom, so I hope you picked the right upsets early on!

Cody [Belew'sPick] - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Villanova
Stephen M. [One Shining Bracket] - Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Baylor
cheryls picks - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Villanova
Erin [Not So Picky] - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Baylor
Natalie [lucky] - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Duke
Carol's Picks - Kansas, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Duke
Jeff's Best Guesses - Georgetown, Syracuse, Kentucky, Villanova
Jose [Torch the Twine] - Kansas, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Notre Dame
Kevin's Picks - Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke
Mike Does Not Watch Basketball - Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke
Jorge/Miami - Ohio St., Kansas St., Kentucky, Villanova
Scott [Bears Commodores Bruins oh my!] - Kansas, Kansas St., West Virginia, Baylor
Dad [redsox0407] - Kansas, Kansas St., Kentucky, Duke
Val [Cooper's Mom's Picks] - Georgetown, Syracuse, Kentucky, Villanova

Cooper's new entertainer

We bought our mini Cooper one of those stationary entertainer saucer thingamajiggies, thus completing Six Flags Over Cooper, Cooperland, or whatever amusement park theme you want to call our living room!




He's still getting the hang of it, and hang is the operative word since his feet don't even touch without the benefit of a blanket and some books!

Cooper chillin' with his Daddy

Me and Cooper hanging out, staying up late watching the Tigers play some super-exciting NIT action!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Idol 12, Lost

Has anyone else noticed that "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" picks the dumbest elementary school teachers to compete?
 
SPOILER WARNING!!!!!!
 
Eight episodes to go on LOST, and still nothing being revealed. This was a Sawyer episode, with the "surprise" being that his Alt-2004 "Jim" is a detective who went that route instead of crime as a means to find Sawyer. Miles is his partner, and at the end he runs into Kate. Or, more exactly, she crashes into his car and he chases her down. Back on the island, Crazy Claire tries to off Kate, only to be awesomely slapped by Not Locke as if she was the freaking-out chick in "Airplane!" Not Locke has to be really evil, right? It's clear now? I mean, he lied to the Other refugees about being the Smoke Monster killing everyone in the Temple Of Doom, and the way he lies to everyone to get his way, Jacob is officially the good guy of the island. Looks like. Nearly catatonic Sayid is going nutso with the Island illness, as John and Yoko predicted a few weeks back when he was brought back to life. Even though it was great to see her alive again, did anyone else think that Charlotte was spying on "Jim" for the real Sawyer? Seems that she was looking for that notebook, didn't it?
 
END SPOILER WARNING
 
The top 12 of AMERICAN IDOL took to the big stage last night to perform some Rolling Stones songs. My rankings:
 
1. Casey, "It's All Over Now" - I'm sorry, I think the dude rocks, even though I'm sure there's going to be some serious backlash about the whole "Cougar Kara" stuff.
 
2. Crystal, "Can't Always Get What You Want" - Conspiracy Alert! She sings last, right where the producers want her, and with the most recognizable Stones song of the night. Pleasant performance, well done, not a showstopper.
 
3. Lee, "Beast of Burden" - Good enough, but should have been awesome. Does anyone else get uncomfortable when Idols sing songs about making love? Isn't the audience a bunch of 13-year-old girls?  
 
4. Lacey, "Ruby Tuesday" - Actually enjoyable, a sweet arrangement of strings and her babydoll voice.
 
5. Katie, "Wild Horses" - Remember when two weeks ago I said that Didi should have sung The Sundays' version of this song? If only she'd done so instead of Katie, Did would be much higher on my list. Katie wasn't bad, she just doesn't have the strongest vocals and thus can't last long.
 
6. Siobhan, "Painted Black" - Okay, so I didn't get all the praise. Her voice wasn't nearly powerful enough to fit the arrangement, way too flat, and she tried to save it by doing all that yelling at the end again. The judges fell for it and praised the spectacle of it all.
 
7. Big Mike, "Miss You" - So now that they judges liked his high-pitched stuff last week, he's going to do it every week, obviously.
 
8. Aaron, "Angie" - Still singing these love ballads as a 16-year-old, and I'm tired of writing about it, I'm so over him.
 
9. Paige, "Honkytonk Woman" - Okay. Extra points for having laryngitis.
 
10. Andrew, "Give Me Shelter" - Every time he yelled, an angel had to give its wings back.
 
11. Didi, "Playing With Fire" - I want to adore her, really, especially since she's from Knoxville, but this was weak and needed grit. The judges loved her, though.
 
12. Tim, "Under My Thumb" - The feather-haired fill-in is just glad to still be there, and for some reason he keeps getting voted back.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You tell those toys who's boss!

Cooper playing in the backseat with Mommy





The Known Universe

Cooper's formula, hair

We changed Cooper's formula and we started feeding him solids, so I guess we have to figure out, how does it affect little Coop's deuce, if you get my drift?

 

The formula switch doesn't have anything to do with nutrition or any of that silliness. No, it's purely for financial reasons.

 

For two months now I keep getting buy-one-get-one-free coupons at Walgreens and Kroger for Enfamil's Gentlease powder. Eventually I realized that with enough of these coupons, I could have several months worth of cheaper formula than the Similac Sensitive that we've been using since Cooper was a month old. A 23.2 oz. bucket of Similac powder is $25 at any store. The Enfamil is $14 for a 12.5 oz can, meaning we can use the coupon, double up on those smaller cans and it's like having a $10-off coupon for a big bucket. With at least ten of these coupons on hand, that's real money for a few more months' worth of formula. Cha-ching!

 

In other Cooper observations ...

 

Although it looks like our boy is losing whatever hair he had at birth, I have another theory. I think he has the same amount of hair, but while his head has grown, his hair hasn't multiplied. 

 

Alas, as he grows up, Cooper will probably have thin hair like his Mommy and Daddy. It looks like his hair will go in three or four different directions, too. I hope he takes his cowlicks better than his old man. I once broke the corner of a big bathroom mirror (fourth grade or so?) by throwing a brush out of frustration. By college I quit trying and have never owned a brush since. I get out of the shower, towel it dry and use my hands to flatten it out, and that's it. I'm done. Screw it. Should I teach this to Cooper sooner than later?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Babies In These United States

Funny baby stuff from Reader's Digest:


A small town doctor was famous in the area for always catching large fish. One day while he was on one of his frequent fishing trips he got a call that a woman at a neighboring farm was giving birth. He rushed to her aid and delivered a healthy baby boy.

The farmer had nothing to weigh the baby with so the doctor had to use his fishing scales. The baby weighed 32 lb. 10 oz.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Our first three babies, all girls, each weighed about seven pounds at birth. When my fourth arrived, he was much larger. After delivery the medical team began testing and measuring my new son. The last reading came from a nurse, who seemed impressed as she read, "Weight, nine pounds, eight ounces."

My husband, a CPA in corporate finance who had been quiet up until this point, could contain himself no longer. "How about that!" he exclaimed happily. "It's thirty-six percent more baby!"

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Some friends were hoping their second child would be a girl, and they even had a name picked out. The ultrasound didn't reveal the baby's sex, though, and since the expectant father had orders from the Navy to ship out before the due date, he told his wife, "We'd better pick out a boy's name, just in case." But when it was time for him to report for duty, they still hadn't decided. At sea a few weeks later, he got notification that his son, Justin Kase, had been born.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


As I was nursing my baby, my cousin's six-year-old daughter, Krissy, came into the room. Never having seen anyone breast feed before, she was intrigued and full of all kinds of questions about what I was doing. After mulling over my answers, she remarked, "My mom has some of those, but I don't think she knows how to use them."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


While I was dining out with my children, a man came over to our table and we started talking. He asked where my kids go to school. I told him we home-school them. With a raised eyebrow he asked if my husband is the sole breadwinner for our family. I said no, I also work—out of our home. Then, noticing our two-month-old son, he mentioned that his daughter had just had a baby, and he wondered what hospital our son was born in.

"He was born at home," I answered.

The man looked at me, then said, "Wow, you don't get out much, do you?"

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It's every airplane passenger's nightmare -- getting stuck near a crying baby. I was manning the ticket counter at a busy airport when the sound of a sobbing infant filled the air. As the next passenger stepped up to the desk, he glanced at the tot and rolled his eyes. "Don't worry," I said to him cheerily. "Chances are that baby won't be on your flight."

Head shaking, he grimly replied, "Oh, I bet he will. That's my son."

Cooper eating his carrots

He's starting to get the hang of eating solid foods. We started with carrots, but after a few days maybe we'll move on to something even more exciting, like peas or *gasp* even squash!


Ooooh, bright lights, bouncy music, can't resist!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Join Jeff's March Madness Challenge!

Okay, so the Tigers won't be in the Big Dance, but that doesn't mean we can't get into the spirit of my annual Challenge!

Go to Yahoo! Sports and Join! Join! Join! Join!

Last year Steve correctly picked his Tar Heels to win it all, and that was enough to win the Challenge. See if you can unseat him!

Last year's results:

1. Steve (Tarheels & Tigers) (North Carolina) - 131 (47 of 63 games picked correctly)
2. Rann R (redsox0407) (North Carolina) - 126 (45 of 63)
t2. Jonathan M. (Longhorns0465) (North Carolina) - 126 (44 of 63)
4. Scott (Bruins Commodores Bears oh my!) (Villanova) - 109 (46 of 63)
5. Syd (It's CaliPERR-EE) (Memphis) - 102 (46 of 63)
6. Cody (Belewspickstothetop) (Memphis) - 100 (46 of 63)
7. Kevin H. (Bubba Keg) (Wake Forest) - 92 (37 of 63)
8. Jenn R. (RoarRRR!) (Memphis) - 85 (42 of 63)
t8. Val (The Bean's Picks) (Memphis) - 85 (45 of 63)
t8. Carol H. (Carol's picks) (Memphis) - 85 (40 of 63)
11. Jorge (Struggling From Day 1) (Pittsburgh) - 81 (44 of 63)
12. Randy B. (Rider's Winners) (Pittsburgh) - 76 (41 of 63)
13. Cheryl (Memphis) - 75 (43 of 63)
14. Erin M. (Bracket Buster) (Memphis) - 70 (43 of 63)
15. Me (Jeff's Tiger Blue) (Louisville) - 69 (39 of 63)
16. Karen P. (Velvit) (Oklahoma) - 59 (40 of 63)
17. Stephen M. (Bracketerrible) (Louisville) - 53 (33 of 63)

2008 results

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

Here are the 2007 results:

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

Cooper's first solid foods

Yummy, yummy, Cooper's got carrots in his tummy!


Cooper and Nana

Earlier this week we took Cooper over to see his Nana and Aunt Polly:


He really stretches out in his bouncer:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Limbs flailing, Cooper playing

Even though his facial expression freezes up in front of the camera, our boy sure likes to kick and play! Once he realizes he can crawl, we may never keep up with Cooper!


Cooper getting fresh air

After being cooped up all winter (pun intended), the weather has finally started warming up enough to go outside and let Cooper try out the sun, which so far he's not particularly fond of, but we're sure he'll get used to it soon enough!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Notes on a Friday morning

Seeing as how the worst of the top 24 are moving into the top 12, the next six to eight weeks of AMERICAN IDOL will be an exercise in marveling how cruel the judges can be in order to get rid of the pitchiest warblers before they ruin the finale. Thursday night we could easily have replaced decent singers and now-eliminated Katelyn, Lilly and Todrick with, say, Tim, Katie and Paige or Lacey, all of whom will be some of the first to go from the top 12. Let's rank the remaining singers:

 

1. Casey

2. Crystal

3. Lee

4. Big Mike

5. Siobhan

6. Didi

7. Andrew

8. Paige

9. Aaron

10. Lacey

11. Katie

12. Tim

 

The top five there have some ability and could win the whole thing. The rest? Competing for the Less Suckitude Performance Of The Week. It could get ugly. Right now I'm listening to a collection of David Cook's songs when he won IDOL, and it's clear that no one this season will ever come close to matching his talent. Heck, I may even miss Adam Lambert's entertainment value, because this group doesn't have any showmanship whatsoever.

 

- A lot of decisions made at church this past weekend. My favorite visual of how awesome it is when someone puts their faith in Christ comes from Frank Peretti's "This Present Darkness" series, of angels surrounding someone as their reborn, and rejoicing. Doesn't that give you a little thrill, to think of how happy it makes God when those who are reborn become part of His fellowship? I always think of that because for me it always explained why I get happy goosebumps when someone walks down the aisle to make that decision, and when a new Christian is baptized.

 

- Speaking of church, I'm thinking that the new pastor isn't a big fan of the outlines in the bulletin that the church family is accustomed to using to following along with the sermon. Last week he barely touched on it, halfway through noting that he would quickly run through the outline so the folks could fill it in, and this week he put the "answers" upside-down at the bottom of the page. Next week I'm wondering if we'll get a blank page with a smiley-face icon and a note to "follow along."

 

- Don't ask me how I noticed this, because I don't normally check high school girls basketball box scores with any precision. And yet, looking at the sports page a few weeks ago, somehow I noticed that apparently about 15-18 years ago, urban mothers named their daughters Jasmine (or "Jasmyn") with amazing frequency, at least for those girls who would become basketball players. There are two who play for Millington, two more for Horn Lake, and one for Middle College, Overton, Mitchell, Southaven, Catholic, Sheffield, Southwind and Wooddale. And these are just the ones who scored to get their names in the paper for one day's worth of games. (This is unscientific research, of course.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

8 Idol Boys Left

Nomah!!!!! Kudos to the Red Sox and Nomar Garciaparra for setting aside hurt feelings from the 2004 trade (that helped the Sox win the Series). The Sox "signed" Nomar to a one-day contract yesterday so that he could retire as a Red Sox. And thus, all is forgiven, and I can wear my No. 5 jersey again! So ends a 14-year career, including his first seven with Boston, back when you couldn't talk about great AL shortstops without including him in the conversation with Jeter and A-Fraud.
 
LEE, "Fireflies" - His voice is ready for radio, though he probably should at least try once to not stand in the same spot holding the guitar up to his neck while performing.
 
ALEX, "Trouble" - Most improved, but still nothing special. The judges seem to be giving him a push, though.
 
TIM, "Hallelujah" - Heard this many times on Idol and done better before. This definitely didn't deserve a hug from Ellen on stage.
 
ANDREW, "Genie in a Bottle" - OH MY GOSH, SHUT UP, JUDGES. Holy crap, for three weeks they've been telling Andrew to recreate the magic of his Hollywood performance when he re-worked Paula Abdul. He does it here with a re-working of Christina Aguilera's "Genie," and darn well, in my opinion, and yet the judges rip him! What the frak, judges?!
 
CASEY, "You'll Think of Me" - The heartthrob has a seat and tries to emulate Keith Urban. Just OK. Randy rightly tags it "safe."
 
AARON, "I'm Almost There" - Before Kara even said it, I wrote that a 16-year-old boy should not be singing these kinds of songs that require a little adult seasoning. I don't want to listen to a teen who looks 12 singing about his children. What the judges didn't say was that he sounded pretty awful, also, getting worse from start to finish.
 
TODRICK, "Somebody to Love" - I don't care if I'm the only one, I want him to make the top 12 and stick around a few weeks longer than the judges do, because he at least tries to entertain. Simon calls it a Broadway performance, which, hey, Adam Lambert did it all season last year and Simon didn't seem to mind.
 
BIG MIKE, "Woman's Work" - I give him credit for those high notes, which were an impressive surprise. I didn't think it was as mind-blowing as the judges said, however.
 
Gotta go tonight: Aaron and Tim.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Cooper Workout

Lost, Final 8 Girls on Idol

SPOILER WARNING!!!!! Last night on LOST, we see the redemption of Ben but not much else. It is confirmed that Richard is not a cyborg (Hurley's theory), that he came to the Island in chains aboard the Black Rock, so was he a slave or a prisoner? And he can only die at someone else's hands, not his own. Seems like an obvious loophole, no? Jack is now Mr. Big Shot Candidate who thinks Jacob has a special role for him on the island, which tells me he's in for a big letdown in the end, am I right? In Alt-2004 Ben takes care of his father, who rues that they left the Dharma Initiative and thus the Island a long time ago. Which means, what? Is it a matter of the timeline? In the first show of the season we know that the Island is underwater in Alt-2004 but you could see the old Dharma houses. Is Jacob being set up as a Christ figure for the Island? There sure was a lot of talk this episode of his disciples abandoning him when they didn't get enough out of working their entire lives for him. Good to see "Alex Rousseau" alive and well in Alt-2004, which makes it seem like this reality is indeed a better one than the Island, where too many folks are, you know, dead. Is Widmore the guy Jacob was trying to bring to the Island? Why would he do that? To kill him off?
 
See, there are still more questions getting raised than answers, and there's only nine episodes left. Hurry up, Show!
 
Meanwhile, on AMERICAN IDOL, the ladies sang for their spot in the top 12, which Simon claims is the biggest reward of the show. I disagree. I think it's more important to make the top 10, because at least then you make the tour and some extra bucks.
 
KATIE, "Breakaway" - Poor girl. She doesn't have the talent to match a Kelly Clarkson song. It was awful from the start, very flat, and she looked terrified, like someone was holding her grandmother hostage.
 
SIOBHAN, "House of the Rising Sun" - So weird and quirky and awkward, but kinda awesome how she owns it.
 
LACEY, "The Story" - Never heard the song (by Brandi Carlisle?), but seemed to fit her voice. She'd have a better shot if her voice was distinctive, except that to me her album would sound just like The Sundays, of "Wild Horses" fame, which is a very calming and pleasant album though nothing upbeat and exciting.
 
KATELYN, "I Feel The Earth Move" - The song is far too Karaoke-ish and the judges jump on her from the start. She does have a smooth voice, and deserves to move on compared to the competition. And thankfully she sang an upbeat song, which was rare.
 
DIDI, singing a popular Fleetwood Mac song and I don't feel like looking it up - Too sleepy. She can never be a stand-on-your-feet-and-groove kind of performer.
 
PAIGE, "Smile" - Everyone's looking for a "serious moment" tonight, and despite the song title and lyrics, Paige ironically never smiled during this song.
 
Conspiracy Watch: Judges faves Crystal and Lilly are the last two to perform!
 
CRYSTAL, "Give Me One Reason" - This just in: The judges love Crystal's style, confidence and think she won't do any wrong (until the last few weeks if they decide someone else should win, then they'll pounce.)
 
LILLY, "I Fall to Pieces" - Odd. So, so odd. This was an odd song to sing, arrangement and ... odd.
 

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Cooper hanging out

Spent Saturday evening at Val's uncle Glenn and aunt Stephanie's for the Burk family's Feb/March birthday party.

Here he is enjoying senior status over Audrey, a full two weeks younger:


Val's Dad starts early on the "pull my finger" jokes:


Aunt Sissy gets some of that cute baby lovin':


A real chip off the old block:

Tuesday's Cooper Tidbits

- Cooper's doing fine and dandy. Our main mission now is to wean him off of sleeping in his car seat in the crib, which won't be easy. If you lay him down in the crib while he's sleeping, he'll wake up within 20 minutes, guaranteed, every time. Last night I tried the Boppy, thinking that it's an in-between step since he'd still be reclined and supported, but nope, 15 minutes later I heard him stirring, and he wouldn't go back to sleep until I picked him up and rocked him back to sleep. At that point I put the car seat back in the crib, laid him down for the night and he slept until after 3 as usual. I'll try and try again until it works. I mean, he has to outgrow it eventually, right? Or will he be five years old and sleeping on his booster seat in his bed?

 

- We've also started Cooper on solid foods. Val has, at least. I haven't been brave enough to try when it's my turn at night, so I just pump him full of formula that is mixed with rice cereal for a filling pre-sleep meal. She started him with a thicker gruel of the rice cereal, and this week is trying the Gerber 1st Foods carrots (not organic - what are we raising, a hippie?). He's still trying to figure out the whole "eat, don't drink" concept so much of it he ends up playing with on his lips, but as always I remind myself that he's only four months old, and we're just getting started with all of this. It'll still be a little bit before he's eating steak with us (at least without the benefit of a blender - eww, gross). I'll try to get a video of Val's valiant efforts to feed him soon.

 

- Writing that, I realize that Val and I have settled into our stereotypically mother-father roles. She's good at the feeding and changing and cleaning and keeping him happy all day while I'm at work and/or napping, while I hop in as if I'm saving the day, play with him for a few hours, put him to sleep and call it a night. While I sleep fast and hard, she's worried about everything that he needs and should be doing for the next day.

 

- So last night I'm reading to Cooper "The Little Engine That Could." I know it's a parable of helping your fellow person, staying positive and how what we perceive as the weakest elements sometimes have the best intentions and can get things done. But really, shouldn't the clown and dolls and elephant and giraffe, etc., have done a better job reserving an engine that could get over the big hill to deliver the goods and foods to the boys and girls on the other side? I think this is a story about planning ahead and not expecting a handout when you don't get your way. Of course, I won't tell Cooper that until he's at least in his teens and listening to Rush on his own.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Jeff's 7th Annual Oscars Challenge results

No clear winner, but wow, what was obvious is how awful I finished. I managed to pick all of what I figured were the locks, but nothing else. Congrats to the four-way champs!

15 - Dad, Scott, Stacy, Heather
14 - Val
13 - Stephanie
12 - Michael C.
11 - Carol
10 - Kevin H.
9 - Jenny H.
8 - Jeff
7 - Amy C.

Those who correctly picked "The Hurt Locker" to win Best Picture: Scott, Steph and Heather.

Past champions and results:

2009

1. Scott - 19
2. Jeremy - 16
3. Dad - 15
4. Stephanie - 13
5. Val - 11
Bill - 11
Cheryl - 11
Heather - 11
9. Stacy - 10
Jenny H. - 10
11. Jeff - 9
Michael C. - 9
Kimberly T. - 9
14. Karla - 8
15. Amy C. - 7
Erin - 7
17. Randy - 6
Kevin - 6
19. Carol - 5

2008

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

2007

Dad - 16
Jeremy - 14
Jeff - 14
Michael C. - 14
Sydney - 14
Mom - 14
Stephanie - 13
Val - 12
Scott - 12
Stacy - 12
Aunt Lynn - 12
Carol Howell - 11
Jennifer M. - 9
Cyndi - 8
Kimberly - 8
Karen - 7
Amy C. - 6
Amy J. - 4

2006

Jeff - 17
Stephanie - 15
Scott - 14
Jeremy - 14
Karla - 12
Dad - 11
Mom - 10
Stacy - 10
Jenn M - 10
Jenn R - 7
Steve - 7

2005

Jeremy - 13
Aunt Lynn - 11
Jeff - 11
Dad - 10
Scott - 9
Stacy - 9
Steve - 9
Mom - 8
Stephanie - 7
Jenn M. - 7
Amy - 6
Karla - 5

2004

(tie)Scott and Joe - 16
Jeff, Mom, Stacy, Stephanie - 15
Aunt Lynn - 12
Bill - 10

Bow Before Cooper!!!!




You cannot resist the cuteness!!!!

Jeff's Top 5: Best Picture Winners, Losers

Jeff's Top 5 Best Picture Winners

1. 1939 - "Gone with the Wind" - The biggest movie ever, off screen and on, it epitomizes everything about how good Hollywood can be.
2. 1943 - "Casablanca" - Oozes with memorable dialogue and coolness and romance.
3. 1959 - "Ben-Hur" - Bigger than life, full of adventure, religious allegories, Chuck Heston, best action scene ever in the chariot race.
4. 1970 - "Patton" - The best war movie of all time?
5. 2003 - "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"- Best modern movie series.

Jeff's Top 5 Sure-To-Be-Forgotten Best Picture Winners

1. 1996 - "The English Patient"- The first of the run of indie films to dominate too many Oscar ceremonies despite no one ever seeing them, such as ...
2. 2005 - "Crash"- And then there's ...
3. 2004 - "Million Dollar Baby" - Don't forget ...
4. 2008 - "Slumdog Millionaire" - And this year, no one will remember "The Hurt Locker" over "Avatar" in 20 years. I could also have put "Shakespeare in Love" since it ticked me off that it beat "Saving Private Ryan," except that "Shakespeare" is an adorable little movie.

5. 1945 - "The Lost Weekend" - I'm not sure I've ever heard of this movie before, which means it's already been forgotten, no?

Jeff's Top 5 I Should See

1. 1973 - "The Sting" - Paul Newman and Robert Redford being all cunning, seems a natural for me to enjoy.
2. 1965 - "The Sound of Music" - I like musicals, I like movies about WWII, I like pretty scenery, so why have I never seen this?
3. 1962 - "Lawrence of Arabia" - About the only sweeping epic I haven't seen, I kept waiting to see it on the big screen during a summer movie festival. Since I'll never have the time now, it's currently waiting for me on my DVR to find four hours to view.
4. 1950 - "All About Eve" - I don't know if I've even seen a Bette Davis film, so this seems an appropriate place to start.
5. 1971 - "The French Connection" - Always like a good Gene Hackman thriller.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Jeff's Oscar Picks

Submit yours for the annual challenge, due by 7 p.m. tonight!

1. Best Picture: "Avatar"
2. Actor: Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
3. Actress: Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
4. Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds."
5. Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."
6. Directing: Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
7. Foreign Language Film: "The White Ribbon," Germany
8. Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, "Up in the Air"
9. Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"
10. Animated Feature Film: "Up"
11. Art Direction: "Nine"
12. Cinematography: "Inglourious Basterds"
13. Sound Mixing: "Avatar"
14. Sound Editing: "Avatar"
15. Original Score: "Avatar," James Horner
16. Original Song: "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from "Crazy Heart," Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett.
17. Costume: "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus"
18. Documentary Feature: "Food, Inc."
19. Documentary (short subject): "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant"
20. Film Editing: "Avatar"
21. Makeup: "The Young Victoria"
22. Animated Short Film: "The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)"
23. Live Action Short Film: "The Door"
24. Visual Effects: "Avatar"

Friday, March 05, 2010

Idol girls top 10

WOO-HOO!!!! Weekend! Friday! Excellence!
 
After slogging through last weekend with a cold, both Val and I will greatly enjoy feeling better this time, save for a little nasal congestion annoyingly not going away. It will just be nice to get a full nights' sleep, even just one day. Sweet!
 
Meanwhile, I forgot to do my review of the ladies' performances on Wednesday night ...
 
CRYSTAL, "Long As I Can See the Light" - Pleasant sound, still feels she's too cool for this and probably thinks you're a schlub for watching.
 
HAELEY, "The Climb" - Considering Miley Cyrus doesn't have a good voice, either, maybe we should have judged this in comparison. But Haeley doesn't have a hit TV show or movies, so she's outta here.
 
LACEY, "Kiss Me" - Would have thought this would be perfect for her, but the Sixpence None the Richer singer already has a distinct voice so this sounds like a copycat performance, and a weak one at that.
 
KATIE, "Put Your Records On" - Cute, perky, decent voice but the judges rip her.
 
DIDI, "Lean on Me" - Very poor song choice. Sounds strange with her unique voice.
 
MICHELLE, "With Arms Wide Open" - Too plain, no sparkle, too easy to vote off and no one would care.
 
LILLY, "A Change is Gonna Come" - Yeah, she's a pure artist and pretty awesome, but she still looks too much like the albino from "The Princess Bride."
 
KATELYN, "The Scientist" - On the piano, very soothing if not full of starpower, something that would come in handy at 2 a.m. when I'm trying to get Cooper back to sleep while sitting on the couch dozing myself.
 
PAIGE, "Walk Away" - This year's Big Booming Black Girl Voice, except that she hasn't been going for the big notes.
 
SIOBHAN, "Think" - Such a funny little white girl singing Aretha, when she hit that note near the end it was almost a Clay Aiken Moment, "Where'd the heck did that come from?" Kept Clay around to the final two, but I don't think she can connect with audiences because of her weirdness.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Cooper starting on solids

Well, sort of. It's watered-down rice cereal!

Idol, Bachelor, Lost

Tuesday afternoon I tuned in the MLB Network and saw the first spring training baseball game of the season, and lo it made my heart happy. It felt so good to see the green grass, crisp new uniforms and hear the crack of the bat. Once the NCAA Tournament is done I will SO be ready for some baseball! Go Sox!
 
LOST - Still waiting for answers. Not Locke tore up the Temple of Doom, Sayid proved he'll still kill to get Nadya back even in Alt-2004 when she's married to his brother, and Claire knows that Kate took Aaron and will likely exact some revenge. But no answers to the big questions, for those who would like some in the next, say, 10 weeks?
 
THE BACHELOR - All signs pointed to Jake picking Vienna despite protests by most everyone in the country who cared, and it actually happened. Which means that not only is she the kind of girl that every other woman hates (huge red flag), it means he's probably a D-bag looking for publicity (hello, Dancing With the Stars).
 
What really started turning me against Jake was how, all season long, he would use the phrase "In my heart" to get out of being honest or having to explain his actions, because somehow in his life he figured out that women wouldn't judge him if he just blamed it on "my heart." I'm calling you on it, Jake, that's a Jerky McLame-o move. I think the audience agreed, because when he came out for the After the Rose episode, the applause was definitely more muted than for previous likable bachelors. No one wanted Jake and Vienna together at the end, except, of course, for Jason and Molly, who now can wipe their brows and figure they're off the hook as the least likable Bachelor couple in history.
 
Finally, last night on AMERICAN IDOL the boys took the stage instead of the girls, since Crystal "Too Hip For This Show" had to go to the hospital for unknown reasons. I'm guessing it isn't serious based on how Ryan was acting, so we'll see her tonight, I'm sure. By and large the guys were better than last week, though I'm sure I can nitpick ...
 
Big Mike, "A Man's World" - Much stronger than last week. The judges went nuts, a little overboard actually, praising him.
 
John, "Gravity" - He was terrible last week, so could he make this John Mayer song into Idol napalm, to borrow a recent Mayer phrase? The song choice was good, the judges were more harsh than I would have been.
 
Casey, "I Don't Wanna Be" - Is he the first contestant to break out the electric guitar? Simon wants more grit, I thought he rocked pretty well.
 
Alex, "Everybody Knows" - A million times improved from last week's disaster though still not solid, yet the judges fell over each other to praise, which is like giving credit to a pilot who crashed a plane a week ago for "only" emergency landing in a field his second go 'round.
 
Todrick, "What's Love Got To Do With It" - Here's where the judges annoy the ol' Jeffster. They constantly harp on making songs "your own," unless, of course, they don't like your arrangement, and then it's like, "The song's great on its own, why futz with it?" I like what Todrick's doing in mixing up his songs, so tell them to suck it, dude.
 
Jermaine, "What's Going On" - He keeps saying that he's taking to heart what the judges say, except for the huffing and puffing and "It's on God" nonsense that proves he isn't listening one teensy bit.
 
Andrew, "You Give Me Something" - Never heard the song or the artist (James Morrison). The judges were split, I thought he was okay, a little tinny but not terrible.
 
Aaron, "My Girl" - Good voice, lovable, but in a Nermal-to-my-Garfield kind of way. Stick him with a Disney-created act and he'd be great.
 
Tim, "Come On Get High" - Tons better, then Randy and Kara go negative to try and get rid of him sooner than later no matter how much he improved since they didn't pick him originally and they don't want to get showed up.
 
Lee, "Lips Of An Angel" - Can't sing cleanly all the way through, which may not matter. He has grit and like Kara said, a commercial voice that could be on the radio already.
 
Going home? I was completely wrong last week, but I'll say Alex and Tim or Jermaine.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Join Jeff's 7th annual Oscars Challenge

Hope I'm not too late for you to do your research (i.e. get the Entertainment Weekly special Oscars issue), but you have until Sunday at 7 p.m. to get your picks to me!!!!

Can big bro Scott defend his title? Good luck!

1. Best Picture: "Avatar," "The Blind Side," "District 9," "An Education," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," "A Serious Man," "Up," "Up in the Air."

2. Actor: Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"; George Clooney, "Up in the Air"; Colin Firth, "A Single Man"; Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"; Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker."

3. Actress: Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"; Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"; Carey Mulligan, "An Education"; Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' by Sapphire"; Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia."

4. Supporting Actor: Matt Damon, "Invictus"; Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"; Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"; Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"; Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds."

5. Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, "Nine"; Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air"; Maggie Gyllenhaal, "Crazy Heart"; Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"; Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."

6. Directing: James Cameron, "Avatar"; Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"; Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"; Lee Daniels, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"; Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air."

7. Foreign Language Film: "Ajami," Israel; "El Secreto de Sus Ojos," Argentina; "The Milk of Sorrow," Peru; "Un Prophete," France; "The White Ribbon," Germany.

8. Adapted Screenplay: Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, "District 9"; Nick Hornby, "An Education"; Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, "In the Loop"; Geoffrey Fletcher, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"; Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, "Up in the Air."

9. Original Screenplay: Mark Boal, "The Hurt Locker"; Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"; Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman, "The Messenger"; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "A Serious Man"; Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Tom McCarthy, "Up."

10. Animated Feature Film: "Coraline"; "Fantastic Mr. Fox"; "The Princess and the Frog"; "The Secret of Kells"; "Up."

11. Art Direction: "Avatar," "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," "Nine," "Sherlock Holmes," "The Young Victoria."

12. Cinematography: "Avatar," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "The White Ribbon."

13. Sound Mixing: "Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "Star Trek," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."

14. Sound Editing: "Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "Star Trek," "Up."

15. Original Score: "Avatar," James Horner; "Fantastic Mr. Fox," Alexandre Desplat; "The Hurt Locker," Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders; "Sherlock Holmes," Hans Zimmer; "Up," Michael Giacchino.

16. Original Song: "Almost There" from "The Princess and the Frog," Randy Newman; "Down in New Orleans" from "The Princess and the Frog," Randy Newman; "Loin de Paname" from "Paris 36," Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas; "Take It All" from "Nine," Maury Yeston; "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from "Crazy Heart," Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett.

17. Costume: "Bright Star," "Coco Before Chanel," "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," "Nine," "The Young Victoria."

18. Documentary Feature: "Burma VJ," "The Cove," "Food, Inc." "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers," "Which Way Home."

19. Documentary (short subject): "China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province," "The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner," "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant," "Music by Prudence," "Rabbit a la Berlin."

20. Film Editing: "Avatar," "District 9," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds," "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."

21. Makeup: "Il Divo," "Star Trek," "The Young Victoria."

22. Animated Short Film: "French Roast," "Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty," "The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)," "Logorama," "A Matter of Loaf and Death."

23. Live Action Short Film: "The Door," "Instead of Abracadabra," "Kavi," "Miracle Fish," "The New Tenants."

24. Visual Effects: "Avatar," "District 9," "Star Trek."

When I walk in I make "Squish!" and "Boing!" sounds

Does Val's Mammaw's bathroom floor remind you of anything?



Yep, me too:



Q*Bert!!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Sick, checkup, Olympics

Our little Cooper turned four months old Sunday! We took Cooper to the doctor again today for his regular checkup and shots ("Boo hoo hoo," and that's us).

Getting ever not-so-mini every day, Cooper now weighs about 16.2 pounds. He's doing much better after last week's bronchial virus. We still give him breathing treatments a few times a day with the nebulizer, since any random coughing sets off his wheezing. But he's playing and laughing and eating and sleeping as he was before he got sick.

Meanwhile, me and Val spent all weekend in the sick bed. God bless my Mom-in-law for coming over two nights and watching Cooper and making us food so we could recover.

For real, I think my head is made of mucus, and it sprung a leak through my nose. I know, it's gross. Yuck. Ick. Val was even worse from mid-week through the weekend, floored by aches, pains, congestion and exhaustion, and she's feeling better but still worn out today.

Here's Cooper watching the gold medal hockey game Sunday with his sickly Daddy:


Cooper would just stare at the TV, fixated. I think it's because they play on a big white sheet of ice, with lots of movement. He fell asleep by the third period, so he didn't really care who won.

How about some Winter Olympics Closing Cermony notes:

- Clever start with the acknowledgment of the problems with the Opening Ceremony and the lighting of the cauldron.

- Costas really stopped caring about 10 minutes in, didn't he? Every 15 minutes or so he'd put down the flask and pop in with some random comment after not telling us largely who was on stage or what they were doing.

- In the previews all day long we were promised some Shania. Where'd she go? And no Celine, still? They couldn't re-work it to include her?

- The Canadiana stuff at the end should have been at the Opening Ceremony, eh? Instead of showing Canada full of wheat, punk-dancing fiddlers and beat poets, show off their love of hockey, beavers and offbeat comedy.