Thursday, February 26, 2009

American Idol: 3 more chosen for Top 12

Allison Iraheta: Top Twelve
Jesse Langseth: out
Matt Breitzke: out
Kris Allen: Top Twelve
Megan Corkrey: out
Matt Giraud: out
Jeanine Vailes: out
Mishavonna Henson: out
Nick Mitchell: out
Kai Kalama: out
Jasmine Murray: out
Adam Lambert: Top Twelve

There you have it folks, another three chosen for the Top 12. Personally, I think this week's three (at least two of them) aren't even in the same league as last week's.

So far I'm 4 for 6.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Second group of 12: The worst American Idol show--ever???

For some reason Ryan is dressed like he's going to the car wash. That's distracting.

Jasmine Murray
Jasmine is only 17. She's horrible and headed back to the high school musical (not The High School Musical...her high school's musical). Simon says it perfectly..."you have everything except a great voice."





Matt Giraud
Matt's "Viva La Vida" wasn't for me. Paula liked it, the rest of the judges agreed with me. He came off as cheesy.






Jeanine Vailes
The judges think the best thing Jeanine has going for her are her legs. Too bad this isn't The Next Top Model. So far this has been a b-a-d show. Jeanine pleads to the audience to vote for her.





Nick Mitchell
Okay, Nick, you're sort of a funny dude. But it's time to pack your act and go home to your local comedy club. Let's make room for a real singer. Thank you.





Allison Iraheta
Finally, someone who can sing. In fact, we have our first reference to a contestant's ability to "sing the phone book" (this time uttered by Paula). Allison is the best so far, but if I was singing I'd be the best so far too--that's just how awful this show has been. She's a cutie for sure--and I love, love, love Heart.





Kris Allen
For this particular show, Kris was pretty good. He's pleasant enough. Might even grow on me. Not the caliber of finalists in previous seasons, though.





Megan Corkrey
Megan looks like an American Idol, a pop star. Megan has a unique voice and she's not the worst of the night. Faint praise I know. It just seemed like the song went on and on and on. Also, really ugly tattoo. I'm just so disappointed in the whole show tonight.





Matt Breitzke
B-O-R-I-N-G. Oh yeah, Simon agrees with me. Even though I nearly fell asleep during his performance, Matt is the best guy of the night.






Jesse Langseth
Jesse's got a cool vibe. She looks a little like Sandy Dennis. Remember her in the original Out of Towners movie with Jack Lemmon? I think I'll put that in my Netflix queue. I like Jesse. But we still haven't seen a breakout performance like our
little Alexis Grace last week. Observation: We have a lot of single moms this year.





Kai Kalama
I think Kai could make it through on looks and personality. Kai is hot. He sings okay. Plus, he takes care of his sick mom. Here's some advice for Kai if he squeaks through: lose the dance moves.





Mishavonna Henson
Best thing about Mishavonna is her name. She's lucky to be near the end of the show. Folks might remember her.









Adam Lambert
Don't like anyone singing this other than Mick, but I'll hand it to him--he stands out.







Best Least bad of this lame-o show:
Allison Iraheta
Adam Lambert
Megan Corkrey

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. However...I have humility enough to confess my errors." Mahatma Ghandi

I know you all think I'm quite talented and all. But...dum de dum dum...I had to go to knitting jail today at the Knitty Couture shop. You may remember I'm taking a knitting class on hats and have designed my own chapeau. Well, I was just knitting away last night when I suddenly realized I was doing everything all wrong. "T" my instructor audibly gasped when she saw what I'd done, but she took it all out and got me started off on the right foot again.

Watching T unravel and fix my error calmly and methodically was a great lesson for me. When I try to fix a mistake I get so knotted up {sorry for the pun}I feel like I'm deactivating a nuclear warhead. I'm going to work on that.

It's good to be humbled sometimes, huh?

BTW, did you know the term to "unknit" a mistake is "tink"? {Knit backwards, get it?}

Monday, February 23, 2009

Vroom, vroom, vroom

Barack-star has created a special team of experts to help save America's auto industry. Sounds good. Unfortunately, the experts don't appear to be great believers in buying American when it comes to choosing their personal vehicles.

Of the 19 members and aides on the task force only 3 own an American car.

This is as ridiculous as when the CEOs of the Big 3 Automakers flew to D.C. in private jets and then asked for billions in handouts.

When did this world get so upside-down?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

The red carpet is waiting for us

Guess what tomorrow is?

Yep! It's the annual Academy Awards Showcase. My pal Joey and I will be attending an all-day marathon of this year's movies nominated for Best Picture.

Here's the rundown:
10:30 Milk
1:05 The Reader
3:45 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
7:15 Slumdog Millionaire
9:45 Frost/Nixon

I'll be posting our 0-5 star ratings after each movie through Twitter.

Related posts:

And the winner is...
Scenes From Our Movie Marathon

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

American Idol 2009 first results! First 3 chosen for Top Twelve

Casey Carlson: out
Stephen Fowler: out
Alexis Grace: Top Twelve
Ricky Braddy: out
Jackie Tohn: out
Anoop Desai: Nope Anoop. Not this time.
Michael Sarver: Top Twelve
Brent Keith Smith: out
Anne Marie Boskovich: out
Stevie Wright: out
Danny Gokey: Top Twelve
Tatiana Trainwreck del Toro: Adios

Not bad. I was 2 for 3.

Mama Mia, how can we resist you?

The economy stinks.

The latest fix-it-all plan being bandied about is termed the:


Swedish Model of Bank Nationalization.

Bank nationalization is either paradise for advocates of social democracy or pure lefty hell if you're a capitalist.

Why the Swedish Model? Well, apparently little ole Sweden suffered its own economic collapse in the '90s and rescued itself through nationalization of the banks. That's debatable and may or may not be true. And, may or may not be relevant. After all, Sweden's GDP is only equal to about New Jersey's GDP...nothing close to the whole US of A.

Personally, I don't see how our government that can't even run its own three branches efficiently thinks it's going to operate more than 8000 banks. Can you imagine Maxine Waters as a loan officer? Lindsay Graham plotting long-term financial strategy? How about Nancy Pelosi deciding where to invest your IRA?

Still, I like the idea of following a Swedish Model. I like Sweden. I've been thinking about some of the other good things Sweden's brought to the world:

Ikea
Abba
Volvos and Saabs
Vikings {the real ones, not the Minnesotans}
Bjorn Borg
Swedish words like: smorgasbord, tungsten, and ombudsman
No wars for more than 200 years
Alfred Nobel
Greta Garbo
Swedish meatballs
Swedish massages

And the list goes on.

Alas. We'll have to take the bad with the good. Sweden also has 25% unemployment and the highest tax rate in the world.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

American Idol 2009 first group of 12 perform. Blonde girl does Aretha proud, Tatiana Trainwreck doesn't choke, and Danny Gokey brings down the house.

Tonight we see our first full-fledged performances by AI contestants who made it through the Hollywood rounds. After the show you'll be able to vote on the first group of 12. The way I understand the new set up, Wednesday Ryan announces the 3 contestants with the highest votes. One guy, one girl, and the next highest--boy or girl. By the end of week 3, we'll have 9 of the 12 finalists. The final three slots will be filled by wild cards chosen by the judges. Capisce?

On with the show.

Jackie Tohn
Sings Elvis and starts out thin and weak, but gets it going thirty seconds into the performance. Strong on performance...weak on the singing. Simon was not a fan.




Ricky Braddy
I can't help it, I hate listening to guys with a Carolina accent. So, I get really distracted when Ricky talks. I like him better singing, but even though he's flawless hitting all the notes, I just don't like him too much--sort of blah personality.




Alexis Grace
Alexis is awesome. Kind of a throwback to old time blues/soul singer. Too much red lipstick, but she's hot. One of the few singers--ever--in this competition with a unique style. She's in first place for me right now.




Brent Keith Smith
Don't like it when grown ups go by two first names...Brent Keith Smith works in a home improvement hardware store. Country's his game. He'll never make it into the top 3. Sorry Brent Keith. Back to Home Depot you go. Simon agrees with me. Brent Keith should be on Nashville Star not American Idol.




Stevie Wright
How did this girl get past the first audition? Horrible. Bad. Stevie gets sent home tomorrow night.





Anoop Desai
Anoop has a beautiful voice...but he stood out more in the auditions than he did tonight. He was nasally and then moved into whiny along the midpoint of the song. Nope. Anoop. Not sure it was good enough. Great name though. The judges really like Anoop, so even if he doesn't make into the top 12 tomorrow night they'll push him through as a wildcard.




Casey Carlson
Casey thinks she has the look. I think she looks silly and her teeth are too big for her mouth. Her mugging and winking at the camera are so annoying I wanted to fast forward my tivo. But I didn't. It got worse. She's worse than Stevie Wright because Casey thinks she was good. The judges pan her and she can't believe it.




Michael Sarver
Michael's the Texas roughneck. I like him as a guy. The judges like him But singing? Well not very good tonight. On the strength of his performance tonight, Michael may have sung his last song for American Idol..he's another candidate for the wild card.




Anne Marie Boskovich
Anne Marie is a judges favorite. She's also a semi-pro and works as a background singer in Nashville. But she's just not very good tonight. She'll have to hope for a wild card position.




Stephen Fowler
Hate it. Go home.









Tatiana del Toro
Tatiana Trainwreck del Toro...just hearing her name gives me shivers. Still, if I'm honest, she rocked Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love." Amazing. And then she talks. If she'd just not talk I might be more on her side. BTW, Trainwreck Tat had the worst outfit of the night. Her dress looked like a 1960s shower curtain.




Danny Gokey
Danny's got the final position which is usually reserved for `the performance' of the evening. He's always been one of my favorites. Unfortunately for me, I HATE this song. Why did he have to sing this cheesy, cornball tune? I'll probably give him a pass because I like him, but it's hard. The judges love him.




Top 3: Alexis Grace, Danny Gokey, and {unfortunately} Tatiana Trainwreck.

Monday, February 16, 2009

D.C. or bust

I don't think Barack-star and Mobama like D.C. that much.

Usually it takes a President at least a year or so to hate facing the media so much they start making safe public appearances.

Less than a month into their President/ First Lady gig and Barack-star and Mobama have already gone to a grade school and read storybooks to the class while the press stood quietly by and watched attentively. It worked so well that time, Mobama even made a return trip just a couple of days later {she must really hate the city.}

Plus, BS and Mobama have already taken three long weekend vacations--one to Camp David and two to Chicago. BS was in such a hurry to hit the road Friday, he didn't even wait to sign the spending bill he told everybody had to be passed "RIGHT NOW!!" The nine hundred zillion dollar bill is waiting for his signature--on the desk in the Oval Office he just had to have.

Then there are the two road trips last week to the hinterlands. Barack-star said he wanted to talk to regular folks about the bailout. But I think he felt he might be losing his mojo and wanted to get some of that warm, fuzzy campaign feel back again. Nothing like giving a house away to somebody like poor Henrietta Hughes to put you back on top.

I hope Barack-star and Mobama settle in. They've signed a lease for at least another 3 years and 11 months.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Book Report--3 books for you

Trifecta!!

Winter Wheat, by Mildred Walker
Genre: Fiction, coming of Age
Rating: ****
Blog friends who will like this: Kristen, Ann, Nancy, Wendy, Stefanie, Nina, Katie, Carol, Terri, Becky, Jennifer







Einstein, by Walter Isaacson
Genre: Nonfiction, biography
Rating: *****
Blog friends who will like this: Ed, Sean, Becky, Katie {but I think they'd like Isaacson's Benjamin Franklin better}







The Gold Coast, by Nelson DeMille
Genre: Fiction, bestseller
Rating: *** {most people who read this book really love it}
Blog friends who will like this: Sara, Suzi, Lesli, Kristen, Wendy, Becky, Ed, Jessica, Jennifer
Bonus: there's a sequel

Friday, February 13, 2009

...so...what's coming up?

  • Valentine's Day

  • Moving into new building at work

  • Visit from S-I-L Nina

  • Day of Beauty with Mom

  • Knitting class

  • Academy Awards movie marathon with Joey

  • Dinner party at Audrey's

    Did I mention this is all in the next two weeks?

  • Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Joanna Pacitti first Idol to be kicked out of the competition

    Well, she nearly made it 24 hours as a Top 36 contestant. Joanna Pacitti was kicked out because they figured out maybe her previous contract with Arista Records and her personal relationship with 19 Entertainment executives Michelle Young and Roger Widynowski was just a little too cozy. 19 Entertainment produces American Idol.

    Even before she was chosen part of the Top 36, Pacitti had been called a ringer since she's been on Broadway,had a recording contract, and released an album.

    Pacitti was replaced with Felicia Barton.

    Love the Idol drama. It's the gift that just keeps on giving.

    Turbo Tim: It's all in the pre-sell


    Turbo-Tim made his big economic speech and the stock market plummeted 4 or 5 hundred points. Well, being the type of person I am, I'm here to help. I've come up with the best idea in the whole world on how Turbo-Tim Geithner can sell his new economic plan to Wall Street. Two words: Bernie Madoff. Yep. Bernie Madoff. You know, the guy responsible for the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of the universe.

    Bernie successfully sold his scheme to thousands of folks. At one point Bernie had fifty billion dollars up in the air. Even more remarkable is that Madoff kept the plates spinning for nearly five decades before it all came crashing in. This guy may have been the greatest salesman ever!!! His client list was a virtual who's who:

    Elie Wiesel
    Steven Spielberg
    Eliot Spitzer
    Senator Frank Lautenberg
    Jeffrey Katzenberg
    New York Law School
    Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgwick
    New York University
    Marc Rich
    Zsa Zsa Gabor
    John Malkovich
    Sandy Koufax
    Phyllis George

    And!! It was all smoke and mirrors. Madoff doesn't have anything to do right now, so why doesn't Turbo Tim use him {or at least get some tips from him} to help sell the bailout? No need to have any substance, details, long-range plans, basis in fact or history. If Bernie could do it, so can Turbo-Tim.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    American Idol Auditions: Final Hollywood Cut

    We start with lots of hyperbole:

    This is what they've been waiting for their whole lives

    Now is the most important moment

    Tonight is the final judgment

    Many will have to sing for their lives


    Regardless, at the end of tonight we'll have our top 36.

    First up, Anoop Desai. His is the only name I always remember. Anoop Desai (who's no Sanjaya) is in.

    Oh no, Von Smith tells us this is why he's alive. This could be trouble. Von, let me give you some advice...never say something stupid like that. Fortunately, Von lives to see another day.

    Horror film maker Cody Sheldon comes in and is the first to have a singoff with another contestant. Is Cody wearing eye makeup? Cody sings--then a far superior, but weirder looking, Alex takes his turn. Alex moves on. Cody is sent home.

    Our musical theater dude Adam Lambert enters the judges' room. He's one of the top 36.

    Taylor Vaifanua, Jasmine Murray, Arianna Afsar, Casey Carlson, Megan Corkrey, Mishavonna Henson, Stevie Wright and Joanna Pacitti all make it through.

    T.K. Hash, Christ Chatman and Reggie Beasley exit from the AI competition.

    Kendall Beard definitely has the looks, but was really awful in the auditions. I guess on the strength of her appearance...Kendall makes it through.

    Kristen McNamara and Jen Korbee have to do a sing off. Personally, I think Kristen is far better. Simon likes Jen best because she's better looking. The other three judges side with me and like Kristen the best. Guess what? Kristen makes it through. Simon is really mean and tells her she stinks and shouldn't have made it through. Kara and Paula tell Kristen she dresses horribly. Wow. That should make her feel good.

    Alexis Grace, blind Scott McIntyre, and Lil Rounds are in the top 36.

    Boom, boom, boom. Felicia Barton, Ashley Hollister and Devon Baldwin are sent home.

    Frankie Jordan and Jessie Langsett are pitted against each other. Frankie sounded like crap. Supremely confident Jessie sounds better, but picked a crappy song. Voice won. Jessie's in the top 36.

    16-year-old Allison Iraheta is in the finals.

    Best friends Jamar Rogers and Danny Gokey should both make it through. Danny does. Jamar doesn't.

    Ricky Braddy, Matt Giraud, Junot Joiner, Jorge Nunez, Brent Keith and Stephen Fowler all get news.

    I LOVE Nick Mitchell aka Norman Gentle. Hooray! He/They are in the top 36! A bright spot for the night.

    Jackie Tohn is in the top 36.

    The most annoying contestant since Mikalah Gordon has got to be Tatiana Del Toro. If they weren't looking for a Latin-type this chica would be exito. With a split decision Tatiana is unfortunately going to sing to us again next week. Boo hoo. I demand a recount.

    Jackie Midkiff and second most annoying contest Nathaniel Marshall have a sing off. If there's any justice Nathaniel goes home. I refuse to feel guilty because his family is dysfunctional. The annoyance factor doubles when Nathaniel moves on to the top 36.

    Jeanine Vailes, Kai Kalama, Anne Marie Boskovich, and Kris Allen are in the top 36.

    Final 2 are the oil rigger and the welder. Matt Breitzke and Michael Sarver--two toughest contestants--duke it out in a sing off. Michael wins hands down. Rock, paper, scissors. Oil beats steel. But!! Surprise! They both make it through.

    Any surprises other than Tatiana and Nathaniel? Not really.

    See you next week.

    What I wish I'd said

    "If the economy truly is in its worst shape since the Depression -- a premise I still don't buy as today's data aren't yet as bad as the '81-'82 recession or '73-'74's -- shouldn't journalists be dissecting and analyzing every administration recommendation rather than cheerleading it?"


    More here

    and this:

    "Surely common sense would dictate that when Congress is doling out fat dollops of taxpayers' money, due time should be delegated for sober consideration and debate. The administration's coercive rush toward instant action, accompanied by apocalyptic pronouncements of imminent catastrophe, has put its own credibility on the line."


    More here

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    American Idol Auditions: Hollywood delivers 50 finalists

    Tonight the judges whittle 72 contestants down to 50 in the finals of the Hollywood Round.

    We're treated to some outstanding performances by Jamar Rogers, Anoop Desai, Danny Gokey, and blind guy Scott McIntyre. I wasn't so impressed with judges' fave Jorge Nunez.

    Standouts among the ladies were Kristen McNamara, Casey Carlson, and Joanna Pacitti. I LOVED Mishavonna Henson. Anne Marie Boskovich may be the great hope of the judges.

    I'm praying they send drama queens Tatiana del Toro and Nathaniel Marshall home right now.

    I've already been disappointed. The highly annoying Tatiana and Nathaniel Marshall make it through. I'm convinced the judges are looking for a Latino singer to win this year's competition. That can be the only reason Tat and Jorge are in the top 50. Few other surprises {weird, but highly entertaining, Nick Mitchell makes it through}. Oh yeah, Jason Castro's little brother didn't make the top 50.

    Tomorrow night two full hours of Idol fun. Set the tivo.

    Not reading the fine print can be hazardous to your health.


    Okay, folks, regardless of your politics...this is scary.

    The stimulus bailout bill slipped in this "grow your government goody" A National Coordinator of Health Information Technology who will:

    monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (pages 442 & 446).


    Whoa there, pardner. I'm all for change, but personally I don't want some wonky government bureaucrat guiding my doctor {the really wonderful Dr. Groesch} in his decisions about my healthcare.

    Not only that, pages 511, 518, and 540-541 say that:

    Hospitals and doctors who are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties.


    What kind of gobbledy gook is that? Meaningful user? Say what? Mr. or Ms. National Coordinator of Health Information Technology is going to determine if my friendly, educated, wonderful, kind, patient, and effective Dr. Groesch is a "Meaningful User"? And, if said National Coordinator of Health Information Technology has a beef with the kindly Dr. Groesch, he/she is going to penalize him? How???

    I'm tired of hearing Barack-star tell our elected officials it's irresponsible for them to want to scour this bill and understand it before it passes. Please, please take your time. Read it. Understand it. Debate it. There are massive changes hidden throughout this zillion dollar piece of legislation--and no, they're not all good.

    Monday, February 9, 2009

    Public Service Announcement: Valentine's Day Gifts Cont'd


    Women also do not want any sleepwear from www.pajamagrams.com

    Related post Public Service Announcement: Valentine's Day Gifts

    Barack-Star and the bailout. Chapter 3.

    This is the first line in a Bloomberg News article today:

    The stimulus package the U.S. Congress is completing would raise the government’s commitment to solving the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion, enough to pay off more than 90 percent of the nation’s home mortgages.

    Sunday, February 8, 2009

    Barack-Star and the bailout. Chapter 2.


    Along with all the other Sunday morning chat fests, ABC's This Morning discussed the merits of Barack-Star's zillion dollar stimulus plan.

    CLAIRE SHIPMAN: Don't you think that, given that nobody knows the outcome, it seems as though the most important thing is speed here.

    GEORGE WILL: What if you're going in the wrong direction?

    SHIPMAN:
    But, how are you going to know?

    ROBERT REICH: As FDR said, you've got to do something. You try it. If it doesn't work, you try something else.


    My question for Mr. Reich...how often can we afford to spend a zillion dollars?

    Friday, February 6, 2009

    Public Service Announcement: Valentine's Day Gifts

    Dear Men,

    No woman wants a Vermont Teddy Bear for Valentine's Day. There may be an exception for women under 7-years-old.

    Thursday, February 5, 2009

    Taxes optional

    Geithner, Daschle, Killefer, Solis...as a group it seems like Barack-Star's cabinet choices have an awful lot of tax problems. Well, quit making them feel bad. I'm sure these have been honest mistakes. Besides--they're in good company:

    Willie Nelson: sold off most of his personal belongings to settle a $16 million tax bill.







    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Arrested in February 1960 for falsifying his income tax returns. He was acquitted in May with the help of then Prez John Kennedy.





    Boxing promoter Don King was charged with tax evasion in 1991, but the case was dismissed when a mistrial was declared.





    Actor/Comedian Richard Pryor served ten days in the LA County Jail for tax evasion in 1974.







    World famous Tenor Luciano Pavoratti was convicted of tax evasion in 1999, and ordered to pay $11 million to the Italian Courts. He was again accused of tax evasion by his hometown of Modena in 2001. He was acquitted of those charges and spared what would have been an $18 million fine.





    Failure to pay four years worth of taxes sent gangster Al Capone up the river for 11 years.







    Singer-songwriter Chuck Berry pled guilty to tax evasion and performed 1,000 hours worth of benefit shows after serving four months in prison.





    Disc jockey Alan Freed, the first to use the phrase "rock & roll," faced charges of tax evasion and commercial bribery in 1962 after accepting money from musicians in exchange for airtime. His suspended sentence of six months and a $300 fine cost him his career.





    Sophia Loren: After being charged with tax evasion in 1982, actress Sophia Loren spent 18 days in an Italian prison.





    Leona Helmsley: For failure to pay her fair share, Queen Leona was sentenced to almost two years in prison and paid a $7 million tab in 1990.






    Vice President Spiro T. Agnew pled no contest to one count of tax evasion in October 1973. Agnew resigned after receiving three years probation and a $10,000 fine.



    Maybe we should just call a moratorium on all taxes and print some more money. I think I'll ask my banker friend, Ed, about that.