March 31, 2011


AJ's no Gary Busey. That's a good thing.
I know, I've been slacking. It's been a few days since my last post. Please forgive me... but I know where to place the blame.

You see, a little over a year ago I wrote this post, looking for a Mysterious Benefactor to help sponsor this blog, so that I could give up the need to actually have to work for a living and to be able to post something pithy here each and every day. 

Suffice it to say, the not-so-anonymous billionaire in question did not come through. (Although, surprisingly, donations of about $1.68 did come in, and for that I am thankful, even if we fell way short of our goal.)

Still, I remain optimistic that someone out there who may have enjoyed reading my musings here and perhaps knows the friend of a friend of a friend of a billionaire, who might want to put in a good word for me.

So once again, the donations button is there on the right, Secret Millionaires of the world... My mother always told me that you don't get anything unless you ask. So, what do you say? 

It will be our little secret... 

March 24, 2011

In Goal, Bugs Bunny... At Striker, Bugs Bunny...

I coach my 6-year-old's soccer team, and just received the list of names on the "randomly selected roster" of kids who I will attempt to whip into a goal-scoring machine by the end of the Spring.

For some reason though, of the seven players on my team, FOUR of them have the same first name. Seriously? Nobody thought to look at the list before finalizing it? 

Just imagine... "Hey Bruce, sub in. For who? Bruce. No, not Bruce... Bruce. No! Bruce!" What a coaching nightmare! 

March 17, 2011

Three Words - Star Wars Musical

If you've seen the title of my upcoming book -- and if not, simply scroll your eyes up -- then you'll probably not be surprised to learn that I have a soft spot in my heart for the original Star Wars trilogy... so while I don't have the financial wherewithal to help this project out -- I certainly can do my part in spreading the word:

March 15, 2011

Sitting for a Spell

This past weekend I was asked to be a judge in my local area's Tri-County Spelling Bee, a feeder competition to the national Scripps event in Washington, D.C., which gets televised by ESPN and ABC in June.

I shall rule the entire Tri-County area!
Essentially, my job was to crush the souls of these children by informing them that they were to be considered abject failures, and suffer nightmares for the rest of their natural lives simply for not knowing that "caribou" did not end with a "double O."

What fun it was to watch as a nine-year-old girl started weeping uncontrollably upon hearing that her word was "Kabuki" and that she instantly knew she had no idea how to spell it, even if she was told it was "a form of Japanese dance-drama" and was a noun -- as if that would somehow help.

See, we have a dictionary. We must know what we're doing!
How delightful to have parents come up to the judges' table to appeal on behalf of their children that "the menu at the restaurant we go to regularly spells anchovy with an I-E at the end, so it must be right" and other such specious arguments. Hey, my local Chinese restaurant offers up both "oxital soup" and "french fiies" but that doesn't mean your kid moves on, lady.

OK, maybe the whole experience wasn't that bad... after all, look at the smiles on the faces of our top three spellers below...

Congrats to Stephanie Miller for being the last one standing after 34 others had fallen by the wayside. We'll be rooting for her in June and hoping that all those I's continue to come before those E's, except of course, after those troublesome C's.

March 10, 2011

Captain Crazy Coat In Trouble

I don't need you now...
Idol's "Top" 13 sang last night, and one of my audition-episode favorites -- I use the term loosely, since it is kind of like having a favorite dental implement. It's still painful, only a tad less so -- was in a word, awful.

Paul McDonald, what happened? Given the choice to essentially sing any song in the world, so long as you could spin some fable about how the artist who sang it (even if it were a cover version) meant the world to you, he chooses a Ryan Adams song? Not Canada's own Bryan Adams, but Ryan Adams. 

In and of itself, that's not a bad thing, but when singing for votes, choosing an obscure artist is strike one. Strike two? Picking a song few people have heard before. Strike three? Selecting a ditty with the following chorus: 

Come pick me up - Take me out - F*%# me up - Steal my records - Screw all my friends - 
They're all full of S&^! - With a smile on my face - And then do it again - I wish you would 

If he's eliminated before he gets to torture my eardrums with that omnipresent Lady Antebellum piece of a Ryan Adams chorus... I'll never forgive Captain Crazy Coat. As it is, he's likely to be in the bottom three with Diva-ster Ashthon and Haley the Yodeler.

The Bicycle Man Cometh
As for who goes home? It all depends how many tweens aren't scared off by his Gordon Jump on Diff'rent Strokes vibe. You know what I mean...

March 7, 2011

Watch Out For Flying Chairs!

I caught about ten minutes of America's Next Great Restaurant on NBC last night, and already I am almost convinced that contestant Sandra Digiovanni (above, left) is really Coach Bob Knight in disguise. 

Please, whatever you do, DO NOT send your meal back to the kitchen!

March 4, 2011

What an Improv Show!

The first results show of American Idol has now come and gone, and boy, if I were one of the people going home, I'd be pissed beyond belief. 

I totally believe that the voting is on the up-and-up. Fox has too big a cash cow here to risk a Quiz Show sized scandal by playing with those numbers. Isn't that right, "Junebug" (above, right)? 

However, when you play as loosey-goosey with the way you're going to handle the results, seemingly changing them up to the last moment, it's hard to take the whole process seriously. We were told that the top 5 guys and top 5 girls would be automatically through to the next round, leaving seven guys and seven girls out in the cold. Again, fine.

But then, we were told there would be "wildcards" added by the judges. Mr. Seacrest kept babbling all throughout the two-hour show -- one that had about 15 minutes (at most) of actual content -- that "we" didn't know how many wildcards there would be or how they would be selected. 

About halfway through the program, Ryan again stated his confusion and asked Randy Jackson to explain. Randy then repeated verbatim  exactly what Ryan had said, including the part about "We don't know how many or what the process will be" and we were left in the dark again.

I don't know what's going on... do you?
Whether or not it's true, the impression this gave me was that a) the judges and Ryan truly did not know in advance what the results of the public voting were -- and that's good. But also b) that the show had a few contestants they were going to put through come hell or high water, and they'd spin the wild-card process in whatever way they could to ensure the field they wanted -- and that's bad. 

At any point, if the powers-that-be don't like the outcome, they can just change the rules. "We'll have six of the 14 losers sing for wildcard spots." "How many?" "One. No two. No, wait... who got cut? Three!" It's totally disingenuous and totally unfair to the audience and competitors alike. Set up the rules -- in advance -- and let the chips fall where they may. 

It’s like that reality show Forever Eden. Anyone remember that one? It was on during the same time as things like Paradise Hotel and Temptation Island

All the contestants on the show would vote for someone to get an apple which meant that person could then pick someone to nominate for eviction -- UNLESS that person was the same contestant who had been selected in a separate secret vote held for no apparent reason earlier in the week, in which case the person with the apple would be evicted --  until he or she came back the next week and summarily replaced the person given the next week's apple UNLESS the new apple-holder had selected the old apple holder's former roommate as his/her new roommate, in which case the roommate would be sent home instead.

Maybe I’m not remembering it right, but I’m not too far off the mark. Every eviction could be manipulated at the whim of the producers, and while I'm sure they were thinking all these twists made for great television, the show that they said "could last for years" didn't even last the season, leaving the air after seven episodes.

Be transparent and I'm willing to buy in. Play games like having Ryan asking if the judges had their decision yet and them saying "No, we need more time!" and then having Ryan act all flustered and "What should we do?" and then going "Why don't we just show this debut J-Lo music video that we happen to have lying around in order to give the judges time?" Come on, man! Even the little blurb on my on-screen guide said you were showing that video tonight. Don't act like this is improv!

And yet I continue to watch. So help me... I'm part of the problem. Shame on me.

March 3, 2011

Idol Chatter - The Girls

Second verse, same as the first: are there even five girls to select to go through to the next round? 

Better than the rest, but that's not saying much.
I did like two girls: Naima Adedapo (above) Lauren Turner. Twist my arm for the rest and um, um... I guess Rachel Zevita (below) for entertainment value, Pia Toscano for not being horrific in the closing "pimp slot" and um, um... Maybe Lauren Alaina -- though she unexpectedly went country this week.

Wasn't she in Hostel 2?
We'll see what America thinks... after the break.

March 2, 2011

Idol Chatter - The Boys

Not that anyone should care what I think, but then again -- you did come to my blog, so maybe you do care what I think.

Here's who I think should advance from the Top 12 Guys, into the final round of American Idol. This is not who I expect to advance -- heavens knows, we've seen our share of Sanjayas somehow, inexplicably last all the way to the final five. There's bound to be a shocker in there somewhere. 

But, based solely on the merits of the single song they performed this week, here's my choices:

The best of what's left, at least for now...

The first four in are Casey Abrams, Brett Loewenstern, Scotty McCreery, and Paul McDonald. 

It should be noted that I cannot stand most country music (Scotty) and I despise Rod Stewart (Paul) but that doesn't mean I can't recognize when a song is sung well. I'm not going to simply regurgitate "It wasn't your best for you for me" just because I didn't dig the song choice.

As for the fifth guy, it's between James Durbin and Jacob Lusk. I could see this one going either way, and the odd man out, assuming I get the rest right, is probably getting a Judge's Wildcard ticket anyway... 

On to the ladies...