American Idol Results Show, April 30th

Find my latest American Idol article here.

The show started with the best group song so far this season.  There was even some real harmony.  I ran it back just to make sure they were not lip-syncing.  I am surprised that this part of the show is getting better just as the contestants have more songs to learn each week.  It might be that Neil Diamond’s songs are just easier to sing, or perhaps by trimming some of the less talented fat from the competition, the group song has become better through attrition.  Whatever the reason, it’s a good thing.

Creepy Constantine (and I stand by the creepy comment 100%) was back this week to promote some lame Idol recap show on the Fox Reality Channel (unlike my lame Idol recap blog).  Looks like that singing career has really taken off for him.  I think I still remember Gina Glockson, but I know I don’t care one bit.

Apparently, Paula, the producers or maybe both of them were so embarrassed by her ridiculous comments toward Jason during last night’s show that they deliberately omitted them from the two minute recap.  Are you serious?  That was hands down one of the classic moments ever on Idol, and the fact that they did not include it in the recap smacked of a purposeful cover-up.  If you are going to put that stupid airhead on the show every week, don’t take liberties with your audience while trying to avoid the fact that she is an idiot.  You may say that they were just worried about her feelings, but I say, if you are going to put yourself out there every week in that condition as a judge of talent in a competition on television (no less), then you deserve whatever ridicule and criticism you receive.  Oh, if the internet rumors of her impending demise were only true.

I’m not going to take any easy shots at Neil Diamond’s mother on this blog, but I will remind the producers of the show that this is television.

When Jason was safe, I knew it would be a bad night for one of the girls, and I was right.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Brooke leave the show, because she honestly deserved to go.  It also will give the Internet a week’s reprieve from the inevitable calls of racism that will come whenever Sayesha leaves in the next two weeks.  I did come up with a name for Brooke’s first album after seeing her attempt to sing herself off the show.  How about Déjà vu?   Get it?  Brooke is a sweet person, but I do not see her ever having a successful music career.  I truly hope she finds another way to be successful that does not include playing in smoke-filled bars on the weekend, I do not know if she would survive in an environment like that.

Much Ado About Miley

Amazing.  With all of the problems in the world today, America, Bill O’Reilly, the Christian Coalition, and others have decided to gang up on a fifteen year old girl for showing her back in a photograph.  Let’s be honest.  That is what happened.  You can see more flesh on younger girls at the beach, but no one is calling on Disney to censure these young ladies.

I saw the picture, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.  The only problem is in the minds of the perverts and Puritans that draw inferences from it.  Miley is fifteen, and though it may make parents nervous to realize this, most fifteen year old girls are coming into womanhood.  It is important for them to recognize their own beauty, and if she wants to have a photograph taken of herself that is legal and exemplifies her beauty, then good for her.  And it is not anyone else’s business.

I am a Christian, but for me, this is just another example of Christian organizations beating up on their friends.  A couple of decades ago, the Southern Baptist Convention (of which I was a member) took it upon itself to condemn Disney because one of its subsidiary companies, Buena Vista, had dared to make a few racy ‘R’ rated movies.  The short sighted numbskulls and backwater hicks at the SBC had decided to boycott the only major producer of positive, family oriented films in the country at that time.  Genius.

Flash forward to 2008, and here we are again with another group of numbskulls driving the same bus at a 15 year old girl who has done nothing except be a positive roll-model for their children for the past several years.

If anything, criticism toward the Cyrus’ should be directed at her perceived ‘over managed’ career, but no, these short sighted, self righteous idiots go after her.  I truly think that she is being punished for true faux pas made by other young (and not so young anymore) starlets such as Lindsey Lohan, Britney Speers, Paris Hilton, and their pregnant underage siblings, among others who go around tramping up America, and being terrible role models for our children.  The problem with criticizing these other ladies (and I use the term loosely) is that they just do not care.  Public criticism has little effect on them other than to get them more of the publicity which they crave.  But, in Miley Cyrus, America has found a young lady who actually cares about her image, reputation, and her status as a role model, and for that, America has decided to take a bat to her.  Very nice.

 

American Idol Top Five, April 29

Find my latest American Idol article here.

It was Neil Diamond Night, and this allowed the contestants a wide variety of song choices.
Oddly the judges did not judge the first song right after they sang it, but waited until after all had sung their first songs to comment. I did not like this tweak to the format, but I assume it was done to keep the show under two hours, and so we would not have to hear Paula babble as many times or for as long. However, this proved to be a big mistake, as Paula (I’m sure her head was clouded by a variety of pills) could not keep the contestants or their songs straight. She thought Jason had sung two songs when he had only sung one, and roundly criticized him for doing badly on both of them. She then proceeded to tell us how hard it is to actually pay attention to the songs and remember important points about the performances, even though she took notes. I am sure this is a first because it forced her to keep her ridiculous ass in her seat. Simon was good and succinct.
Jason Castro:
“Forever in Blue Jeans”- This song was right in his wheelhouse. It was like all of is early season music. I thought it was good, but boring.
Randy thought it was OK.
Simon thought it was forgettable.
“September Morn”- I thought this song started out much better than the first one. The little bit of inflection in his voice made all of the difference. I liked it much better. It seems a little late in the competition for the judges to start criticizing him for being unoriginal and singing ‘safe’ songs, but they did.
Randy thought dogged him pretty on both songs. It may have been the harshest that I’ve ever heard someone told that they sang OK.
Simon thought they were both forgettable, among other harsh words.
David Cook:
“I’m Alive”- Once again he sings a song that sounds like something you would hear on the radio. Usually when a contestant sings a song that is not as well known, I think it is a mistake. However, when David does this it just seems as if he is preparing another hit to be released from his next album.
Randy thought it was very good and very strong.
Simon thought it was just above average.
“All I Really Need is You”- This was just another great performance, and the things I said about the first song go double for this one.
Randy thought he rocked the house with this one.
Simon thought this song was brilliant, and that he actually made the song seem contemporary.
Brooke White:
“I’m a Believer” This song was too low for her in the verses, but beyond that it was just awful. This was one of the worst vocals of the season by any contestant.
Randy thought Brook was better than last week, but a little karaoke.
Simon correctly thought it was a nightmare.
“I am I Said”- This song started much better than the first one. I think she could have gone a little more country with it and would have even been better. Still, it was her best performance in weeks and may be what keeps her around for another week (assuming that her fan-base would not have voted for her if she had done as bad as she did on the first song). It’s better to be strong on the last performance.
Randy thought it was a nice job on a tough song.
Simon thought this was the Brooke that we like.
David Archuleta:
“Sweet Caroline”- This song was just weird at the beginning for me, and his voice sounded a little shaky. Once he got to the chorus it got much better. For me, it was just alright.
Rand thought it was brilliant.
Simon thought it was amateurish.
“America”- Could he not have found a Neil Diamond ballad to sing? That being said, he did a good job of it, but it was a little forgettable.
Randy thought it was another good performance.
Simon thought it was a smart choice of song, but for some reason I felt as if he were taking a shot at the American people when he said it.
Syesha Mercado:
“Hello Again”- She looked pretty again, and her voice sounded good. The nice high note that she sang softly at the end of the first verse was a very good departure from her usual power style on the high notes. I liked the ‘Whitney-like’ version of this song. It was one of my favorite songs by her, and sounded radio worthy. I thought it was the best vocal of the first round.
Randy thought it was strong.
Simon thought it was old-fashioned, but I really think he just decided to beat them all up at the end of the first round. She did not deserve to be lumped in with the others on this song.
“Thank the Lord for the Nightitme”- I liked first song much better. The vocal was good, but I thought overall, it was just OK.
Randy thought liked the Broadway style of the song.
Simon thought she was a very good actress/singer. He dealt her the death blow by saying she could be in trouble, and correctly saying that her second song was forgettable compared with some of the others.

Accountability

Much has been made of accountability in exercise programs.  The effectiveness of accountability has been documented by many substance abuse programs including Alcoholic’s Anonymous.

When we began our weight loss programs, my wife and I made commitments to one another.  We have held each other to our commitments and have expectations that each of us will keep up our ends of the bargain on a weekly basis.

Accountability helps us because neither wants to have to admit failure to the other.  We encourage each other every week, cheering on a good week’s total weight loss, and consoling a bad week’s weight loss because we know the effort that we both have put into it.

I also feel accountable because I have decided to write about my attempts to lose weight on this blog.  My little girl also holds me accountable though she does not even know it.  Seeing her refer to the hefty male figures in her books sweetly as ‘daddy’ reminds me of my commitment to her.  All of these accountabilities have added up to help me hold myself to a successful program.

However, true person-to-person accountability is only as good as the commitment of the people who decide to be accountable to each other.  Don’t be afraid to hold people who make a commitment to you to their commitments, and don’t be afraid to ask them to hold you to yours.

 

Update: I lost 8 pounds this week and am now at 272 lbs.  That is 87 lbs in 15 weeks, and I am 62.5% of the way to my goal.  I am seeing the 100 lb mark on the horizon.  I hope to be there in three weeks.

 

Green, the Color of Vomit

When I was a child, like most boys, my favorite colors were blue and red.  If it was time to buy a shirt, it was usually blue, red or if I was getting way out there, maroon or orange.  There were clearly defined colors for boys and girls.  Girls wore yellow, pink and purple, and boy wore the colors referenced above. 

Then there was green.  Green did not seem to have the same gender connotations that the other colors did.  What could a young boy do with a color like this?  For me, green became my least favorite color.  I never bought anything green.

Of course, we grow out of these silly ‘kid’s stuff’ attitudes as we grow older, and by late middle school green shirts were just fine.  Now, olive green, khaki, brown and navy (women refer to these as neutrals) permeate my wardrobe.  And up till now this has been fine with me, however, recent social events which I will now refer to as “The Greening of America,” are beginning to turn me against this color once again.

I have had an issue with the new religion of ‘Global Warming’ and its modern inquisitional tactics toward anyone who has the nerve to question the ‘science’ that it is proposing.  There are actually educators and scientists who are losing their positions for daring to question the accuracy of global warming theorists and their models.

I, personally, believe this is a completely social agenda that had unfortunately become a government funded (your tax dollars) phenomenon.  There is no legitimate debate over the issue, and there are no real ideas being proposed to help alleviate the problem if one really exists. 

Here we are several years into a full-blown panic over global warming, and no one has yet begun building the first new nuclear reactor in the United States.  Why is this?  It’s because the ignorant nuts that are driving this issue are the same ignorant nuts that condemned nuclear energy in the 1970’s before it proved to the world that it is the safest, cleanest, cheapest, most sustainable, most environmentally friendly type of energy in the world.  Until these people, and the politicians they support, begin a serious and substantive move toward nuclear energy, I will have little respect for them or their cause.

The economic impact of policies being enacted by governments around the world, together with oil prices, has begun to take its toll around the world as we speak.  Now, there is talk of a world food crisis.  Economists are correctly placing blame for this on oil prices and the new ‘environmental’ policies especially those involving corn/ethanol production.  Of course, global warming theorists will blame, what else, ‘global warming’ for these food shortages.  It gets blamed for everything else.  It will be interesting to see which crisis wins if global warming and starvation of the poor worldwide driven by lack of food actually occurs.  My guess is that deep-down global warming theorists will feel that countries and cultures where human growth is unchecked could use a little thinning out.  A few million deaths in Brazil, for example would be that much fewer people that could cut down the rain forests, and that much fewer cooking fires, and we all know how terrible these fires are for the planets (I would like, at this point to reiterate the fact that I am speculating on the thoughts of other people, and would never harbor such thoughts myself).  It will be interesting to see how the mainstream/liberal media deals with all of this.

And, this all brings me back to my original point.  I’m beginning to like the color green a little less these days.  I could take it if it was just a political issue that was running its course, but now, it has not just invaded my own life, but has begun to permeate it.

I watch quite a bit of television, but recently my television watching has been marred by what I will call ‘green pollution.’  Every PSA on television seems to be about saving the planet.  Every Primetime program, “My Name Is Earl” for example, has become polluted by green references, and programs on Discovery and other educational channels (usually my favorite type of television) have become dumping grounds for the green message.  These channels, for me, are veering toward unwatchable.

Last year, discovery aired a program called “Expedition Borneo.”  The program documented man’s destruction of one of the last uninhabited forest regions on the Earth.  I got past the bleeding heart stuff at the beginning, and the rest of the program chronicled the majestic beauty that can be found all over Borneo, and it was truly a beautiful place.  I learned about that part of the world, and on the whole I really liked the program.

This year, Discovery followed up with “Expedition Alaska.”  They even devoted the whole week to ‘Alaska’ programming.  Unfortunately, the ‘expedition’ was nothing but a global warming fest with scientists racing all over the state to show us how global warming is destroying it.  Scientist after scientist made wild speculation about the consequences of global warming in general saying things like (and I paraphrase), “We don’t know exactly what impact global warming will have on these animals, but we have to do something to protect them.”  As this show droned on I found my interest drifting farther and farther away, until I just turned it off.

Eventually, there will be no intellectual refuge on television that is unspoiled by this green pollution.  Then, I guess I will have to make the unsavory decision to begin watching programs about motorcycles, tattoos and NASCAR.  At which point, I will sit back, drink my Gatorade, and wait for the Idiocracy to take over.  Bad Ass!

 

They aren’t thugs and goons! They just know how to handle these problems better than we do. They use tanks.

I read a story on Foxnews.com this afternoon that set me off.  It seems that there are couple of Chinese Americans that are so incensed by recent comments made by Jack Cafferty on CNN that they have decided to sue the network for 1.37 billion dollars.  Yes, that’s billion with a ‘B’.  Amazing.

Cafferty’s remarks were in regards to China’s treatment of Tibet and their often sub-par to dangerous products that they ship to the rest of the world.  It is a fact that China’s treatment of Tibet, along with its treatment of many of its own people has been horrific.  And, I do not think we need to see a bunch more pets die or lead-paint laden children’s toys to prove there are problems with many of their export products.  Cafferty’s comments are legitimate interpretations of the facts.  Hey China, if you don’t want your crappy products called ‘crappy’, the don’t make crappy products.  And, if you do not want to be referred to as goons and thugs, you need to stop killing peaceful protesters (i.e. running them over with tanks and shooting monks) and persecuting anything outside a flimsy state religion.

I am particularly angered by people who respect the freedoms that they have gained by leaving Chine for the U.S. so little that they attempt to bully others out of their right of free speech.  Obviously they forget how the home country deals with free speech and protests.

Something must be done to deter these ridiculous lawsuits that do nothing but cost us tax dollars.  I know it is a slippery slope when you start to de-legitimize cases before they are heard in court, but we are already sliding out of control on the opposite slope where anyone is now suing anyone for anything no matter how ridiculous. 

If I were the judge in this trial, I would deal with it like this.  Before I dismissed the case out-of-hand, I would turn to the plaintiffs, and charge them with all of the court costs for all time (yes, I mean for each and every case).  This would be a good start t deterring this nonsense, but I would also throw their attorneys into jail for a while for contempt for allowing themselves to be paid to abuse the court.

You may think all of this is unrealistic.  Sadly, you are probably correct.  What will probably happen is that CNN, after searching its soul (what is more important freedom of the press or the appearance that they are not racist, even though none of this has had anything to do with racism), will fire Cafferty.

American Idol Results Show, April 23rd

Find my latest American Idol article here.

The group songs have been a mess pretty much all season, and tonight was no exception.  The whole thing was a train wreck, but the girls were especially horrible in it.

I could not have liked Leona Lewis’ song any less.  Simon usually describes that kind of performance as ‘indulgent.’

I have a problem with Brooke not being in the bottom two.  As Simon often says, “It’s a singing competition.”  She did the worst job last night, and it’s not the first time that it has happened.  She has been getting consistently worse every week, and it’s tine for the house-fraus that insist on voting for her to let her go.  She seems like a nice person, but this is not ‘American Sweetie.’  It’s American Idol.  If you can’t let her go because of her lack of ability, then let her go before she has the inevitable breakdown that is coming.

The same goes for Jason Castro, except of course, for the breakdown part.  I doubt that anything could rattle him except seeing his supplier arrested or forgetting where he put his stash.

In the end, it was Carly who left the show.  I think she was the most talented female left on the show, but as Randy said, tonight’s vote was all about popularity.  Brooke and Jason have developed a strong fan base, and honestly, I do not think Carly ever overcame that atrocious tattoo that covers her right arm.  I said early in the season, that tattoos do not go over well in a lot of places in the country, and I guess her early exit proved it.

This week’s results do not bode well for Syesha.  She was below everyone but Carly, even after giving a great performance.  I will be surprised if Jason and Brooke do not do better next week, and I will be equally surprised if Syesha shows nearly as much personality as she did this week.  If she goes next week, get ready for the racist conspiracy theories to once again raise their ugly heads regardless of the reason she actually leaves the show.