Wednesday, February 28, 2007
American Idol: Grrl Power
Jumping right in with Gina. Which sounds sort of fun.
Er. Yeah. Anyway, hated her performance tonight. It sounded like a bad cover band and even her cute red dress couldn’t save it. She definitely succumbed to the screaming instead of singing problem that seems to hit most American Idol singers at some time or another--that desire to show off the voice and the range fuels (as this cat pointed out in a post that I half agree with) loud, tuneless singing valued more for volume than aesthetic value.
Randy’s suggestion that a Heart song is somehow “edgy” just goes to show that these people don’t know rock music. Edgy? In what world is a Heart pop song edgy?
Alaina sings “I’m Not Ready to Make Nice” which disqualifies her from my own personal ballot on a number of levels: I hate the song, she doesn’t do it particularly well, and it seems a bit a little odd to sing it on dedication night. I wasn’t watching the “up close and personal” segment so I missed the rationale behind the song, though, so maybe there was some good reason for the pick. Her end of song soulful glance was just goofy, she was off through the whole song, and she sounded like she lost her breath midway through. And then, of course, I am a Republican, so anything Dixie Chicks related is forbidden.
I am more convinced than ever, though, that she’s there for looks not talent.
A big voice and a big presence (no fat jokes, please) are LaKisha’s gift and a considerable part of the reason I disagree with Mr. Hater that I linked above. Big, powerful voices aren’t a bad thing as long as they are wielded by someone with the ability to carry a tune instead of just yelling the lyrics. Lakisha is just such a talent--and it may stem from my love of old school gospel of the Mahalia Jackson school (listen to her song “In the Upper Room” for a good example). Anyway, Simon nails it: LaKisha isn’t quite as good as she was last week, but she was still very good.
Melinda’s take on “My Funny Valentine” was also a step back from her performance last year. She tried to do a little too much with the song instead of just singing the thing. The judges love it, but I think she would have been better with a more reserved take that lets us enjoy the beauty of her voice--and it is a beautiful voice. I understand why they love it--and I can honestly say that I liked it--but I still say she could have been far better.
Seriously, folks, Antonella continues to prove that breasts and legs are more important than talent. Sure, she can hit some high notes, but she’s also off-pitch and has a generally ugly voice. It’s not a pleasant sounding voice even when she hits the notes. Literally the best thing about her is the rear view--which may sound crass but I’m tired and not feeling particularly nice. Add her snotty attitude to the lack of talent and you have one of the most irritating contestants to come along in a long time.
Good God America, send this talentless little girl home.
Jordin Sparks oversings her song, too, which is a damned shame because she has a gorgeous voice. She seems such the opposite of Antonella--warm personality, strong vocals, and a lot of potential for the future. Not as good as last week, but so much more worthy than someone like Antonella.
Nose-pickin’ aside: Dig the cute video.
Cute is a good descriptive term for Stephanie Edwards, too. A unique vocal with good moments, I still couldn’t get into the song. She’s distinctive, though, and has a great stage presence--I can’t imagine that she did herself any harm with that performance.
I really enjoyed the intro to Leslie Hunt’s “Feelin’ Good"--it was warm, restrained, and very pretty. Then she went and screwed it up. Her attempt at scat wasn’t successful and everything after the a cappella part was overdone by a big bit. I love her spirit and her style and in those quieter moments I even like her voice but she isn’t up to the talent of some of the others.
Haley Scarnato isn’t really my cup of clichéd tea, either. I’m not overly fond of her voice or her singing style and her personality doesn’t stand out. She’s one of the least memorable of the bunch. Simon’s “manic verging on insane” performance comment wasn’t dead on, but she’s not a good singer. Which, considering the thousands of people who were rejected, is a little surprising. I mean, you would think that the final dozen women would be impressive as hell; instead, most of them are marginal, a couple aren’t even close to professional, and then a few actually have serious potential.
Guess which of those categories Sabrina Sloan’s pitchy, wavering voice might fall into? The judges like her, but I don’t (on her talent, at least). Simon: “Don’t confuse power with shouting.” Yep.
It wasn’t as impressive as last week for the women, but give LaKisha the tip for the best of the night.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
American Idol: The Revenge of Freddie
Go home Sundance, go home.
Strangely American Idol looks a lot like an emergency signal tonight. Which, with its irritating droning alarm tone, still might be better than some of the singers.
It comes back just in time to prove that bald, yelly singers don’t always sound as good as the applause might imply. At least, not when you catch the very end of the song. The judges--minus the mostly negative Simon--liked him, though. I’ll reserve judgment since I missed most of it.
Is Jared Cotter American Idol material? The g-phrase thinks he might be if he trimmed those eyebrows back a bit. I personally think that as a performer, he did a decent bar version of “Let’s Get it On"-but that’s a long way from selling albums. He really wasn’t very good.
Randy like it, but I wasn’t buyin’ it; Paula wanted to do naughty things to Jared but didn’t seem overly impressed with the vocals; and Simon said it reminded him of a cabaret singer on the Love Boat. Which soon will be making another fun. For some reason.
The g-phrase says she wishes Mark Lanegan would sing that song. Then she makes this funny little sound. I’m pretty sure I should be jealous.
AJ who? Trim that little tiny bit of facial fuzz, pal. You look like a thirteen year old who is trying a bit too hard. And talk about a cabaret performance…
Randy damns with faint praise, Paula loves him, and Simon actually enjoyed it.
I still love Sanjaya--as a person if not yet as a singer. As great as his smile and personality are, he still sounded small on his song tonight. Kind of like a kid playing dress-up.
Sanjaya needs to come back in a few years. He’s got potential, but he needs to grow into his talent. Randy doesn’t like it, Paula tries to find a nice way to not like it, and Simon brutalizes the kid. Seriously, send him home and encourage him to try again in three or four years.
I want to have beers with Chris Sligh. Usually I like his singing, too, but tonight was just a bit better than okay. He’s been better and this hardly stood out from the crowd.
Nick Pedro goes for “Fever"--which is way better when it’s being sung by a sultry, inappropriately (in an appropriate way) dressed woman in low light. Nick can’t quite compare to that. But he does sound good. He has a great voice for older numbers. He should ask himself a question, though: is he aiming to be a lounge act or a pop star?
Does Blake go up or down? Up.
He’s so much better than I originally imagined--self-assured on stage, he has a strong contemporary voice, and even the return of the beatbox worked perfectly. This one is tough to beat.
I think Simon was wrong in his critique, but it still annoys me when the co-hosts and the audience try to shout him down. Let the Brit speak, say I.
The g-phrase has a crush on Branden, but I’m not entirely sure I can forgive him for singing a Cindy Lauper song. While I still think he has one of the best voices on the show--in terms of aesthetic quality--that was painful, boring, and uninspired. Damn, I hate to say this (because I really want him to stay on the show), but it was the low point of the night. He could do tremendously better.
As for the Geek, I can’t stand the song, can’t stand the style, but he did it exceptionally well.
Last up is Sundance--and I’ve already said my piece on him. Irritatingly, he has a damn good night--energetic, better range than I would have expected, and downright fun. Damn good.
Send him home anyway.
What We Can Learn from Drudge (Part 1 in a 1 Part Series)
What can we learn from Drudge today?
For starters, we learn that a big, sturdy SUV might save you from serious injury or death in the face of someone else’s grievous stupidity.
Chalk one up for the Biggie Sized carbon footprint of the SUV.
Unfortunately, the Hummer is unlikely to save occupants in the face of an entirely different kind of stupidity.
Thank God Charles will never actually have the capacity to make (or, honestly, even directly influence) law in the UK. He’ll only and forever be an awkward presence with none of the dignity or force of his mother. Not that I entirely disagree with him: you are generally better off with fewer Big Macs in your belly than you are with more--but talk of “banning” is just irritating blather from someone who wants to play the part of nanny.
Sadly, we’ll find more and more people with real legislative power who are more than happy to act on Prince Charles’ worst instincts. Our world is smaller--less vivid--when some do-gooder swoops in to deliver us from our choices and preferences. Sure, many of their suggestions are healthier and would often benefit us (although the obsession with “organic” foods is still unproven in terms of health benefits (and just as demonstrably beneficial to the bottom line of the organic food manufacturers, many of whom take sizable chunks of money from me on a regular basis) and seems to inculcate a sense of culinary elitism in adherents), but bans rob us all of the opportunity to choose for ourselves how much we indulge in “bad” foods.
Talk about your convoluted, run-on sentences. Sorry about that.
Anyway, if you want to see a real change in the way people eat and exercise, make people pay for their own health care. That is, make them pay for their health care plan and feel the financial squeeze caused by too much food and too little physical work. Most people are at least somewhat shielded from the cost difference by companies that take up the slack and would be shocked by the actual monthly cost of their health care. They would be doubly shocked by cost if they were individually evaluated for coverage. That’s what I would call market based reform.
I imagine that most people would still have an occasional Big Mac (because some days that just sounds good), but they would be eager to protect their financial investment in themselves and their children. That is because a ban is unnecessary but moderation is good sense.
Here’s to McDonalds, here’s to Hummers, and here’s to people finding a way to mind their own business instead of embedding themselves in mine.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Missing the Bash Leaves Emotional Scars (Or, At Least, Some Mild Disappointment)
Some people definitely understand the value of the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash.
Well, when he manages to find his way out here for one of our parties, he’ll find willing hosts, good drinks, and great conversation.
Alt Oscars: Best Bad Movie
The Best Bad Movie of the Year is, indeed, a dubious honor, but it isn’t meant in a mean way. Jackass 2 represents the reality of the good kind of bad movie--it has no socially redeeming value, it is regularly disgusting, occasionally unwatchable, and utterly hilarious. The funniest, most cruel, and stupidly sophomoric movie of 2007 had no plot, no character development, and was gleefully vulgar. It’s obscenity was matched by its willingness to embarrass and provoke the stars into flights of true idiocy.
Shame is, obviously, a foreign concept to the Jackass crew, and watching the movie is like watching every dumb thing my friends and I did throughout our lives rolled up into one little bundle. That doesn’t sound like a recommendation, I’m sure, but it is. Just a guarded, honest recommendation. Have no doubt: it is a truly bad film with marginal production value and no depth whatsoever.
It’s wise to watch with the remote control close at hand and a willingness to fast forward past some of the worst bits, and that goes doubly if you or anyone else in the room has a week stomach. It goes too far, regularly, but it does it with a crass lack of dignity that is somehow compelling.
Alt Oscars: Best Foreign Language Movie
Pan’s Labyrinth was, far and away, the best foreign language movie that I saw this year. In fact, it was easily one of the best movies that I’ve seen all year. Moody, dark, and occasionally terrifying, this was one of the most perfectly rendered fantasy movies ever.
As a little girl, Ofelia, trapped in fascist Spain with a cruel stepfather (in the role of the evil stepmother), Ivana Baquero is amazing. The “real” world she inhabits is brutal and oppressive and the mythical world she escapes to is both fantastic and frightening. The acting is uniformly superb and the script, while perhaps not as deep as it imagines itself, is nonetheless effective and affecting--the care that the audience feels for the characters lends an urgency to the final act that is undeniable.
And what a final act! Without preachiness, Pan’s Labyrinth gracefully touches on redemption, sorrow, spirituality, and hope in hopeless times.
It’s a brilliant piece of filmmaking.
Alt Oscars: Most Insufferably Arrogant Movie of the Year
Let’s have an alternative Academy Awards tonight, shall we?
We’ll dispose of the superfluous and shallow politics, the tacky dresses, the (often) boring speeches, and the dangerously unbridled masturbatory spectacle that is hundreds of millionaires patting themselves on their backs for their bravery and brilliance. I mean, not that I’m cynical or anything…
Anyway, the first award of the evening:
Most Insufferably Arrogant Film of the Year: The Fountain
This movie with admittedly amazing visuals, is like sitting through an interminable debate about spirituality and metaphysics with a bunch of humorless college students. The movie is unfocused, boring, and strangely preachy. Melodramatic is too small a word for this pretentious mess of a movie. It plodded through its relatively short running time that managed to feel like an eternity, and, honestly, I couldn’t find any significant redeeming value to the thing outside of the astounding and organic visual effects. Even Hugh Jackman, a reliable actor, became an unlikable, simpering, little, pathetic version of himself that was horrible to watch.
Audiences ignored the movie which makes me awfully happy. Poorly conceived, self-indulgent, and the biggest waste of my theater time this year. Since I don’t get to as many movies as I used to, I’m jealous about those hours that I spend in a movie theater; when something is as spectacularly bad as The Fountain, it’s hard for me to convey the level of resentment that I end up feeling.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
A Little Contest
Would you like to win a copy of Hope in the Dark? All you have to do is refer the most people to this little short answer quiz.
Here’s the deal: the g-phrase is a teacher. Her students are doing some kind of a project and they need people to answer a series of questions that they came up with. These are somewhat younger kids, so no harsh critiques. No profanity or non-family-friendly answers allowed. Use your creativity to fill in the blanks, make it fun, and help a poor teacher out. The deadline for this contest is April 31, 2007 and the top 3 referrers will win copies of Hope in the Dark.
To qualify, link to this post and let me know that you’re playing. Your own answer counts for your total, but for all other entries to count, they must indicate the site from which they were referred. If you have any questions, let me know. The questions are in the extended entry, and please limit answers to a few paragraphs per question.
American Idol: Don’t Come Around Here No More Edition
Group singing moments are always hideous, even when I like the songs like I did tonight. It’s like watching a marginal high school choral performance with some competing high points and no sense of flow. This one was better than others, but that’s hardly saying that I liked the thing.
If there is any justice, Paul and Sundance will be going home.
Brandon: safe. Sundance: safe. Chris Richardson: safe. Nick: safe. Blake: safe. Paul: gone. Poor, shoeless bastard.
That’s 50% right, but it leaves someone going home later who should still be on the show. Sundance was bad--and has been consistently bad every week except his audition--and should be gone.
Commercial Aside: The Gain new sent commercial was cute. Like a little bunny. Big smiles.
On the other side of the gender fence, Antonella and either Amy or Nicole (darnit) should be going home.
Jordin: safe. Stephanie: safe. Sabrina: safe. Leslie: safe. Antonella: safe. America loves boobies. Amy: gone.
Which, again, leaves Idol about 50% right (or maybe a little less this time since Antonella was so massively deserving of the boot).
Irritated Aside: Did Ryan Seacrest just cut off Quincy Jones? Man, that’s bad form: Quincy Jones is far more deserving of respect than that twerp. Simon should slap that little bastard. Bastard is the word of the day, in case you were wondering, you nosy bastard.
Happy Aside: Fantasia still has a wonderful voice (even if she sang a song that bored me to tears). It was nice to hear her singing again.
Haley: safe. Lakisha: safe. Gina: safe. Nicole: going home. Alaina: safe.
Which is probably right, but is still a shame. Nicole handled the rejection with grace and good humor. I would still say that Antonella should have been going home.
Back to the boys.
Chris Sligh: safe. Phew. Phil: safe. Jared: safe. AJ: safe. Rudy: gone. Sanjaya: safe.
It could easily have been Sanjaya, but I can’t say I’m disappointed--I don’t think Rudy was particularly good, regardless of the Colorado connection.
All in all, the crime is that a couple of the very worst are off the show; the good part is that none of the truly deserving contestants is gone yet.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Blogger Bash After
You were wondering, weren’t you? You wanted to know what happened, but you were terrified that you had missed the party of the year and would never be able to forgive yourself for staying home. Or maybe you were at said party and simply couldn’t remember enough of it to justify the big American Express bill burning it’s way through your bank account.
Well, whatever the case, if you start at Publicola’s joint and move through the links, you’ll get a pretty good idea of precisely what happened at this year’s winter gathering.
I personally would like to extend my thanks to all in attendance for a beautiful evening. The drinks, the conversation, and the candid photos will all be happily in my memories until I succumb to some debilitating brain disease later in life. Which is okay because I won’t care so much around then.
American Idol: Okay, Let’s Start Killing Some Dreams Edition
When Simon was asked about the awards won and albums sold by Idol, he seemed proud of AI’s track record. I kind of felt like all those awards and record sales indicate a music industry that is damned near out of new ideas. This isn’t a good thing.
Just call it a difference of opinion.
Rudy Cardenas renders a lovely karaoke performance of “Free Ride.” Okay, that might be a little harsh, but it really was (as Randy said) cheesy.
I hate Paula’s hair.
Commercial Aside: I love those new Dominos commercials with the big-eyed, big-mouthed, big-eared mutants. Mutants are cool.
Things I like about Brandon Rogers: he is experienced, he is talented, he has a good look, and, at 29, he’s all grown up. Let me emphasize that last bit: he actually acts like a grown-up, and it is greatly appreciated.
Still, for as good as his voice is, his performance was off. It simply wasn’t as good as I expected. He needs to take Randy’s advicesimplify the styleand come out with more confidence. He has all the potential in the world, but he needs to perform better in the coming weeks if he expects to stay on the show.
Paula’s hair isn’t getting any better.
Sundance should feel lucky to be on the show, but not in a good way. His first audition was great, but everything that he has done since has been horrible, including his performance tonight. He chose to go safe with “Nights in White Satin”but safe didn’t turn out well.
Pitchy, uncomfortable, and unimpressive. The g-phrase gets it right: what did he do with the guy from that first audition. Just say no to Sundance.
Luckily for Sundance, though, Paul Kim was even worse. There was no good to find in his minute and a half.
If a good voice were the main requirement for the show, I’m not sure that Chris Richardson’s nasal voice would have had him shipped home long ago. At least he gets the crowd involved, thoughhis performance was better than most even if his voice wasn’t.
Seriously, what’s with Paula’s hair?
Nick Pedro has an entirely different problem. His voice could really stand out, but he is a bland performer doing an overly safe job on a terribly boring song. It wasn’t good.
But he does get the “Vote for Pedro” crowd, which almost seems unfair.
How can Blake Lewis ride the beatbox thing, I asked myself when it was his turn to sing. The answer was better than I expected. He is smart enough to know that he can’t ride it all the way throughit sets him apart, but not in an entirely good way. Tonight, without even a touch of beatbox, he gives a really good performance.
I didn’t think he had the charisma, I wasn’t sure he had the voice, but damned if he didn’t do best of all the guys tonight. He was the first one to sound as if he actually belonged on the show.
Girl Scout Cookie Aside: Tagalongs are my own personal kryptonite. In case you were wondering.
Could Sanjaya Malakar be a more likeable guy? Seriously, he’s a sweet kid with a decent voice and he looks like a teen idol in the making. He started out a little rough, but he pulled himself together and gave a decent performanceI’m going to have to disagree with all of the judges on this one and say that the kid sounded pretty good.
Full disclosure, though: I’ve never heard the Stevie Wonder original, so I’m not comparing the performance to any specific knowledge of the song.
Poor Sanjaya took it on the chin tonight.
My emotional favorite is definitely Chris Sligh. He’s funny and he’s born to be a performerluckily, he can actually sing a bit, too, and he knows how to get the audience excited. I give the guy a thumbs up, although I wonder if he can sell albums to teenage girls, and believe that Simon is really talking about the commercial limitations when he’s complaining about Chris’ voice.
Jared could sell songs to teenage girlsbut they aren’t very well known for their discerning taste. He won me over when he sang “Cupid” in an earlier performance, but his shot tonight was hideous and messy.
AJ. Yeah. Whatever.
Unhappy Sudden Realization Aside: What the hell do you mean House isn’t on tonight? Stupid bastards.
At moments like this, I really hate American Idol.
For an active duty navy guy, Phil Stacey does a good impression of a singer. He has a powerful voicealthough you wouldn’t have known it from the early portion of his performance tonightand he has a more masculine presence than most of the other contestants. At first, he sounded like he was being submerged under the music, but once he found his footing, he was brilliantdefinitely one of the best of the night.
It wasn’t a memorable night, but there are a few of these guys who have real potential.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Early Morning Nay Saying (Updated)
Just say “NO” to the use of eminent domain, especially on such a grand scale, and especially when “condemning” the homes involved is such an obvious and deceitful farce. The Rocky’s Vincent Carroll has it precisely right and kudos to the oft-condemned (in an entirely different way) Marilyn Musgrave for standing up on the right side of this cause.
Just say “NO” to Super Glue. Some things really shouldn’t be glued.
Just say “NO” to the misguided attempt to kill off junk in your mailbox (not spam in your inbox). Sure, it can be annoying. Sure, it adds up. Really, though, it isn’t as disruptive as phone solicitations, nor is it as pervasive as spam in your inbox. I’m not opposed to the idea of making my life a more annoyant-free (yeah, I know: that’s not really a word) zone; I’m opposed to a law that doesn’t really need to be on the books--and, as the linked article explains, there are already some options that consumers have to help control the problem. As I’ve explained before, when in doubt about the need for a law (or the potential for unintended consequences when the law is enacted), vote in opposition. Although it happens, it’s rare that a new law makes our lives better and common for a new law to have wide-reaching effects that we hadn’t considered, to cost more to administer than anyone had guessed, and to encourage our public “servants” to engage in more busybody legislation in the future.
Just say “NO” to Tim Hardaway. Although he’ll be confused because he wasn’t actually asking you for anything, at least you’ll have the peace of mind to know that you stood up to the belligerent jerk. As useless gestures go, it’s still far better than the more proactive left hook that you could throw (which would likely end you up beaten to a bloody pulp and then sent to jail--I’m pretty sure he’s bigger than you are).
Just say “NO” to missing the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash tonight (see previous post). You know you want to come meet the crew. So, come meet the crew.
Just say “NO” to Ghost Rider. Not because you want to, but because you know that Daredevil sucked and it’s hard to get a comic book movie right. When I heard they were making a Ghost Rider movie, I was excited. When I saw the trailer, I was less excited. When I saw all the sneak previews and extended footage, I was worried. When I realized it was directed by the guy who screwed up Daredevil, I relegated it to the “video rental” list. It could be a great flick, but I wouldn’t make that bet.
Just say “YES” to the upcoming Soulsavers album, It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s the Way You Land. From the sample songs, this is my most anticipated release of the year. With Mark Lanegan singing the majority of the songs--and with a stunning reworking of his “Kingdoms of Rain"--you had to know I’d be excited. But even the “Ask the Dust (Demo)” without vocals sounds good to me. With so much NO, there has to be a YES somewhere.
Update: I also agree with Off Colfax that we can give a hearty “YES” to 300 How stunning are those visuals? I’m all tingly now.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash 6.0
It’s Not Too Late!
RMBB 6.0 is just a few days away, so plan to have drinks with the most self-important, obviously arrogant, and downright geekiest people on the Internet.
Or something like that.
Actually, nearly everyone who has attended a Bash is a person I’m better for knowing. There’s more intelligent conversation than shots (although the divide is pretty slender), more laughter than scowls, and you might actually make a friend or two.
If you know that you’ll be coming, let me know either by leaving a comment or by emailing me at zombyboy -at- resurrectionsong -dot- com so I can get you on the little list of love.
Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash 6.0
Friday, 16 February 2007
6:30 PM - Close
Upstairs at the Wynkoop Brewery (Centrally-ish Located)
They’ll Be Celebrating the Bashing of Bloggers
I’m pretty sure that Wheels will be there. Just to keep a close eye on the furniture, if nothing else.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
American Idol: Hollywood is Fun
It was enjoyable to watch the warning shot across the bow when Simon send the entire first round of girls packing. He was right: none of them sounded good enough to keep around (although a couple of them were close to cute enough for the job).
Catty Aside: Can I tell you that I was glad to see Sarah going home? As much as it was disappointing to see some of the faces leaving, it felt good to see her off.
This is probably my least favorite show of the year. The speed disqualification in the short show, sending massive groups of singers off without seeing much singing or getting a taste of the personalities involved make it one of the “must miss” shows. Unless, of course, you’re obsessive about writing about the show.
Which I’m not.
The group portion of the evening is a little better. The personality clashes and high school drama are grand entertainment when you want to feel superior. This year is even more special, though, because of the “I hate you” moment that came along pretty late in the show.
Amanda, the young woman that believed she made it through the group portion because “God likes good people” (unlike, apparently all of the other people who were kicked from the show), was in dire need of being sent home with a swift, metaphorical kick in the butt. Aside from the fact that God probably doesn’t give too hoots who wins American Idol, it would be hard to imagine Him pulling for a two-faced little girl who abandons her group in the middle of their practice.
God don’t roll like dat.
Which was made evident when Amanda was sent home to exercise her many flirting options. Good riddance.
Honestly, it was a missable show. The real stuff starts later.
Update: An a cool singing note, though, the gorgeous song that you heard at the end of House tonight was Lizz Wright’s “Hit the Ground”, which is, hands down, one of my favorite recent discoveries. You can read an old review here.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Now, That Has to Hurt
Just a few weeks after saying that Marty Schottenheimer would finish out the final year of his contract with the San Diego Chargers, team president Dean Spanos fired the coach citing a need to “change this untenable situation.” I had guessed (along with pretty much anyone who follows football) that Marty would be given his walking papers at the end of the season and was surprised when he was given the reprieve.
Schottenheimer had signaled an unwillingness to extend his coaching contract for the final option year, and now he has been on the receiving end of a painful vote of no confidence. This can’t be a happy time for a coach who just guided his team to a 14-2 season.
Although I assumed that this would happen, I still think that Spanos made the wrong choice. Unless he has a brilliant replacement coach lined up, he is gambling a proven winner on the unknown. That doesn’t sound like a great strategy to continued success. Marty is a proven loser in the playoffs, it’s true, but he’s also one of the few coaches who has been a winner almost everywhere he has gone.
I can’t help but be curious about who will take Marty’s place. Whoever it is will be playing the Broncos twice a year and I can’t help but hope that he doesn’t manage the team quite as well as Schottenheimer did.
And, speaking of losing a job, it’s fun to watch the Edwards campaign writhing around so early in the game. Hiring a blogger like Amanda Marcotte, who was guaranteed to alienate religious and moderate voters, is really its own rewards. Whoever made the original hire made a blunder that probably cost Edwards any chance of success in his second run at the presidency--at very least, it made success a whole hell of a lot harder than it needed to be.
There is a certain amount of honor in her quitting, though. Her continued presence could only have made the damage even worse.
Check out the story at Cadillac Tight. He has all the good links, too.
So, About the Dixie Chicks
I figured that, even with all their awards last night, there really isn’t much left to say about the Dixie Chicks. If I were so inclined, though, it would probably go something like this.
Honest Work is Honest Work (A Response to Rove’s Moment of Mental Idiocy)
Everyone wants good things for their kids. Everyone wants safety, good education, job opportunities, happiness, love, and a good long life for their kids. And no one wants to see his or her child end up unhappy in a dead-end job. Let’s count those things as given.
That said, if I had kids I would want them to know that life isn’t all flowers, puppies, and John Edwardsian housing projects. I would want them to learn that honest work is, when you need to pay bills and feed your family, honorable regardless of the nature of that work. Whether it’s flipping burgers, greeting at the local big box, or making beds at a hotel, the value of the job is in the sense of pride and dignity that a worker has in performing their duties.
It would be a good point to admit that I’m sort of an anti-elitist kind of elitist, though. I’ve lived through some pretty difficult times, I’ve held bad jobs, and I’ve done my best to go through it all with dignity and a sense of self-respect. It didn’t always work out, but I’ve done okay on balance. Being the person that I am, I don’t completely trust people who haven’t gone through tough times--people who haven’t had to scrape to make sure that there was food to eat and enough money to pay the electric bill. The true measure of self comes from knowing the person you are when you have next to nothing and the person you are when you have more than you need; those are often two pretty different people.
When you know that daddy can bail you out, tough times hardly count.
And, yes, the way I react to Paris Hilton (for instance) springs right from that same sense of contempt. So, when I read this about Karl Rove, I get a little cranky.
In some circles, hatred of Karl Rove is almost like a religion. It’s received wisdom that he is some evil puppet-master, pulling the strings of the Bush presidency while he plots the sacrifice of the young, working class soldiers whose blood greases the wheels of his need for cheap oil to gift to his cronies in the oil industry who prop up his maniacal need for power.
Or something like that.
Point being, I don’t drink that Kool Aid, but he dealt a massive insult to the workers who don’t have a powerful, multi-millionaire dad to smooth the way for them through life and to the immigrants and citizens who do those jobs while hoping and reaching for something even better. Their work is--or at least can be--honorable and in many cases meaningful. Can you say the same about anything that Paris Hilton has done with her life?
My life has always been effected, but rarely defined, by the amount of money I had in my pocket, which is a lesson you only truly learn when you don’t have all your wants met by an easy flow of cash (and some of your needs are pretty threadbare, as well). Over the weekend, I saw a video clip on TV of one of Paris Hilton’s companions, Brandon Davis, who was drunkenly ranting about Lindsay Lohan. As he climbed into a car, with the paparazzi cameras flashing and the cameras rolling, he mocked Lohan saying, “I think she’s worth about seven million, which means she’s really poor. It’s disgusting.”
If he’d said it in my presence, I would have taken a swing at the guy.
As a person, maybe Davis would still be an arrogant, rude puke if he had been born with less money (although poverty is no guaranty of good manners, good work habits, or any special wisdom). His money certainly gave him a skewed view of money and value, though, and I can’t believe he’d be worse off if he had spent a few of his formative years actually working for a living rather than spending the wealth that someone else created.
I can’t imagine that Rove would be proud to call someone like Davis his son.
I rambled through this post to get to this point: what Rove said was insensitive and stupid. It was also at least a little wrong headed, if you ask me. His children may be wonderful people--and I’m not comparing them to Brandon Davis--but they would hardly be hurt by “picking tomatoes” and learning to make it through live on their own. In fact, they would probably be a little better for the experience.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
2007 Grammy Award Ceremony: Lifeless Blogging (Updated)
Damn, I think I missed the Police. But I showed up just in time to see Stevie Wonder’s interesting jacket (and funny intro to one of the songs).
Actually, Wonder’s intro might be a little bit of a hint to the awards show: less reliance on the TelePrompTer™ might give the show a more organic and interesting vibe. The mindless drone celebrities more often than not come across as wooden and disinterested. The only two who had any life in them (keeping in mind that I showed up pretty late to this game) were Stevie Wonder, who very obviously couldn’t rely on the prompter, and Queen Latifah, who has amazing stores of charisma.
Still pretty cranky about missing the Police, though…
Update: So, did anyone really need to hear the Eagles’ “Desperado” again? Ever?
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