Thursday, April 30, 2009

False Idols: Valentine's Was SO Two Months Ago

Matt G. I've liked you from the beginning. I think you have a lot of talent and you seem like a good guy. An odd thing happened on this Idol Journey of ours. Throughout the whole season, despite your talent, you never really connected with the voting public. I don't know what it was, maybe just the large number of cute white guys in the Top 13 this year, but viewers never seemed that interested in voting for you, going all the way back to the semi-finals. It's the judges that really have been championing your talent all the way through. You were a wild card to get to the finals, fell into the bottom 3 twice in early rounds, then got the lowest votes and saved by the judges two weeks ago. Now with 5 people left and the votes not in your favor, there was nothing anyone could do, but finally say goodbye. I think you could be a good recording artist But the last few weeks you've been trying to do too much with your voice and you have tried to do it on Bryan Adams Songs and that just won't do. Not every song in the idol songbook requires a healthy dose of falsetto. And Funny Valentine didn't work for me at all this week. But I would like to hear what you come up with on an album all your own, so keep going. Best of luck to you. Oh, and P.S. - If you failed to notice. Kara totally wants to jump your bones.

Contestant on the Edge.

Adam. My my my. THIS was a surprise. I think your performance was fine. But you know what? America doesn't like that song. It's Idol Poison. There was one semi-final week last year or the year before where TWO people got eliminated the same week for singing that song! You sang it 1000 times better than they did, but voters don't care. Stop singing that song, Idols! Honestly I think most people just assumed you were safe and they were more concerned with saving Allison and Kris from the bottom. It will be interesting to see what happens next week, as we have a possibly great theme in Rock and Roll and four talented singers. I expect a high level of crazy from you, even though that would mess up your schedule of "one week crazy, following week sensitive." You've gotta stay around to fight off a Gokey win! PLEASE!!!

Rant of the Week:

No rants this week. Allison was legitimately safe and I didn't bother listening to Gokey. Keep bringing it Allison!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Five Timer's Club!

Guess what? Rafa won another tournament this weekend! I know what you're thinking. ANOTHER Tournament? So SOON??? Didn't he JUST win one last week? He did! Last week he won his 5th straight title in Monte-Carlo, and yesterday he won his 5th straight title in Barcelona. Back-to-back tournaments 5 years in a row! That's INSANE! Could a fifth consecutive French Open Title be in Nadal's not-too-distant future? It's a distinct possibility.

But where is Rafa this week? Relaxing on a beach somewhere surrounded by cookies and trophies and women? NOOO! He's playing ANOTHER effing tournament! This time in Rome! Rafa, come on now. Give yourself a break. This pace is crazy. Everyone knows you are King of The Clay Courts. What do you have left to prove? You've created a comfortable lead for 1st place atop the ATP Tour Leader Board. You've won four titles so far this year. Now's the time to just relax (and come over to my place to hang out and) eat some of favored chocolate-chip cookies, that you love so much. Don't go exhausting yourself with these lesser tournaments. Save your strength for the big ticket events!

That being said, Nadal's record on clay for the past 5 years has been unbelievable. Go here to check out his stats. The dominance is unprecedented. The fact that it can even be suggested that he could win the French Open for a 5th consecutive year and then return to Wimbledon and defend his title there only a few weeks later? It seems unthinkable. But look at these stats. They are no joke. Best of luck in Rome, Rafa! Please take next week off. Trust me, you've earned it!

C is for Cookie. That's good enough for Rafa.

Farewell, Dorothy

Bea Arthur's passing has been sad news this weekend, but she lived a long life and had a successful memorable career, so what else can we ask for? We tried to sing "Thank You For Being A Friend" at Karaoke on Saturday night, but they astonishingly didn't have it in the TV Themes section. Instead we dedicated God Bless The USA to her. It was very moving. Maybe you had to be there. Bea Arthur will always be remembered for her iconic roles as Maude and as Dorothy in Golden Girls, but I've had fun this weekend seeing a multitude of clips from her non-GG performances online. Below are a few clips that I think are amazing and highlight her range of comic genius and musicality. She was one of a kind. She will be missed, but she'll remain cherished for generations to come. Bea, if you threw a party and invitied everyone you knew, you would see the biggest gift would be from me and you know what the card attached would say...

The Best Strip Show Broadway Has To Offer

Saturday I saw Rock of Ages. Up until a few weeks ago, I really had no interest in seeing this show. Another Jukebox Musical? I'm not a big fan of those. But I was told by several people I had to see this one, and when LMM invited me to go with him this saturday aftenroon, I couldn't pass it up.

HOLY COW. I knew going in it was a musical based on Hair Metal Rock of the 80's but i had no idea how immersive the experience would be and how so much of the show was gonna be beautiful women wearing next to nothing writhing around on the stage. It's all boobies and g-strings and va-jay-jay all the time. And rock songs. And some sort of plot but nobody cares and no one could possibly pay attention to the book when there are women pole dancing only a few feet away from you. Buy your tickets up close to the stage, folks! It's really kind of amazing. There's really no reason to try to make sense of the show, just enjoy it. The show really is Xanadu for straight people. I mean, it's still plenty gay, but the girls! girls! girls! sensibility is really what captures the day. And Rock of Ages has much much better production values that XanaduThey sell beer in the audience during the show and hand out imitation lighters for the big rock ballad numbers. You're there to rock out. Plain and simple.

Constantine was a big surprise as the male lead. I never really liked him on his season of American Idol, but here is very charming and fun and can also really wail on the rock songs, so kudos to him. Everyone else is really up to the task of thses giant songs as well, and it can't be easy doing that night after night. The house band totally rocks as well. They lead guitarist throws his pick into the audience and it totally deflected off Lin's hand next to me. The people behind us feverishly searched through the confetti under our seats to try and find it, but ultimately I walked away with it. I gave it back to Lin because he did make first contact with it, and was nice enough to take me to the show. It seemed like the honorale thing to do.

This show is out of its mind and it's super silly, but that doesn't mean it's not awesome and fun and worth your time and money. Go rock out and enjoy. IT AIN'T NUUUTHIN'! BUT A GOOOOD TIME!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blithe and Becoming

Earlier this week I saw Blithe Spirit on Broadway starring Angela Lansbury. If you are my age, you know and love Lansbury from watching a decade or so of Murder She Wrote with your mother or grandmother as the population of Cabot Cove, dwindled down to 2: her and Bob Mosley. You also have fond memories of her from watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks on video and recognize her as the voice of Mrs. Potts in Beauty and The Beast. If you're a bit older than me, perhaps you also know her for many iconic stage performances, 4 of which won her Tony awards. Mame. New World. Gyspy. Sweeney Todd. I always wanted to see her on stage and I missed my chance last season with Deuce. I thought thought perhaps that would be it and it was just not meant to be. I mean, she IS old and it's not easy doing 8 shows a week when you're 84. But lo and behold, here she comes again in Blithe Spirit, and this time I made sure to get my ticket. Lansbury does not disappoint as she portrays the medium Madame Arcati who accidentally conjures up the ghost of a writer's dead wife in a parlor room seance. She has so much energy and is so physical in the role, and seems to having such a wonderful time. The rest of the show, despite a first rate cast, is kinda "eh" but she is great and you should go see it for her performance, especially if you're a long time fan of her tv and film work.

One other thing of mention: I absolutely hated everyone who sat around me in the balcony during this performance. I had a woman to my right who came in a third of the way through act one with no less than four giant noisy shopping bags and spent the rest of act one deciding whether or not to wear her coat during the show. I had no one directly next to me, but the guy one row behind me and two seats down on my left decided to extend his legs OVER THE BACK OF THE SEAT IN FRONT OF HIM! WTF?? You're not at a sports stadium sir. That's not appropriate. The seats in front of me and in back of me were filled with some college students from Loser University, who seemed to have no appreciation for the farcical nature of the show and if they were theater majors, they were definitely minoring in ADHD, with their complete inability to sit still and focus on the show. Seriously. what gives? Why even go to the theater if you don't want to watch it? I've never disliked the people sitting around me at a show so much. I've never NOTICED the strange people sitting around me at a show so much. And afterwards one of them mentioned to another one in passing how much they had disliked In The Heights, so i knew that my initial impression of them as horrible tasteless losers was right on point.

In any event, Angela Lansbury kicks total ass. We should all be so lucky to be in her condition at 84. It'd be amazing if she could rack up Tony #5 for this role. She certainly deserves a nomination. Best of luck, Ms. Lansbury! It was great to see you perform live, and I'm rooting for you!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

False Idols: Too Lil, Too Late

Oh. Lil. The irony of your last song is that your whole problem this season has been that you performed like every other woman, and not like yourself. Super-double-dog Irony? That once you finally got voted off you sang the hell out of that song in a way that felt DISTINCTLY YOU! Perhaps the pressure of the show was just something you could never get around, no matter how much you wanted to. And I do believe you wanted to compete and win. Once you knew it was over, you could finally relax and let loose. Whatever it was, it's the end of your Idol road. It was definitely your time to go, but I wish you well!

Noopers! It's been quite a journey, dawg. You had some great vocals, some not-so-great outfits, some rough times with the judges and all of my support. I think you're a talented crooner. I would have much rather lost Gokey from the competition than you, but apparently his voting base cannot be denied. Your song choice this week was a little weird and you biffed that last note, but I've seen MUCH much worse on this show than what you gave us this week. Still, if I had to pick between you and Allison, I'd pick Allison to stay over you any day. I will miss you next week. Have a good time on tour!

Contestant On The Edge

Allison. What can I say? For all your awesomeness, the comparisons to Kelly Clarkson, and the way you have not mentally broken down under the weight of the competition? Bitches in America STILL seem uninterested in voting for you. So I will actually call in for you next week, providing you don't totally tank the competition. I don't think you will. I think you'll continue to rock, and clearly you need some extra support from the Non-Voting Viewers With Taste out there. I will try to lift you past Matt and Gokey. You just keep bringing it. I will try to handle the rest.

Rant Of The Week

Gokey. You refuse to go away or even land in the Bottom Three. Granted, you are not without talent. But America's support for you boggles my mind. What kind of album would you make? I have no idea. I can imagine the style of album that would be put out by the other four remaining contestants, but your sound remains a mystery to me. I just don't get what people are hearing from you. But obviously, whatever you are doing is working for some people. But some people ain't me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Driving Miss Crazy

This woman is unbelievable. I don't know what her story is and I kind of don't want to. The truth couldn't be better than the crazy scenarios that play out in my head as she loops around the freeway. It's like something out of crazy taxi or grand theft auto. Just when you think she can't get crazier, she does! Just when you think the cops have cornered her, she wiggles free. We get no motive, and no resolution, but within this brief clip of a police chase, the possibilities are endless.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rafa Wins Again!

Congrats to Rafa for winning another tournament this weekend! This time it's deja vu all over again, as Rafa takes home his 5th consecutive Monte-Carlo Masters Series 1000 Event. 5 years in a row! Very impressive, Rafa!

He's only 22, but Rafa has now equalled Federer's mark of 14 tournament wins in the Masters 1000 Series. Only my beloved Andre Agassi has won more, with 17 Masters titles. Rafa's cleaning up!!

He had a bit of a challenge from Jokovic in the Final, but as usual, Novak couldn't keep up the intensity long enough and Rafa charged to a 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 victory.

"I lost again! Boo hoo hoo!" - Novak Jokovic

Keep up the good work, Rafa! The French Open is on the horizon! Vamos!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grade Presidential Historian?

I love clips of uber-smart kids being interviewed on television. There is a good chance that despite their massive intellect they are gonna be preciously awkward. Case in point: Molly O'Hare on the Today Show. In the clip below she is in a segment with Amy Robach and Jenna Wolfe and they are talking to her about her amazing ability to memorize the order of the Presidents and their Presidential Pets. Molly is amazing to watch, and I swear I'm not making fun of her, (she's a just a girl! she's cute no matter what!) but the tonal shifts in her conversation with and Amy and Jenna are amazing in the way only a kid can make them. To their credit, the hosts really do try to make her feel as comfortable as possible even if Molly doesn't understand that's what they're doing. If any of Molly's answers fall flat (and some do) they immediately switch tactics to keep the ball rolling. I can't imagine what train wreck would've occurred if they had left Molly in the clutches of Hoda and Kathy Lee.

So anyway, in the first moments of the interview, Molly goes from looking a little nervous, to a little bored, to actually interested, and back again to bored. Clearly Amy and Jenna want to talk about Presidential pets because of Bo Obama, but you can tell Molly is already sorta OVER learning about Presidential Pets. In fact as we learn later in the interview she has moved on from US History entirely and is now focusing her Cam Jansen memory on the Monarchs of Spain. I love her!

My FAVORITE Molly Moment though is when the tables are turned and she starts asking Jenna and Amy questions about Presidents and their pets. There's an intensity to to her delivery of the questions that surprises the hosts and they sort of chuckle it off, but you can Molly is very serious and the fact that they don't know the answers makes them a little dumber in her eyes. It's priceless. Watch for yourself and enjoy.

Sh!tstorm A'Comin'

This week, the Daily Show and The Colbert Report both addressed growing issues of intollerance and racism from the far right. The Colbert Report responded to the ludicrous D.O.M. ad against gay marriage in which bad actors pretend to be afraid of a literal storm of gayness, and the Daily Show tackled the ridiculous "tea parties" on Tax Day. Both clips are embedded below. There's no need for me to link to the DOM ad because it's shown in it's entirety within the Colbert clip.

At first both of these movements just seemed moronic and laughable. A literal storm of gayness on the horizon coming to take straight people's rights away? The absurdity is mind-boggling. Marriage rights to gays takes nothing away from straight people, except perhaps some righteous feeling of superiorty some straights feel over gays? I don't know what else could be at risk here. Below we have Colbert's take on the situation.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

If that were not enough, we have people running around all week in a Fox-News fueled campaign against "taxes." In some bizarre homage to the Boston Tea Party, social conservatives jumped on the notion of tea-bagging the President, seemingly unaware of the sexual connotation behind such a sentiment. The fact that the Boston Tea Party has nothing to do with April 15th, and the issue of taxation without representation has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Stimulus or the Deficit, some people went ahead and had these rallies. Leading up to the 15th everyone I know dismissed them as non-sensical rallies about nothing. What were these people mad about? There was no focused answer. They just don't like taxes - even though for everyone who makes less than 200K a year (like me), their taxes decreased in the beginning of April (like mine did!). So what's the issue? What is causing these people to gather in public parks (the construction of which was paid for by taxes) and rant about how they shouldn't have to pay these high taxes? Here is The Daily Show talking to some people who attended one of these events in New Jersey to try and figure it out. The idea that they "don't know fuck about tyranny" is expressed in a most delightful way: John Oliver.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Tea Party Tyranny
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

People here mostly seem... uninformed or misguided, maybe a little hateful or irrational. But if you take a wider look at things across the country, and you look at the sort of signs being made, it becomes very clear what's driving a lot the anger: racism. It was shocking and disappointing to see the racial slurs and depictions on these signs. It was clear that there was no real policy issue that suddenly made all these people mad. The main problem for a lot of them is that they don't know how to deal with having a black President. They can't reconcile it within themselves, so they try to say it's about taxes. But the underlying resentment, fear and hatred is expressed in the signs they are carrying around. It was a sobering moment for me to realize that although the vast majority of Americans are proud of our President, there is a fraction of the population who are in a very unhealthy desperate place. Janeane Garofolo talked to Keith Olberman about it, and while I don't agree with her 100% (i think she generalizes who is racist geographically in a way I'm not comfortable with) i do believe in her point that Fox News and Far Right Politicians have been fomenting this desperate angry confusion some people are feeling in a very dangerous way. They are trying to advance themselves by spreading toxic ideas to people who are too willing to look for an excuse to go crazy. It's really deplorable. They would rather see us fall apart as a country in the ugliest way possible than to admit they've lost credible influence. There's a shitstorm coming from "leaders" like Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry and Richard Burr whose ideas on "opposition party" tactics include taking away the reproductive choices they themselves considered, seceding from the nation over the stimulus, and endorsing a run on banks at a time of economic crisis. I can't even get started on the toxic insanity that Bachman spews out on a weekly basis. If these people feel they are playing to their base by throwing these ideas out there, they need to seriously consider the impact of such anti-government statements and what it does to the more volatile citizens of our country. You stir something up, you think you control it, but you don't. It gets out of control and people get hurt or killed. As elected officials, your constiutents and your country in general deserve much better from you. You are provoking craziness. You are inciting frightened people to do bad things. Stop the nonsense.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

False Idols: Tell Me Have You Ever Really, Really Really Ever Loved Matt Giraud?

Aka Simon Saved My Life Tonight

Matt. Look at you! Even with that insanely stupid Bryan Adams song, the judges kept you alive. I think you are the best of the Contestants in Constant Danger, so it's nice enough that they used the save on you. I don't know why you are not more popular with the voting public, but I also don't understand people who are having those effing "tea parties" as if most people in the country didn't just receive a tax cut - including me! So go figure what goes into people's thought process on these important issues.

Anyway, you are safe. Two Idols are screwed next week. In my perfect world it would be Lil and Gokey, but it will probably be you and Anoop. The judges are your saviors this week, but there's a limit to the miracles they can perform.

Contestant on The Edge

Lil. This week was better than last week. I'm glad you finally flipped out a bit at the flip-flop advice of the judges. I'm hoping it annoys you enough to say "Eff Them!" and you just sing whatever the hell you want, whatever way you want and stop the impersonations. You can bring it! I believe you can. But if all Disco Week brings is you doing a watered-down Donna Summer, well, I'll be disappointed, but not totally surprised.

Rant of The Week:

Gokey. I can't think of anything new to say about how you and I are not connecting. I am super-pleased that the judges CANNOT SAVE YOU NOW, so I'm hoping you slip up sometime next week or the week after and then you are GONE. BWAHAHAHAHA!

Miley Cyrus. My little nieces like you, but it was not until i accidentally stumbled upon the ACM awards a couple weeks ago that I actually heard you sing. Oh wait, I think I saw you on the Grammys as well. But you started spazzing out while sitting with Taylor Swift and I changed the channel. When you started singing, I was surprised! You don't sing well. Who knew? Now, you seem to have a lot of pluck and a couple billion dollars in cash, so by all means, you keep doin' what you're doin'. But I don't think you sing well - especially LIVE, which you demonstrated again on Idol tonight. I can't tell if any of the performances are live anymore (J.Hud was taped.) but yours was just bad as the ACM's. So you've earned a rant from me. Now you're free to go off and do some other crazy thing that can put you on the cover of People magazine. I will say that I appreciate that you take your own path when it comes to pop-scandal. You don't starve yourself or crash cars or forget to wear underwear. You exhibit craziness in a random non-self-destructive ways. So that's nice for my nieces. But please, don't show up this summer on So You Think You Can Dance. No more reality TV. Ok? Thanks!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First Pup

Greetings, Nation! It's is I, Bo Obama! The First Pup! I am a total cute-ums, I know. I think we can all agree, regardless of political affilitation, that I am effing adorable with my black and white fur and my scruffy mop head. I'm the perfect doggy companion for the adorable First Family. You're gonna love watching me grow into a cute-ums dog as the girls grow into lovely young ladies. The Christmas Cards from the White House are gonna be so kick ass!

You can also tell from my First Picture that I will be taking up some important social causes as First Pup. My rainbow-colored lei is a not-so-subtle shout out to the Gay Rights-as-Civil Rights Movement! Now that I'm in the White House I'll be pushing hard for federally recognized unions for gay couples, gays serving openly in the military - the whole nine yards. When I'm the one asking the First Owner to do the right thing, how do you think he's gonna resist my literal puppy-dog eyes? Papa 'Bama doesn't stand a chance.

That's it for now, guys! You'll be seeing more of me soon I'm sure. I really do appreciate how interested you've been in when I would arrive and what I'd be like. Now you know. I'M THE BEST THING EVER! It's okay if you're totally in love with me. I'm totally in love with you too. Let's go play fetch and then take a nap together in the sun! Woofwoofwoof!

Love Bo

10K In The Rain

This Saturday I ran my first race in the rain. It was also cold and windy, but I've done cold and wind before. The rain was a new thing! . It was very nice of the race sponsors to give us all ponchos in our race bags. It was certainly handy. We also got to run around the park clockwise instead of counter-clockwise which is my much preferred route of the park. And the water stations were evenly placed - unlike last time. So there was a lot of good going on. One thing that was not so good was that the baggage area turned into a total mud pit by the time I was done with the race. Like INCHES deep in paces. The post-race bagels and fruits were also in the middle of a deep mud bog, but you can be damn sure I waded out there to get my food. I'm HUNGRY after my race, fools! Mud is not gonna stop me in quest for nourishment. Yum yum yum bagels.

So the race itself? Kinda awesome! It's always kind of an absurd feeling to run around Central Park in a big circle with thousands of other people. But doing it while you're getting totally soaked by the rain brings it to a joyfully ludicrous place. It was actually really fun and I wound up running my best 10K ever. Under 8-minute mile pace! Not too shabby. I felt really light and carefree and even though my shoes got heavier from being waterlogged and my ear-buds kept slipping out of my ears due to moisture, I ran better as the race progressed. It was a super good feeling to finish the race feeling better than when I started.

I'm really looking forward to the 2009 NYC Marathon, and I'd like to make a real improvement on my time from last year. Hopefully if I can keep shaving time off of these shorter races, by the time November comes around, I'll really be able to attack the marathon from a much stronger place mentally and physically than last year. Not that last year was bad. I'm just ready to go at it again, with a little experience under my belt. And in case it rains on marathon day, i know that i kinda like those conditions anyway. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Who The Eff is Chester A. Arthur?

Today I was browsing on Facebook (no surprise there) and my friend Alex had taken the quiz "Which President Are You?" Quiz. There is a quiz now basically for every possible thing to be. I'll probably take the "Which Disney Princess Are You?" Quiz later tonight. But this afternoon I saw Alex had gotten President William McKinley. What luck! The President murdered by my favorite Assassin, Czolgosz! After taking a minute to register my approval in the comments section, i set out to take the quiz myself. Who would I turn out to be? Washington? Lincoln? One of the Adamses? Or... dare I even think it - Obama??
I tried to answer the questions honestly instead of picking the answers I thought would lead to me to the destination I wanted. I liked my choices. I was excited to hit "Finish" and see my results. When the site refreshed, I got my answer: Chester A. Arthur. WHAAAA???? Who the eff is Chester A. Arthur???

I have to say, I was initially disapoointed, because I had no idea who this guy was. I mean, clearly he was a president at some point. But when? He couldn't possibly have served two terms. Most of the two term guys are memorable. I do some review in my head and he's not mentioned in the Simpsons song about Mediocre Presidents. So who was this guy who I fit with personality-wise??

I turn to wikipedia for answers and it delivers! It turns out President Arthur (#21) was an interesting dude. He was a Republican (!) who took over for Garfield when Garfield was assassinated by Charlie Guiteau (more Assassins!). It seems like when he took over as President he worked really hard to avoid Cronyism and forced his party to do certain things for the country that the Republicans didn't really want to do. President Arthur thought it was best for the country, and Congress felt like it had to be supportive of the new President since the last one just got killed. Here are some more fun facts from Wikipedia:

Arthur believed that the only way to garner the nation's approval was to be independent from both factions. Arthur was determined to go his own way once in the White House. He wound up replacing every member of Garfield's Cabinet except the Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln. He became a man of fashion in his manner of dress and in his associates; he was often seen with the elite of Washington, D.C., New York City, and Newport. To the indignation of the Stalwarts, the onetime Collector of the Port of New York became, as President, a champion of civil service reform. In 1883, Congress passed the Pendleton Act, which established a bipartisan Civil Service Commission which forbade levying political assessments against officeholders and provided for a "classified system" that made certain government positions obtainable only through competitive written examinations. The system protected employees against removal for political reasons.
Acting independently of party dogma, Arthur also tried to lower tariff rates so the government would not be embarrassed by annual surpluses of revenue. Congress raised about as many rates as it trimmed, but Arthur signed the Tariff Act of 1883 anyway. Aggrieved Westerners and Southerners looked to the Democratic Party for redress, and the tariff began to emerge as a major political issue between the two parties.

The Arthur Administration enacted the first general Federal immigration law. Arthur approved a measure in 1882 excluding paupers, criminals, and the mentally ill. Congress also suspended Chinese immigration for ten years with the Chinese Exclusion Act, later making the restriction permanent.

In 1884, the International Meridian Conference was held in Washington, D.C. at President Arthur's behest. This established the Greenwich Meridian and international standardized time, both in use today.

President Arthur demonstrated that he was above not only factions within the Republican Party, but possibly the party itself. Perhaps, in part, he felt able to do this because of the well-kept secret he had known since a year after he succeeded to the Presidency, that he was suffering from Bright's disease, a fatal kidney disease. This accounted for his failure to seek the Republican nomination for President aggressively in 1884. Nevertheless, Arthur was the last incumbent President to submit his name for renomination and fail to obtain it.

Arthur sought a full term as President in 1884, but lost the Republican party's presidential nomination to former Speaker of the House and Secretary of State James G. Blaine of Maine. Blaine, however, lost the general election to Democrat Grover Cleveland of New York.

Publisher Alexander K. McClure wrote, "No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted, and no one ever retired… more generally respected." Author Mark Twain, deeply cynical about politicians, conceded, "It would be hard indeed to better President Arthur's administration."

Not bad at all. Good getting to know you, Chester. It was fun learning about your place in American History.

False Idols: How Can I Convince You, What You Don't See Is Real?

Oh Scott. It was finally your time to go. It's really cool that even though you are blind, you can play the piano, and the guitar and you can sing well, and that you never let your disability stop you from all these artistic accomplishments that would be difficult even without a disability. You did a good job handling the competition. There have been people who've made it this far and been absolutely TERRIBLE, and you were nothing like that. You got talents! That being said, your performance this week was not good, and I think things have been heading downhill for a while. I'm pretty sure this was your first visit to the bottom 3, but America got it right this week. I think the contestants who are left have been regularly outperforming you. You've accomplished a lot and you are an inspiration, and no one can take that away from you. I think you can do well as singer/piano man. People like listening to your kind of music, even if it's not super flashy. Take care, dude.

Contestant on The Edge:

Anoop! Anoop! What can we do? I fear you are on borrowed time, my friend. It's a shame because I think you are 10 times the singer of Gokey, but I just don't think you have the fan base. I'm in your fan base. Keep singing strong and don't try to be Goofy Anoop. Just SING. Leave it all out there next week, regardless of whatever wack theme night they think up. It's your only hope. Stay Strong.

Rant of The Week:

Gokey. It hardly seems worth it at this point. You and I... we are not connecting. I feel like you are this season's Taylor Hicks. It's not that you're untalented, I just don't think you have anything interesting to say as an "artist" as Kara loves to say. I think the Judges are getting nervous that you will somehow only get elminated once it's past the point where they can save you. I think you'll be checking out of the competition once we get to top 4 or 5. And they will be powerless at that point. Powerless! You seem to be a nice fellow. You are just not for me.

Lil. Please sing something that you kick ass singing. Not something that someone else kicked ass singing. I think that's the problem here. You keep picking not-that-great songs on which really awesome people managed to kicked ass, but those songs aren't great and they don't work for you as you try to sing like them. Maybe you don't know what singing like YOU is. That's not an uncommon problem. If you could find yourself in a song over the next 5 days, that would be awesome. Good Luck!

Where I think the Final 7 Currently Stand in Popularity:
1. Adam
2. Kris
3. Matt
4. Gokey
5. Allison
6. Lil
7. Anoop

Saturday, April 4, 2009


A few days ago, it was announced that the long-in-limbo Sixth Season of Project Runway would finally be aired this summer. For me, this was bittersweet news. I mean, I've enjoyed P.Runway in the past, and it would've been really sad for the designers who participated if they never got their work shown, but there are two things against the show now for me. 1) They filmed this one in L.A. and I prefer my reality TV based in NYC where P.Runway has ALWAYS been and still belongs. 2) It is airing on Lifetime instead of Bravo. I know it should not make a difference what station it's on, but I have no love for Lifetime and no faith in its ability to turn out quality programming.

While I was stuck on the non-functioning subway this week (simply giddy, of course, at the prospect of paying 23% more come June to sit in a non-functioning train) I took a break from playing Klondike on my ipod, and passed some time trying to think of one show on Lifetime that I ever enjoyed watching. I couldn't think of anything. And then I realized, of course, Lifetime is huge with the Golden Girls reruns, and those are CLASSIC. But those just happen to be ON Lifetime, they are not OF Lifetime. It's all their original programming I hate. So now I'm thinking maybe if Lifetime just lets P.Runway be the show it is, and doesn't try to mess with it, another classic import show will do just fine on that network.

By the time I reach this conclusion, the train has lurched forward, proceeding at reduced speed. I let my mind continue to wander with the jumping point of Golden Girls. Golden Girls... GG... alliteration... GG.... just like Gossip Girl.... Golden Girls... Gossip Girls... Gol- Golden Gossip Girls! Ooh, this is something. I begin to wonder if the Gossip Girls grew up to be old like the Golden Girls, which one would grow up to be which one? These are my conclusions:


This is the easiest one to envision. Clearly Blair needs to be the center of attention, values her social status, and fiercely masks her vulnerability just like Blanche did. Chuck would be her George. After his death, she would fill the void in her heart with an endless string of men. Can't you see Old B. moving down south to be closer to the Miami scene, sitting out on the Lanai and picking on the other girls while stuffing her face with cheesecake? I sure can.


C'mon. Both are kinda dummies. And blonde! In a search for relevance in Miami, I could see Old Serena dragging the rest of the Girls to benefits and charity events, much like Rose did, in misguided attempts to save the manatees or the coast line. In lieu of St. Olaf stories, Old S. can reflect on crazy experiences in Europe from her "Bad Serena" days, of which there seems to be an endless supply.


Hey, they both are from Brooklyn and aren't about to let you forget it! I can see Vanessa's appreciation for bohemian art, film and literature EASILY translating into a profession as a substitute teacher. Dorothy and V. share a superior attitude and inferior social life to the other Girls. I can also see her getting knocked up on Prom Night by a drunk Dan Humphrey (V's own personal Stan!) and then spending a couple of unhappy decades with him before he dumps her Old Vanessa ass.


This one is a stretch but i can make it work. Who doesn't like a good brain injury story line that could render Little J into a cantankerous old lady who has no internal filter, and says everything that comes into her mind? Following the deaths of Rufus and Lily, Old. S would feel responsible for the girl she shares a half-sibling with and would put her in a nursing home - that would of course then burn to the ground under mysterious circumstances.

So there you have it, Lifetime Television! This is an original program based on existing properties that I would watch on your network. A Next Generation combo of Golden Girls and Gossip Girl to please the masses. This will put you on the map of entertainment relevance. I'd just like a "conceived by" credit in the opening credits, which would of course feature some Dance Mix cover of "TY 4 B'ng a Frnd" You know you owe me. XOXO

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

False Idols: Turn Your Crazy Down Low

Oh, Megan Joy. You are super crazy. I kinda love you. I think this competition was not quite right for you. You had gone from kooky and unusual to kinda frantic and over it. It reminds me a little of Real World: Seattle when Irene had a bit of a nervous breakdown due to Lyme Disease and having lights and cameras on her 24/7. Add in to the craziness that you obviously don't like being away from your kid, and what else could there be from you but suffering vocals and manic behavior? It would have only gotten worse if the public vote spared you this week. And there was absolutely no way the judges would save you, so I'm glad they didn't pretend like they'd consider it.

You have a great spirit and clearly the other contestants love your wacky-self, so it's not like you're bitch-ass crazy. I hope this isn't the end of the line for you. I hope you find some crazy quirky niche and have much success. Have a great time on tour!

Contestant on The Edge:

Anoop! Duuuuuude. Don't be so defensive! So the judges hated your song choice and your performance and told you so in front of 20 million viewers. Worse things have happened! Besides, they weren't totally wrong. I mean, I thought you did fine. Don't think that since their criticisms flip-flop week to week that you can act like what they say doesn't matter. It only makes you look bad. We already know they are crazy. Humor them, wear decent clothes and sing like crazy and you'll get through. If you miss one of those steps next week, i think you may be gone.

Rant of The Week.

Lil Rounds. I hate the song I Surrender. I don't know why anyone would sing it at all - let alone on this show. Kelly Clarkson sang it back in Season 1 and it was one of her worst performances. And while we're on the subject of song selection, let me jump back a week and say Heat Wave is Idol Poison! You should know this! I would fear that you'd choose to sing Michael Buble's Feelin' Good next week, just to cover all the songs Idol Watchers hate, but I'm confident it wasn't written in the year you were born. Stop singing junk songs. The judges always hit the nail on the head of the song you SHOULD'VE sung, so there's defiitely good choices to be made. Two girls left in the competition. How much longer are you gonna last?

Allison. You don't ever have to dress like a cross between Strawberry Shortcake and Vampire Willow on this show ever again. It's hard to take you seriously looking so Out There. You can't "Out There" Adam, and you shouldn't try. It doesn't really do him any favors when he does it, and does even less for you. I fear that you may be to awesome for this competition and I fear even more that you're starting to realize it and letting that emotion get the best of you. Fight it! Yo