Friday, July 31, 2009

Good-Bye, Strange-But-Nice Asian Family!

Today as I was leaving for work, I saw movers emptying out the apartment downstairs that belonged to a nice Asian family who has been in the building for as long as I have been here. SO many people have moved out in the past year and a half, they are one of the few original tenants I recognize from three years ago. I wish they were staying and my neighbor with his dogs would be leaving instead (he's been here the whole time too, and it's beyond his time to move on).

Anyway, I have never spoken to the Mom or Dad in the Asian Family, because they have never spoken English in my presence. They have two little sons, who speak to each other in English, and will shout "HELLO!" at me when they see me coming in and out of the building, but they never speak to their parents in English. They like to watch people coming through the entryway. The boys are unreasonably cute.

The thing that makes this family the Strange-but-Nice Asian Family, is this strange green light in one of the rooms in their apartment. You can see it from the street at night. There's a green film over one window and a green light shining in another. WHY? I have NO IDEA. Where do you even get green light bulbs? The Land of Oz? It's so strange. I can't be the only tenant who has wondered about this. I like to think of them as characters in some strange Stephen King novel - One with more of a sci-fi/fantasy angle then pure horror. I like the idea of these people discussing the mysterious green light in their apartment that is threatening to break out into our world and destroy existence. They can talk about it openly in Japanese without the other tenants understanding the frightening details.

Now the family is moving out (perhaps relocating to Bangor, Maine?) and they are presumably taking their green light with them. Goodbye and good luck, Strange-But-Nice Asian Family! I will miss you and your Emerald City sensibilities!

SYTYCD - Top 6, So You Think You Need Rest

This was not a stand out week of the show for me. I thought everyone looked kinda tired. I wasn't into either Melissa and Evan's Broadway routine or their Quick Step. I thought Jeanine and Ade's Samba was stiff, but their Hip Hop was fun. I don't remember Brandon and Kayla's contemporary piece AT ALL, though I'm sure I watched it, and then their disco was really challenging and cool but seemed to get them winded before it ended. Which brings me to the conundrum of Season 5. It's a field where they are all exceptional, but none of them really stand out and it almost gives the impression that none of them are exceptional. Or rather, the dancing is always good but you only see the great choreography, not the great dancer. The intense character behind the dancers of seasons past is not there. I'm more interested to see what routine they are dancing then to see them dance a routine, if you note the distinction. Plus, they all seem as equally tired as they do talented right now. If the show was looked at as a marathon of dance, they are almost to the finish but are collectively hitting the wall. I feel like they want to break through, there just doesn't seem to be enough left in the tank.

I thought this was especially evident during the results show where they brought back the 4 Emmy-nominated dances from last season. Katee walks out on stage to do "Mercy" with Twitch and her whole energy bursts through as if she is gonna rip Twitch's throat out as she leaps and kicks around the stage (FYI - "leaps and kicks" are technical dance terms). Mark and Chelsea's Bleeding Love routine was even better than I remembered it too. Clearly these routines have benefited from being featured on the national tour. It's just so visceral. There was nothing visceral about the Top 6 performances on Wednesday, and I think that's why you get these odd statements from the judges where they note that the dancing is amazing technically but they can't really sink their teeth into the dancers like they want to do. Don't get me wrong: there have been amazing routines throughout this season. They have plenty to pull from this year to create an awesome finale episode - one that really features all the Top 20. I think the Top 4 performances can also be really strong. I just hope they give the last four a day or two to rest this week, so they don't go into the Finals hopped up on Jessie Spano's over-the-counter caffeine pills.

For links to the week's best performance, plus an encore from Season 4, click here, and here

We say goodbye to Melissa and Ade this week. They were my favorite original couple. I didn't really think either one would win the whole thing though, so i guess it's fitting that they exit together. They'll be missed, but I'm sure they'll be featured in the big Finale next Thursday. I would be happy with a Season 5 win from Brandon, Jeanine or Kayla. Evan still has only had one really good routine and that was back with Randi. I honestly don't understand his lasting appeal in a dance competition. He's cute, he's sweet, he's talented but he doesn't really execute the different styles well. The others offer a lot more week after week, in my opinion. I'm gonna have to really pick up the phone and vote next week. The title of America's Favorite Dancer hangs in the balance!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Here Lies My Productivity: Mafia Death Poems

We're back playing Facebook Mafia! After an extended break, we've dipped our toes back into the extremely immersing world of online murder mystery. The game is more addictive ever now that we've figured out how to play from handheld devices. Every time someone dies in the game, I write them a little death poem. I've written well over one hundred mafia poems over the course of all our games. The game and the poems always take up a lot of my attention while I'm playing. The poems started out just as simple little "here lies" epitaphs, but they've grown into personal recaps of how each person played the game and how they came to die. Friends in the game really seem to enjoy them (which helps keep me alive, i think), and theysuggested I start saving them, so here are the ones from the game that just ended (i was a citizen and the maf won! boo!). They won't make a whole lot of sense to anyone who wasn't playing, but I like them, so I'm posting them. Enjoy! Long live, Town!

A moment of silence for Alicia II
As the new girl in town, wasn't much she could do.
It's trial by fire and the newbie got burned.
She'll be better off now for the lessons she's learned.
The town fears the unknown and fear leads to hate.
So we cast off the unknowns like so much dead weight.
It's a sad rite or passage, now she knows the score.
We hope that Alicia II comes back for more.

Ariel Rubin was shot dead on the throne.
If the brutality shocks you, you aren't alone.
Who attacks someone while they're in the loo?
Her murder's one insult. That location makes two.
Her hopes flushed away, her dreams circling the drains.
All that's left of her now: bullet-ridden remains.
The town is left guessing, not much to go on.
Should they consider that the slang word for toilet's The JOHN??

For a guy like John Behlmann this game's never easy
His charm and good looks just leave some townfolk queasy
As a Usual Suspect, he often gets picked
And almost as often the town has been tricked!
He has his defenders, of which I am one
But Fipp's swoop-in vote means game over - John's done.
In a style-less apartment, John dies unemployed.
His town-on-town murder leaves the mafs overjoyed.

Officer Fipp? Dude, what were you thinking?
It seems you were doing some on-the-job drinking.
You checked a maf first, but then let her live.
You save unchecked bajir with no reason to give.
You let your wife in on your on-going mission
based not on a check, but your own intuition
Now you are dead! There's no one to guide us!
with two stealthy mafs here who hope to divide us.
Still we honor your service as we lay you to rest.
Let his epitaph read: He did what he thought best."

Una LaMarche had accepted her fate
Even if it was one that she truly did hate
Oft she asked to the Heavens "is there no other way?"
But her life's work began at the end of the day.
She befriended the town then she killed them but quick
in such gruesome ways that her stomach got sick
she fought hard til the end and to mafs she stayed loyal.
Her execution has finally put an end to her toil.

Town Doctor Betsy had her license suspended
and all of a sudden her life was upended,
Her cop husband died, he slipped right through her fingers.
t'was a terrible loss and the grief here still lingers
she took up his mantle to expose all the fakes
she was a bit overzealous, but look at the stakes!
the maf got so nervous, they claimed her life too.
With no cop and no doc, what's the town left to do?
Thank you, sweet Betsy, for all that you've done.
I hope in the end we can tell you, Town won!

Bajir gets a poem but it's not like he needs it
I'd doubt that his ghost ever comes by and reads it
With each passing death, bajir said he would play.
"The rule is to vote? Yeah, i got it! Okay!"
But as the town scrambled, bajir wasn't there
he had visas, and travel. was there more? I don't care!
Since Bajir was no help, we though maybe's he's bad,
but that email proved fake, and the town has been had.
I'm really not bitter, it's not all bajir's fault.
drop his casket with the others and then seal up the vault.

Una wrote one herself that explored her tenure as maf which i thought was fantastic and so I'm including it as well.

Una was maf, against her own will
She was forced by the game to plot, lie, and kill
To make matters worse, she was joined by two ladies
Whose histories in the game made them quite shady
This trio of femmes fatales hatched a grand plan
Involving an elaborate fake cop tip-off scam
It was meant for Night 1 but Una was tired
She didn’t have the stamina for the groundwork required
They shot Ariel; they had hoped she was cop
But she was just a citizen, so the kill was a flop
The next day the ladies thought they did swell;
Without even helping, the town jumped on Behl
On Night 2 Una sent a suspicious email
Hoping to help get the town off her trail
Sadly for Una, copper Fipp snuffed her out
And Sadly for Fipp he was fed to some trout
Perhaps if Fipp had not confided in Bets
Una would have lived and maf would have no regrets
But it looks like the fight will go on to Day Four
And all the maf have to do is kill one innocent more.
For the record, Una hates being maf, as she’s said
But she’ll relish the victory, still, from the dead.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ripped From The Headlines: Swimsuit Edition

Torn pants are funny. It's comedy gold! I don't think low-brow comedy goes to the ripped pants well often enough. When it happens in real-life, in public unexpectedly, it's really the best, and the more people witnessing it, the better. Only a few weeks ago, we had Phillip Chbeeb unexpectedly split his pants on So You Think You Can Dance during a broadway routine, and it was the best moment of that entire piece. Then earlier this week we got a new spin on an old classic; Swimsuit Malfunctions! You see, US Swimmer Ricky Berens tore the back of his swimsuit in a qualifying heat of the 4x100m relay freestyle at the World Swimming Championships in Rome. He was wearing one of those full-body corsetted swimsuits (that FINA just banned from use starting in 2010) when he leaned down to stretch before the race, and his suit tore.

"I kind of freaked out for just a second," Berens said. "I felt like [the hole] was almost down to my knees. I felt like I was putting on a pretty good show."

It was a really impressive tear. Take a look-see.

You have to be impressed with his presence of mind to keep going with the race.

Here is some serious butt cleavage. An athlete's ass, if ever i saw one fighting to break through from a polyurethane-blend swimming corsette. If you're gonna show everyone your bare butt, it helps to a physique that looks good naked.

Here's a more restrained shot of how bad the tear got as he entered the water. It's amazing any of the siut stayed together as he swam the race.

Finaly he finished the heat and is given some coverage. This never would've happened with the classic lycra speedo!

And here is a picture of Ricky's face. This was not taken in Rome, but in Beijing during the summer games last year. Apparently, neither AP nor Getty took a photo of his face in Rome on Sunday, just his exposed ass. Very thorough work there, photogs.

After all that, the US still won the event. That always eases the burn of embarrassment. Now it's time to go up a few trunk-sizes before Ricky gets back into the water. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

I ride corrected

For years I have taken the Long Island Railroad to visit my family out in Suffolk County. To get to the LIRR from my apartment in Astoria, I have always taken the N/W line to 34th Street in Manhattan and then gotten on the LIRR at Penn Station. My family has often asked me if it would not in fact be faster if I just went to get a train at Woodside station. I have always dismissed this notion, citing that it was easier to just stay on one subway instead of transferring to the 7 and going back into Queens.

I was wrong. It's MUCH faster to get off the N at Queensboro Plaza, jump on the 7 to 61st St/Woodside and get the LIRR right there. It cuts about 20-25 minutes off the travel time, plus I can leave my house later to get the same train. It's fantastic. I don't know why I refused to look into this earlier. I feel the need to publicly acknowledge that they were right and I was wrong on this matter. This reduced travel time was greatly appreciated this weekend when I had to make three trips back and forth. Time well-saved.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

This Blog Is A Battlefield

I know this song "Battlefield" has been out for a while now. Jordin Sparks performed it on Idol back in the Spring. It's obviously inspired by Pat Benatar's classic, "Love Is A Battllefield." How could it not be? Sparks' song asks a question that was answered by Benatar's song TWENTY-SIX YEARS AGO. The reason love always feels like a battlefield, is because love IS a battlefield. It's as simple as that. But, you know, despite some minor annoyance on my part at Ms. Sparks riding some Benatar coattails to a massively successful single, I was going to let it go without a public denouncement. Sure I love the Benatar, but let Jordin have her moment. It's also not wholly unfun to walk around one's apartment shout-singing "Battlefield! Battlefield!" in falsetto after hearing Ms. Sparks's song.

But then... this morning, while I was readying laundry, Ms. Sparks happened to be making an appearance on VH1's Top 20 Video Countdown, and host Jim Shearer asks her about the obvious connection between the songs. And Jordin was all "oh there are some people say that because "love" and "battlefield" are in the same sentence... but I didn't write the song so I don't know what their inspiration was behind it."


Jordin. The inspiration behind your song "Battlefield" is the 1983 classic song "Love Is A Battlefield." It's not that the songs sound the same beside those key words in the chorus. And I believe you when you say you love Pat Benatar's work, which is why you sang her songs during your time on Idol. But give me an effing break. Love is A Battlefield! Holly Knight with Mike Chapman should share a writing credit with Wayne Wilkins, Louis Biancaniello, Sam Watters and Ryan Tedder on your tune. I still love you, but let's not pretend we don't know what inspired your current single.

Friday, July 24, 2009

SYTYCD - Top 8, 100 Episodes In

So this week brings us to 100 Episodes of SYTYCD. Even a Presidential Prime Time News Conference couldn't stop this hot tamale train's momentum. We were treated to tons of routines by (mostly) new couples, got encore performances from previous seasons' Emmy-winning routines (there was a tie for the win in 2007 between Wade and Mia which is why we are lucky to get two Season 2 performances) there was a bizarre taped appearance by Katie Holmes, plus a shocking elimination. Overall, it was three busy hours of dance this week!

Performance night was uneven, with the dancers having to dance for times: a group number, a solo number and two partnered numbers. The group number was cool, but all the couples had at least one low-energy dance routine, mostly coming in the first hour of the show. I was pretty sure Melissa and Ade (reunited! and it feels so good!) would be going home after their first number but then their second number was a very emotional routine exploring the emotional depths of breast cancer, and that number really eclipsed everything else. Kayla and Jason's routines were solid, Jeanine and Brandon struggled a bit and Janette and Evan? I thought both of their routines were kinda forgettable. That proved to be worse for Janette than Evan - who has never been in the bottom 2, always gets the harshest critiques and has now seen 2 of his three partners get eliminated. Are you really gonna put him through to the finals, Voting Public? Disappointing. Janette, you left too soon and we will miss you. I also thought Jason had earned a ticket through with his performances this week, but his up and down journey through the rankings finally landed him at the bottom. I'm glad he made it to Top 10 though, because his last few routines were very good and he showed himself to be a much better dancer than at the beginning.

The much hyped Katie Holmes performance was really ridiculous and the less said about it the better. I'm sure her heart is in the right place with this charity they are starting, but I just don't see her as a dancer. Or a singer. Sorry! I hope everyone involved had a fun time.

Embedded below are my favorite routines of the week. You can also find them here, here and for an encore, here.

Top 6 Next Week - Let's see who makes it to The Finale. Can Evan keep up his unbelievable streak and stay out of the bottom? We shall see. Until then, dancers, happy 100th episodes and indulge in some of that birthday cake. I have a feeling you'll burn those empty calories right off.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Alice Jacobs is Dead and I'm Loving It

My friend Alex's movie, Alice Jacobs Is Dead, is premiering today at Comic-Con in San Diego. I'm so thrilled for him and for everyone else involved. I wish it so much success. It has already gotten a ton of positive advance notices. I wish I could be there in person to show my support. If you are at Comic-Con today, make it a point to check it out at 1:45pm in Room 26AB. Special shout-outs to Alex, Pete, Jacob, Ariana, Jen, Krainin and Bill for all their hard work. I can't wait for the post-con reports and an East Coast screening!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gaga Gone Too Far!

I hate Lady Gaga. I have no use for her entire persona. I have a sneaking suspicion that underneath all the artifice there might be a sweet young woman hanging around, but I don't think "Gaga" is edgy or sexy or provocative, like she's aiming to be. I think she's totally contrived and annoying. If I was to be generous, I'd say her songs were catchy. I mean, she is certainly momentarily popular. She's really the 21st Century's answer to Ace of Base, as if anyone was really begging the question. If there's anything mildly enjoyable about Gaga, it's the ridonkulous outfits she often wears around town. Every ensemble is a mixture of things ugly, humorous and odd. Sometimes she had weird face masks. Like she's wearing here:

Usually she has strange wigs and metal things attached to her face. Almost always, I find it totally desperate for attention. But recently she went too far.

First some background. It seems that French Designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac recently lost his ever-lovin' mind and designed a line of clothes based on hacked and slashed Muppets. See Below:

These things look weird enough in a runway setting, and should probably be left there, but you know once Gaga saw it she could not pass it by. Instead, she somehow found a way to heighten its creepiness and then wore it on German TV.

Step away from the frogs, Gaga, or I'm getting the People for the Ethical Treatment of Muppets after you. Don't drag my felt friends into your dementia. I won't stand for it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

SYTYCD Top 10 - Pass on the Doble

This week the Top 10 Performed with new partnerships a'plenty. It was overall a tough week as the dancers adjusted to having new partners. Only one couple really soared for me and that was Jason and Jeanine doing Travis's contemporary routine. That was really great. It seemed to redeem Jason after several weeks of so-so performances and cemented Jeanine's status as a front runner for final four. Evan's popularity remains a frustration for me since his routines are never fantastic and the judges continue to tell him so. It's not like he's a bad guy or a bad dancer. I don't enjoy rooting against him, but look at his competition! Who should we lose instead of him? Ade? Brandon? Please, Voting Public. Let it not be so.

Kupono and Randi got the axe, and that seems fair since their dance was easily the worst.Effing Paso Doble. The quick step has a bed rep on this show, but I think the Paso Doble has to have just as high an elimination rate. There's so much room for catastrophe. I was a little nervous for Melissa being in the bottom 2, but as much as I hate to admit it. she kinda belonged there this week. The Broadway number didn't feature her, her solo wasn't very memorable, and the competition is tight. I hope she has a good week next week, so she has a fighting chance to make it to Top 6.

This week also featured some awesome group numbers two of which I'll include in my top 3 routines of the week. You can see them here, here and here.

Next week marks the 100th episode of SYTYCD and it will thankfully feature some of the best routines from seasons past, plus katie holmes will do something to change the face of dance forever that will make the results show finally justify its hour-long run-time. Woohoo!

Also, for the 3rd week in a row here's my attempt to link to VAMPIRES and ALIENS.

Examining the Emmys: Shows I Don't Watch

You know, I've always been a fan of TV. It has sucked up more wasted hours than any other outlet in my life. I do love watching the same reruns over and over again. They are comforting and familiar. I also watch an unhealthy amount of TV during my week in prime time. It doesn't really stop me from being an active person (anymore), but with my DVR i can easily cram shows into the nooks and crannies of my daily life.

Now that being said, it takes something like the Emmy Award Nominations to bring to light how much television I DON'T watch, because frankly, when it comes to shows that get nominated, shows I watch almost none of them regularly. Here's a breakdown: there are 32 shows represented in the major scripted categories for best drama and comedy series, best lead actors and actresses and best supporting actors and actresses in comedy and drama as well. Of all those shows, I regularly watch only THREE - 30 Rock, Lost, and SNL. that accounts for only 3 hours of television watching a week. I also watch 4 of the shows nominated for top reality series, so that's another 4 hours. So that's 7 hours a week. But I watch much more than that! So in the Academy's eyes all the rest of the stuff I watch as crap. Awesome. Luckily, 30 Rock got 22 nominations, so I can root for that show in all it's many nominated categories. As for snubbed series like Battlestar Galactica and it's wonderful cast, I just shrug my shoulders and say it wasn't meant to be. For So You Think You Can Dance and host Cat Deely, both of whom are routinely overlooked, I say there is always next year! But let's take a minute to observe that while SYTYCD is not nominated for best competition series, Dancing with the Stars is nominated. If we scan down to the choreography nods, DWTS only has one, where SYTYCD has a whopping 4 nominations. So you have two shows based on dance routines and the show that's NOT nominated for best series dominates the actual choreography category. Scratch your head over that one.

p.s. - Congrats to Bill Sherman for his nomination in the Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music category for his composition for Storymakers on AMC with Bill's a great guy, and I hope he can add the Emmy to his mantle right next to his tony and his Grammy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SYTYCD - Top 12, Tours for Everybody!!

So last time I called my post Aliens vs. Vampires and then didn't talk at all about the Aliens and Vampires. Well, neither routine was in the top three and while Aliens didn't land in the bottom 3, Vampires did, so neither routine got spotlights. Here is Vampires and here is Aliens. The Alien one is totally bizarre, even for this show. I can't believe people actually voted it to safety.

This week had some good routines, but I have to admit I'm more than a little pissed that Melissa and Ade wound up in the bottom, while the continually-less-than-stellar Evan and Randi coasted through to safety. I really hope they fall early in the Top 10. Mia Michaels and Wade Robson really stole the show for the choreographers. The Argentine Tango was also superb, so along with the Wade piece, Brandon and Jeanette really cleaned up this week.

Phillip and Caitlin were ultimately cut, meaning I guessed wrong in my prediction, but that's okay, because I think the judges kept the right two in the Top 10. And they let everyone know who got cut this week didn't matter for the tour because they are keeping Phillip and Caitlin as the alternates. Good call, that. Now everyone can go home happy. Well, except for the other 8 previously cut dancers who now know they have no shot at making the tour. So it goes.

Here are my favorite dances this week. You can also find them here, here and here. And this one too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I have a mild ongoing interest with this show Superstars on ABC. It's not really that interesting or fun, but I've always had a soft spot for Battle of The Network Stars-style competitions (notable exceptions: Battle of the Network Reality Stars, and MTV's The Gauntlet -since I'm happy when reality stars go away and stay away. Notable exception: I Love Money.)

So the premise of this show is that a C-List celebrity is paired with a relatively well known pro athlete. Each week they partake in two kinda stupid physical challenges, ranked in a badly designed scoring system, and then the lowest-scoring teams have to run through (what certainly looks like) a relatively easy obstacle course (but more on this later) to avoid being eliminated. They all agreed to do this to raise money for charity and have a nice vacation in Bermuda for their troubles.

Now, I feel compelled to say that everyone involved seems to be having an enjoyable if somewhat unfocused time. I actually think almost all the teams come off likable and easy-going. Not always easy for competitive athletes and ego-driven actors, but they pull it off. The show's not totally miserable, but it could be a lot better with some very obvious adjustments that you feel were not made simply because no cared enough to put forth the effort. Like, if you are gonna separate the teams by color maybe you could outfit each teammate in the same shade of that color? So, you know, they look like a TEAM? I'm just sayin'. ABC...

Since the events themselves are kinda boring (running on sand! long jump into a pool!) , the real treat in watching the professional athletes struggle outside of their element. Let's examine the case of Lisa Leslie, who is a 4 time Olympic Gold Medal-Winning Athlete in Basketball. Lisa has sucked at EVERY event so far - even the one based on basketball! She has a positive attitude and seems baffled by her own major suckitude, but it's hilarious to see - especially when she gets caught in a cargo net on the obstacle course in Episode 1. When that happens, Lisa gets totally confused, climbs out the way she came in and tries to run the course backwards. I laughed and laughed. Lisa obviously takes her job as an athlete very seriously, but in the vacation-style setting of Superstars, she becomes completely unfocused and clumsy. It's amazing. But she hasn't yet lost enough to be eliminated from the show! Not for lack of not-trying!

Another huge hilarious disaster is the team of Terrell Owens and Joanna Krupa. In the clip below you will see that T.O. also has a LOT of trouble in those (rather straightforward) cargo nets and Joanna freaks the F out. She totally berates him for losing. It's excessive, but she seems genuinely pissed. I can't get enough of it.

They wound up getting eliminated the first week, but they came back when an injury to Jennifer Capriati - perhaps when she face-planted into the ground during the obstacle course - left a spot open in the competition for their return. They hung around and got along better in a few more episodes, until T.O. up and decided he had to go do something else and left the show, eliminating his partner from the competition in the process. Once again, she was pissed.

So right now there are 4 teams left and hopefully maybe only 2 episodes left. I'll watch until the show is over, but I couldn't care less how it turns out. The final showdown should be between Kristi Leskinen and Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Brandi Chastain and Julio Iglesias, Jr. (Navy Blue Team). I really like them and they seem the most into winning while being good sports. I wish I had another summer season of American Gladiators over on NBC to watch instead of this, but I will make do with the absurdist competition show that is presented with me. Contenders ready? Whistle!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

SYTYCD - Top 14 - Vampires vs. Aliens

Here it is, Top 12 week and I barely remembered to say something nice about top 14. It was an odd week. There were some good routines and some not so good routines and some really strange routines which might have been good or bad depending on your taste. For my money, Melissa and Ade and Branden and Jeanette are the strongest dancers and I always love their routines. Fading fast are Caitlin and Jason and Evan and Randi. Somewhere hiding in the middle ground are Phillip and Jeanine and Kupono and Kayla. Appropriately cut were Vitolio and Carla. Carla won my heart at the last moment, but the judges LOVE Kayla and Jeanine had the best solo in the history of solos (so I'm told by the judges, so it must be true) and Carla was odd dancer out. Vitolio had been struggling to avoid elimination for weeks so his elimination was no surprise - although Kupono's detached solo made it a closer call than it needed to be. Below are three of my favorite dances from this week. You can also find them here, here and here. I'm really interested to see how Top 12 results pan out. Some of the more popular dancers had a not so great week (I'm looking mostly at you, Evan!) so we'll see what voters decide. Top 10 and the Tour await!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Reflections on July 4th: Saved By The Bell Edition

On our Nation's birthday, let us reflect on what the 4th of July can mean to us by examining the differing viewpoints expressed by the contestants participating in the 1991 Malibu Sands Miss Liberty Pageant. I'm sure most everyone can get behind at least one of these four philosphies.

The Capitalist
Speaker: Lisa Turtle
Dressed as: Patriotic Background Dancer from a 90's rap video
Speech: The 4th of July means Freedom, Liberty and 50% off sales at all major department stores!
July 4th Philosophy: Show your love of country by buying our way out of a stalled economy.
Commentary: It's hard not to give in to those Holiday sales. And stimulating the economy really is your patriotic duty, so it's best not to feel bad about all the clothes you bought yourself this on Friday that you maybe didn't need. ...right? Sure it is!

The Proud Historian
Speaker: Jessie Spano
Dressed as: The Statue of Liberty
Speech: The 4th of July means America. Our Country... Well, actually it's not our country it belonged to the Indians who inhabited -
July 4th Philosophy: We cannot truly embrace the good in ourselves without acknowledging the bad.
Commentary: It's a bit of a buzzkill. And she says "Indians" instead of "Native Americans," so the usually politically correct Jessie, makes a stumble here. It probably costs her precious points.

The Uniter, Not the Divider
Speaker: Stacey Carosi
Dressed as: Independence Day Barbie
Speech: To me the 4th of July means a time of togetherness A time of family, friends, fun and fireworks that's The Fourth.
July 4th Philosophy: Come on people now, smile on your brother.
Commentary: Alliteration is cool, but this speech is a little nervous. I don't quite believe it in her eyes or in her tone of voice. Disappointing, Stacey!

The True Patriot
Speaker: Kelly Kapowski
Dressed as: Betsy Ross meets Minnie Mouse
Speech: To me the 4th celebrates something that our ancestors gave their lives for. Something that makes our country stand apart from so many others Today, on our nation's birthday, let us remember that one gift that makes America so special: Freedom.
July 4th Philosophy: Support the troops! Let freedom ring!
Commentary This one wins hands down, reminding us that we celebrate joy that came at the sacrifice of others.

No matter which philosophy you adhere to, I hope everyone out there had a wonderful Indepence Day Weekend. Happy Fourth of July to all, and to all a good night!