Monday, February 27, 2006
For Your Monday
The "new" Deuce Weekly is up. Enjoy.
Tomorrow is TWO YEARS for Stephanie and I. Happy Anniversary to us. I'll share my suit story, plus Idol recaps on Wednesday.
And I saw Andrea Brobst yesterday at church. How in the world did she get to be so pretty? And so grown up?
Have a good today & tomorrow!
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Uncle Dave's Weekend Funlinks
Let's just get my weekly Kelly Clarkson fix out of the way. Rolling Stone has posted some live Kelly Clarkson performances to enjoy.
Have you ever heard of PostSecret? You have now. Fascinating.
Being an American Idol junkie, its always fun to pick the worst singers... and the website Vote for the Worst lets you do just that. And yes, I could easily predict this week's winners there.
For me, it was "Jive Talking" by the Bee Gees. What song was #1 when YOU were born?
On a serious note, did you know that Sheryl Crow had breast cancer? I'm a huge Sheryl Crow fan, so I'm glad she's doing well.
I hope your computer can support this, because holy cow, this is funny. Its the trailer for the new Will Farrell movie "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby". Anything that has kids named Walker and Texas Ranger has me sold.
And finally, The Sports Guy "moderates" the first Atrocious GM Summit of the NBA. If you know anything about basketball, and what a bonehead Isiah Thomas is, you'll love this.
And in the shameless self-promotion department:
Don't forget, Sunday, March 5th, Oscar night is here, and so is the first annual Oscar Running Diary. All the jokes thats fit to print.
Check back on The Deuce Weekly's site on Monday as well, we'll be posting the "new" edition.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Dave's Reality Check III: The Results
7:10pm... Now they are showing the "road to the stage" clip segment... so we'll see what happens now.
7:15pm... Loved Pickler, loved Chris Daughtry, enjoyed Hispanic Bachelor Bob (though if he goes, I won't lose sleep over it) and I thought Gedeon was pretty good. My boy Taylor came through, as did My Girl McPhee. Lisa Turtle was really good, too, and so was Mandisa--Kinnik was good, but again, I won't lose sleep if she loses either.
7:17pm... don't want to like Paris, don't want to like Paris, don't want to like Paris...
7:18pm... Ryan is ready to chunk one of the chicks. Least number of votes. Mandisa is standing. Pickler is up. Paris is up. Ayla is up. Lisa Turtle is up. My Girl Katie McPhee is up. They are all safe--duh, I knew that. The moment that Pickler and My Girl McPhee were in the same line, of course they were safe (at least for this time).
7:19pm... Going over the front row. All the chicks I could lose are there. Heather, Stevie and Melissa are safe. (I thought Stevie would go, almost definately). Brenna, Becky and Kinnik are left. One will stay. The other two will go home.
7:20pm... I call it right now... Brenna goes home. If there is hope in this world, besides Jesus, its that Brenna will go home.
7:24pm... Out of the three, I like Becky the most, but Kinnik sang the best. Ryan is rehashing the judges comments. Kinnik... sits. Brenna and Becky are left. One will go home. CRAP! BECKY IS GOING HOME! Not that I loved Becky, but that means Brenna is staying! Crap!
By the way, this story surfaced in the last day or so, but I don't think she's out because of it. It was the rendition of "Because the Night". And to protect your thought life, I'm not going to link to the pics. Sorry.
7:34pm... Time to get rid of a guy.
7:35pm... Anthony Federov Part II just macked. The American Idol Chicken Little just got his mack on. I love this country.
7:36pm... Bucky, Patrick, John Stevens 2, Gedeon, Will, Taylor... all safe. Again, duh. Front row, Ace and Elliott are safe. Chris, Anthony Federov Part II just sat down, safely. Leaving Sway and Hispanic Bob the Bachelor. And who's going home? I don't care, honestly. Neither will make it to the final 12.
7:38pm... Bobby Bennett is going home.
7:46pm... Back row is safe--no one moved, so again, I say duh. Brenna is safe. (crap). Kinnik is safe. Melissa McGhee is safe. And Stevie and Heather? Who goes home? Who cares.
7:47pm... In a very mean fashion, Stevie Sticks is going home.
7:55pm... Seacrest is ready to dump another guy. The one with the 2nd lowest number. Sway, Federov Part II, Ace and Daughtry are safe.
7:56pm... Bucky and Patrick have been reviewed. Gedeon, Taylor, JPL V2.0 and the other guy are safe. So Bucky and Patrick... one goes home. And its Patrick. So Bucky stays. Weird.
That's the night. I'll have Survivor updates tomorrow.
Dave's Reality Check II: Idol Dudes
So, I'm watching the guys tape of Idol, and we'll see how they do.
- Patrick Hall, singing "Come to My Window". Melissa Ethridge??? Stephanie loves this guy. This is one of my Top 100 songs of all time, so I hope he serves it. And... he's eh. Oh dear God... his mom has lips the size of Pelham. Lipo, baby. Its a dude singing Melissa Ethridge, which I guess might be the same thing, but still... Randy said it was okay. Paula said "your niche was what you did in your auditions", which is the nice way of saying "it was terrible", which Simon said it was.
- David Radford, singing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" . He's the other guy Steph really likes. And he might as well be John Stevens 2. So JP2 croons... and really, truly sounds like a party entertainer. Randy said "terrible". He was right. It sounded like freakin' DeuceFestDeuce's singalong night. Paula liked it (of course she did). Simons says "be better in your style".
- Bucky Covington... wait, his name is Bucky? You expect me to support and vote for to win, then buy an album by a guy named Bucky? Yes, he's the guy you'd expect to see on Cops, wearing a wifebeater and whizzing in the bushes. Bucky. Bucky. He's singing "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. He's like the welfare Bo Bice. When I used to go out with Millie Reeves in college, we'd go to Tony's Bar for karaoke night. I think we've seen this guy. I didn't like him at all... Randy said "don't push the voice". Paula, of course, liked him. Simon reiterated my point about a bar singer. Bucky. You know, he could grow on me. I dont think he should win at all, but he might be entertaining.
- Jon Peter Lewis, Version 2.0, singing "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5. Bold move. He looks like a Savage brother (Fred and Corey?). He's actually not bad. He's like the guy in high school that all the girls consider their best friend, but no one will seriously go out with him, and he ends up waiting and finding a precious treasure later. Wait, that's me. I like JPL V2.0's white guy dancing too. Randy said "you did your thing". Paula says "Bobby Brady... I loved Bobby Brady" Simon says "average". Right now, JPL V2.0 has got his eyes set on Pickler, I can see it.
- Sway, singing "Reasons" by Earth Wind & Fire. He's the guy who forgot the words to "Its In His Kiss", which everyone knows. He's singing like a soprano with a cold... and he's trying to get the EWF sound, but he's no Philip Bailey. And he's wearing a pimp hat. I will say he's different, hitting that falsetto. He just looks like a goob. Randy liked it. Paula liked it. Simon used the word "pimpy"! He's copying me, I swear.
- Chris Daughtry, "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi. This has the potential to be AWESOME. And I'm hearing it now... and its AWESOME. I would buy a CD by this guy. And I can only say that about one other person I've heard so far, and thats Pickler.You have to be at least 25 or older right now to appreciate this song, I'll be honest. Randy says "Great performing voice... it was hot". Paula has been wowed. Simon says "for the first time tonight, I'm hearing potential. Charisma."
- Anthoney Federov Part II, "One Last Cry" by Brian McKnight. The words "in over his head" come to mind. He's doing his best McKnight imitation... but I'll tell ya, I've sung this song to chicks in college just as well as he's doing (Katherine "Ends Up Being Psychotic" Gates comes to mind). Randy said "That wuz da bomb". Paula says "you make me beam". Simon says it was horrible. Thank you Simon. And like JPL V2.0, he's every chick's little bro.
- Gedeon McKinney, "Shout" by the Isley Brothers. This should be fun. I have hopes for this guy... something about him I like. Maybe its the Warrick Brown factor. Bring it brother. I'm liking it... I'm liking it... he's doing it... making it do what it do, baby... and he's got the entire audience, including the Idol Chicks on the side, up on their feet, always a good sign. I really liked it--nothing over the top or nothing that blew me away, but very good performance. Randy liked it. Paula liked it. Simon says it looked like a Chippendales audition.
- Elliott Yamin, "If You Really Love Me" by Stevie Wonder. I think he's in the trailer next to Bucky. Bucky. Sheesh. E-Y is singing Stevie, and he admits that he sings it karaoke back home. This guy just looks odd. I think I'd buy a Sway Box Set before picking up E-Y's EP. And, of course, Randy loved it. Paula loved it. Simon said "potentially... the best male vocalist we've ever had." WHAT?? WHAT??
- Bobby Bennett, the Hispanic Bob Guiney. He's singing "Copacabana". What? He's singing Barry? I didn't know about this guy to begin with... but I think I like him. Somehow he's got what Scott Savol didn't... whatever it is, Scott didnt have it, Hispanic Bob does. Holy crap... I don't even know what to think about that. It was absolutely goofy--and I LOVED it. Randy said "aight". Paula said "entertainer". Simon says "Barry Manilow is screaming from a hotel right now... that was a complete nightmare."
- Ace Young, singing "Father Figure". Trust me, I don't feel bad at all about having a thing for Pickler, or My Girl McPhee. Steph is all about some Ace Young and the Ace Hair. She told me I'd look horrible with that hair, but on Ace, it works. HOWEVER... singing this song, she may not like him anymore--she HATES this song. He's doing it justice, though, I will say that. I personally think this song is awesome... a little bit on the edgy side for some of my reading audience (which might just be Jaci...). And he's hitting the notes, too. Randy loves Ace. Paula says "all of her girlfriends... and some of her guy friends... love him". Simon said Ace has the "X" factor.
- And finally... my boy Taylor Hicks, singing "Levon" by Elton John & Bernie Taupin. Good song. Come on, Taylor, bring it. I actually don't know that Taylor can stand up straight and lock his knees. Not bad, though... I think Daughtry won this round, but Hicks will be here another day, I can tell ya. Randy says "you got it, dude", and Paula says "You exude". They both said he's different than any other guy on the show, ever. Simon says "To begin with, I didnt think you'd make the finals... I was wrong."
And now... for the results show... to be blogged live...
Dave's Reality Check I: Idol Chicks
I'll type as I watch each contestant. When I'm done, I'll post this, then watch the guys, post it, then watch the Idols results show... and then post. Whats a blog site for?
And here we go...
- Mandisa, singing "Never", an 80s rock song from Heart. Channeling Nancy Wilson, not too bad. Little over the top, I think. Randy liked the performance, Paula loved her, Simon likes Mandisa
Man, I hate the number motions when they talk to Ryan. Ryan says "866-IDOLS-02" and whoever is there does the "O" and the "2" with their fingers.
- Kellie Pickler, "How Far" by Martina McBride. Nice pipes. Rough here and there. You can tell she's nervous as crap. Her twang is coming through the song, which is kinda funny. Another rough spot. Yikes. Randy said she did okay, Paula did the whole "you didn't do well, so I'll talk about how great YOU are", and Simon repeated Paula. But when she's talking to Ryan, telling a story of her gramps, how can you not like her?
- Becky O'Donohue (who? oh yeah, the model looking chick with the sick twin sister), "Because the Night", Patti Smith (though she might be going for the 10,000 Maniacs version...). She's trying to rock out, but she looks like she's going to eat the microphone. Good show, bad ending. Randy likes her. Paula says so-so. Simon says "better than he expected" but "you aren't good enough".
By the way, all the contestants are up on the balcony watching, clapping and grooving... you know they are all secretly wanting whoever is singing to totally fall on their face.
- Ayla Brown, the basketball girl, singing "Reflections" by Christina Aguilera. Tough song. Ayla is kinda pretty, in a Jennifer Herndon sort of way. Sings pretty decently. There's just nothing special about her. Randy and Paula like her. Simon did too.
- Paris Bennett, who went Billie Holliday on the auditions and dominated. She's singing "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight and the Pips. She's got a great voice, but there's something totally annoying about her. Maybe its that she's what, 9? Her hair is even like Gladys Knight. I have this Fantasia fear about her... she'll only get better, she'll make the final two against someone who shouldn't be there, win the whole thing, and I'll dislike her the entire spring, making my 14 weeks invested in this crap wasted time. And the judges absolutely love her, just like Fantasia. Well, shoot me now. And unlike Fantasia, she seems nice... I'm afraid I might actually like Paris before its over. Darn it!!
- Stevie Scott, "To Where You Are", an opera song. She sings in French, Italian, German, Latin and English. And she looks like a popsicle stick with eyes. And I call it right now... she's going home. I actually just went and did the laundry while she was singing--there is just nothing about this girl that interests me. Randy was bored. Simon was bored ("horrible child singing"). Paula said she liked it. Poor girl, smiling while Ryan's talking, though you can tell she's fighting back tears.
- Brenna Gethers, "Sunshine of My Life". Can I tell you how much I don't like this girl? With Paris, she's just kind of annoying. With Brenna, its attitude. I can't tell you how much I want this chick to puke on herself on national tv. She's not starting too great, either. Just fast-forwarded through it. Don't even want to see her. Randy says "eh". Paula says "okay". Simon says "horrible". Good for him. She's posing. I'm sticking bamboo shoots in my fingernails.
That commercial just came on, where the chick says "I'll call you later" and the guy waits for several days before she does. I love the song behind it... "good to hear your voice, you know its been so long". Who sings it? I dont know!
- Heather Cox, "When You Tell Me You Love Me" by Vonzell Solomon (last year's AI). She looks like someone, I just don't know who. I don't know how I feel about Heather Cox... I want to like her, I just don't have a reason yet. Her voice is eh. I like watching her sing, but thats not just because she's borderline cute. Randy was unimpressed. Paula was unimpressed. Simon says she was forgettable.
- Melissa McGhee, "When the Lights Go Down" by Faith Hill. Who is this chick? Like Heather Cox, I want to like her, there's just nothing about her (yet) that I do like about her. Voice is cracking. A few bad notes. I didn't like it. Randy says "you worked it out". Paula says "shining moment". Simon says "good, but not very memorable." She admits that this is the first time Idol has shown her at all--which means nothing good.
- Lisa Turtle, "I Am Changing" by Jenn Holliday. Actually she's Lisa Tucker, but if Saved By The Bells' Lisa had a love child with the chick that played Sarah on Head of the Class, she would be it. So Lisa Turtle is doing her thing... I REALLY like this chick. And she just kicked that song all over the place. Rock. On. Lisa. Turtle. She's so cute for 12 years old, with her 1988 Whitney Houston haircut. And the judges love her.
- Kinnik Sky, "Get Here" by Oleta Adams. I know nothing about this girl, but I do love this song, so lets see what she does with it.... she just sang it. Kinnik just won me over. A little overdone at the end, but very, very good. And thats a hard song to belt it on. And she LOOKS so amazing and classy. Randy says "so-so". Paula loved it. Simon says "cabaret". I liked it, darn it.
- And finally, My Girl Katie McPhee! Singing "Since I Fell For You", by (ugh) Barbra Streisand. Sing too many Babs songs, Katie, and you'll fall below Lisa Turtle on my radar. Oh, she's bringing it, ain't she? Go girl. Her voice is solid, but she's almost afraid to look sultry, which is what this song requires. Its like a subdued Steph Nipp singing Santa Baby a few years ago. My Girl McPhee did it, though. Randy really liked it. Paula says "You might go all the way". Simon says "You were the best tonight". I agree.
Going home? I'd say Heather, Becky, Kinnik or Stevie. Now... I'll watch the guys.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
I'll Be In the Bathroom If You Need Me
Its 1145pm, I just in from work at The Bucks, and my stomach still hurts from lunch. Where, you ask, was lunch? At the nearby Top China Buffet, a place that is slowly earning its place in the elite group of things I like to call the Cindy Howell Circle of Unwanted Desirability--that is, stuff you know will break you, but you feel drawn to it anyway. (Which is one of several human nature hypotheses I've developed from people along the way, joining the Susie Franks Relational Corollary and the Dixon Brock Attraction Theory, but thats for another day)
I like meeting people for lunch, do it all the time. Guys and girls, lunches are good ways to catch up and chat and have fun. In fact, I was supposed to meet my pal Jaci at Top China one of these days. But, I do enjoy eating alone sometimes. Just like going to the movies alone, you don't have to keep up with anyone, talk to anyone, just go, do your thing and leave. I take a book with me, sit and read while I eat.
I hate traditional Chinese food. Now, I do like some Japanese, which I guess could be the same things, depending on your slant on things. Ha! I crack myself up. (no, i'm not going to hell, but a jewel just popped out of my crown for that remark). Yes, I just wrote a column on race, and yes I'm now joking about a Chinese resaturant. All "you're a hypocrite" emails can be sent straight to me, care of...
Top China Buffet is one of those Asian food places where you pay one price, eat all you want. I've been going there about once every two weeks, occassionally more every so often, for a month or two now, and you can add it to Kelly Clarkson, Black Cherry Vanilla Coke, Lost, The Sports Guy, crappy Nic Cage action movies and Cold Case Files on A&E as stuff I'm addicted too. My addiction list runs much further, really, but you get the point.
I had to run up to the church today for a few minutes, so I thought, "before I go, I'll stop and eat me some Top China Buffet." I had planned on having my quiet time first, but I figured I would do that tonight during my break at work (which I did) and today, just take the book I'm reading.
Today, I had waaaay too much sweet & sour chicken, though its not really sweet & sour without the sauce (I just douse it in ketchup), some sesame chicken, some imitation crab salad--which, by the way, I think I like better than real crab meat, green jello and a few other assorted and assundried things. Things that weren't the great for me. Not in the least.
Three weird phenomenons I've noticed in this place--
1) Tons of Mexicans. They love this stuff (should I say "we" love this stuff?). Funny how I've never seen any Chinese people in a Mexican restaurant.
2) The music. Last time I was in there, I heard songs that sounded like The Beach Boys and Celine Dion... except it was in an Oriental language. It was as if someone had translated "My Heart Will Go On" into Mandarin, and begun to sing with the Titanic Soundtrack in the background. I also swear I heard Hasselhoff.
3) Fried crab salad. Its the weirdest darn stuff, but I LOVE IT. Had a heapin' helping of it. Don't know... don't want to know... how they make it.
I actually grabbed some stuff labeled "Bacon Crab Wrap". Didn't look like bacon or crab, but I took some anyway. Took a bite when I got to the table... it was crusty, with some sort of brown paste inside. It wasn't until I went back for seconds (thirds?) that I realized the Bacon Crab Wrap was on the other side, very obvious it was crab wrapped in bacon. Again... don't know... don't want to know... what I was eating at first.
If I were to tell you the result of my lunch and its after effects on me today, the letters "T", "M" and "I" would probably pop in most of your brains (except for the Deuce guys... they'd be proud of me). Well, enough about that. I'm going to grab the book I actually am reading and... well, take some time out for me.
PS... Don't forget--March 5th, the 2006 Academy Awards Running Diary... and Friday, Dave's Weekly Reality Check with this week's American Idol & Survivor
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
The Race Card
Saturday night, I'm at Starbucks working. My fellow baristas include Chris on the bar and Brian behind the counter. I had noticed we hadn't been really busy, but as the hours grew later, we did get a large number of teenagers in the cafe, which is not unusual. We had also served several older people, including two named Jackie and... and I can't remember his name--doesn't matter. What does matter, only because this comes into play later, is that they were both black.
In the cafe, in one corner are a group of about five black kids. None of them have a drink, none of them have spent any money with us, they are all just sitting in the corner in our comfy blue chairs. On the other side, is a group of white kids, five or six, and only one has a drink. Everyone else is just there. Though I could have asked them all to leave, it would have been tougher with the white group, because one did in fact have a drink. So, as the shift supervisor, I let it go.
As I'm ringing up another couple, Chris hollers to me from the bar, "Hey Dave... we have a problem in the parking lot. Some of these kids are getting rowdy." Great. Just what I want to hear. I asked Brian to finish up the transaction I was doing, and with a sigh, I headed outside. Most of the kids that had been taking up space in our cafe have moved outside, and it looks like a rumble.
I walked out, first asking a few girls that I saw what was going on. "I don't know... we just got here," said one of them. "Ask those guys." She pointed at several boys--all colors, mind you--that were probably all 13 to 15 years old. None of them could drive, I think, because most, if not all, were waiting for parents.
I stood in the middle of the group and asked loudly, "Okay, whats going on out here?" I got about ten voices at once, and finally pointed at one guy, asking for an explination. He gave me some story about some kids who were pushing them around, and how they weren't going to take it and blah blah blah blah.
"Okay, I don't care who did what, there is not going to be a fight in front of our store. Take it somewhere else." I announced. All the boys started talking again, at the same time. I noticed a woman sitting in a van nearby, so I walked up and she rolled down the window. She was probably in her late 30s, maybe early 40s.
Van Lady explained that some sort of disagreement was going on, and that her son (sitting next to her) had been slapped by one of the boys who was no longer there. She was a teacher, and since she knew several of the kids there, she wanted to wait until their parents came to pick them up. I told her that I was planning on calling the police to patrol the area, because I didn't want something to happen in our parking lot.
Mind you, there are still about ten to fifteen boys roaming around here, many using all sorts of fun language, and one black kid who seemed to like the "n" word an awful lot. Van Lady then pointed to one kid in a Carolina Panthers and said, "...and this boy was very disrespectful to me when I tried to talk to him..."
Carolina, of course, came over. "I wasn't rude to you, I told you you'd better step back before you get hurt and..." and Van Lady responded with "...I am an adult, and you need to respect me and..." so I had to yell loudly, "Hey... calm down, calm down. You (pointed to the kid) step back. Step back, man. You (Van Lady) roll up your window and let it go" I wanted back inside and called the Vestavia Non-Emergency Police Line, asking for an officer to just come to the area before we had an incident. Remember the police department is about 100 yards from Starbucks Vestavia.
As I began to walk back outside, I noticed kids were starting to disperse (I'm guessing they told each other I was calling the police). Some of the main black boys from outside were now inside, all in the corner again, none of them with a purchase in their hands. I said, very nicely, "Okay guys... none of you are customers, you haven't bought anything, so I'm going to have to ask you to give up the comfy chairs and step outside." They all complied, and I followed them out. I announced to the other kids outside that the cops had been called. One tall white kid said, "Man... everytime we come up here, those guys always mess with us and..."
I had to cut him off. "Listen, dude. I don't care. You guys can rumble if you want, but take it somewhere. There is a parking deck there--meet up, have a ball. You are not going to do it here." Van Lady was leaving, Carolina was gone and it looked like the disaster had been averted.
I opened the door to go back in, when Jackie and her man were walking out. I forced a smile and said, "Have a good night."
Jackie sweetly smiled at me, simply saying "Now you know that wasnt right."
"You mean what happend out here?"
"No... I mean you asking them kids to to leave. You didn't say anything to those white kids."
"Ma'am, I..." and before I could say anything else, she and Her Man were walking away. He held up her hand behind her as if to say "don't want to hear it."
Essentially, my decision to clear the cafe of non-paying customers was viewed by Jackie as a racist move. Of course, assuming my motives were racist based on only what she heard (inside, not outside) and what she saw is itself a racist statement, because she didn't know what was happening outside--therefore she assumed because those kids were black, and I wasn't, I didn't want them around the store.
So, Jackie and Jackie's man walked away, thinking that someone at Starbucks Vestavia has at least somewhat of a racist tone.
If you go to Guthries, you get bad service, as in, cold chicken, bad tea, whatever, you tell your friends about it. Based on that, most will probably go anyway, because I personally have never had a really bad experience there. On the same token, Jackie will now tell her friends that she had a racial experience at Starbucks, undoubtably adding her own embellishments to what she actually heard and saw. This is unfortunate, because this is the type of experience that would keep other people from coming.
It really upset me, to be honest. I didn't let on, because we had a job to finish, but when I got home, I unloaded on Stephanie. We talked about it until probably 2 in the morning. I think it bothers me so much because when someone calls you lazy, stupid or arrogant, those are things that all be remedied... being accused of racism, or at least acting with racist motives... that cuts to your moral value and integrity. Really hard to handle, I think.
Anyway, the night finished without incident, the police, headquartered 100 yards away, never showed up (or I never saw them--I'd like to think they would come in to find out who called and why), and life goes on.
A few days later, I'm still rolling the incident in my mind, though I'm now thinking it won't join "Ryan Smith thinks I got him fired" and "Melanie Dill stopped hanging out with me" and "Why Jaci didn't come to my wedding" (just kidding...) as major events that years later, I'm still seeking closure on. I know me, I know who I am, and more importantly, so do most of you. So, Jackie, if you are reading this, come see me. We can talk "Free at Last", Rosa Parks and assumption.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
The Deuce Weekly Returns
On February 19th, 2001, I sat down in front of the computer I worked on, on the third floor of Saks Incorporated's Parisian Buying office over 7500 Industrial Drive. I typed out the following addresses and names from memory into an email:
David Dollar 'david_dollar'; 'Lupe618' (Ginger Thomas); 'jkpsmile' (Jennifer Pritchett); 'jfberthon' (Jill Berthon); 'Litlman16' (Matt Latta); 'brazzma' (Meredith Brazell); 'email@example.com' (Meredith Quintana); 'Chelle0831' (Rachelle Thomas); 'RossManSF' (Ross Kingrey); 'kawlalove' (Sarah Hasha); 'slcampbe' (Stephanie Campbell); 'SNIPP2@aol.com' (Stephanie Nipp); 'lnipp' (Lynn Nipp); 'drj711' (Justin Glenn); 'lucy913' (Dana Mitchell); 'GuitarGuy25' (Brad Latta); 'sybil' (Sybil Johnson); 'ntcoffey' (Ty Coffey); 'CoachFuly' (The Wookiee); 'jessic5384' (Jessica Caldwell); 'DivAmy' (Amy Anderson); 'beccamos' (Amy Valdmanis); 'clberthon' (Cheryl Berthon); 'powelld' (Daniel Powell); 'dmo1' (David Mark Osborne); 'reddvl777' (Stephanie Crook); 'TIDE1AMY' (Amy Wible; 'lbeauty17' (Leslie Cordell); 'alil6' (Alison Lecroy); 'bigslam22' (Amanda Abbott); aldennistx' (Amy Dennis); 'jessielou21' (Jessica Caldwell); 'mockron' (Rona Mock); 'aubiti7' (Nikki Brown); 'culpelb' (Brook Culpepper); 'Wendy.j.brobst' (Wendy Brobst); 'hpkhill' (Hillary Kelly); 'nhtutor' (Nathan Tutor); 'justinsmith52' (Justin Smith); tmjohn (tom); shawngalensharp (shawn sharp); nubjubjr (Mikey)
"The Deuce Weekly 2/20"
And thus it began.
To see the rest, travel over to The Deuce Weekly blogpage, and check it every week for the next edition, each debuting five years from its original date.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Weekend Links for Your Enjoyment
First up, a station here in Birmingham has posted three Taylor Hicks songs available for free download. I especially like "Hell of a Day". Is it bad to say I'm a much bigger Taylor fan than I was a Bo fan?
Two other blogsites of mine are about to get moving soon... starting Monday, The Deuce Weekly goes up. Also, Dave's Random Emails of Encouragement will also go up starting next week sometime, starting with "Stephen", the first I wrote in 1999.
For some political wrangling, here's an intriguing article on the Democratic positioning for a Senate race. It's from Mother Jones Magazine.
For the Osar-philes, which I proudly say I am, Entertainment Weekly has posted an article on this year's Oscar nominees, and their past movie roles, or "gems" as they call them. Don't forget, there will be a live Oscar diary running during the March 5th telecast on this site.
Over on Vh1's site, they have a section called "You Oughta Know", with artists that... well, they think you should know. One of these is KT Tunstall, who's song "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" as taken over the playlist in my mind... its infectious, its fun and it will get you moving. You can watch the video and see live performances by KT.
I'm a big proponent of how dangerous internet porn is, so places like XXX Church really make me smile. (also on the side links)
Ken Lass and Wendy Garner finally have a page on WDJC's website. Its not much, but its a start. Despite my working with Brooke Smith, Liz Artz and others, its well documented of my boyish crush on Wendy. She thinks its funny.
And finally, last night I stumbled across this treasure. Didn't know it was even available... and not sure how much I'd pay for it--certainly not $29.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Reality Check -- AI's 24 and Misty Gets Booted
Here's my Top 12 Girls:
12... Kinnik Sky, 28, from Duluth, GA. Who?
11... Brenna Gethers, 25, Mt Vernon, NY. She admits to owning Hoobastank's "The Reason". Punt her. She really annoyed me in her auditions and in Hollywood too... very diva-esque.
10, 9, 8 and 7... Becky O'Donohue, Heather Cox, Melissa McGhee and Stevie Scott. Who, who, who and who?
6... Paris Bennett, 17, Fayetteville, GA. She really annoys me. She sounds like Billie Holiday, though, which will probably carry her to the finals.
5... Mandisa, 29, Antioch, TN. She impressed the heck out of me with basically sharing Christ with Simon on Wednesday night's episode. Very Frenchie sounding too, which is a good thing.
4... Ayla Brown, 17, Wrentham, MA. She's tall enough to scare me. Good voice, good work ethic with playing ball and being on Idol at the same time.
3... Lisa Turtle, 16, Anaheim, CA. Shocking that we haven't seen Screech right there with her. I just want to have Paris Bennett's Billie Holiday sound, and darn it, she'd be #1 I think.
2... Katharine McPhee, 21, Los Angeles, CA. Her mom was a voice teacher, which means she's had some proper training. She's cute but not too cute--which means she can't rely on her looks to make it through.
1... Kellie Pickler, 19, Albemarle, NC. Love this chick! Love her twank, she's got an awesome voice, and her resemblance to Carrie Underwood is only helping me like her more. With dad in prison, what a story.
Dave's Prediction for the Top Six Finalists: Paris, Lisa Turtle, Katharine McPhee, Pickler, Mandisa and either Brenna (because she's just annoying enough to make it), Becky or Heather (only because either are pretty hot)
And here are the Top 12 Guys:
12... Sway, 28, San Fran. You're kidding, right?
11... Bucky Covington, 28, Rockingham, NC. He just seems like a guy I've seen on Cops before, wearing a wifebeater and cursing at police while whizzing in the yard.
10... Bobby Bennett, 19, Denver, CO. He reminds me too much of Scott Savol, who I could not stand, but he's got a Bob Guiney sense of humor, which I like. He could grow on me--if he lasts.
9... Anthony Fedorov Part II, 16, Levittown, NY. He's like one Italian gene away from being Vinnie on Doogie Howser.
8, 7, 6 and 5... David Radford, Elliott Yamin, Patrick Hall and John Peter Lewis Version 2.0. Can YOU tell them apart right now? I didn't think so.
4... Ace Young, 25, Denver, Co. He'll do well because he's so dashing. Steph loves him.
3... Gedeon McKinney, 17, Memphis. A very Charles Grigsby look about him, with young Anwar hari. I like him, though. He might do well.
2... Chris Daughtry, 26, McLeansville, NC. This guy rocks. I love the fact he married a woman with kids, and she was all crying because she was so proud...
1... Taylor Hicks, 29, The Ham, Al. Taylor is my boy! He, unlike Bo, seems like the kind of guy that I would love to just hang out with, watch some football and lament on chicks and movies. This guy rules.
Dave's Predictions for the Final Six Guys: Taylor, Chris, Gedeon, Ace, Bobby Bennett (because there's always one) and Anthony Fedorov Part II (because there's always another)
On Survivor tonight, I'm finally getting a sense of who these people are-sort of. Freak of the Week Shane was still all hot and bothered, going crazy over a stump he declared his "thinking seat". At first, it looked to be in jest, but he went on and on, yelling more and more. Courtney was definately not a fan...
As winner of the reward challenge, La Mina picked Bruce Miyagi to go back to Exile Island and spend another night there. Since they showed us very little of his time there, it would not shock me if he found the idol.
Bruce comes back for the immunity challenge, which was flippin' awesome, as the editors worked overtime to blur out body parts falling all over the place. They put bags in the sand, and teams went mano-a-mano to find them--I dont know what Jeff was doing, but it took over half the challenge for him to yell out "hey, no choking or kicking!". Where ya been, Jeff? For the Misty/Danielle rumble, I swear all we needed was some mud.
Casaya takes it, leaving La Mina going to tribal. My girl Sally and Misty worked overtime on Austin and Nick, swaying their vote to the Crypt Keeper... but in the end, Misty says so long to Survivor.
If you are keeping score at home, and I know you are, here's how our annual Survivor game is going... Michael, Ashley, Steph and myself all have teams of four... once all your team have been voted out, you're out. Mikey and I both have full teams, with Mikey having Sally, Ruth Marie, Austin and Bruce Miyagi, and my having Courtney, Cirie, Bobby and Freak Shane. Steph has Danielle, Nick and Dan, having already lost Melinda last week. Ashley has Eros and Terry, losing Tina the first week and Misty tonight.
A Captive No More
Tonight, in my quiet time, I was reading Jeremiah 29:11 & 12. I've been working through the "31 Days of Prayer" book that my church, Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship) has been sending us through, preparing us for the Worldreach Missions Week.
For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Thats verses 11 and 12.
Even though it didn't say it, I read on to verse 13... You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Is that why I'm having a hard time finding him? Not seeking with all my heart?
Then I read 14 and it all came home. It says "I will be found by you and will bring you back from captivity." My commentary in my Bible's footnotes say "God may be preparing you, as he did the people of Judah, for a new beginning with Him in the center."
Somehow it clicked. No more NBC. New life at Starbucks. Struggles with habitual sin, only to be broken free by Him. A feeling of restlessness for months now, like there is something else, like there is something more for me to do... something... something. One day. Perhaps not now, but God has a purpose for my life, for my life with Stephanie, for my life at Valleydale, for my life in Hiim. Something. Something. I dont know what, but something.
Sin is such a captor. It keeps you from learning, it keeps you from seeking, it keeps you from desiring. From growing. From being in his will. Let sin be, it won't let you be. Suddenly, you just feel complacent. Then one day you just wake up and decide, "you know what? this sucks. life is more than this." Then you pull out the Sword and begin to go through it. Then prayer becomes more prevelant. Then Scripture becomes more necessary. Then things begin to click, at least with whats happened so far.
Its really late, I'm really tired, but I felt I had to share what God was sharing with me. "I will bring you back from captivity."
A captive no more, I delight in You, God. I desire in You, Lord. I want to see Your face, I want to lead Stephanie with an open heart and a faithful spirit. Here I am at freakin' 12:21am, just typing aimlessly (if this isn't what a blogsite is for, I dont know then)... I'm sleepy, but I can't sleep because I know I haven't been in the Word so far today. And I'm guessing that for the first time, something clicked. Something in the Word is filling me with Joy. Even just a small taste of the freedom, learning to live in the freedom that is Christ's forgiveness...
Here's some lyrics to one of my all time favorite Christian songs, one by Jill Paquette.
Throwing off the fetters and working on a smile.
Because its time that I felt better oh than I have in a while
I want to say I need You, don't leave until I try
Because I've been holding onto shadows, holding them inside
And they come from what I've learned in life and they put my faith to the test
Testing my drive, pulling me under, but hope won't be kept down forever
Lift my eyes, I've seen light lost to darkness, but You made a promise
So lift my eyes, trusting You wil be faithful, I'll do all that I'm able
Believing there's freedom in a life lived forgiven.
No room here for the both of you, but who should I ask to go?
One holding out my Pardon, one holding all I've ever known
Love tells me without speaking, resonating in my soul
With a light that's ever reaching, ever letting me go
And some things make me want to hide from life, and some things put my faith to the test
Testing my drive and it's not over, oh no, its not nearly finished yet
Lift my eyes, I've seen light lost to darkness, but You made a promise
So lift my eyes, trusting you will be faithful, I'll do all that I'm able
Believing there's freedom in a life lived forgiven.
Believing there's freedom in a life lived forgiven.
I believe it.
How about you?
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Cheney: The Only News Around
Okay, so lets get the obvious out of the way. Vice President Dick Cheney shot a guy in the face. He was hunting this past weekend, and accidentally put "birdshot" in the face of friend Harry Whittington, 78.
To clarify what birdshot is, if you shoot a bird with a shotgun, you are pretty much not going to have a bird. Birdshot is really just little pellets that kill the animal while keeping it intact. So Whittington got a face full of birdshot. This happened on Saturday, 630pm, in Texas.
Cheney's medical staff immediately rushed to Harry, began to take care of him, and by 7:30, Harry is in a hospital. The White House was contacted, and a press conference was set up the next morning to reveal the details of the accident. Cheney let the owners of the ranch, , contact the media, which for them was the local newspapers.
The news media has GONE NUTS. Dear GOD--WHY DIDN'T YOU DROP EVERYTHING YOU WERE DOING AND CALL US IMMEDIATELY???!!!?? That's pretty much the impression I'm getting. Cheney revealed that he and Harry had a beer over lunch, but no drinking by the time they were hunting. I've been reading some of the reader blogs (to James from CA, on the off chance you read this... What the crap do you think is going on, you moron? You're an idiot. Never reproduce, ever.) and paying attention to the media on this... you would absolutely believe that nothing else in the whole wide world is going on. The media is going crazy over this.
Tony Blankley of the Washington Times I think has one of the best takes on this. "In the absence of any pressing news these days -- other than Iran's nuclear weapons development crisis, the election of Hamas terrorists in Palestine, on-going worldwide Muslim riots and killing in reaction to a cartoon, Al Gore's near sedition while speaking in Saudi Arabia, the turning over of our East Coast ports to be managed by a United Arab Emirates firm, the criminal leaking of vital NSA secrets to the New York Times, Mexican military incursions across our southern border, the Iraqi crisis, Congress's refusal to deal with the developing financial collapse of Social Security and Medicare -- the White House press corps has exploded in righteous fury over the question of the vice president's little shooting party last weekend."
The press actually didn't find out until Sunday morning around the afternoon, 18 hours after the incident. I heard some of the press conference that Scott McClellen, the White House Press Sec., hosted on Sunday, and the reporters were livid. "Why didn't you tell us?" "Why didn't you call us?" "Why wait a full 18 hours before we knew? What are you covering up?" It was so bad at one point, McClellen actually called David Gregory from NBC News a jerk--because he was being one.
Blankley goes on to say: "As I understand the profound concern of the ever alert White House reporters, they smell a constitutional crisis because the shooting party failed to alert the media of the accidental shooting down in Corpus Christi, Texas. Well, actually they did alert the Corpus Christi media -- but that didn't count. Unless the exalted ones have been formally informed by an official government press secretary, no public communication has technically occurred. I checked the bylaws of the White House press corps, and they are right. It seems that the bylaws refer to Article XXIII of the U.S. Constitution which expressly designates that White House reporters with a minimum annual income of $375,000 (plus minimum stock options...) are the exclusive recipients of all government information. If information isn't hand-delivered in gold-edged paper to them while they are reclined on their chaise lounge, it hasn't been released to the public. And if they don't report a fact, it hasn't happened. This provision is vital to a vigorous and independent free press. (I should note, my copy of the Constitution must be outdated, because it doesn't have an Article XXIII.)
Of course, this provision technically makes the White House press corps not reporters, but receivers -- sort of glorified shipping clerks, but with the prerogative to rewrite and repackage the material before they deliver it to the public. When an out-of-town newspaper got the scoop, the dignity of the White House press corps had been impeached, so they threw a public temper tantrum."
When I say this, you'll think I'm exaggerating, but I think the media actually WANTS Harry Whittington to die. Yes, its true that a pellet, about a tenth of an inch in diameter, was lodged close to his heart, which possibly led to a mild heart attack, but the guy is 78 years old, and got shot. Even though the doctors are expecting a full recovery, here's what I pulled from Rush Limbaugh's site... soundbites (or scripts, anyway) from different journalists giving the impression that this guy is going to croak any minute:
RITA COSBY: If he had passed or something, under law, what could happen to the vice president? One of the options is negligent homicide.
KEITH OLBERMANN: Under the worst-case scenario, could negligent homicide actually come into play? (Keith... you used to be so cool when you did ESPN with Dan Patrick. How did you become such a schmoe so quickly?)
DAN ABRAMS: In the context of hunting accidents in the state of Texas, where someone does die, most of the time, is someone charged?
JOHN HARWOOD: Would there be charges against such a person? Would that be an involuntary manslaughter kind of thing?
JEFFREY TOOBIN: Was it so outrageous that it could be some kind of manslaughter if in fact, as we hope it doesn't happen, Mr. Whittington were to die?
And of course, its always fun when Hillary Clinton is yelling, "Hey, pay attention to me again!"
And as I just turned on the tv, I flipped to CNN for a minute (don't ask me why) and the first thing I heard from host Lou Dobbs was, "Spin control! How the White House is spinning Dick Cheney's weekend!" What's there to spin? He shot a guy. Cheney admitted it today on Fox News. The guy is okay.
Kiddies, this story is not about Cheney. You are hearing endless reports about this accident--and they do all concede it is an accident--because 1) Its another way to take a shot at Bush, and oh how they hate George W. Bush (more on that later) and 2) They are so mad that they had to hear the story from Corpus Christi, and that Dick Cheney had the nerve to hold his friend in his arms while he bled, waiting for the medical team to arrive, instead of instantly dropping everything and getting on his cell phone. Unless Cheney goes over to David Gregory's house, saying "Here's the exclusive story, Dave," its not going to matter that Dick said anything about anything.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
They're Guys, They're Sick & They're Out There
So I'm about to write on a very, very disturbing subject. The desire for sex with underaged girls. You still with me?
On Dateline NBC recently, there was an entire show devoted to catching "Internet Predators". There is a group called Perverted Justice, and they set up fake profiles online, usually as 12 to 14 year old girls, sometimes 13 or 14 year old boys. Posing as these kids, they will go online and just wait in chat rooms. I did some research on Perverted Justice, and here's how they operate:
One of their rules is, they DO NOT message people or initiate conversation. They enter a chat room and simply say "F, 13" or something like that. Then they wait to be messaged... and within minutes, they usually are. And usually, its men. Men who are a little... well, sick. Very sick.
They will only respond to the men's questions--sometimes graphic--but won't ask graphic questions of their own. Instead, they ask informative questions ("where u from?" or "whaz ur name?" or "what u luk lik?") to find out about these guys. Most of these conversations are very, very graphic, and many of them lead to the men wanting to meet who they think are the young teenagers.
The "girl" will ask for a phone number, so "she" can call the guy quickly, just to hear him, or to talk to him for a minute. "She'll" also ask him for a web picture, so "she" can see him. Of course, the guy most always obliges... sending a webshot, then giving his number out. The P.J. staff will quickly verify this number to make sure this guy is who he says he is. When asked for a picture for the guy to see, many times the staff will send a picture of one of the staff members when they were kids. Frequently in the Dateline story, a Dateline staffer sent her picture of when she was 13... and its VERY obvious she's 13 there.
P.J. makes sure all the questions are answered--and they make sure they spell out exactly how old the "girl" is that he's talking to, sometimes saying the age three or four times. And in the course of the conversation via IM or Yahoo Chat or whatever, P.J. makes sure the man's intentions are very clear. And again, they are usually very graphic.
The story on Dateline was really disturbing... Del Harvey, a 23 year old woman with P.J., talks to each of the men at different times, and can do a girls or boys voice for the phone call. NBC and P.J. use the webchats to set up a meeting at a house at a certain time, so each guy that shows up walks in the sliding glass door and is expecting to meet their 13 year old rendezvous... instead, NBC's Chris Hanson walks out with that guy's webchat printed out on paper. Of course, the guy is very surprised, but Hanson starts talking to them, reading them aloud what the man himself had typed in his own webchat.
One guy rode a bus several hundred miles, then walked 2 miles to get to the house. One guy is a teacher at a local high school. Almost all deny that they were going to do anything, even though several show up with liquor, food, contriceptives and even Viagra. Even when Hanson shows them their own chat of what they said they wanted to do, they still deny it. Then, the other favorite excuse is "She said she was (fill in the blank with any age over 18)", which again, Hanson reads to them the very plain conversations that determined the "girl" was 13 or 14.
When the guys leave--or run out--they run right into a group of officers waiting in the street. Over three days, they arrested 50 men... sometimes, the men were arriving so fast, the officers would arrest one and have to hide him because another guy was pulling in.
I then went online and found the Perverted Justice website... which, though scary, makes you proud there are people willing to do what they do, because they have no fear. They post entire webchats, photos and phone numbers of these men so you will know who they are (and they will be shown to others). The chats are VERY sick, so proceed with caution.
"Kristen" is talking to one guy, and sets herself up as a 13 year old, who's parents are divorced and is very lonely. fleet_captain comes online, talks to her and immediately gets very disgusting... by the middle of the conversation, he demands that "Kristen" calls him "Master" and tells her how he is going to punish her.
"Lizzie" gets confronted by Shawn Barnette, who is--was--an Air Traffic Controller in Minnesota. This particular chat was being covered by KSTP News, as they were doing a piece on online predators... the most shocking part was when Shawn sent his picture. It was a pic of him, his wife and his newborn baby. P.J. said that the whole staff, including the tv people, gasped when they saw the picture. Anyway, it got very graphic... turns out, he was ON DUTY when he was talking to "Liz", which means he was on the government's time. He was arrested and lost his job, and is awaiting trial.
These guys are not the scuzzy freakbags you would imagine... well, some are, but actually, most of them look perfectly normal. Fathers, workers, all ages, all occupations... they just all share the same desire.
One thing I like about Perverted Justice, in addition to going after these sickos, is that they completely discourage vigilantism... they also work closely with the police department to cover all bases to make sure that no one can claim "entrapment" or find a legal loophole. Also, they have a big section on what to do if you are seeking help for your problem, and they encourage people to do so.
One big thing that is learned from the Dateline story is that places like livejournal, AOL IM, and especially myspace.com are HUGE targets for online predators. Keep your eyes open, friends. Most of you probably don't have kids, or your kids aren't old enough to really grasp whats going on... but when they get older, help them understand what is safe, whats not safe and how to not trust people online.
For more information, here's a MSNBC article on myspace.com. And here is an excellent article from Chris Hanson, the Dateline reporter, who did an internet blog while the show aired.If you are a stranger here, and you are struggling with these desires, please get help. Call a church or go online and find a Christian site that deals with this. Don't end up on the P.J. site... its not good. Not at all.
And if I see any of you on the P.J. website, I'll personally kick you in the teeth. Hard.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Winter Olympic Thoughts
Okay... Michelle Kwan & Kristi Yamaguchi.
That was easy. Thats 2.
Bode Miller and Apollo Whatshisname.
Apollo Ohno. Okay, thats four. Give me six more.
Um... Katarina Witt. What about Nancy Kerrigan?
Do you think the Nancy Kerrigan Foundation helps kids with injured knees? Okay, you've already named four figure skaters. You only get one more skater, and the rest have to be non-figure skating people.
Fine. Jamie Sale.
Jamie Sale... the chick who won the disputed gold after the French judge finally admitted screwing everyone over in 2002's Games. What gets me about Jamie Sale is that if my very cute college friend, Jaime Bone, suddenly got hot, she would be Jamie Sale? They looked alot alike, but one is distinctively hotter than the other. I mean, do we all have hotter versions of ourselves out there? Am I Enrique Iglasius' un-hot twin? Or is there a less-attractive version of you out there somewhere, meaning you are the hot one? Where was I? Oh yeah. Three more.
Bonnie Blair. Oh, oh, and Vonetta Flowers.
You only knew Vonetta because she was from Birmingham. And Bonnie Blair, the speed skating queen from the early 90s. One more.
Um... uh... no more figure skaters, huh? Um... I'm done.
You know, its really sad we dont know more of our Olympians. Seems to me unless they win a gold medal, or some scandal happens to them (or seem to be really hot), we haven't a clue--and don't care--about them one way or the other.
Other countries live for this junk. Smaller nations like Sweden and Norway and Nepal send only a few athletes to represent their nations, and are heavily rewarded and honored for winning medals. We here in the States? "Good job, Medal Winner. Now I'm going to go check the scores on the UNC/Duke game."
We seem to have more fun laughing at the men's figure skaters, and wondering what "team" they play for... we also marvel at the fact its lawful to have nine year olds figure skating for their country... and I am always amazed at a sport that thinks 23 years old is nearing retirement age--though Michelle Kwan, who's been going to Olympics since 1936, just turned 87 and still hasn't won a gold.
Some of the names you should be familiar with are Irina Slutskaya (can you imagine if you called some chick a "slutskaya"? she'd hit you so fast...) and Sasha Cohen, who looks alot like a glamour shot of Rory Gilmore.
I read an article from ESPN.com's Jim Caple... I thought I would post it and let you enjoy his take on it. Couldn't have said it better myself--well, I would have if I could have, instead of letting him get all the good jokes:
We live in a world where people are killing each other over cartoons, so the fact that we can get together peacefully about anything -- even if includes ice dancing -- is reason to celebrate. Especially if Bode Miller is getting the first round.
If you aren't familiar with Miller's story by now, how come? The skier has been on so many magazine covers this winter, you would think he personally broke up Brad and Jen's marriage. He implied on "60 Minutes" that he has skied while drunk, but that was hardly the worst thing he has ever said. Here's what he told Newsweek about his sponsors.
"Look, a lot of the people involved with the U.S. Ski Team -- the people that I'm representing -- are unbelievable [expletive]. Rich, cocky, wicked conceited, super-right-wing Republicans. But because of my morals, my principles, I can't judge them for that. The things they've done for me warrant respect, and I'm trying to pay them back.''
Just imagine what he thinks about people who don't give him money.
Miller might be the most outspoken skier, but he's only one member of what might wind up as the most successful ski team the U.S. has ever sent to an Olympics. Miller, Daron Rahlves, Erik Schlopy and Ted Ligety are strong medal possibilities on the men's side, and Lindsey Kildow (this chick is a 175 lbs! and all muscle) and Julia Mancuso could win for the women.
Kildow is an interesting story. She grew up in Minnesota, where she learned to ski at Buck Hill, a 350-foot slope just off a Twin Cities highway and down the street from a mall (an online review of the "ski resort" said it's a great place to drop off the kids while the parents go shopping). Blink and you'll miss it. "I don't think the Austrians have ever seen anything like it,'' she said. "I don't think they would know what to make of it.''
Despite those humble beginnings, Kildow is a favorite to win several medals, including the downhill. However many she wins, she'll be able to display them more easily than the prize she earned with a first-place finish at Val D'Isere in December -- a dairy cow. "I don't know why I decided to keep her,'' she said. "They offered me money for her, about [$1,200], but I said, 'I'm keeping her.' I liked her. It was a very cool prize. She'll give me milk for a lot of years.''
Which, oddly, is something you never hear A-Rod say about his earnings.
When last we left the Winter Olympics, Canada had nearly declared war on France over the judging scandal in pairs figure skating, but that's all in the past. Skating has replaced its old capricious scoring system with a new, improved and virtually incomprehensible system that will end all judging controversies, much in the same way the BCS formula solved all college football controversies.
There's a chance figure skating could be different in another way, as well -- the women's medal winners might be old enough to endorse something other than Clearasil and Malibu Beach Barbie. After a steady string of teenage gold medalists, the favorites -- Russia's Irina Slutskaya and the United States' Sasha Cohen -- are all old enough to legally celebrate with a drink. And Michelle Kwan, back again for another try at a gold medal, has been around practically since Scott Hamilton had hair.
Hannibal marched his elephant-powered army over the Alps and laid siege to this area 1,800 years ago, which is nothing compared with the Olympic army. There are more than 2,500 athletes from 84 countries, and thousands upon thousands more in media, security, crew and volunteers.
"You can only tell yourself so many times that it's just another competition,'' figure skater Evan Lysacek said, "before you look up and see the Olympic rings every two feet.''
The home of Fiat, Torino occasionally is referred to as the Detroit of Italy -- although, thankfully, we won't have to read any stories about how Jerome Bettis grew up here. Like Detroit, Torino has lost many of its auto-manufacturing jobs in recent decades, but it is trying to revitalize itself in the shadow of its more glamorous neighbor, Milan (about 90 miles east). Fiat's old Lingotto manufacturing plant, once among the world's largest factories, has been remodeled into a mall. In fact, the 8,000 reporters in town for the Olympics are using part of the Lingotto as their media headquarters, representing the least amount of work ever done in an auto factory that doesn't include a General Motors layoff.
Security isn't as much of a story at these Games as at the previous two, in Athens and Salt Lake City (at least not yet). That's refreshing (so far), given that it takes a certain faith that you can hold an Olympics anywhere these days without something going horribly wrong.
Then again, faith is a major component of the Olympics. It takes faith to lie back on a luge and slide blind through curves at 80 miles an hour, or to race down the face of a mountain at 70 miles an hour, or to ski down a steep ramp and launch yourself into space as a wingless bird. For that matter, it takes faith to point your skis down a 350-foot hill next to a shopping mall in Minnesota and think you're beginning a run that will take you to the Olympics.
So pour yourself a cup of cioccolato con panna, relax on the couch and cross your fingers. The Torino haze cleared late Thursday; Friday dawned bright, blue and beautiful; and what do you know -- you could see all the way to the Alps.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Dave's Reality Check
First up... American Idol. I have my favorites now in American Idol... I am a big fan of the following four:
Kellie Pickler--I think I just like the idea of anyone named "Pickler" becoming famous. And she's got some pipes.
Taylor Hicks--Dude from Birmingham with a head of almost solid grey hair... makes me feel okay about mine. I love to watch this guy sway while he sings... he's like a Joe Cocker mixed with Justin Glenn. And he sang "The First Cut is the Deepest", which surprised me... I know Sheryl Crow remade it, but still.
Katharine McPhee--Chick who's mom is a voice teacher, and it shows. And the judges love her too...
Chris Daughtery--Rocker guy who has the same name as the winner of Survivor Vanuatu, but can sing better. Married a chick with kids, and became Superduper Dad, so it will be cool to see him go far.
I also like the voice of Paris, but the look of Lisa Tucker. If they could have a kid together--Paris Tucker, maybe--I'd be all for them.
I'm not a fan of the Cryin' Cowboy. (I ain't never been nowhere!). He admitted in his auditions that he sings to turkeys back on his farm in Podunk, USA. He was standing in the ocean, crying, because it was so beautiful. And really? I don't think he's all that great, to be honest with you.
On Survivor, we're stil learning about the people... its only two episodes in, and it usually takes me about four shows to figure out who everyone is, instead of depending on their names to be shown during confessional.
They got rid of Tina last week, and tonight the four tribes went to two tribes, and now they chunked Melinda out of the way.
The Freak of the Week Award goes to Shane, who went on and on about leaving the show, until Aras made him renege... now they sent poor Melinda home, who wanted to stay so badly. Schitzo Shane is a weird guy.
I think my favorites would have to be Sally Schumann, whom I think is this season's cutest (every season has one... last year it was Danni... it all started with Elisabeth Filarski in Survivor Outback). The other guy I like is Bruce Kanegai, aka Bruce Almighty. He was sporting some Tai Chi Jujitsu on Exile Island... I expect him to point to his head and say "Jeffsahn... Survivor not in heah..." (then point to his heart) "Survivor in heah...".
The jury is still out, though, on how good of a season this will be. Survivor was doing great with Outback (Season 2) and so-so with Africa... to me, it hit a dry spell in Thailand, Vanuatu, Marquesis and Amazon (though the peanut butter incident is funny)... but with Pearl Islands, All Stars, Guatamala and Pulau, its been doing quite alright.
And I can't wait for The Amazing Race.
Saw "Munich" yesterday. Steven Spielberg's muh ballyhooed ode to the 1972 Israeli Olympic team who were taken hostage and murdered by Palestinian terrorists. The gist is that the Israeli government, soon after the massacre, hired a group of secret agents to hunt down and kill the men responsible for Black September, ie, the massacre.
What was the hardest for me, I guess, was watching Burton from Survivor play the main role. After appearances in Black Hawk Down, Troy and Hulk, which just sucked all around, Bana finally gets a leading role--and does really well with it.
Two problems I had with this movie... one, it was too long. Two... I dunno. Just something. My buddy Mikey loved this, and thinks it better than some of the other movies nominated for Best Picture, but I can't say that. "Munich" was, though, extremely well done and excellently shot. Its interesting watching Eric Bana go through a range of emotions when he goes from an unseasoned agent to a trained killer by the end of the movie (which was almost in real time, honestly).
Anyway, that leaves "Brokeback Mountain", "Crash", "Capote" and "Good Night & Good Luck" on my list of films to see before Oscar night... yes, I'll probably end up seeing Brokeback. I don't know that I want to, but I guess I should, as many jokes about it as I've made.
With seeing "Hustle & Flow" this weekend coming up, that will also help me see all of the Best Actor nominations. As far as Best Actress goes, I've already seen Reese in "Walk the Line", so I'll have to see Felicity Huffman in "Transamerica" (again, not sure I want to see that one either...). Everyone else--Keira in "Pride", Charlize in "North Country" and Judi in "Henderson"--really doesn't matter.
Oh, before I forget... I give "Munich" a $$$1/2