Tuesday, January 29, 2008

American Idol, Week Three!

Here we are on Tuesday night, ready to watch us some American Idol! Of course, your blogging host Dave is here, with my sidekick, The Lovely Steph Leann, water bottle in hand, shoes off and she's prepared to grab the blanket. The Covering Face Blanket.

Today, its the metropolis of... Omaha. Nebraska. Where we see a big chick wearing a shirt that says "I Beat Anorexia". Wow that was strange. And funny.

Paula's plane is delayed, so tonight, for now, we only have Randy and Simon, and up first is a young dude, Chris, singing "Cold Hearted Snake". He sthort of havth a lispth too. Stephanie is mumbling under her breath about how miserable this guy is.

This Chris guy is giving all of them gifts, including a photo album of himself with Kelly Clarkson. He's tearing up about how much he's been waiting for this opportunity... so, Steph Leann didnt even have the blanket on, but she immediately, instinctively grabbed it... not only do we have a blanket on the face, we also get a "Make it stop!!" from under the blanket! Now that's the double!

This might be the most annoying contestant I've ever seen. Ever.

Simon tells him--after Chris decides to audition for the "red carpet spot" at the finale--to call the local Fox affiliate and tell them that Simon said he wants Chris reporting for the finale. Some producer is on the phone right now, freaking out... "That effing Cowell! You tell him that he doesn't call the shots!"

Jason from Stout, Iowa, is here to audition. Unlike Chris, this guy seems like a nice guy. And with the teaser before commerical, it showed this guy saying "oh, gosh, I blew it" and Simon saying, "You blew it". And here he is, nice guy, blowing his shot. Singing Keith Whitley, he can't remember the words. Finally... he gets "try as they may, they can never explain" which gets him to the chorus. And it gets him a chance to go to Hollywood!

Hey... Paula is here! And here's a "forgotten lyrics" montage, with karaoke lines of what they forget... its important to note that most of the montages are actually filmed in front of the early round judges, and not Simon, Randy & Paula, but they do show shots of dazed looks by Simon, Randy and Paula.

Rachel comes out, who brags about wrestling with her brothers. "Is she a guy?" Steph Leann asks. When Rachel and Ryan arm wrestle, Steph Leann pipes up, "Look at Ryan's guns!!"

But lo, and behold, Rachel can sing! She's tossing out some Lee Ann Womack, and I loves me some Lee Ann Womack. And she gets on to Hollywood!

Sidebar: Lee Ann Womack's "I May Hate Myself in the Morning" is one of the greatest country ballads ever. Ever ever.

Gothic Sarah, who was a professional wrestler at one time, is ready to audition. And she's freakin' scary. And she sings about as well as I thought she might... and I was right.

Samantha, 22, is ready to audition. She's as cute as a button, so I hope she does well... "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones is her song. Yay! She's going to Hollywood!!

Here's a montage of people who not only can sing, but made it to Hollywood! Including one girl who says "I am America's Next Top Model.. um (laughter)"

Heartwarming story alert! Angelica is from Wisconsin, coming here with family strife. A father and a daughter's relationship is helped by American Idol.... awwwwww...

She's tackling Celine's "Power of Love", and Angelica has a decent voice. Like her or not, Celine's got some pipes and can blow some notes. The judges are telling her that she's mimicking Celine, and not giving her own performance. And yet, she gets Hollywood!

They are showing clips of Daughtry (good album, by the way), so now here comes the flurry of mohawked, bearded, mulleted, gothic, jean ripped, long haired, soul patched, goteed, multi-color haired rockers. First up is David, a bartender musician (of course), and he's taking on Bon Jovi. Dangerous, because Steph Leann loves her some Bon Jovi. He pulls it off, and gets to Hollywood.

Up next is the next James Brown, or so he says. The west Asian James Brown named Johnny and...

...Paula just hiccuped...

...Johnny is singing... or shouting... or butchering "Shout" (as in, "you know it makes me wanna..." not "shake it up baby now, twist and..."). And it was freakin' terrible. Sorry KT, "freakin'" is the only word I can use.

Bad montage! Strangely, singing Stealer's Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle With You"... including some chick with a freaky tattoo between her boobsies.

And finally... Leo Marlowe. From Charla, Iowa, and he's singing "A Song for You". Steph Leann perks up, as she does anytime a Carpenters connection is made, and he sings it nicely. All three yesses, and he cries.

Tomorrow night... we hear the line "Skinny boys are so sexy", straight from Miami Florida...


Plausibly, not even close to being, live from Miami! Its even got a quaint Miami Vice opening theme... 10,000 people wait in a long line, one that resembles DeuceFest Tre in 2002 (when Edgar's Crust was headlining)...

With the opening theme of "Rhythm's Gonna Get You" from one of the best singers EVER, Glorida Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, we see the people standing in the hot, scorching sun, shaking their jelly, clapping along and dancing around.

Paula shows up in a very short dress, to which Simon says "Very slutty". In 1992, I would been all about it... now? Not so much.

Shannon is first, and she's from Okeechobee, FL! I love Okeechobee! I'm originally from Orlando, FL, so I got love for the state. Shannon's secret talent? She belches. On command.

"Crybaby" from Janis Joplin is what she's attempting to screech out... Steph Leann is laying on the couch, and she actually looks frightened. Like, seriously. Or sad. I'm not sure which. Maybe both. Needless to say, Shannon gets no ticket to Hollywood, and even jumps in with another song unprompted.

Robby is a long haired former boy band guy, who has taken the rocker road. We don't recognize the song, but he's not too bad on it. He's going to Hollywood, and being doused with Silly String as soon as he walks out the door.

Zamfir the Pan Flutest came in... as a part of a bad-singing-males montage, complete with a "they &#^&ed up by not picking me!"

Here comes Latin Lover Ghaleb in the door... he kind of reminds me of Roberto the Guatelmalan Love Machine, a guy I knew in college who earned his reputation--no, KT, I didn't make that up.
Latin Lover Ghaleb busts out some warbely Marc Antony, and I think Paula is trying to figure out how to give Ghaleb her room key. She walks up and gives him a hug, and he kisses her like, four times. Oooh she wants you, I dont know if she needs you, but oooh she's dying to find out....

Britany and Corliss, two big chicks, who love to sing... they are walking around, flirting with all the guys, and Corliss is now singing to Randy... I'm totally weirded out. Despite that... I like this chick. She's singing some classic Etta, Billie or something. Actually, I loved that. Wow...

Brittany is singing Mary Wells' "My Guy" and she's good too... though I liked Corliss better. They both get trips to Hollywood... and one mobs Simon and the other mobs Randy. And they are about to bust out and rob Fruit Booty Ryan... which is exactly what just happened.

Heartwarming story alert!! Suzanne, 21, lives in Clearwater, FL, and is a single mom. She took voice training, so she has to be good, right? Right? She's got greeeeeat hair, no matter the outcome. "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt is her audition song, one of those "so sad, why don't you just kick me in the crotch, darn it" kind of songs.

And she gets a ticket to Hollwood... I like it when Heartwarming Story Alerts get the golden ticket. Makes me heart.... warmed.

Ryan does a throwback to Jasmine Trias, from Season Three, who apparently had an album go platinum in the Philippines. Ramiele is a short girl from Malibu, Asian, and attempting some Aretha. She's like, four feet tall, and blew it away. Of course, realize that to go platinum in the United States, you have to sell 1 million copies. In the Philippines, you have to sell 30,000 copies.

We're onto the next day, with Syesha (Sigh-ee-shah) up first today. She's pretty, and got some cool afro hair. Oh... and another Heartwarming Story Alert, this one involving a father who had a drug problem. Singing Aretha's "Think", she's got a huge voice. I call it... Syesha will be in the final 24, and probably to the finals.

Natashia sings "At Last" and does it well... and off to Hollywood. Ilsy sings some song I've never heard, and does it well... and off to Hollywood. I like Ilsy, and the name Ilsy... Ilsy Dollar. Hmm... what about LaIlsy? D'Ilsy? Hmmm...

And here's another crap montage... a dude should never, ever sing Whitney. And anyone named Fabienne Hyppolite should never sing. Hyppolite? Possibly 1/3 less calories than the regular hyypo?

Richard is singing "God Bless the Broken Road"... and Steph Leann loves her some Rascal Flatts, and not only do we get blanket on the face, not only do we get a "Make it stop!!", we get a hand on the face too... the triple threat. That's how bad Richard is.

So, back in 2003, Fox put out a show called American Junior, a "junior" version of American Idol. So, there's a chick who was 12 on that show... Julie is back, four years later, taking on Idol. Julie looks... well, cocky. Arrogant, really. I don't think I'd like to hang out with her, and she really doesn't look 16.

Julie is trying out "Me & Bobby McGee"... and I don't think its very good... she's over-rehearsed, over-acting, possibly over-singing... and she gets a no from everyone. And... she starts singing unprompted. Then argues with the judges. Paula actually gets it right... "no one ever said no to her." And to dump a bucket of salt onto the papercut, they have audio of her at 12 singing "Rainy Days and Mondays" from American Junior while showing her being all upset, mad, frustrated and talkin' some smack.

I didn't wanna say nothing, but that ain't right...

Here comes the obligatory "we've been showing you the teasers the whole night, so stick around for this!" contestant. And its Brandon, running through the room, making a fool of himself, singing "I'll Make Love To You." He actually snaps and points to God. And then starts singing. And his jacket comes of. And he thrusts. And I dry heaved just now. And he sings a song he made up. This is his Now.

Simon says, "Can I put a stop to this?" to which Steph Leann pipes up quickly, "Please do!!"

Finally, a montage of the 17 who get the ticket, out of 10,000... and then the ones who have the tears flowing from being rejected.

Next week? A girl who says "I just said doo doo American Idol!" then giggles silly. And thats why we watch...

The 100 Coolest Things of 2007... 20 to 11

Hey, we're almost finished with our latest Top 100 Coolest of the Year list! We've counted down 80 things that were cool about 2007, and with 20 left, here's the next ten...

20. Paula Maddox
Its misleading to say that I end up being friends with my Drama Moms, ie, mothers of those students in WalkAbout... while its true, its also important to note that 9 times out of 10, I never even meet the dad, only the mom. Which is why I was always fond of those moms like Jana's mom, Paige & Garretts mom, Hannah's mom and of course, Courtney & TJ's mom. Courtney & TJ's mom, Paula, really went one step further... she got involved totally, to the point where she's earned the "assistant director" title already.

Here's Paula, with a fancy camera and her hair did

Paula is a hip, hip lady who loves Jesus and Journey, her husband of something like 67 years and she loves these middle schoolers, just like I do. What's funny is that I'm actually getting old enough to be able to relate to some of the middle schooler parents, including Paula. What a great friend a fun chick

19. Babies Everywhere!!
If one more person says to me, "Hey, ____ had a baby, when are you and Steph going to start?", I'll probably...

...sorry, this can't wait. On tv, right now, there is a commercial for Amitizia, showing this rather attractive blond lady probably in her 30s or 40s, getting ready in the morning, making coffee, zipping up her skirt and so on. What disturbs me about this commercial is that Amitizia is a constipation medicine. I just threw up my Raisin Bran in my mouth, which is ironic, because Raisin Bran has enough fiber and bran to keep you regular. Just sayin'.

...smack someone. I hear it alot nowadays, and why wouldn't I? Tommy and Amy McLeod had little Sophie... Ryan & Melissa had little Mattie... Leslie Cordell-now-Ailsworth and her hubby had their little one... one of my BFFs, Shelby, has a child now (though I think that her kid was born before 2007, I discovered this in 2007, so thus, it counts)... our friends Jeff & Lauren had their little one...

Its 2008, but I know of two more couples who just announced they are going to have themselves a rugrat. Babies, babies everywhere!

And, to answer your question, we just bought a house, so we're at least a year away from thinking about having children. So, there.

18. "Say It Right" by Nelly Furtado
I love this song, first of all. Its fun, its catchy, its peppy, and Nelly has a great voice in this tune. But what really makes this song to me is the video, and in that video you not only see Nelly, you see Timbaland.

Timbaland just looks cool here. Like, all he does is a little scat, and say "hey" about three hundred times, and yes, he looks like he does the hard work. Well, he and that gay dancing trio who does this shoulder arm thing that I tried once and thought I had dislocated my elbow. Bad times, bad bad times.

Anyway, I watched this video about 36 times, according to my count, putting it at number 4 on 2007's list on my iPod.

17. The 40-Year Old Virgin
Yes, yes, I was one of about 4 people who had not seen this movie, when I finally broke down and watched it this past summer.

Here's what I said about it on June 12th:
If you don't like American Pie humor, this is not for you. I say American Pie, but the humor is not as directed at teenagers, as it is directed at the side of us that laughs at things we know we shouldn't laugh at.

Steve Carell, in his star making turn, plays Andy. Andy works at SmartTech, collects valuable toys and though 40, has never had sex. When his buddies Dave (Paul Rudd), Cal (Seth Rogan) and Jay (Romany Malco) discover this, they make it their mission to... well, make him not a virgin. One attempt includes a funny turn by Leslie Mann, but it, like others, fail miserably. Enter Trish (Catherine Keener), who works across the street at the eBay store.

Though very crude, with lots of F-bombs and lots of crude terms for various things, this is, at its heart, a sweet movie. And oh, its funny... I laughed for ten minutes when Dave used the phrase "Man-o-lantern". First, the fact he's a virgin is met with very little ridicule, which is great considering this world wants you to have as much sex as possible. Secondly, though morons they may be, his friends turn out to be pretty loyal in the end. And third, Catherine Keener.
40 year old virgin

Okay... since I wrote that in June, I've watched it at least four or five times via Charte On Demand, and each time, it gets a little better. In fact, when I finally get to the Dave100 completion, it will be hard not to include this movie. Movies that I saw after 2006 aren't eligible.

16. "DisneyWar" by James B. Stewart
Perhaps my favorite book of the year, or at least, favorite nonfiction, Disney War is a behemoth. At 608 pages, its something you have to want to read, filled with names and figures and stats and all the stuff that make a good business story...

The book takes on Michael Eisner, and his 20 year reign at the top of the Disney empire, starting from his hiring, helped by Walt's nephew Roy, and taking it all the way to the tense shareholder's meeting in 2004 where Eisner got a no-confidence vote, bolstered by Walt's nephew Roy, who Eisner has just forced out.

Along the way, you'll see how powerful Michael Eisner became, and how he was a genius in the 80s bringing Disney from the sludge and dreck that they were putting out. Eisner had a vision for the future, a vision that he worked hard to put in motion. He and Jeffrey Katzenberg, his studio chairman and good friend, gave the Disney Company a renaissance. Katzenberg was almost directly involved and at least partly responsible for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", the string of animated hits from "Little Mermaid" to "The Lion King" and also helped bring Pixar to Disney's door step.

When Frank Wells, Eisner's second-in-command, died in a plane crash in 1994, Eisner refused to promote Katzenberg to the position, to which Katzenberg--forced to resign by Eisner--left and formed DreamWorks Studios.
disney war

Eisner's ego began to get bigger and bigger, as Disney went from a string of hits to a string of failures, including the bungled purchase of ABC Family and its subsequent failure to revive, the bungled response to the unsuccessful Comcast Cable hostile takeover, and the terrible movies and sequels that popped out ("Pearl Harbor", anyone?)

Eisner also had issues with power, hiring incredible talents away from other companies where they held lofty positions, only to be stripped of much of their powers and responsibilities because of Michael Eisner's paranoia that his command is challenged... notably is the hiring of Michael Ovitz, who Eisner had begged for years to come to Disney, then said immediately after bringing him on, "I just made the worst decision of my career."

Before you think its totally Anti-Eisner, know that he gives many interviews for the book, and the author even spends time with him during conferences, lunches and vacations, and the author gives tons of credit--deservedly so--for Disney's dramatic rise in the late 80s and early 90s.

The book is an unabashed look at the underside of the company that Steph Leann and I hold so dear, at a company that has risen, fallen, risen and more, and at a CEO who pushed heavy for "Dick Tracy" because he thought that "Pretty Woman" was going to be a colossal failure, and he's not even sure that... who? Julia Roberts?... even has talent.

15. Rush Limbaugh
I won't spend time defending him. Those of you who like him like him, those of you who don't... well, don't. But here's why I do like him... he doesnt tell you what to think. He doesn't say "You should vote this way!" or "You should think that Obama is this!"...

Instead, listening to his show via Rush 24/7 & podcasting, I learn lots about politics. And candidates. And the news. Not just through him talking, but by the audio clips he plays too... I was able to hear for my own ears what Hillary stands for, what Obama has to say, about how crazy Huckabee actually is, about how moderately liberal McCain is, and darn it, its informative.
rush limbaugh
Three words... Rush is Right

Yes, I've listened to Air America. I tried, anyway. It was... well, it was hateful and spiteful. It was "Bush is a criminal! If you don't believe that, you must be one of those stupid Christians who always want your way!" No, KT, I'm not making this up.

I dunno... its a tough year coming up. There's not a single Republican candidate who is truly a Conservative--cause Thompson dropped out--so I've got to keep myself up to date with who is saying what, who is flip-flopping on what, and to do so, I recommend Rush to you. Don't give it one show, give it a few weeks. It'll change your whole perspective.

14. "Grey's Anatomy"
Many couples have a "thing"... be it traveling together, or camping, or cooking, or whatever. The "thing" that Steph Leann and I have, other than visiting Disney World every few years when we can pay cash for it? Movies and tv. We love it. Nothing makes me feel closer to my lovely wife than sitting close to her on the couch, arm around her, as she wrapped under a blanket watching LOST, or perhaps CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, or the latest movie that came in from Blockbuster Online or, as we did lots and lots this year, "Grey's Anatomy".

I started to watch this show when it first came on the air, on video, but I didn't have a chance to keep up with it. So, we picked it up on DVD and watched the first season... and The Lovely Steph Leann fell in love with Bailey and George and, of course, McDreamy, who is a solid member of The Colin Firth Club, and I fell in love with Izzie and Meredith and then Addison, and we just loved watching it over and over.

The show is just fun... its very worldly, obviously, with the amount of who's sleeping with who, but I will say the best episode was in Season Two, called "Damage Case". It features a husband, pregnant wife and her parents who are involved in a car accident caused by a surgical intern from another hospital, who falls asleep at the wheel. The wife has massive injuries and eventually dies, though Alex performs a C-section to save the baby. The scene when the grieving father comes in to meet the intern, laying in his hospital bed, is beautiful. Amazingly written, acted and directed.

The music is also just great, including wide exposure for Brandi Carlile, Jem, KT Tunstall, Psapp, Ingrid Michelson and more.

Fun trivia... all the episodes were originally song titles. And Kate Walsh? One of The Hottest Chicks Not Named Steph Leann or Ashley Judd.

13. "Snow (Hey-Oh)" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Track 2 on the Jupiter CD of Stadium Arcadium, this song was introduced to me by Tyler Campbell back at the very end of 2006, so technically it qualifies for The Coolest Things of 2006... but I truly didn't start diggin' this song until January. And its just so cool...

John Frusciante, guitarist for the Chili Peppers, starts off with a rapid guitar riff, Flea jumps in with a nice little bass line, and Anthony Keidis joins in with a song about what he says is "a repeated failure to start your life anew, and how difficult it can be to get rid of old ways of thinking, and destructive ideas we become so attached to".

Though "Snow" refers to the cocaine that Keidis and Frusciante struggled with early in their careers, the explanation and song kinda sounds like what we sinners go through daily, doesn't it?
When will I know that I really can't go to the well once more? Time to decide on, when its killing me, what do I really need, all that I need to look inside.

Note... before you think that Keidis and the Chili Peppers are getting too philosophical for your tastes, lest you forget the song three tracks later, a love ballad called "Hump de Bump".

12. Podcasting
My iPod has been a learning process all along, learning new tricks of the trade here and there... so it was in early 2007 that I truly learned the art of picking up the PodCast.
For those out of the know, iPod Broadcasting, or Podcasting, is a method of getting various shows and programs on your iPod. Some are specifically for iTunes, to be on your iPod, like The B.S. Report with The Sports Guy, from ESPN, and others are snippets from shows--like ten minutes from Sean Hannity, or a single hour of the 3 hour Dave Ramsey Show--and still others are complete shows like Rush Limbaugh or CarTalk.

I've had as many as 17 podcasts that updated daily and weekly, but I'm down to 11 currently, because I simply don't have time to listen to them everyday.

My Fave Five Podcasts of the Year:
5... Pardon the Interruption--the complete show from the day before
4... CarTalk on NPR--the complete show from the previous week
3... Strong Bad Emails--From Homestar Runner, its the email portion, where Strong Bad comically answers viewer mail. Its updated infrequently, however, with sometimes a month or more between updates
2... The Dave Ramsey Show--Usually an hour of the show, mostly from the previous day, but because his show never mentions date or time, it could be posted anytime
1... Rush Limbaugh--the complete show, on podcast. We've already been through this.

11. "Fergalicious" by Fergie
There, I said it. Does it really matter that I have a guilty pleasure? I mean, does it really matter that much that this is the number one played video on my iPod in 2007 with... 41 plays. Wait, did I say 41? Um... I meant... uh... 4.1 plays... yeah. There was that one time that I listened to 1/10th of the song, after my fourth time, right... (uncomfortable laugh)... yeah, haha... so, 4.1 plays. Right... um... (reaching for the nearest Creative Memories scrapbook album to smack myself repeatedly in the head for this entire paragraph)


Top 20 Most Played Songs of 2007:
1. Over My Head (Cable Car) - The Fray, 48 plays
2. How to Save a Life - The Fray, 40 plays
3. Chains - Tina Arena, 24
4. Callin' Baton Rouge - Garth Brooks, 23
5. Snow (Hey Oh) - The Red Hot Chili Peppers, 22
6. Breath Again - Toni Braxton, 22
7. Linger - The Cranberries, 21
8. Head Over Feet - Alanis Morissette, 20
9. The Light In Your Eyes - Blessid Union of Souls, 19
10. Learn to Fly - The Foo Fighters, 17
11. My Favorite Mistake - Sheryl Crow, 17
12. I Have Nothing - Whitney Houston, 17
13. You Mean the World To Me - Toni Braxton, 16
14. Rock Your Body - Justin Timberlake, 16
15. Drops of Jupiter - Train, 16
16. Stand Up - Ludacris, 15
17. Loungin' (Who Do You Love?) - LL Cool J, 14
18. 19. Until I Fall Away - Gin Blossoms, 14
19. Bye Bye - Jo Dee Messina, 13
20. The Trolley Song - Judy Garland, 13
21. Dilemma - Nelly, ft Kelly Rowland, 13

Top Ten Videos of 2007
1. Fergalicious - Fergie, 41 plays
2. Say It Right - Nelly Furtado, 20 plays
3. Stand Up - Ludacris, 17 plays
4. White & Nerdy - Weird Al Yankovic, 16
5. London Bridge - Fergie, 13 (language!)
6. Hey Ya! - Outkast, 10
7. And Our Feelings - Babyface, 8
8. Possession - Sarah McLachlan, 8
9. You Mean the World to Me - Toni Braxton, 7
10. Over It - Kathrine McPhee, 6
10. Behind These Hazel Eyes - Kelly Clarkson, 6
10. As Good as I Once Was - Toby Keith, 6

Things I'm Looking Forward To in 2008
* The Dark Knight
* Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows
* Paying off the student loan
* Moving in to The Cabana (next week!)
* Heading back to Stamford CT & NYC for another mission trip
* Finally getting a Wii. Its going to happen
* Finally getting a store. It has to happen.

Things That Really Disappointed Me in 2007
(In No Particular Order)
* Movin' Out... I was so excited about this Billy Joel musical. And it was terrible. I was sad.
* Spider-Man 3... What a terrible movie. Emo Parker just killed me
* Bug... I love Ashley Judd. But this flick?
* "Drive" gets cancelled... That's right, we don't need "Drive", so we can have "Moment of Truth". Thanks Fox!
* Missing Andrea's Wedding... I hated that I missed it. Seriously.
* Dubya supports amnesty bill... The immigration package that was terrible. Absolutely terrible. It went down in flames.

And finally... the Top 100 Things of 2007! Who's Enchanted? Who's saving money? Who's saving a life? And how? Coming up!

Plus... Sunday, don't forget the 2008 Super Bowl Running Diary!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The 100 Coolest Things of 2007... 30 to 21

30. "Mythbusters"
This show is very, very addicting. I mean, very addicting. I think I've seen just about every episode at one time or another, and sometimes I even watch them over when there's nothing on.
For those of you not familiar, "Mythbusters" is a science reality show hosted by special effects and stunt experts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, and assisted by Tory Belleci, Grant Imahara and Kari Byron, who is on the short list of "Hottest Chicks In the World Not Named Steph Leann or Ashley Judd."

Bottom line is, they prove or disprove common everyday myths, Hollywood myths and urban legends, such as proving that despite what you see in the movies, you can't kill someone in the head by shooting through a sniper lens, and you can't shoot a hole around your feet and fall through the wooden floor, but you can in fact fold paper more than seven times... if its big enough. Great show, Wednesday nights, Discovery Channel.

Interestingly enough, Mythbusters was the 95th coolest thing about 2005. Its really grown on me over the years.

29. "Ratatouille"
I didn't know what to expect when this film came out, but I knew it was coming from Disney and Pixar, so I thought it might be good... even though it was about a rat who liked to cook in France. But seriously, how good can a movie be, when its about a French cooking rat? As good as toys coming alive, as good as bugs who talk, as good as a lost fish, as good as monsters who scare kids in closets and as good as cars with eyes in their windshield.


Remy is a rat who gets seperated from his rat colony, after being discovered while he watched a cooking show in an old lady's house. He ends up befriending a young man, Alfredo Linguini, with no cooking talent, and takes it upon himself to live the cooking dream through Linguini. Of course, there's a conflict involving the restaurant, Remy, Linguini, the restaurant's chef, and a chick that Linguini has taken a liking to, Colette (voiced by Janeane Garofalo, in a role finally befitting the fantasy she spews on Air America).

I walked out smiling, happy and excited I had gone to see this movie... even more so, I was so pleased at how much I liked this flick, when I didn't know anything about it. Check it out, enjoy it, and if you dig the Pixar, you'll dig this one too.

28. Jason & Katie Roberts
You know, there are just some people you connect with... as in, just some people you just naturally get along with. We discovered this in our Sunday Sch... er, Life Connection, when we became good friends with James & Jessica Hawbaker (the #22 coolest thing about 2006), among others. We miss our Hawbakers, 'cause they began attending another church, and we just don't get to see them enough.

Enter Jason & Katie Roberts, who also joined our Sunday Sch...er, Life Connection class at Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship), and somehow, we just connected. As you're supposed to do in life. Life Connection. Right, you get it, I know.

Anyway, JR and KT don't replace James & Jess by any means... its not as if they are the Hawbakers 2.0 or anything, they are just two great people that we really get along with, that we really enjoy being with and I think we find alot in common with. He's into Dave Ramsey, she digs Scrubs, and they are both going with us to Stamford, CT, in March for a mission trip.

What I love about them is that they are so real, and they know they aren't perfect, and they are okay with that. They are good folk... in face, two of the coolest people of 2007.

27. "Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix"
The most anticipated movie of 2007, as I stated in January. Its my favorite of the books, with my favorite all time scene of any of the Harry Potter, which is the Battle at the Ministry. The book is feeee-nominal, and the movie is good. Great even, but not as great as I wanted it to be.

Its not as great, but I don't know how it could have been... the book is forever long, so a movie closer to the book would have been, like, nine hours long (not that I would have had a problem with that), but I know that's not feasible. It does cut out much of the book, but the movie is still well worth the effort... in no small part due to Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna Lovegood. Very few characters and voices I like better in the movie than I do in Jim Dale's brilliant audiobook series, but I loved Evanna Lynch in this film.

evanna lynch
Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood, looking at thestrals

I will say, though, that I hope that Bonnie Wright looks older in the new flick, "Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince", because when she and Harry kiss, I don't want it be all creepy and stuff, 'cause Harry looks old.

26. Dinner at Archibald's
Here's what I said on November 9th:

If you're in Tuscaloosa and you want some BBQ, don't go to Dreamland. Go to Archibalds. I was helping train new Starbuckians for the new store in T'town last week, and decided to visit my brother-in-law Tyler on campus, and his roomdawgs, Trey, Jonathan and Stephen.

After killing time and watching two or three episodes of "Family Guy", we were hungry. I suggested Archibalds. I don't know where I'd heard it, but I had heard it was really, really good. It was later I realized that I had seen it on ESPN's College GameDay, where Todd Blackledge has a weekly segment where he visits local restaurants and such.

Anyway, after Tyler drove us around in circles for 30 minutes, we found it. It's this hole in the wall restaurant, where Archibald, this large, old black man, serves BBQ out of the pit that's actually in the wall. The building itself is really not bigger than a regular trailer.Stephen, Jonathan, Trey, Archibald, myself and Tyler. Oh, Archibald is the big black man in the middle. But the food was cheap.


For just over 8 bucks, I got a big plate with four ribs and a BBQ pork sandwich, and a 20 ounce Mountain Dew. None of us, not me, nor Stephen, nor Jonathan, nor Tyler, nor Trey said much as we chomped our food. Seems the place has been around for at least 47 years, when he took over for his daddy. He laughed heartily, and seemed to enjoy the fact we were a bunch of young bucks--even me--eating in his restaurant. A good time was had by all. And I was full. And it was nice.

25. Chris Hansen & "To Catch a Predator"
Its a series of reports on Dateline NBC, they do a show called "To Catch a Predator", where they have guys come in to a kitchen, expecting to find a little girl or boy to... well, to get freaky deaky with.

Working with law enforcement in the area, plus Perverted Justice, what happens is someone pretending to be 12 to 14 years old goes into a chatroom... never do they approach anyone, but usually they are inundated with chat requests from older guys. Once in a chat, they never bring up sex, but usually it leads to that, from whoever the old guy is. The "child" agrees to meet the older guy, with the intention of gettin' it on, and when the guy shows up in the home, Chris Hansen walks out, simply saying, "Hi, why don't you have a seat right there?"

Very seldom do they run... they usually sit down, to which Hansen replies, "Wanna tell me what you are doing here?" which is met with something like, "Oh, I'm here to meet a friend", or "Um, I'm here looking for work" or "I wanted to come warn them about the dangers of the internet!"... yes, I've heard all of those.

Then Hansen says, "Do you know how old she is?"
"Um... 18, I think..." or "Oh, she didn't say" or "She said 14, but I knew she was lying..."

Then, Chris Hansen pulls out the transcript. One thing leads to another, Hansen talks to them for a while, usually they end up begging to be let off the hook, sometimes they say they've never done this before, or will never do it again, or how they weren't going to do anything, and this is wrong what's happening...

You know, I hear sometimes that what Dateline and Perverted Justice does is wrong, perhaps borderline illegal, how they "trap" these guys, or how they "lure" these guys in... seriously, though... these are guys who going into chat rooms for the expressed purpose of having sex with a girl--or boy--13 or 14 year olds old, then they agree to come to the home of this said child to meet them and do just that very thing. There is no "trap" or "lure". These guys are sick. And its enjoyable as heck to watch them get nailed.

It can be disturbing, though... there was one guy who brought his own three year old son on a rendezvous with who he thought was a teenage boy, and another older guy who was a rich, successful doctor, calling his wife to say, "Honey... I've been arrested. Call the lawyer. No, I'll explain it to you later."

25A. "To Catch a Predator: Protecting Your Kids From Online Enemies Already in Your Home" by Chris Hansen (the book)
This is the companion book to the Dateline NBC series, written by Chris Hansen from his own experiences as host of these reports.

The book goes a little more in-depth, from the early shows when they weren't working with law enforcement to the later shows, when men were getting arrested left and right. It addresses controversy from the critics, and tells more of the stories of the men (and using all the language, so be warned).

What gets me, though, is the story of police sergeant Rick Woody, who thought he was doing everything right with his kids... only to find out that his daughter Kacie had been talking online to a 17 year old named Dave from California... who was actually a 49 year old who stalked, kidnapped from her own bedroom and killed Kacie. Its a painful story to hear...

The book is very eye opening, with lots of stats and such, and considering its from the DNC-TV, that being NBC, its pretty good news.

24. "The Holiday"
I loved this movie. I really did. The more I watch it, the more I like it. It's kind of a silly premise, really, where two women--Kate Winslet at her most beautifully natural and Cameron Diaz, whom I've never been enthralled with but still looks charming here all the same--on different sides of the world both get racked by love.

Meeting on the internet on some swap-houses kind of deal, they agree to swap homes... Iris (Winslet) flies to Los Angeles to stay at Amanda's (Diaz) home, and Amanda flies to Surrey stay in Iris' little cottage. And of course, both find romantic interests, Amanda with Graham, played by an utterly charming Jude Law, and Iris with Miles, who is played by Jack Black.

Yes, that Jack Black... whats great about Jack Black here is that he's not so serious that we can't take him seriously, but he's just serious enough that we aren't laughing at him the whole time... in other words, he's perfect.

kate and jack
Somehow, the words "Jack Black" and "Romantic love interest" don't seem to fit... but here, they do

Anyway, the movie is funny and cute and sweet and all of the things you need to keep your chick happy, but filled with enough fun stuff to keep the guy happy too. Yes, its a Christmas movie, but really, "The Holiday" can be enjoyed anytime. Plus, its got Kate Winslet, and I luvs me some Winslet. I mean, had God worked it out differently where The Lovely Steph Leann would have gone out with Colin Firth, then I probably would have dated Kate Winslet.

23. Troy Whups Oklahoma State
Here's the highlights:

  • Troy is 2-0 versus the Big XII at home
  • We met Chi Omegas
  • We discovered Sweet Sweetback's BadA******** Song
  • We shouted "Boomer Sooner" to the OK St team

And here's the full blog, if you're interested

22. Ann Coulter vs. Elisabeth Edwards
So, on June 26th, I'm sitting in the room flipping channels and I come across DNC-TV, aka MSNBC. There sits Ann Coulter, and anytime I see Ann Coulter, I stop flipping and start paying attention. I love Ann Coulter. She says what we're all thinking.

She's on the show with Chris Matthews, and they are talking about the recent shot she took at John Edwards in calling him a "faggot". Actually, at a Conservative Political Action Conference she said, "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the world 'faggot' so I -- kind of an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards." Kinda wrong. Funny but wrong.

Anyway, she's on Matthew's show, "Hardball", and she's talking about it, unapolagetically, when who calls in to argue? Well, John, of course, right? He's got to call and defend himself. No, no, its John's wife Elizabeth.

And it went something like this:
Liz Edwards: I'm calling you … in the south when we -- when someone does something that displeases us, we wanna ask them politely to stop doing it. Uh - I'd like to ask Ann Coulter -- if she wants to debate on issues, on positions -- we certainly disagree with nearly everything she said on your show today -- um but uh it's quite another matter for these personal attacks that the things she has said over the years not just about John but about other candidates -- it lowers our political dialogue precisely at the time that we need to raise it. So I want to use the opportunity … to ask her politely stop the personal attacks.
Ann Coulter: OK, so I made a joke -- let's see six months ago -- and as you point out they've been raising money off of it for six months since then.
Chris Matthews: This is yesterday morning, what you said about him.
Ann: I didn't say anything about him actually either time.
Liz: Ann, you know that's not true. And once more its been going on for sometime.
Ann: I don't mind you trying to raise money. I mean it's better this than giving $50,000 speeches to the poor.
Liz: I'm asking you
Ann: Just to use my name on the Web pages…
Liz: I'm asking you politely…
Ann: …but as for a debate with me, um yeah, sure. Yeah, we'll have a debate
Liz: I'm asking you politely to stop personal attacks.
Ann: How bout you stop raising money on the Web page then?

What she's getting at is simply how the Edwards went crazy over a joke, then proceeded to use Ann Coulter and her joke on every fundraiser letter and website they could, to raise money for the upcoming presidential race.

So, let's see... if you're a Democrat, you can call Rush Limbaugh listeners "legally retarded" (as posted on his Wikipedia page), you can call Justice Clarance Thomas a "handkerchief-head, chicken-and-biscuit-eating Uncle Tom" (Spike Lee) or say that "Uncle Tom [Colin] Powell Stumps for Massah Bush" (The Daily Kos, a liberal news site), you can call Condi Rice "Brown Sugar" (liberal cartoonist Garry Trudeau), you can call our military murders, killers and rapists (John Murtha and John Kerry, who incidentally served in Vietnam) and you can call our president a nazi (George Soros, a liberal fundraiser and Clinton backer)...

However, as a Republican, if you call anyone on the left anything, be it joke, serious, or challenge their ideals, you are racist, you are bigoted, you are sexist, you are homophobic, you are taking money out of the pockets of the poor, you are giving money to the rich and you have stocks in Halliburton.

Oh, here I go again...

21. Tanya Stephens
Back when we were first looking for a house, we were deciding whether to go it alone or get a realtor. We figured it would be best to get a realtor, when we knew that there was so much we didn't know--heck, we didn't even know what we didn't know, especially as first time home buyers.

We bandied about names, got recommendations, and wondered whether it would be a good idea to go with a friend.. after all, if it went south, we would hurt a friendship, right? But on the other hand, we wanted someone we could trust completely, someone with our interests in mind, not just how much their commission check would be...

And so we called Tanya Stephens. We've known her for a long time, she's a single mom who works two jobs to make ends meet, and she has a passion for real estate... and when we asked her if she'd be our realtor, she enthusiastically said YES!

Tanya and I, outside of Moe's

Over the next few months, we would meet up, she would take us to houses, and she began to get a feel for what we were looking for in a home. We went out looking at homes several times, each one either Steph Leann liked, or I liked, or neither one liked, but none that we both just loved. So, when we found The Cabana, which is the new name for the house we're moving into, we were thrilled... and so was Tanya.

We've been able to call her whenever, ask questions, and she does her job--and her love for us helps her do her job better. Along the way, we've watched her grow in her own life, as she's engaged now, and truly, there are few people in the world that deserve as much as Tanya does to be happy.

We love you Tanya!!

Upcoming... Babies! Disney! The Fray! What a list! Mamma Mia!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Idol '08... Week 2 (Updated!!)

Scroll down for new American Idol recaps, this of Week 2!!

Coming to you live, from the Casa de Pesos (the old home of the Dollars) for one of the last times... soon, we'll be at The Cabana (the new home of the Dollars).

Tonight, The Lovely Steph Leann is curled up in the big, fluffy chair with a blanket, ready to cover her face in terror, and beside me sits my own little sister Ashley... here's the show from San Diego.

Tetiana sings "Someone to Watch Over Me", and she's not bad. She looks like a Russian model. Simon says, "I don't think you are as good as you think you are... you're good, but you'll never be great." Doesn't matter, she's on to Hollywood.

Perry, a 27 year old father from Arizona, looks like he's one of my people. Mexico Rules! He's on tv with his son... both Ashley and I thought he was a girl. Perry sings "I'll Make Love to You" by Boyz II Men... I've often wondered if Mexican Idol has an extreme amount of people singing La Bamba and Marc Anthony like people sing Kelly Clarkson and Celine here. Perry makes it to heaven... "Look at Paula, she wants him," says Ashley.

Michael Johns (never trust anyone with two first names) is singing an unfamiliar Otis Redding song... both Steph Leann and Ashley says, "what is that song?" When Simon says, "You're like a white soul singer..." Ashley pipes up and says, "Like Rick Astley!!"

Its worth noting that Little Sister just picked up Rick Astley's greatest hits for her birthday.... which includes all three of his hits, and 14 more songs that no one has ever heard of.

Oh boy... here comes one who says people compare her to Mariah Carey. She's obsessed with Mariah... which in 1995 was understandable, but now is like idolizing a crack whore. Valerie says she likes to sit at home and laugh at people who can't sing on the show... so of course... do I even need to say it? We have our first Steph Leann face covering of the night...

There's a guy in a sombrero and a mime on tv. Umm...

Here's another duo, one in the "elfth care bidness" (he said it, not me) and another who's a nurse... anyway, this is going to end badly. And we have a Whitney! The first of the year!! Steph Leann and Ashley just look at each other with blank stares. And, she sings Mariah next, unprompted!

Her buddy, Christopher, also kills some Whitney, and drags her home. And keeps going, unprompted... what a pair! "MAKE IT STOP!!!" The Lovely Steph Leann screams into her blanket, which is covering her face. And he goes on to sing Shai! So, in our two freaks of nature, we've covered A, B, E and J out of our American Idol rules!

We see a montage of those who love Paula, Randy, even Ryan, and finally, Samantha, who thinks Simon is totally hot. With her sister sitting in Simon's lap (you really just have to watch it, I guess), Samantha takes on some Aretha, and gets it going on. It helps she's kinda hot too, actually.

And here we find Blake, who has auditioned in 10 cities since season 3... because he has a mom who is obsessed with Blake making American Idol's Hollywood round. Actually, I think he has a mom who is obsessed with Blake making it as an American Idol so she can get rich too. He didn't make it. I'm sure he'll be back again.

The montage of people who can't sing... and are crying...

Alberto, who looks like Hurley from LOST, is a big, fat flower child, with daisies behind his ears, fingernails that are long and have never been cut, and as Ashley has just said, "...is an effeminate hippy." He's singing his own song called "Live"... I'm expecting him to say "this is my now." For anyone who didn't get that joke, you'd have to go back to last season, which isn't recommended. He's crying into his mothers arms. What a pansy... Steph Leann says, "I don't think he had a daddy..." to which I responded, "Or kissed a girl."

Oh boy... the show's heartwarming story, this one named David, 16, who previously suffered from vocal paralysis. He could have surgery, but it would not allow him to sing, ever. So he's let himself recover over time. But he's all better now... singing John Mayer's "Waiting for the World to Change", he fumbles the lyrics. He's not bad, and Randy even tosses in some harmony. Paula is just delighted, by the way, and stops just shy of saying "I'm in room 244, the door will be unlocked, sweetie." Let's hope she doesn't have a Mary Kay Letourneau bone about her...

And finally... here's Carly, who auditioned in 2005 and was picked to go to Hollywood. She was disqualified because being from Ireland, she was waiting for her visa. Two seasons later, she's back with full papers. And she's taking on Whitney... "I'm Every Woman", specifically. Actually, she's not bad, though Simon wasn't impressed. And she's going back to Hollywood!

That's the first night of American Idol... night two of week two, coming atcha tomorrow!

Here we are, The Lovely Steph Leann and her blue blanket, curled up on the couch, I in my snowman pajama pants and blogging, ready to let you know whats going on...

We got one guy who's wife just had her water break... its good that he sees his baby is more important than Idol.

Now we got Rashard, who calls himself the Black Clay Aiken... he says he "ree-sides" in Charleston, to which Steph Leann has quoted about nine times, laughing each time. It might be the big 'fro that Rashard has going on... Steph Leann and Randy both said, "Its a little over the top..." and then Steph Leann adds, "He ree-sides."

Deanna, a waitress from Albemarle, NC, is here... she's trying to follow in the footsteps of Kellie Pickler, who is also from Albemarle, but is nowhere near as hot as Pickles. Let's face it... like McPhee, Pickles is freakin' hot. Perhaps a little stupid, but hot. Deanna is country, with a potty mouth She's singing.... wait, yelling... "Fancy". "My nayme is De Anna, and thats why I spayl my nayme with a cap-tul A, so people don't call me Deanna, its De Anna."

By the way, Pickles in the video "Red High Heels"? Hot. DeAnna auditioning just now? Not hot.

And there's two people who met on the American Idol message board. He gives auditioning tips to people on the board, she was smitten with him immediately, and they met by a trashcan outside the hall where the auditions are held. Randy and Crystal. Randy is singing an Andy Griggs song. And the guy giving audition tips on the message board is terrible... and it gets worse when Crystal jumps in. The Lovely Steph Leann and I look at each other with wide eyes.

Here comes Big Poppa, Jeffery, and his little sister Michelle. And Big Poppa is pretty big ("Is he gay?" Steph Leann asks after watching him dance around). Michelle ain't little either. They are doing in a weird Donny & Marie duet, this one to Celine & R. Kelly's "I Like 'Em Young and Fourteen"... wait, that's just R. Kelly's song... Celine and R sing "I'm Your Angel". And they both get to go to Hollywood, the first people of the show.

The obligatory montage of bad singers, all singing "Before He Cheats", including one guy who says "this pretty little four piece four piece drive" and another who says "I'm gonna skip this verse but go to the next verse where it says..."

Next up is Amy Catherine ("Amy... Amy Catherine... AC... what-ev..." she says), who is in STARS, Students Teaching and Respecting Sexuality, a group that promotes abstinance. This sounds good on paper... but they let her talk. And she sounds like a goober. Unfortunately, cause its a good message. Anyway, here comes some Xtina! "Reflections", of course. That's the one they all do. AC is cute as a button... buuuuuuttttt... Steph Leann and I are both on the fence. Paula says yes. Randy says yes. And even Simon says yes. I didn't expect that. Randy tells AC to give Ryan the abstinance speech.

Heartwarming story alert! London spent much of her time taking care of her ill father... cancer took Daddy, so now she's pursuing her dreams. London... I like that. London Dollar. How come everytime you comin' round my London, London Dollar going down like London, London, London... maybe LaLondon? D'London? I'll work on Steph Leann.

Oh, she's singing, and its not bad. Its a Billie Holliday song. And she's through to Hollywood!

Lindsay is in the Air Force, and she flies C17 planes, which are longer than a football field. That's awesome... she might be my favorite, if she's any good. She's got great eyes, but her teeth are all weird. Here comes "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles, who's own real contribution to the music world is that she has a mainstay audition song on American Idol. Seriously, when was the last time you heard "Black Velvet" in its entirety? Alannah Myles song "Love Is" is ten times better. And Lindsay gets a no.

And here comes a chick named Aretha, who's Steph Leann's first comment about was, "Oh my gaww.... her boobs are huge..." to which I responded, "Well, yeah, her boobs were on time, but she was five minutes late." She's singing "I Have Nothing" by Whitney--and stumbles over the lyrics. And truly, the phrase "I Have Nothing" is ironic from this chick. Simon says, "You murdered that song," to which Aretha contests that "I have a beautiful voice, I can sing!" And here comes the argument "I heard the people you gave a ticket to and I'm better than that!!" Her boobs just left, but she's still walking out.

Here comes another dude completely butchering Jennifer Hudson's version of "And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going" (the one that goes "...you're gonna looooovveee.... meeeeee!!!"). Our judges say no, and Joshua says, "This show is fake and rigged, cause I can sing!" then he walks out and tells Ryan "They done said that ary-one in South Carolina sucks and cain't sing, and since they cut me, they ain't gonna have the best artisses..."

I was going to make a funny joke comparing Joshua's artisses with the chick who wanted to go into actressing, but I couldn't remember her name... I asked Steph Leann, and she looked up and said, "Oh, I dunno... I blocked that." (her name is Alexis... I had to look it up)

One girl walks out crying, "Randy said I sounded like a Disney character," to which Steph Leann says, "I wouldnt have said that... Disney characters sound much better than that."

Here comes Oliver, who's wife just had a baby! He's singing "Get Here" by Oleta Adams, a fantastic song, and not doing too badly--mind you, thats a hard freakin' song to sing. He's a little warbly and got a falsetto going on, but he's not bad. He's not great. And he didn't get to Hollywood, but he still has his wife and little Emma Grace in tow.

And that's American Idol... I think we have another week or two for auditions, then the round of 24. And of course, we'll be there!

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Coolest Things of 2007... 40 to 31

And here's more of The Coolest Thing of 2007... to read the rest, scroll down, or go to the Archive link on the right bottom, and click on January 2008.

40. Rush Smacks Down Harry Reid
Rush Limbaugh was going through a story about a soldier named Jesse MacBeth. When MacBeth came back from Iraq, and began to declare how terrible it was for the military in Iraq, how horrible the military atrocities were toward Iraqi civilians, and how the war in Iraq was a mistake, and since he was a valiant soldier and a Purple Heart winner, the Democrats snapped him up.

Holding MacBeth high, they began to proclaim, "See, this is what we're talking about! The military hates Bush too! Just like we do! See! See, we told you so!!". They made MacBeth a poster child for all that they felt has gone wrong with a war they cannot control, under a president they cannot stand.

Here's the thing... MacBeth never went to Iraq. He never won the Purple Heart. In fact, after making all these false declarations, he was kicked out of the military in 44 days. Never even graduating from boot camp, he eventually served 5 months in jail. Rush Limbaugh called this guy a "phony soldier", because... well, that's what he was. He was a soldier for 44 days who lied about everything, taking veteran's benefits money the entire time. The fact that he was a phony doesn't really matter, really, not to the Liberal Left.

However... the media went nuts. Media Matters, a Clinton founded and supported group who's "unbiased" look at the media is heralded by Dems as gospel, proclaimed loudly "Rush Limbaugh says that any soldier who is against the war is 'phony'!!" And, of course, the compassionate Left never actually listened to Rush's show, even though he put up the entire transcript of the show online, for all to see--they just began to proclaim Rush calling the military that disagreed with our country's foreign policy as "phony".

That's right... your Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid... oh, and Rush Limbaugh's approval rating in Nevada is higher than Reids. Who knew.

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) actually went onto the floor of the Senate--on your tax dollars, mind you--and blasted Rush Limbaugh, condemning his statements. John Kerry, who served in Vietnam, even got in the mix, saying it was "I thought it was disgusting before I thought it wasn't disgusting" (jokes, people...)

On October 2nd, Reid authors a letter addressed to Mark Mays, the CEO of Clear Channel Radio, which syndicates Rush's program nationwide, and in this letter, he blasts Rush and attempts to intimidate Mays into taking Rush off the air. He then has 41 Senators, including Clinton and Obama, to sign a letter intending to silence a critic who, right or wrong, has discussed in a non-personal way the actions of a now-convicted criminal (MacBeth), and in doing so, attempting to remove the 1st Amendment rights that the Liberal Left so boldly toss around when using anti-Christian, pro-gay rhetoric. (if you would like to see the letter, I'd be happy to send you a copy... just let me know)

So what does Rush do? Well, Mark Mays responds that "like it or not, it is Mr. Limbaugh's right to say what he'd like to say on his own show", and then hands the letter to Rush. Rush then turns around and puts the letter up for auction to the public, with ALL proceeds to benefit the Marine Corp Law Enforcement Foundation, which gives financial assistance to families of Marine and Law Enforcement personnel who are injured or killed. THEN Rush turns around and pledges to match whatever is brought in.

The result? It brings in $2.1 million dollars, to which Rush matches, bringing in a donation of $4.2 million to MCLEF. Rush called out to Sen. Harry Reid and others who signed the letter to also donate a little, but none did.

The best part is that when the auction was wrapping up... Senator Harry Reid gets on the floor of the Senate, the same floor that he used up the taxpayers time to censure a private citizen, and tries to credit for helping out, saying, among other things:

I strongly believe when WE can put our differences aside, even Harry Reid and Rush Limbaugh, WE should do that and try to accomplish good things for the American people. This does that... more than $2 million for a letter signed by ME and MY friends.

Why did I spend so much time on this? Because this is the party of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, this is the party of compassion, this is the party that wants to see us lose in Iraq and charge us "really wealthy people" (you know, like The Lovely Steph Leann and I, because we make more than $60K household) to pay for "the poor and strugglings" health care. That's why. You should know.

FYI... for those who think I'm totally biased, which I probably am because I actually heard the show in question, the shows before it, and the shows after it, here's the transcript of the exchange in question. Make sure you understand there are TWO phone calls that lead up to this, not just one as you'll see in some copies of the transcript on other sites...

39. Tiffany Abbot-McCauley
Everyone has their middle school and high school crushes and their college crush... and mine was Tiffany Abbot. She was just so... well, cute, and not just cute, but approachable, unlike the Troy State Athena that was Heather Hanson. Tiffany was the kind of chick you just wanted to have a picnic with.

I say all that to say she was just awesome. And I reckon she still is. Married to her college sweetheart, Kirk, she's got three cutie-patootie kids and its just another example that God knew what he was doing when he made Tiffany realize that I was totally out of her league, and she should wait for Kirk.

38. Taylor Swift
What a great country CD. I mean, its a little unnerving that she was born in 1989, about the time I was turning 14 and in the middle of 9th grade, but she still sounds great. She debuted in 2006 with "Tim McGraw", a sweet little song about a broken relationship--one that is remembered when hearing Tim McGraw's music. The song actually appeared as #84 on The 100 Coolest Things of 2006...

taylor swift

And really, the whole CD is fun, with a voice like a more polished, pre-Liberal-whack Natalie Maines, with cute tunes like "Our Song" and "Teardrops on My Guitar", its country that The Lovely Steph Leann even likes--and she really only likes Rascal Flatts. Its also refreshing that she (Taylor, not The Lovely Steph Leann) practically writes, or at least co-writes, all of her stuff. One of my favorite cds of 2007. Here's Taylor on MySpace.

37. Destin Weekend in May
I already discussed one weekend at the beach with The Lovely Steph Leann's friends, BFF Lesley, BFF DeLisa and BFF Suzie, but we were able to steal away once again in May... I found myself with the weekend off, I called up my lovely wife and simply said, "Hey, lets get out of town this weekend. Let's just leave. Okay?" She said, "Sure."

So we decided to head to Destin, to visit BFF Susie and BFF Susie's boo, Mike. What followed is a great weekend of Captain Dave's seafood, a big honkin' Starbucks, Choco-Fizz soda, a weird dream featuring Paula Maddox, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, and a MySpace message from Kaci & Jojo. You can read the weekend's blog right here, if you so choose.

36. "No Country for Old Men"
A deep dark movie indeed, this is the flick that is being buzzed about Hollywood as the leading contender for the Academy Awards. Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem (you know Javier, the guy who played Victor in "Boca a boca"), and set in the early 80s, its a south Texas country tale of Llewelyn Moss (none more perfect for this role than Josh Brolin), who gets involved in the aftermath of a drug deal gone really, really, really bad. After he swipes the satchel full of money, but leaves one of the Mexicans alive, going back later to give aid. Its this good deed that starts a cat-and-mouse chase, with psychopathic killer Anton Chigurh hunting him down.

Javier Bardem, as Chigurh, is chilling as a killer hit man who has no emotion and feeling, yet kills on principal as much as he does enjoyment. In one case, he uses a coin to determine the fate of a random gas station clerk.

The heart of the movie, though, is Ed Tom Bell, brilliantly portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones. Bell pursues not only Moss but Chigurh, and spends the movie simply in quiet sighing about what this world is coming to. Perhaps it takes the entire length of the movie for Bell to discover that what is happening around him truly is "no country for old men."

Brutal and bloody, violent and disturbing, if you can stomach it, its worth the 2 hours spent.

35. Heroes
We love us some Heroes... premiering in 2006, it was a show that was right up my alley, but not only was it on at the same time as WWE Raw, many times it was my only night to blog, so I never paid the show the full attention it deserved... so I got lost and confused, and quit watching. When it came out on dvd last summer, I just bought the set, intending to watching it on my off day... and The Lovely Steph Leann jumped in, wanting to watch it too...

So we set off to tackle the season, watching the adventures of Parkman, Hiro, Niki, Claire, Peter, Nathan, and of course, Sylar, among others (my favorite was Ando, Hiro's mortal buddy), all people who have special abilities that they cannot fully understand. The first season is amazing, building up to the season finale where they finally all come together.

I've heard the second season isn't so hot, but that the show's creators have realized this, and are taking great strides to make it better... this was, of course, before the writer's strike, so we'll see when it comes out on dvd.

34. Rollercoaster Tycoon
I had this game when I swiped it from Tyler Campbell, but on my slow computer, it worked about as well as Hillary's health care plan (are you getting the picture of how vehemently I am against this??), but when I got the laptop, I grabbed the disk and loaded it... and it rocks.

Simply put, you have to create a roller coaster theme park. Some levels are from the ground up, others give you a park that is already established, but you have a goal to meet--a certain number of guests in your park, or a certain park value, etc--before you can advance. You build your sidewalks, your concessions, your ride queues, your kiosks and of course, your rides, including coasters.

I've managed to build park after park after park, and when I got Rollercoaster Tycoon 2, plus the expansion pack, it got even better, with more money, more options an easier buildings. I've actually got rides that I carry from park to park, including "Ashley's Spell" (always a big wooden coaster), "Mikey's ScrambleNuts" (usually the scrambler ride), "Princess Stephanie's Carousel" (duh), "The Hawbaker Hellfire" (always a big metal coaster with lots of drops), "Ty's Coffey Grinder" (a spinny ride of some sort) and "Tom's Big Stick" (the free-fall type drop ride). I cannot tell you how many hours I've wasted on this game, and how many more I project to waste in 2008... but I'm looking forward to Rollercoaster Tycooning in The Cabana.

33. "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" by Stephen King
One of the best books I read all year, and carries a unique gift of actually getting better in my mind the more I think about it. Not your typical King horror tale, like "The Shining" or "Salem's Lot", its still a supernatural story with an unlikely hero.

Patricia "Trisha" McFarland is hiking with her mother and brother, both of who are fighting and arguing quite loudly as they walk along. The argument stems from the divorce that's ripping the McFarland family apart, so to keep from hearing the bitter squabble, Trisha falls back a little on the trail. She stops quickly for a bathroom break, and soon after, not only loses her family but the trail as well.

tom gordon

With her, she carries a bottle of Surge, water, Twinkies, a sandwich, a boiled egg, a gameboy and a walkman radio which she uses to pass the time in listening to her "crush", Boston Red Sox pitcher Tom Gordon.

Hours, then days, pass, and as King writes about the strange things happening around Trisha, including a potential showdown with the God of the Lost in the woods... and you don't know if the book is leading to the supernatural, or Trisha, tired, dehydrated, scared, is hallucinating.

At only 219 pages, the book is a day or two at most, and well worth the journey.

32. "The Story" by Brandi Carlisle
Brandi Carlisle, 26, is a up and coming singer songwriter who has the benefit of getting a song on "Grey's Anatomy", which is pretty close to instant success. Actually, she's managed to get three or four songs on the show, but this one is the one I really like, as it was released in video form, containing clips of the show set to the music.

And for fans of the show, the song matches the show perfectly in this video.
She has this gruff, husky kind of voice that is still very feminine, but still rocks out, and the song is just... well, great. Her album is pretty good, but click on the link above, and even if you don't like "Grey's Anatomy", then just close your eyes and listen.

31. Andrea Gets Married
What? Wha... she's perpetually 14 years old, as are Meredith Osborne, Alyce Noland, Steph Lightfoot and the other girls that have come through WalkAbout... the guys grow up, become men, cool guys to hang out with (re: Cheney, Garrett), but the girls are always supposed to be 12 (re: Cheney, Paige), right?

Not Andrea. She not only growed up, she gotted pretty, gots a boyfriend, gots engaged and then... gots hitched. The only regret about Disney World was that Andrea got married on the weekend we left for Orlando (which is what she gets for not consulting me when choosing a date)... not only did she get married, she graduated from middle sch... er, high sc... okay, fine, college.

andi bride
Wow... I knew they let you get married at 12 in Mississippi... but I didn't know they did that at Alabama. (just kidding Andrea... you look gorgeous. Wish I could have been there)

I guess I feel a special attachment to Andrea and a couple of the others, including Meredith, because they were on the first WalkAbout team in 1999 to 2000... so I truly have watched them grow up. I'm going to go put my false teeth in some water now.

Coming up... KT... Mama P... Fergie... Ramsey... and the immortal, terrifying phrase, "Why don't you have a seat right there... so, what are you doing here?"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Coolest Things of 2007... 50 to 41

After a week break, our countdown continues... but before it does, here's a few things to chew on...

My friend Ambre Lake is on Vh1's "Rock of Love 2" with Bret Michaels. More on this to come.

We're moving! Finally, after hunting and searching for months and months, we found a house we like, and we close on February 8th. Move day is on February 9th. No doubt, this is the number one contender for The Coolest Things of 2008... and more on that to come, too.

Now... on with the show...

50. "The Soup" starring Joel McHale
Never do I laugh as much as I do when "The Soup" comes on. New episodes premiere on Friday night, but you can catch them all weekend and off and on all week. The show is simply a clip show, featuring the best... worst... of Britney, Paris, Oprah, Tyra and all reality shows. With segments like "Reality Show Clip Time", "What The Kids are Watching" and "Chat Stew (so meaty)", its the host Joel McHale that makes each clip funny. His expressions and one liners are snappy and witty and perfect, with the perfect angle of sarcasm, and its great that he laughs along with us at the stupid nature of celebrities.

Any show that uses the phrase "Oprah's Va-jay-jay" (which led to the creation of the Vajapocalypse), and can still make me laugh is good with me. Here's the full story on The Soup.

49. Justin Timberlake
My favorite Justin tune? "Rock Your World", but it was in 2007 when I got a hold of "FutureLove/SexSounds", which is a feeeeee-nominal CD. Not only did he create a whole new catch phrase ("I'm bringing sexy back!"), but his videos are pretty darn fun, and its great to hear him just be so darn funky.
Back in my day, when I was in middle school and high school, it wasn't very cool to like Jordan Knight, or Timmy T or Joey McIntyre or The New Kids on the Block. Even in the late 90s, it wasn't really macho to be fans of N*Sync or The Backstreet Boys, at least if you were a guy. But somehow, someway, Justin Timberlake made it okay to like him. To root for him. To be a JT fan.

And most everyone I know is... people who like rap music, people who like country music, people who like R&B music, people who like rock music, they are somehow cool with Justin. My buddy Mikey loves JT. My buddy Shawn loves JT. People at work love JT. A friend of mine, Melanie, loves her some Justin.

Truly, though, why not? He's been with Alyssa Milano, Janet Jackson (back when she was kinda hot), Cameron Diaz and Scarlett Johannsen, among others, and if I'm Justin, I'm looking back on my break up with Britney, and getting on my knees everyday thanking the Lord my car was not in front of that train wreck.

You know who else loves JT?

48. K-Dub
I played saxophone in high school, and was friends with a fellow saxy girl named Kelli White. She was this cute little chick who was like, I dunno, 13, when I was a senior in high school, so before you get Chris Hanson ideas, nix that.

Well, Kelli has a little sister that before the last year or so, I vaguely remember ever meeting. Her name is Kasey, and somehow, we started chatting on MySpace and then Facebook. She went to Troy, she's married now, and she reads the blog (which alone makes her cool). Anyway, we're 'net buddies and she truly is the biggest Justin Timberlake fan I know. Colin Firth is to The Lovely Steph Leann what JT is to Kasey White Ward... or K-Dub, as she's come to be known on the blog.

I mean, I guess I could say that I wish I had known her in high school, but K-Dub would have been, what, five? That's creepy.

47. "300"
This movie freakin' rocked. I mean, it was nothing that I was expecting, but kept me glued to the seat.

When King Xerxes demands that Sparta respect his authoritah, King Leonidas gathers 300 of his best soldiers to go kick some Persian butt. What follows is battle after battle where Leonidas and his 300 boyz take on the Persians, the Immortals and everyone else who comes along.

This is not a brilliant film by any means, nor it is really a ground breaking motion picture, but its worth noting that it was made for a relatively little sum, but made around 210 million dollars, and its DVD flew off the shelves when it was released at the end of July.

What do I like about it? Its fun. Its full of color and wonder, its exciting without being too deep, its a manly movie that can be brainless without being stupid, its violent in a cartoony fashion... Lena Headey, who is a knockout--and is portraying Sarah Connor in Fox's next Terminator series, and of course, Gerard Butler is a pimp. Plain and simple.

46. Jonathan Taylor
In 2006, Emily Taylor appeared on the 100 Coolest Things List at #15, for her performance of "Voice of Truth". Well, its hubby's turn in 2007.

He's on this list because without him, we would probably not be able to get online very much. In August, we busted out the money to get a laptop, a router, a external hard drive and more, and when we tried to figure it all out, who did we call? That's right, Jon, our own personal IT department.

He came over, set it up, hung out for a while and when asked what we could compensate him with for all his time, he simply said, "Nothing. I like this stuff, and I love helping out friends." And that makes a very cool guy, and a very cool friend. I wonder if he knows we're moving...

45. ESPN College Football Insider
One of my favorite tunes is the theme song to ESPN College GameDay. At the end of August, when the music started for the first time, it warmed my heart. My breath got a little shallow, and I was in love. College football was back.

And everyday, Monday thru Friday, I spent 20 minutes listening to Andy Gresh host the ESPN College Football Insider on iTunes. It was a quick rundown of college football news, then discussions with ESPN analysts Todd McShae, sometimes Ivan Maisel and Beano Cook and even more... and if ever there was a season to hear about the upsets and news in college football, it was 2007 (see #69 for more info). Yes, yes, I finished outside the DFC playoffs, so perhaps the news didn't help me, but if ever there was time I wanted to read the Rammer Jammer Blog, it was this one. Thanks Scotty Latta, thanks for selling out to the man.

44. "1776" by David McCullough
What a brilliant book. Seriously. McCullough is a historical writer, author of the biography of John Adams (to which "1776" is a companion piece), and this time he takes on George Washington and the Revolutionary War. Washington, throughout history has been declared a hero, a leader and a visionary, and he was obviously all of those things, but according to McCullough, he was indecisive, sometimes wavering in his leadership, and seemingly forced into the situation he finds himself in.

The book takes you through the battles of Dorchester Heights, Long Island and Trenton, which is where Washington made the famous crossing of the Delaware, and where the Americans ambushed and defeated the British and Hessians.


There are lots of names to keep up with, as McCullough spends a lot of time on King George III, General Howe and Nathanael Green, but the book reads quickly, and McCullough does a great service... he makes historical immortals like Washington seem very human and fallible, and he makes sometimes boring historical events seem fascinating.

43. "Superbad"
Along with the Lifetime Movie Network, Michael Bolton music and vinegared beets, "Superbad" is something I immensely enjoy, but know deep in my heart I really shouldn't. This is not a movie for the faint of heart, with the language and... well, more language... and lots and lots of drawings of... um...

Really, the whole film boils down to Seth and Evan, and their quest to get chicks. Toss in Seth Rogan with a cool 'stache, a very cute Emma Stone as Jules, and the best nickname of the year, in the form of a nerdy geek named Fogell who gets a fake ID with one name: McLovin.

McLovin. Now that's funny, I don't care who you are.

42. "Trapped in the Drive Thru" by Weird Al Yankovic
I was one person who was entertained by the pile of poo that is R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet", a self promoted hip-hopera. And I was even more entertained when Weird Al put forth is own hip-hopera... "Trapped in the Drive Thru".

It tells the simple story of a husband and wife making dinner plans. And it takes up 10 minutes and 35 seconds to do so. Told in two parts, part one contains a hilarious conversation/argument about what to do for dinner, with meandering lyrics discussing chili, tuna, Olive Garden, Burrito King and more... and mimicking R. Kelly almost perfectly, the song crescendos as they approach the drive thru...

...then it gets a little slower... as part two commences.

And then they're in the drive thru, as the husband fights a battle on two fronts... the voice on the speaker, and at the same time, the wife in the seat changing her mind. As wives do. Watch the link, enjoy.

41. The trailer for "Cloverfield"
Its kinda funny that I'm getting to this entry, because after 8 months of seeing "01-18-08" splashed on a black screen, after the trailer has shown.

It looks like its shot on handheld video, we open up at a party, one that could be anywhere. Looks like DeuceFest, only in the upper west side. You hear some crashes, the camera takes you outside in a jerky motion, because the guy is running, only to see an explosion. People are running around everywhere, and before it goes black, what flies out of the sky but the head of the Statue of Liberty.

I don't remember what movie this appeared in front of this past summer, but I do remember the whole audience gasping, Mikey shrieking "YESS!!" a few seats down, and over the next few weeks, the question "Dude, did you see that trailer where the Statue of Liberty head comes flying down the street??? What is that??" popped up more than once.

Over time, we started seeing more and more of the film, as the trailers became more revealing, and learned it was really nothing more than a monster movie... though with JJ Abrams, the brain behind Lost and Alias, I hope Cloverfield will be a good monster movie... at least as good as the trailer says it could be.

Coming soon.... Rush smacks up Harry Reid... Ann smacks down Liz Edwards... Harry smacks out Voldemort... and lips are smacking at Archibalds.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The American Idol Audition Checklist, Part II

Its night two of the first week of 2008 American Idol! Remember our rules, right? And its back to Dallas, TX, home to Kelly Clarkson, the American Idol #1. So says White Fruit Booty Ryan Seacrest (thats a joke from last season, fyi. I just like typing 'white fruit booty').

There's actually a chick who went into labor while waiting in line. From the looks of that line, she might have carried the kid through a full third tri-mester, then went into labor.

Single, former meth addict Jessica, mother of two, and apparently a Pro-activ user, is up first with a backstory, complete with an anecdote of singing "Jesus Take the Wheel" (by American Idol Carrie Underwood) during a recovery group session. Holy crap, Idol, PLEASE let this chick be good.

Taking on the Pretenders, she... is... good. Whew. And we have the first "pitchy" of the year, from Randy Jackson.

Next up... White guy. Redneck. Fat. Dancing. Never a good sign. Bad, bad times. The Lovely Steph Leann is hiding her eyes and sighing. And the guy is talking. And both The Lovely Steph Leann and I are hiding our eyes. He's singing... no, wait, talking with a broken tone... "Waiting for You" by Elliott Yamin. And for the first time of the night, and certainly for not the last, we have a "Make it stop..." from The Lovely Steph Leann.

Beth Maddox is hoping to be the next Kelly Clarkson. She's a singing waitress at a fondue restaurant, and she says she's been compared to Kelly. I think the mirror in our guest bathroom just shattered, and I have no clue what she was singing. She's trying "Beautiful Disaster", though I don't know how beautiful it was. Not very.

After a montage of terrible auditions, including some classic Shai, here comes Alaina doing some Faith Hill. And 16 year old Alaina makes it look easy... but Simon says, "I don't think you are as good as you think you are". Alaina say, "Really? Shoot." But she makes it Hollywood, amidst the squeals of her loved ones outside, while the country music plays outside.

Gregory and Mia Tobias. I have no idea what they are doing. But Simon, Randy and The Lovely Steph Leann are wide eyed in amazement, perhaps because of how horrendous that was, perhaps because no one has shot these people yet.

Bruce, 19, is ready... he's in line. With his dad. He's never kissed a girl. He's never had "relations". He wears a key around his neck. Which matches a heart that his father is wearing... his father will give that heart necklace to this kid's future bride. Simon says, "Why?" He's trying one of my Top 20 Favorite Songs of All Time, "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers, and almost does it, but not quite. He hits Rule C.

You knew this would end badly because "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx in the background.

Pia has a mohawk, and is trying to bust up some Gladys Knight... and wails. This chick has style, even with the mohawk. And she's through.

Brandon, 21 from Mississippi (your first clue), has a hobby. A collection, you might say. In a bag, he saves his clipped fingernails. Like, thousands of them. Clipped fingernails. He keeps them in a bag in his pocket. Ah... and we have the Rule I! He wants to be a positive voice for the world! And he's even singing Hall & Oates, and doing it decent justice. She's a rich girl, and its gone to far, cause you know it don't matter anyway... Simon says no, Paula says yes, Randy says yes too... so Brandon (finger)nailed it, and is headed to Cali! (Ryan just made the same joke, after I did)

I'm noticing lots and lots of young mothers in this city... Kayla Dawn Hatfield, 24 (who looks 45) has a heartwarming story about a car wreck, trapping her in the car, and ended up having to have reconstructive surgery on her face. So that's why she looks 45. I feel about 4.5 inches tall. And when Kayla Dawn Hatfield starts singing Janis Joplin, The Lovely Steph Leann not only sat up, she slapped me. She's just so darn happy and fun, and grateful to be alive... and Simon says... yes? What? And Paula says no? Simon is pleading Kayla Dawn's case... what the heck American Idol? Randy says yes, Kayla Dawn is going to Hollywood, The Lovely Steph Leann is perplexed and I'm going to go light myself on fire.

Another bad montage... and finally, we have a Celine butchering! By a white fat guy, no less! Then someone who tortures Aretha! That's Rule E!! This means, of course, we have a great voice coming up soon. And here comes Kady Malloy, 18, from Malloy, TX, who does vocal impressions, and is nailing Britney (the music, not the shaved head, panty-less freak out). I like the name "Kady". Kady Dollar. How about LaKady? D'Kady? Hmmm....

Anyway, she was really good. And Simon says "The best so far this year"

Train Wreck Alert. That would be Douglas, 28, from Austin. He read an article by Christina Aguilera about singing, then starts going into this rambling thing about his father hating him and... I don't even know. "Living On a Prayer" by Bon Jovi. I only mentioned that in case you wanted to know what that evil, terrible sound was. The Lovely Steph Leann's response? "Make it stop." She even just whispered it. And Rule J just happened.

(the low, pleading, whispering voice behind me) "...make it stop... please..."

Angela Riley just got married. But Riley isn't her new name, but she kept Riley to sing with. Chad's her hubby. Chad picks up "Baby Love" for Angela Riley to sing. The Lovely Steph Leann says, "She's like... show choir". I would have never picked that up, but that's why I keep her around.

Chad then picks "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", and Randy and Paula says "Fire away!". Angela does. There's a halogen lamp right behind our television. I'm thinking that Angela looks about as smart as that lamp. I would say bright, but the lamp is on, and I don't want you to get the wrong idea. And Chad holds her as she cries down the stairs.

Not only can Kyle sing, he has good character, and just busted out Rule I. Or so, he says. And he also says he wants to be the governor of Oklahoma. He's apparently a politician at heart... and he's got to be better than Hillary or Obama. There's a halogen lamp right behind our television. I'm thinking that lamp would be better than Hillary or Obama.

Kyle is trying out "Somebody to Love" by Queen. So... both The Lovely Steph Leann and myself are a little... shocked. We actually didn't expect this guy to be decent. And Simon says, "You weren't as bad as I thought you would be. Yes to Hollywood". Wha...? Randy says no, but Paula says yes, and I looked at Steph with a "what the heck just happened?"


...huh? what?....

....sorry, I just dozed off. This chick Tammy is on tv talking and... she's a contestant and... she's got the most monotone voice ever... she says she's singing "Power of Love" by Celine, but starts with "If You Asked Me To", and yes, as a guy, I knew that right off. Tammy's expressiveness extends to her arms moving about four inches to the left and right, and her hands moving in tiny circles. Tammy is... just so... blah. Like, a cure for insomnia, like CSPAN or something.

Colten Swon, a musician, busts up some Little Big Town, and heck, I like this guy. He sounds like the lead in a group like... well, Little Big Town. And his name is Colten. That's a great name, but only if you are in Texas. LaColten. D'Colten. Maybe not. And he goes to Hollywood.

There's a transvestite trying out. I'm not sure I have a joke here. And then a fat guy in a dress singing Bonnie Tyler.

Here's Drew from Satillo, Mississippi. And he's a farmer. "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" is playing while Drew is haulin' the hay, and sangin'. I like this guy... I really hope he's good. He's like a manly Garrett from last year.

Here comes some George Strait. The Lovely Steph Leann just smacked me, saying "Wow, that's tone!" Simon says no, Randy says yes, and Paula... she says yes too. I think Drew might be one of my favorites so far.

Another Daughtry spawn, Kyle, who wears eyelin... I mean, guyliner, sounds like a gruff chick. He's a counselor from Illinois, and he has a poster with his counseled kids. This might be creepy, but I'm not sure. He's singing Kelly's "Never Again", which would be my answer if The Lovely Steph Leann asked me when I would want to hear Kyle sing. And here's Rule J, once again.

Yet another terrible montage, this one with a whole bunch of people that shouldn't be singing singing "Since U Been Gone". Simon says "I now officially hate that song."

Nina Shaw, from Burleson, TX, home of Kelly Clarkson, walks in. Finally, some Whitney! Nina is singing "Run to You", one of my top Whitney songs, and it wasn't bad. But it wasn't great. She then sings Nina Simone, and that gets a yes from Randy and Paula, but a no from Simon.

They've been showing the clips of this little Asian dude in a cape and a crazy white get up for the entire show (including the teaser for tonight on last night's show), and finally, here he comes. This is a producer's dream, really. "I wan audition bee caz this is preeve-ledge. I want American Idol to geeve hope to people in deesparr" I didn't make that up, KT, I promise.

The Lovely Steph Leann says "Freak in silver cape coming down the hall". This is Rule A, times 45 BILLION. He's singing an "Ar-iginal campo-zishun... we're brudders for aver". Renaldo is 44, and is more understandable when he's singing then when he's talking.

When Paula mocks you, its over. And when Simon joins in, its really over. William Hung 2.0. Randy actually goes to get Ryan from the hallway, then asks Renaldo to sing again. And he's singing--and has been--the same four lines over and over and over. What has more talent this Renaldo? I can't think of anything!!

Well, there is this halogen lamp behind our television...