February 2011 - Posts
Whether or not you loved Ricky Gervais' unorthodox hosting of the Golden Globes, you have to admit, it made for a very interesting show. But after watching the Oscars last night, the only thing we have to say is this: Anne Hathaway doesn't wear Prada. She wears everything but.
Check out the headlines this morning. About James Franco, everyone seems to think he was distant, uninterested and a bit smug. Of Hathaway, most said she was trying a bit too hard. The entire show has been labeled uninspiring, a disaster and a "new low."
The crackheads at Entertainment Weekly, however, said Hathaway and Franco were great hosts, and called the night "fun" and "briskly-paced."
Were they watching the same show as us? If we had been asked to sum up the broadcast in one word, it would have been "boring." Young and hip, indeed.
Here's what we felt went wrong:
• It was a bad year for movies, generally speaking. This year's Oscar theme of "great moments in Oscar history" was endlessly vague, and it really felt like the Academy was reaching for a connection that just wasn't there.
• The show's production was awful. They let Kirk Douglas ramble on and on, but then cut some key people short to make up the difference.
• It wasn't Grandparents Day – and using the PS 22 kids chorus to close the show with "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" was a little too sappy and just didn't make sense.
• It's time to get rid of Bruce Vilanch, who's been writing for the show for more than 20 years. The jokes were entirely too predictable.
This show is the Super Bowl for Hollywood. The tradition alone means it deserves better than what we saw last night. Bring back the clowns next year. Actors may be able to handle film, but they don't host very well.
And based on his Twitter commentary last night, we nominate Norm McDonald for next year's host. At least he was funny.
This Sunday night will see the telecast of the 83rd Academy Awards. Although the show is supposed to be Ricky Gervais-free, and therefore fit to view by most, the show will be broadcast live. Which means anything can happen.
If something funny/strange/awkward/memorable does happen – and let's face it, there's a movie called "Winter's Bone" with a nominee…the comedy writes itself there – we'll all see it and talk about it for a week. Maybe longer.
It's happened before.
In 2000, after winning best supporting actress for "Girl Interrupted," Angelina Jolie kissed her brother on the lips and, during her acceptance speech, talked about how in love she was with him. Creepy.
Jack Palance, everybody's favorite tough-talking cowboy, won best supporting actor for his role in "City Slickers" in 1992. Evidently, there had been talk about his age, and he proved them all wrong – by dropping on the floor, on stage, and doing one-handed pushups.
And who could forget in 1973, when Marlon Brando won for best actor for "The Godfather?" He refused to attend the ceremony, protesting the film industry's treatment of Native Americans. He sent activist Sacheen Littlefeather, in full Apache clothing, in his place, to read his acceptance speech. Guess he wasn't so upset that he didn't want "Academy Award winner" forever attached to his name.
And if the antics weren't enough, how about those bad acceptance speeches? There have been some real stinkers in the past. In 1978, Vanessa Redgrave won best supporting actress for "Julia," and crusaded against fascism and anti-Semitism by calling protesters outside the theater "Zionist hoodlums."
Everybody loves Tom Hanks. Except when he accepted his Oscar for best actor for his role in "Philadelphia" in 1994. He thanked "two of the finest gay Americans" and then did what can only be described as preaching. It was bizarre.
But perhaps the biggest buzz will begin even before the show starts – on the ever-present red carpet. There will be dozens of news crews, networks and correspondents all over that famed piece of rug, all criticizing the clothing choices made by the celebrities who attend. There will be a best dressed and a worst dressed. Some will remember "who" they're wearing, while others won't even be able to pronounce the designer's name.
The whole thing seems a bit too far out of the reality bubble, in our humble opinion. But if forced to give advice to the stars, here's what we'd say:
• Expect to lose. Be prepared for this possibility. No one wants to see your fake tears, and conceit makes you look 10 pounds heavier on camera.
• Keep your acceptance speech short if you win. They'll cut you off anyway.
• Don't use your time on stage to get political. America likes its stars to be dumb and "purty." So just say thank you and give us a Miss America wave, then get the heck off the stage.
• You can cry if you win, but keep the tears to a minimum. We don't like to see our stars blubber either.
• Thank your mother.
Last of all, one word: Kanye. Don't go there. Just don't.
Oh, Canada. Really?
The Swiss Chalet chain has signed up with Rogers Cable to allow Canadian cable subscribers to watch chickens roast 24/7, and it's rated "R" – for rotisserie.
By the way, Rogers Cable is the genius behind cable channels that feature non-stop sunsets, fireplaces and aquariums.
Thank goodness this channel will only be torturing those "brave" enough to watch it for 13 weeks. View the preview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qedUvCnGfI8
John Haley, owner of the Old Boot Inn and Haley's pub in Stanford Dingley, near Bucklebury, Berks, England, has his invitation. But he's not sure what he'll wear.
Haley received an invitation to the wedding of the century – the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Why did a pub owner get an invite? The pub has been a favorite of the Middleton family for years, and Kate's even brought her Prince Charming there on occasion.
But he doesn't plan to party with the royals after the ceremony. He intends to head back to his pub, where he's planned his own festivities.
Haley hasn't decided yet what gift to give the royal couple after they tie the Windsor knot.
It's quite a feat to get that royal invitation, considering that U.S. President Barack Obama and the First Lady have been snubbed, as well as former royal redhead Sarah Ferguson. It does look like, however, soccer stud David Beckham and his wife, spicy girl Victoria, will be invited.
Aside from those few tidbits, the palace has been mum on the guest list. We do know that about 1,900 invitations were mailed out, and the prince and his bride were given 1,000 of them to invite their friends.
The interesting thing about the invitations is how they're worded. "The Lord Chamberlain is commanded by The Queen to invite (insert name) to the Marriage of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales, K.G. with Miss Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on Friday, 29th April, 2011 at 11 a.m."
The dress code is listed as "uniform, morning coat or lounge suit." What the heck is a lounge suit?
The Queen commands you to attend if you receive one of these impressive invites. Wow. Talk about pressure.
What do you get a prince and his bride for a gift? Are they registered at Crate and Barrel? Quite the quandary. Perhaps a royal wish list will be issued. The usual fare – blender, toaster, electric knife – is obviously out of the question for a prince and princess. You might get them one of those fancy coffee makers that makes one cup at a time, but then, they're used to coffee served in a silver service.
A registry somewhere would be nice, but could you imagine Kate and her prince running around with one of those price gun thingys in hand, madly scanning items for their little love nest? We couldn't either. They probably have people for that.
When William's parents married, they were registered at a private specialty shop, and only those approved by The Queen could view the registry. Not helpful at all.
So we're all bunched up about it. We don't want to wait until the last minute to purchase the future king of England and his bride their gift. We have to account for shipping time, then a once-over by the royal guard, and then approval from The Queen.
Wonder if they'd like a gift certificate to Haley's pub?
When you watch a movie like "Pirates of the Caribbean," it's easy to sing along, "yo ho, a pirate's life for me." It all looks like such fun. Sailing the open seas, answering to no one and taking what you want when you want it, consequences be hanged.
But we all know it's fiction, right? There's no such thing as pirates. Jack Sparrow is just a figment of our imagination, a character created for a film by a writer.
Sparrow may be fictitious, but unfortunately, pirates do exist. And they're not some romantic notion either.
Somalia's United Nations Mission announced last Friday that pirates had hijacked a yacht carrying four U.S. citizens in the Indian Ocean off the Somali coast. The Mission called for the release of the captives and surrender by the pirates.
The request was, of course ignored.
The four captives have been killed, according to news reports this morning. No other details are currently available about what happened. We do know that there were more than a dozen pirates on board at the time.
The yacht was called the S/V Quest, and it was on a mission. The boat was the home of Jean and Scott Adam, and they've been distributing Bibles to schools and churches in the Fiji Islands, Alaska, New Zealand, Central America and French Polynesia. They were members of a church in Santa Monica, Calif. The other two passengers were Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, both from Seattle. They were sailing with the Blue Water Rally, a support system for yachters worldwide.
Piracy in Somalia isn't anything new. It's been rampant since the Somali Civil War, early in the 21st Century. It's not only dangerous for anyone sailing the waters off the coast of Somalia, but it also contributes to increases in shipping costs and the impedment of the delivery of food aid shipments.
Why have Somali men turned to piracy? Some say it's because of the dumping of toxic waste off the coast of the country. When the waters were no longer of use for fishermen, they turned to piracy as a means of earning a living. Some do it out of anger, exacting revenge for the ruination of their waters. There is also a belief that the piracy is about protecting the country's territorial waters - the men believe they are protecting their fishing grounds.
Whatever the reason, lives have been lost on both sides. When will people learn? Violence only creates more violence.
Well...it's just another manic Monday. To lighten the mood while we mourn the death of our weekend, enjoy this clip.
The poor girl. Chances are, she did sound that way after the strike.
If only we put this much passion into solving the problem of hunger and homelessness in this country...
This week marks the first anniversary of a Web site we knew nothing about, but are now fascinated with – The Reel Thing.
The site was launched by Karyn Witzel and Caroline Burner, who said they had lost their sense of romance when it came to movies. They just weren't buying some of the couple pairings they were seeing on the big screen. So they launched a site devoted to rating these couples to see if they were truly the "reel" thing and whether they would live happily ever after.
The Reel Thing reviews couples in both current and classic movies, and each couple gets a rating of zero to five reels. Site viewers and movie-goers can also put their 2 cents in, as there is a comments feature on the site.
At first glance, we thought, "Wow. These two have a lot of free time on their hands." Then we looked at the site. And we couldn't stop looking at the site. It's a truly fascinating microcosm of the way women think – and we're betting the bulk of the site's visitors are women.
You go online at www.reel-couples.com, and there's a list of couples from popular flicks. Chick flicks, mind you. You can click on the movie title, and find out what the Reel Thing ladies thought of the relationship depicted in that movie.
You'll find a Reel Thing rating, and a spot to rate them yourself. There's also a description of the relationship, including the history of it. There's even a photo if you can't quite picture who they're talking about. There's an analysis of why the relationship does or doesn't work also.
Again, these women have a lot of free time.
But we found ourselves scrolling down the list, looking for movies we loved, searching for the couples we crossed our fingers for, watched fall in and out of love, and then ride off into the sunset together. It's downright addictive. It's kind of like the ultimate "where are they now?" kind of thing…only it's about fictional characters and the information about whether they lasted or not is pure speculation.
Nonetheless, we enjoyed the site. It's just like going to the movies. The stories and the names are made up or changed to protect the innocent, but for a couple of hours, our cares are left behind as we become a part of someone else's world. In a dark theater, no one cares if your mortgage is crippling, your health is bad, you're unemployed and you have an ingrown toenail. You are just like everyone else in that theater, and you root for or scream in anger at the same characters. It's cathartic.
Maybe these Reel Thing ladies are on to something...
It's really difficult to concentrate on all those countries in an uproar when Justin Bieber is calling us "evil."
Bieber, 16, said he doesn't understand all the problems in other countries, but he does know that if he gets sick, he's going home to Canada, instead of depending on the U.S. health care system, which he called out for bankrupting so many U.S. citizens who are just trying to take care of themselves.
Kid's got a point.
Somebody should have told his heart. His achy, breaky, heart.
Billy Ray Cyrus says he's now fearful for his daughter, and he's comparing her to Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain and Anna Nicole Smith. Cyrus says he's just a dad who's looking out for his daughter, and he's afraid of what her fame will do to her. He says it's already destroyed his family and marriage.
Cyrus was quoted this week as saying the fame that came so quickly to his daughter after the two of them began starring in the Disney mega-hit, "Hannah Montana," has put her in danger, along with the people that are around her.
"I'm scared for her. She's got a lot of people around her that's putting her in a great deal of danger. I know she's 18, but I still feel like as her daddy I'd like to try to help take care of her just a little bit, to at least get her out of danger. I want to get her sheltered from the storm; stop the insanity for just a minute. When you got through what she's been through, it takes a beating on you," he said.
Cyrus said that every time the Miley train derailed – scandalous pictures in Vanity Fair magazine, pole dancing, the salvia bong – Miley's handlers blamed him. And he says he was willing to take the bullet. But he's also quick to say he never profited from his daughter's success.
And now that Miley's had some missteps, Cyrus said he wants to step in and "make sure everything's okay."
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," he said.
We humbly ask Mr. Cyrus, where were you when the train first hit the tracks? All too often, as long as a child star is bringing home the money and the spotlight's glare isn't too uncomfortable for the child or the parent, everybody's happy. No one gets concerned about the effects until there's some sort of misbehavior.
We believe that these stage parents should get involved long before the word "bong" is ever brought up. Keep your kids grounded, beginning early on. Teach them character. Show them how to handle their burgeoning fame. Tell them no once in a while. And don't make them your cash cows.
No child should ever have to sacrifice their childhood for a star on the Walk of Fame, whether that star bears the child's name or the parent's. Either way, it's just not worth it.
In honor of Valentine's Day, we decided to look for a truly strange gift that one could bestow upon his or her sweetie on this most auspicious day. We found a humdinger – the TwoDaLoo.
The TwoDaLoo is a toilet built for two, and is billed as a super toilet. Yes, you can now go to the bathroom with your beloved; you don't even have to be separated during your most private moments. The product is touted as being created to "save rocky marriages and the planet," since it supposedly only uses the equivalent of the amount of water normally used to fill one toilet.
The TwoDaLoo costs about $1,400 in bulk orders of 12 units. So you can have one in every bathroom. If you have 12 bathrooms. You can even get it in an advanced model, which includes a 7-inch television and an iPod docking station.
Perhaps this is what Meatloaf wouldn't do for love.
OK, first of all, let us just say we cannot believe there are people in this world who believe that it's normal to go to a motel somewhere for plastic surgery. That takes a special kind of stupid.
That being said, here's the story of some "medical tourism" gone completely wrong.
Police are investigating the death this week of a 20-year-old British student who had a cosmetic procedure done at a Hampton Inn near the Philadelphia, Pa. airport. The woman, Claudia Adusei, died of a possible heart attack, after receiving silicone injections to enhance her buttocks.
As if the fact that she went to a motel for the procedure wasn't enough, here's the kicker: she booked the appointment online.
Adusei flew from London to have the butt enhancement with a friend, who had scheduled a hip enhancement at the same location. She had apparently had a procedure in the same location previously.
But after this procedure, Adusei began to complain about chest pain, and she was taken to a hospital, where she later died.
We've all read the stories about Hollywood's cosmetic surgery horror stories. We've seen the photos. We each may even know someone personally who's had a little nip-and-tuck. So hearing about another botched surgery wasn't particularly surprising.
But hearing that someone came to the United States to get "motel" surgery was a little surprising. We've read of people traveling to other countries from the U.S. to get cheap surgery or procedures that they haven't been able to get in the U.S. And we'd certainly not heard the phrase, "medical tourism." So we looked it up.
Medical tourism is defined as the rapidly-growing practice of traveling across international borders to obtain health care. People have traveled to other countries not just for cosmetic surgeries, but also for joint replacement, cardiac surgery and dental surgery.
Most often, the patients travel to have these procedures done so they can save some cash. But the catch is that the quality of health care and skill levels of the physicians varies greatly, and some destinations may become hazardous or even dangerous for medical tourists.
OK…so it's a legit practice. Done by less legit doctors, on less than intelligent people.
We have to say it: learn to be fine with the body you've been given. It could come down to a choice between a J-Lo booty and your life. And picking your life would be the smart way to go.
For every online search done this week for the Super Bowl, probably at least half of them have pointed to articles, blogs, commentary and photos regarding Christina Aguilera's mess-up of the National Anthem. It's kind of a sad commentary that when you try to find a game wrap-up, all you find is links to funniest commercials and a bad solo rendition of a song. But even so, here's our take on it.
The bad part of her attempt at singing this, and unfortunately, many other songs, was not the fact that she forgot the words, but the mangling of the tune itself. Aguilera, like many artists of today, is heavily into adding what's called "curly q's" – this is the practice of adding 20 notes for every syllable in the song. Some call it melisma, which is the bending of syllables to add "soul."
This style dominates the pop charts today, and Aguilera isn't alone. Mariah Carey is a big-time offender as well. But despite the fact that Aguilera owns arguably the best set of pipes in the music industry currently, she just doesn't seem to know when to stop the tonsil twisting.
There is a time and a place for melisma – just check out some Aretha Franklin or Ray Charles. But when it's done in a gratuitous fashion, it hollows out the song and drains it of meaning. In other words, we get lost in the shuffle and forget what the songwriter was trying to say.
So to Miz Aguilera (and all others like her), we humbly suggest that you learn the song before you try to sing it. Not the words…but the song. Learn what the songwriter was trying to say. Delve into what emotion is behind it. Learn the melody. Find some passion in it – your own passion, not borrowed. And then sing it from your heart. When you do, the words will be there.
And you won't need any additional syllables.
Life's getting harder for Romanian witches.
A month ago, Romanian authorities began taxing witches for their trade, changing their labor laws to officially recognize the centuries-old practice of witchcraft as a taxable trade. This ticked the witches off so much that they dumped poison mandrake into the Danube River to put a hex on lawmakers.
This apparently didn't work, because those same lawmakers are now working on a new bill that threatens to fine or imprison those witches whose predictions don't come true.
This is laughable in the United States. However, in the land of Dracula, witchcraft is serious business. And their advice and fortune-telling is often sought out by people of all walks of life.
But the witches argue they shouldn't be taxed for the failure of their tools.
"They can't condemn witches; they should condemn the cards," said Queen Witch Bratara Buzea. The witches say people often don't provide their real identities, dates of birth or other personal information, which skews the seer's predictions.
Many say the proposed legislation is just a ruse to draw attention away from the country's other problems, which are many. In 2009, Romania needed a $27.31 billion bailout to pay salaries and pensions when its economy contracted more than 7 percent. Last year, the country's economy sank again.
Then there's the political bickering. The centrist government is unpopular, the opposition is weak, and the press just loves conspiracy and personal attacks. It's safe to say Romania is a hot mess.
The new law would also require witches to have a permit, to provide their customers with receipts, and bar them from practicing near schools and churches.
What's next? A broom tax?
The Romanian government should stop worrying about crystal balls and focus on doing some real sleight of hand – changing their country into a place where everyone can live in peace.
Okay…so the Super Bowl is over. The score is on the books. The Packers took home the trophy. So what's everyone talking about the day after the game?
As usual, the commercials. The top commercial was, for us, difficult to pick. So we decided we'd just list those that are standouts for us, and why we picked 'em.
• Volkswagen – Come on, it had a cute kiddie Darth Vader in it and the actual music from the movie. Aside from the cuteness factor, we have to mention the fact that you know Volkswagen shelled out some serious cabbage for the rights to use that music. Or perhaps they provided a specialized fleet of cars for Mr. Lucas' personal use…or for his droid army.
• Chrysler – Um. Eminem. He's from Detroit, and he's a big-time rapper now. We get it. Enough with the melodramatics. Geez. This commercial sucked.
• Bridgestone – We loved this one. The beaver pays it forward. We always loved the Beav…
• Doritos – Now…the first one, featuring a stupid guy picking on a helpless little pug, we found predictable and just not that funny. The second one, however, had a nice little twist we found really funny. But we're not sprinkling any chips of any kind on anyone's ashes. Ever. Just to be safe.
• Snickers – Although we enjoyed watching Roseanne Barr get knocked down, we'd have to say we didn't like this one. Bring back Betty White!
• Best Buy – All the buzz about this commercial has been about Justin Bieber. We respectfully submit that we enjoyed Ozzy's performance more. As a straight man, there's no one funnier. Sharon's pretty good, too.
• Pepsi – We loved this one. Poor little guy ruled by his wife, then POW! She makes a wrong move and gets hers…we loved it.
• Coca-Cola – This one had great graphics and a nice twist. Loved the dragon.
• Chevrolet – Using the cast of Glee, Chevrolet? Really? You couldn't come up with anything better than an over-produced Leah Michele, um, we mean, Glee-fest? Time to hire a new marketing team, dudes.
• Go Daddy – There's been a lot of hype on the Internet regarding who the next Go Daddy girl would be. And she's been revealed. The image of Joan Rivers' incredibly surgically-altered face Photoshopped onto a hot chick's body…that's just an image we'll never be able to un-see. Ever. We are disturbed.
• E*Trade – This might be our favorite. Despite the fact that this baby has the market savvy of a 40-year-old man, yet strangely he never seems to age, we love these commercials. They're smart and funny, and the bad special effects only add to it, we think. And the bit at the end…oy. So funny. Hysterical, even.
Check out all the commercials for yourself and pick your favorites. The commercials were much better than the game. And don't even get us started on Christina Aguilera singing the National Anthem…or that halftime show...
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