THOUGHTS-The New Czar of Pickles; Revs-Dancing With Stars, "Hank",Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, True Crime, Project Runway

It’s a new comedy yet it’s an old one. For Frazier will make the new comedy “Hank” a success or not. A review.

Has “Hell’s Kitchen” jumped the shark? The series had its finale and a winner was announced. But everything has changed from when this cooking competition was in its glory.

Speaking of cooking competition, “Top Chef Vegas” continues on and only a fool hasn’t yet figured out who will win this thing.

And “Project Runway” continues on and it doesn’t look like any of the male designer contenders is going to win this thing. A look into the making of this popular Lifetime series, complete with pics you’ll see nowhere else on the Internet.
Guest writer Michelle regales us with a tale of the purchase of an item that she hopes to never need.

Read all about it in our Guest post this week.
ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” is narrowing down to ten contenders and here’s a review of each contender’s faults, fancies and chances to win.

Four new dances were introduced in the last performance show and there’s a new energy, zest and vibrancy for this.

Find out who’s the clown, who’s the one who will run away with this thing, who’s the unlikely dark horse to win this thing.

All with pics and video you’ll find nowhere else on the Internet.
It’s a True Crime post and we’ve got an update on Amanda Knox, charged with murder in Italy as her trial is now ongoing.

Plus the school rule that allows liberals to keep their talking points while throwing common sense out the window. A Delaware 6-year old almost expelled for wanting to eat his pudding and a new “deadly” weapon involving food.

It’s been a bad week for rapists folks, with one killed in the act, literally with his pants down and another caught for the reward.

And tune in for this Husband of the Week Award…the fellow gropes nurse’s breast as the nurse was pushing his wife to the delivery room.

The children in the White House declare war on Fox news.

Paying homage to a great wrestler, an update on the new Czar of Pickles, the quip of the week, gays and game shows, slutty Halloween costumes, a great video, a new prize for Obama, and a serious lament about the situation in Honduras.

All in this weeks THOUGHTS.


Pic of the Day

Honduras-Betrayed by the Democratic Party

By Jim DeMint:
In the last three months, much has been made of a supposed military "coup" that whisked former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from power and the supposed chaos it has created.

After visiting Tegucigalpa last week and meeting with a cross section of leaders from Honduras's government, business community, and civil society, I can report there is no chaos there. There is, however, chaos to spare in the Obama administration's policy toward our poor and loyal allies in Honduras.

Manuel Zelaya is the President of Honduras. The constitution of Honduras allows the president only one term of office.

Honduras is, of course, a small place on the global map, a blip of a country unknown to most Americans. And when once upon a time America protected small countries that adhered to a written rule of law and democracy, just as I feared the Obama administration is doing everything wrong.

A brave Republican, of all things as “Republican” and “brave” do not go well together like, say, “Republican” and “tanning booth” are synonymous. Senator DeMint went to Honduras although the brave and fine, fine John Kerry, who himself supported the North Vietnamese during his time because the Democrats, they’re always on the wrong side what with contributions to their campaign coffers often a determining factor, tried to prevent DeMint from going.

What the hell happened to my country? Fidel Castro virtually destroyed Cuba, creating little more than an island prison for Cubans when Cuba could be a flourishing tourist spot with a wealthy citizenry save oil dollars sent to him to keep an eyeball on America from dictators across the planet. Yet I hear members of the Congressional Black Caucus, of which Obama was one, praise Castro. Hugo Chavez took Venzuela and turned it into a dictatorship, closing down all places of free speech and this with a little help from the Kennedys who took Chavez’ free heating oil to distribute to citizens in New England that they vote for a Kennedy. And lately we have Anita Dunn, also known as “serpent woman”, who praises the murderer of 70 million Chinese as her hero.

There is only ONE person in Honduras who does NOT want to move on and leave Zelaya behind. This would be U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens. Honduras is scheduled for new elections in late November at any rate but let me guess…perhaps this wannabe dictator Zelaya was sending some bucks to campaign coffers of some Dems here in the states, ya think?

So the Obama administration demands that Zelaya be returned to power when he had been removed from power per the Honduran constitution. Well why be on the RIGHT side of the issue when, for a few bucks, you can get richer and if a Democrat, pay no taxes on your new wealth?

Chavez needs a friend and Zelaya wanted to be President for another term and he was going to change the Honduran constitution all by himself if need be.

Nobody in America’s paying much attention to little Honduras. Darn, nobody’s paying much attention to Afghanistan and this is a country in which we fight.

But this humble Blogger is saddened that such blatant corruption and bastardization of our country goes on right under our nose and nobody cares.

I’m not suggesting that the U.S. go marching into Honduras and change things. The Hondurans are taking care of things just fine.

But couldn’t we, maybe, just stop being so mean, stop threatening to deny them American aid unless they appease the corrupt in THIS country?

2012, folks. Please, I pray, let our country still be here.

George W. Bush would never have been such a hypocrite but oh right, we HATED Bush. We love The One who mistreats the poor of our planet, that’s just how it is today.

So Now a Funny Desperately Needed

One day a fourth grade teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living. All the typical answers came up -- fireman, mechanic,
businessman, salesman, doctor, lawyer, and so forth.

However, little Justin was being uncharacteristically quiet, so when the teacher prodded him about his father, he finally replied,

' father's an exotic dancer in a gay cabaret and takes off all his clothes in front of other men and they put money in his underwear. Sometimes, if the offer is really good, he will go home with some guy and stay with him all night for money.'

The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly set the other children to work on some exercises and then took little Justin aside to ask him, 'Is that really true about your father?'

'No', the boy said, 'He actually works for the Democratic National
Committee and helped get Barack Obama elected President last year, but I was too embarrassed to say that in front of the class.'

Silly War Of the White House Against Fox News

They are all CHILDREN in this White House. CHILDREN.

But before my mini-rant, let’s clarify that Fox News, all day and every minute of the day, has approximately 15 viewers for every 1 of CNN,CNBC and MSNBC (MSNBC is watched by Keith Olbermann’s mother and Anita Dunn, occasionally by Chris Matthews’ wife). So it’s not like a whole hell of a lot of people don’t watch Fox News.

Is the White House stipulating that only Keith Olbermann’s mother et all are the ones with any common sense when the other fourteen plus viewers choosing Fox over all the other cable news networks…WELL THEY ARE ALL THE IDIOTS?

That takes a whole lot of audacity, folks, a whole lot of stupidity too.

I’ll go so far as to argue that Fox has so many MORE viewers than all the other cable news networks combined because Fox does a better job of presenting the news but hey, you want to call the 2.8 million viewers choosing Glen Beck over, say the two hundred thousand or so watching Keith Olbermann as being the dumb ones…well that just makes you look dumb.

WASHINGTON — The White House has gone on the offensive against its critics in the press, singling out Fox News and going so far as to accuse the News Corp.-owned network of waging a "war against Barack Obama."

White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has led the charge, appearing on CNN television and conducting interviews with Time magazine and The New York Times in recent days to make her case.

Dang, even the New York Times declared this a dumb thing to do and now, thanks to Glen Beck, we know that the fine, fine Anita Dunn, also known as serpent tongue, had Mao T’se Tung as her quotable hero, well just damn. Mao T’se Tung murdered what? Some seventy million Chinese…yeah, there’s a hero there.

Now we learn that the adults in the White House have informed Fox News that President Narcissist Obama will not be granting Fox News any interviews, via Hot
Kurtz specifically asked her whether The One would sit for an interview with one of Fox’s news shows this year. Her weaselly response was to say that he would — eventually — while neglecting to mention one tiny fact revealed below by Rosen: She’d already given Fox a hard no for the remaining three months of this year and pretty obviously didn’t want to acknowledge it on CNN lest it show just how petty

Such a fine, fine man I am so proud to have a fellow who stands toe to toe, eyeball to eyeball with his critics, as my President. What a hero.

So Glen Beck put up a special hotline on his program because the children in the White House said that Fox News LIES about the President and, heh, no one called…HERE.

Well why the hell don’t they call if Fox News is lying about them, these fine, fine adults?

I remember Richard Nixon and how the media made fun of him and VP Spiro Agnew for complaining about bad press coverage. But Nixon never boohooed and refused to grant interviews to any news outlet.

They’re not going to win this but folks we do have a narcissist in the White House and he’ll not have a discouraging word said about him.

Soon he’ll be taking down this Blog so I write it while I still can.

QUIP header

Washington State Police Explain Complicated Geology of Landslides

I’ve never lived in an area prone to landslides so I will admit my knowledge of the matter is sketchy. But I do know that landslides involve large quantities of dirt sliding down a hill for some reason.

Thanks to the police in Washington state, then suffering through a huge landslide last week, it was all made clear to me.

McFadden said the cause of the slide was not known, but Washington State Patrol Sgt. Tom Foster said it appeared to be a result of earth shifting beneath the hillside.

You think?

You Hadda Know It Would Come to This

Soon, on the revived Newlywed game From
George Takei -- who played Mr. Sulu on "Star Trek" -- and his partner, Brad Altman, will be the first gay contestants on the show that has been on and off TV since its primetime premiere on ABC in 1967.

Joann and the McDonald's Pickles

She is up for nomination for McDonald’s Czar of pickles in the Obama administration so we give her a plug here on this Blog read by two to three people every day.

For when Belgian Malinois, dog in charge of Serendipity Shore here in the swamps of Delaware, goes to McDonald’s for the morning iced coffee, she is often treated to a hamburger, costing less than a dollar thanks to capitalism at its finest, will be five bucks when the gubmint takes over.

Only Joann don’t like the pickle included. She’ll roll the pickle around in her mouth and spit it out as unfit for canine consumption.

And like a good liberal, she intends to make putting pickles on hamburgers illegal cause SHE don’t like them.

Great Video, Great Song

Maybe it’s the garage band flavor or the 60’s protest beat thrum but this is a great song set to a great video, please check it out.

Found on FreeRepublic:

RIP Captain Lou Albano

We have a devout wrestling fan in this household so when husband told me that Captain Lou Albano had passed away, AND an esteemed writer at one of my favorite web sites produced a great piece on Albano, but also on wrestling as entertainment in general, I thought I’d pay him homage on this humble Blog read by two to three people every day.

From the American Spectator:
Captain Lou Albano passed away yesterday at the age of 76. Given that he looked like the walking embodiment of heart disease, I am shocked that he lasted so long. Wrestlers, who, like rock stars, are known to go before their time, should perhaps study Albano's life as a means to greater longevity. They might also brush up on Albano's role as a transformative figure, along with Vince McMahon Jr. and Hulk Hogan, who took wrestling from the traveling side show that I witnessed in 1981 (with an audience as colorful as its performers) to today's ratings juggernaut that cable-television subscribers see every Monday night.

New Magazine Award Category-Great Obama Covers

Cause one can never have too many Obama awards. And what next after the well-deserved Nobel prize?
From Newsbusters:
The Magazine Publishers of America's American Society of Magazine Editors has added a category to its annual magazine cover awards: Obama. This new category is the only ASME category focused on a single person, and highlights the reverential attitude for the President widely held in the magazine publishing community.

You can’t make this stuff up folks.

Halloween Pop Culture Conundrum

Well goodness we have Miley Cyrus’ parents who don’t even notice their 15 year old doing a pole dance. And we have the Spears’ children having babies at just past puberty.

So who’s surprised that the new breed of Halloween costumes features slut we all be proud of?

From the NY Post:
Trick-or-treating -- or turning tricks?

Trashy Halloween kiddie costumes -- from a slutty thigh- and chest- baring "French maid" number to a skin- tight, mid- thigh "Major Trouble" skirt-and- shirt fatigues set -- have parents fuming.

Ending With a Smile

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Helps Capture Rapist-Gives Reward to Victim

Just when you think there’s no hope for mankind, you find that there’s folks like Lloyd Gardner.

From the

A man given a £10,000 reward for his part in helping convict a brutal rapist has donated it to the victim, it emerged yesterday.

That’s not ten thousand dollars, folks, that’s ten thousand British POUNDS, about 2.8 times the value of a dollar.

Rapist Killed In the Act

And in another bad day for the fine, fine rapists of the world, From the NY Post:
Long Island cops stopped a terrifying abduction -- gunning down a hooded kidnapper after witnesses saw him snatch a woman from a supermarket parking lot and sexually assault her, police said yesterday.

The rapist got caught in the act, literally with his pants down. When cops cornered his car, containing the terrified abducted victim, the fine fellow evidently decided to take on the cops with a pellet gun.

The guy is dead now, folks, saving us all the time and trouble of a trial.

He Will Go Down Forever In Shame-Gropes Nurse Pushing His Wife to Delivery Room

Now here’s a husband any woman would be proud of.

Adam Manning decides to cop a feel of the nurse’s breast as the nurse was pushing his pregnant and very much in labor wife to the delivery room.

Now you gotta know folks, that this nurse was turned on something bad what with this drunk’s sweaty stinky hand on her breast and this as the nurse was trying to get the fine, fine fellow’s poor wife to the delivery room.

From the
OGDEN -- A 30-year-old Bountiful man was arrested after a nurse said he groped her twice while his wife was in labor at McKay-Dee Hospital early Friday.

Adam Manning was booked on a felony charge of forcible sex abuse and on an outstanding warrant for shoplifting.

He must be so proud of himself. Hey, we’ll even immortalize him on this humble Blog read by two or three people every day.

Wife Slits Husband’s Throat After Filling Him Up With Horney Goat Weed

Seems she wanted to meet an Internet lover and her husband was, well he was a problem.

So she filled him up with an alleged aphrodisiac called Horney Goat Weed and promised a lust-filled romp in the park.

From the DailyMail:
A poet lured her husband into woodland for a drug-fuelled sex session and then slit his throat, a court was told yesterday.

Joanne Hale, 39, left him for dead so she could see a man she had met on the internet, a jury heard.

Mr. Hale survived the attack but only because a passing motorist interrupted the crime in progress.

Joanne Hale, a poet who writes about love and cute doggies on the Internet, is now on trial for the crime.

A fine, fine wife a husband can be so proud of.

Amanda Knox Trial Now Active In Italy

I covered the story of Amanda Knox on this Blog HERE.

Amanda Knox had a boyfriend as she attended college in Italy, a weird fellow with an obsession for knives. Amanda Knox also had a roommate, Meredith. Amanda and Amanda’s weird boyfriend also had other weird friends, very much into drugs.

One night Amanda’s roommate turns up very dead. Amanda’s blood ends up somehow mixed in with Meredith’s blood and Amanda’s footprint is found in Meredith’s blood.

Which is a bit amazing if you believe poor Amanda’s parents who have just about went bankrupt trying to defend Amanda, who is guilty as sin as I see it.

Understand here that this crime happened in Italy and in typical American superiority fellow U.S. citizens do not think that an Italian court can properly try this case and Amanda, an “honor student” as all stories about this crime like to point out, as if honor students never kill, simply HAS to be innocent.

I’ve been following this case closely, from an episode on CBS’ “60 Minutes” to the many stories professing Amanda’s innocence. I almost always have a tendency to trust prosecutors in these cases but from my extensive study of the True Crime genre, Amanda Knox is no innocent.

How the hell did Amanda’s blood and footprint get in her roommate’s blood?

The true story is a complex web involving a fellow Amanda and her fine knife-obsessed fellow met in a bar and other innocents that Amanda pointed to after changing her stories so many times she could almost be a fiction writer.

There’s also allegations that the Italian prosecutor is under indictment himself for some crime or another but that seems like a red herring. But there’s some confusion about this case to be sure, not the least of which is that it is being tried in a foreign country and not in a manner to which Americans are accustomed.

Updates on this trial HERE.

Amanda Knox loved Rafaelle Sollecito, at least she did once upon a time. Rafaelle Sollecito loved knives and liked “playing” with them. One night Amanda and Rafaelle got drunk and/or drugged up. Along with another friend they knew from the local bar scene, all of these fine folks thought it would be a hoot to cut up Meredith Kercher, Amanda’s roommate.

It’s a simple as that. In their drunk/drugged state none of these fine folks did a very good job of hiding the evidence. There’s pools of blood containing just about everyone’s DNA and at sometime during this blood thirsty orgy, Amanda stepped in Meredith’s blood and tracked it through the apartment.

I am quite sure the Italian court is prosecuting this case closely and to the letter of the law. They know the eyes of the U.S. are on them but no matter if she’s an honor student or plays soccer enthusiastically, if she killed her roommate and the evidence points that way I am quite sure Amanda’s got help from the FBI on this matter.

There’s not a single thing that leads me to believe “Foxy Knoxie” is innocent.

Muslim Teen Fearful For Her Life Ordered to Return Home

The story of Rifqa Bary has been on the news for some weeks now. Rifqa has converted to Christianity and is fearful of returning home for fear her parents might murder her in a Muslim “honor killing”. Converting to another religion is considered worthy of an honor killing for fundamental Muslims.

A 17-year old girl who fled from her home, fearing her Muslim parents would kill her for converting to Christianity, must go back to Ohio, a Florida judge ruled Tuesday.

There’s a couple of strange things about this story, folks. First, Rifqa’s parents emigrated from Sri Lanka originally to get medical treatment for Rifqa, who lost her eyesight in one eye due to an accident.

Second, there’s problems with this entire family’s immigration status in that Rifqa’s parents might be illegal immigrants. Unless they produce their green cards or some other proof of temporary visa this decision will change completely.

Third, the church in which Rifqa converted to Christianity is one featured on Facebook,

The Global Revolution Church.

There’s something a bit hinky about this church and this “conversion”.

Now churches do come in all packages and varieties but on Facebook?

Further, investigations by the authorities show no evidence that Rifqa’s concerns about honor killings has no basis in fact.

There have been terribly sad and horrific honor killings by Muslims in this country and no doubt it happens even more world wide. But it’s rare and if Rifqa’s parents did indeed come to this country specifically to seek help for Rifqa it doesn’t seem likely they’ll kill her, using common sense here. Besides, the eyes of the world will be on her to insure nothing happens to her.

I’m no fan of Muslims goodness knows but this whole thing tends to smell a bit.

For now, these folks need to get their immigration records straight. It might end up that the whole lot of them will end up back in Sri Lanka. Then Rifqa will have less protection more than likely than she would have here in the U.S.

How Excessive Political Correctness Led to Zero Tolerance

or…Common Sense Died That the Liberals Could Have Talking Points.

It was on all the news networks, the tale of the little boy, all of 6 years old, all happy about his new gadget that combines eating utensils on one handy little device, perfect for camping with his Cub Scout troop. This right here in mine own fine state of Delaware.

What we had here folks, was a terrorist, pure and simple. Indeed the wise Christiana school district invoked that joke called “zero tolerance” and determined that this young man should be put into an “alternate” school for 45 days. This, mind you, as President Obama struggles with releasing the Gitmo prisoners into our general populace AND as AG Eric Holder insists that our own CIA be investigated for “torturing” enemies of our country.

Well we HAD to eliminate such as common sense and good judgement with this so-called zero tolerance policy. Goodness we desperately need an unending supply of talking points to keep the blacks, Hispanics and other minorities in this country to continue feeling persecuted and it would not do to have any situation where a white kid goes loose for bringing a spoon to eat his pudding with a black kid sent home for carrying a bowie knife meant for use in a scheduled gang fight. No sirree…PUNISH THEM ALL!

We must send all home with no differentiation because the liberals, hey, they need their talking points. Further, the school folks all belong to unions and such as using common sense or actually making decisions and distinctions…well we can’t have that.

The only good thing that will come of this fine, fine liberal doctrine of zero tolerance is the publicity of the silliness of it.

From Fox:
Many were there solely because of a zero-tolerance policy that resulted in 6-year-old Zachary Christie being ordered to spend 45 days in an alternative school for bringing a Cub Scout camping utensil -- a combination of folding fork, knife, and spoon -- to John R. Downes Elementary School.

Family says he wanted to eat pudding during lunch with his favorite camping tool.

Speaking of deadly weapons, heh, here we have a teen charged with throwing a deadly missile at a car. The weapon turned out to be a burrito.
HERNANDO BEACH, FL -- Hernando County Sheriff's deputies have arrested a South Carolina teen on a charge of throwing a deadly missile at a moving vehicle. That missile was a burrito, deputies said.

Don’t tell the liberals, please. Next they’ll make bananas, grapes, all food items, deadly weapons and kindergartners will soon be expelled for daring to pack such in their lunch boxes.


Ending With a Smirk

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Has “Hell’s Kitchen” Jumped the Shark?

We have a winner, let us begin this essay with the ending of this cooking reality series. Contender Dave is the new Chef to be blessed by Gordon Ramsey and is now the Head Chef position at Araxi Restaurant in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.

Established in 1981, Araxi continues to raise the culinary bar in Whistler. The winning contestant will have the added privilege of joining executive chef James Walt in welcoming the world during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

As my ageing memory recalls, the reward for the winner of this show USED to be a genuine restaurant of his or her own, NOT a Head Chef position.

Although I must imagine a Head Chef position is quite an honor, it’s not the same as winning a restaurant of one’s own.

The finale this year was also very lackluster. Fox has hung onto this reality series but there’s signs of wear and tear. The show’s format is a bit boring for its repetetiveness. Ramsey opens Hell’s Kitchen for the night. The wannabe Chefs cook the appetizers and main courses. A few of the contenders, on an almost rigid, rotating basis, mess up, generally under cooking the scallops or over cooking the lamb chops. Ramsey cusses and rants, humiliates the offenders, throws the nasty food in the trash and in general makes himself the center of the show.

The humiliated Chef describes the scene in a video-taped vignette that has them either defending their actions or expressing remorse and fear for the rubbery scallops.

I’m very skeptical that a cook could get to a point worthy of contender for Hell’s Kitchen who can’t cook scallops without turning them into rubber.

On the episode aired on 10/6/09, Tenille wins the mini-challenge usually given early in the show. Tenille is a black female chef who’s been featured prominently in many of this season’s dramas. Tenille has a bit of ghetto-tough in her although never mind her corn-rows, she has an impressive culinary background. Her bio indicates that she has a culinary degree and ten years executive chef experience. In that same episode, Tenille was eliminated. It’s almost scripted, it is.

Tenille’s prize for preparing an eggplant vegetarian voted on by a passel of kids as the best of the lot for a food element kids generally do not like was a complete make-over. Yes indeed, a new “do”, new duds. As an aside, noted on Tenille’s bio is the fact that Tenille lost 100 pounds as a result of a gastric bypass operation.

It seems almost fitting that Tenille should win this prize before her elimination that same night, doesn’t it? She had made it to the top four after all. Any viewer could have predicted that Tenille wasn’t going to win this thing.

Dave, the fellow who finally won this thing, re-hurt his already injured hand to a scene of great drama.

On the Hell’s Kitchen episode aired 10/13/09, the three remaining contenders, Ariel, Dave and Kevin, were assigned a mini-task that would have them preparing a dish from three different international cuisines. The catch was that their creations would be judged by chefs with an expertise in each cuisine. Kevin prepared a Mexican dish but he forgot his Mole sauce. I’ve seen this concept on Top Chef as well and I know that the notion of putting chocolate in some form in dishes that would seem very unlikely for this ingredient is something done in Mexican cooking. By me, chocolate is a treat and should be served as such. So hey, I’m glad Kevin forgot the Mole sauce.

Dave prepared an Indian dish and while he said he had no idea how to cook Indian food, the judge for Indian food was quite happy with Dave’s concotion. Ariel prepared a Chinese dish and the Chinese Chef declared it watery and a bit tasteless.

Ariel didn’t survive this show and on the same night, in the hour following this, Hell’s Kitchen had its finale.

This is another reason I think Hell’s Kitchen jumped the shark. A finale is a big deal, something that is hyped for the week prior to draw in viewers. To air the grand finale when the winner is announced on the same night when the top two are announced and immediately following, is odd .

Further, as I recall on earlier finales, the two finalists were assigned a restaurant of their own, even if just half of Hell’s Kitchen itself. The Chefs were even charged with decorating their restaurants!

This year’s grand finale was the same ole, same old.

Whatever the status of Hell’s Kitchen, Dave with the lame arm won the competition.

I thought for sure Kevin would walk away the winner.

On To the REAL Cooking Competition-Top Chef

Not that BravoTV’s Top Chef doesn’t have its quirks. Indeed.

In this season’s competition, located in Las Vegas, there seems little doubt that red-headed Kevin’s going to win this thing. Goodness the fellow has won or was partner in the winning entrees for several shows now. And he did win the elimination round on the episode aired on 10/7/09 as well as the episode aired on 10/14/09. On the former episode, Kevin shared the win with his partner, contender Jennifer. On the latter episode, Kevin won the elimination challenge all by himself.

On the 10/7/09 episode the contenders were given a bag of supplies from famous chefs. Out of this they had to prepare an entrée to please the judges. That show’s Quickfire challenge had some silly challenge that plugged the web site, involving three assigned words requiring the contenders to quickly prepare dishes to match their words. Goodness, Kevin even won this Quickfire challenge.

Notable in the cooking challenge was something called, get this, “egg yolk ravioli”. Folks I’m just a humble cook but the notion of eating egg yolk ravioli makes me a bit nauseous. This dish, prepared by Eli, was not received well by the judges either. Eli, Michael and Ashley ended up in the bottom three. Ashley and her undercooked “neoki” were deemed worthy of a trip out the door. Take your knives, Ashley.

Kevin and Jennifer both prepared the winning dish for this challenge, with Jennifer winning the top prize even though she wasn’t feeling well during that show.

On the episode aired 10/14/09, it was Pig and Pinot night.

The episode began by blatantly promoting Alexia snacks. The quickfire challenge had the contenders preparing a quick dish that would properly accompany a seasoned bag of these new sorts of snacks, which are, I will attest, quite good.

The elimination challenge had the contenders preparing a dish that would match their assigned Pinot wine and right there I’m out in left field.

I’m not a wine person but I must suppose that someone aspiring to a Top Chef status should not only know a bit about wine but also about properly pairing wines with appropriate food. The food item was pork of most any kind and it was all to promote something called the “Pig and Pinot” festival.

So we had pork belly, ribs, pork leg, pork chops…yeah, pork.

One of the more interesting dishes was prepared by Laureen and was called “pork riette”.

Wikipedia defines a rillette as:
Rillettes is a preparation of meat similar to pâté. Originally made with pork, the meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded, and then cooled with enough of the fat to form a paste. They are normally used as spread on bread or toast and served at room temperature.

One of the judges called Laureen’s rillette as “cat food”. And you know, it did look a bit like cat food and, in fact, Laureen landed in the bottom three because of her unappetizing entrée, both in terms of look and appearance.

It was contender Ash’s time to go home. He’s been in the bottom three for several times now.

And guess what! KEVIN WON!

Now there’s a surprise.

Robin is the oldest of the contenders this Las Vegas based competition. Look for her to be sent packing real soon. There was some drama in this most recent episode involving Robin and the other much younger contenders. Robin was, also, in the bottom three with Brian and Jennifer completing the top three along with winner Kevin.

Finally, hey, we hear Padma, who is really full of herself, is preginated. Just a rumor.

”Hank”-Frazier Redux

There’s always room for a situation comedy in a proper TV lineup. “Hank” is just such a show featured on ABC, Wednesday, during the benign children’s hour of 8 pm in the evening.

ABC’s HANK web site here.

There’s only one problem with this HANK show and it’s not that big of a problem.

The show is about Frazier only this time Frazier’s name is Hank.

Not that there’s anything wrong with this.

Hank once owned his own business. He was a big important CEO and suddenly he got fired. Now Hank and his family, a wife, a daughter and a son, have to re-locate and start all over again.

Well maybe not all over again because Hank does have some money what with having saved for a rainy day.

The plotlines are typical situation comedy plotlines. Hank’s wife gets a job and Hank must deal with being a house husband. In the most recent episode aired on 10/14/09 Hank got a job in an ice cream parlor along with his rather spoiled daughter. Hank had to sing silly songs and, in general, work like we assumed he hasn’t done for many a year.

Hank’s character is Frazier, pure and simple. But hey, Frazier was a good character, both on Cheers and on the series of this namesake.

Kelsey Grammer is a good actor with excellent comedic timing. If this new endeavor called “Hank” is to succeed, it will succeed, it will be due to the talent of Kelsey Grammer.

Project Runway-Getting Down To a Few

It’s unbelievable what one can do with an old wedding dress.

Indeed on Lifetime’s “Project Runway” episode aired on 10/8/09 the designers were charged with taking the old wedding dress of their assigned divorcee/model and with a budget of $25.00 and a maximum of two additional yards of purchased fabric, create a whole new outfit.

Epperson, who was eliminated for his creation on this episode, created what the judges alternately described as a dress appropriate for Octoberfest or perfect for a pirate’s wench. Epperson was a weird dude at any rate, prone to strange designs often involving strips of fabric affixed to an outfit in strange manners that often brought him praise from the fashion judges oddly enough.

Sharin created a charming dress using some very creative stitching to add a new and intriguing dimension to a tired design. Irena came up with a dress covered with a pretty lace covering.

Epperson, Logan and Christopher landed in the bottom three while Gordana, Sharin and Irena had the top-rated old wedding dress redux designs.

Gordana won this contest and it’s about time. Gordana is not exactly a young woman and she’s hardly anybody’s idea of a top fashion designer. I think Gordana is headed home soon.

On the Project Runway episode aired this past week, 10/15/09, Bob Mackie, famous Cher designer, was the guest judge.

The fashion challenge was for the contenders to create an on-stage outfit for Christina Aguilara, who also showed up to help judge the results.

The inclusion of Bob Mackie was no accident. The designers were told to create sparkly show-off outfits befitting Aguilara that would shine on stage but would allow her the movement required of her craft.

I watched the show from the frantic search for fabric at the infamous MOOD store through to the cutting room tables, back to the sewing machines. I listened to the various video vignettes of the contenders as they lamented, cheered or cried about their designs and the complaints and catty comments about the other contenders.

Project Runway is a show, like all reality competitions of this type, which by its nature has lots of air time to fill until the final reveal of the fashion runway.

It’s done well and the trick is to give glimpses to the designs in progress while saving the entire outfit reveal until the walk on the fashion runway.

Anyway Gordana had immunity from her win from the week prior. It’s a good thing, or said the judges, as Gordana’s design was not all that great.

Sharin got sent home for her design, described as a Halloween costume suitable for a witch. Christopher’s design was also a dud.

Carol Hannah, who consistently comes out on top in this competition, won the top prize for her black on black creation that so impressed the judges.

I don’t see any of the remaining fellows winning this thing. In fact, I put my bet on Carol Hannah.

Finally, how about those contenders maybe wash their hair, maybe get a decent haircut?

I’m just sayin’.

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” Features New & Happening Dances

Dancing With the Stars Web Site

The Charleston is one of the new dances now featured on Dancing With the Stars with the All-American country 2-step following close behind. Also now being danced, the Lambada, the so-called naughty dance, and the Bolero, which I’ve never heard of as a dance although I know there’s a classic music song with this title.

On the Dancing With the Stars episode aired on 10/12/09, it was Melissa Hart who came from behind to give a great performance of the Charleston which suddenly throws her into the field of contenders who might win this thing. Per curmudgeon judge Len, Melissa gave excitement, energy and great entertainment with her performance and Melissa and Mark were asked to repeat the performance on elimination night. Melissa received a whopping 28 points out of 30 for her dance.

Chuck Lidell, well Chuck got sent home and if it wouldn’t have been this week it would have been soon. Chuck didn’t even move his feet and this was during a dance which should have been one of the easiest for him, the 2-step. Chuck only got 17 points for his performance, which wasn’t the lowest of the night but he got sent home, God Bless, he entertained us and he gave us his best.

Michael Irvin might be an athlete and there’s been plenty of athletic entrants on Dancing With the Stars in the past who’ve done quite well. Irvin is not one of these types. In fact, Michael only got 14 points for his performance. He survived the elimination round but probably not for long.

Coming in also with less points than Lidell is Louis Vito. Louis is a snowboarder, a bit of a clown, and does not seem to present any sense of seriousness about the task of dancing. Well sure it’s about having fun but consider Kelly Osbourne. Goodness this young girl is a wreck with worry about her performance. Kelly and Louis might be extremes in terms of intensity for the dance in this Fall season’s 2009 Dancing With the Stars competition but it serves to illustrate how America doesn’t want to vote for the clownish Vito what with his seeming cavalier shrug of the win.

I simply do not know what it is about Aaron Carter but make no mistake, America does not like this young man. Actually the judges, at least on this performance night, didn’t much like Aaron’s performance but the judges and even me of no dancing talent can see that Aaron has dancing talent and should handily land in the top five of this competition, even possibly win it.

Aaron and his partner, Marina, danced a Lambada. The judges deemed the performance to be a bit too raunchy for their sensibilities, especially curmudgeon Len, who will be first to complain about any little thing.

Aaron got 18 points for this performance. What’s really weird is how Aaron’s scores keep DROPPING over time when scores should be rising for the practice and renewed self-confidence. This drop is reflected in America’s vote and for the second week in a row Aaron’s been in the bottom of the pile.

Be looking for Aaron to give a smashing performance this coming week because this fellow obviously loves to dance, he has talent, having received 27 points for his performance on 9/29/09, only the second week of the competition. I suspect Aaron feels like he has a shot at this thing and he’s going to really work it.

Mark Dacascos was really an odd guy to be performing a 2-step. Dacascos is, what…of some sort of oriental heritage? He is host of Food Network’s “Iron Chef” and presents as a mysterious Chinese “Chairman” of food or some such in that series.

I think Mark could land in the top five of this thing. He’s passionate to learn and eager to dance. Mark and his partner, Lacey, received 22 points for the 2-step dance and I suspect Mark will be around for a while.

Kelly Osbourne, goodness, she’s so intense. She’s cried at her score results before and she seems very hard on herself. Kelly and her partner, Louis, received 23 points for a really great performance of a Charleston. Kelly’s another entrant who looks like she’ll get so much better over time. I doubt she’ll win this thing but she could be in the top five.

Natalie Coughlin performed a Bolero and if nothing else, Natalie wins the prize for the sexiest outfit of the night. Natalie’s got what it takes to close this race but I think Kelly’s got more intensity and drive. Natalie and her partner, Alec, got 24 points for their performance.

Donny Osmond…hey I think he’s the oldest, or at least one of the oldest, of the dancers in this competition. I think Donny’s in his early 50’s but he dances like he’s in his 30’s. It’s because of his age that I don’t think Donny will win this thing. But like his sister before him, he could make it into the top five.

Donny danced a Charleston and with his partner, Kym, he got a 24 point score for the performance.

Joanna Krupa has one of the better partners, Derek, out of all the instructor/partners. So while Joanna would be more of a mediocre performer than top notch, she’s got an advantage. Joanna’s scores haven’t been all that high but she and her partner scored a not-too-shabby 26 points for their performance.

With Derek’s help Joanna could bring it in the top five but I don’t think she has that special something required to win this thing.

Mya is the contender to look out for this year. Mya and her partner, Dmitri, have consistently brought in very high scores in the upper 20’s, very high this early in the competition. But there’s something about Mya that ticks off judge Len. The week prior Len complained that her dance was too complex. This week he complained that her dance was too simple.

It’s almost as if Len is deliberately trying to handicap Mya, perhaps to prevent her from running away with this thing so early in the competition.

So there’s 11 contenders left by my calculation. By now the competition gets comfortable, the contenders known and understood. I look forward to covering the series on this Blog and know I will be entertained.

Below, a compilation of the dances which includes every dance featured this night plus mine own wise commentary spliced within.

 Posted by Hello

Something Alarming

We've just paid a good bit of money for something we hope to never use.

We are alarmed! I *like* it. I'm sleeping better, and that's true even if the thing isn't armed. (Ooo, "armed," rather like something nuclear, isn't it? Love that word).

Wow. Who'da thunk it?

But . . . getting there was a bit of a journey.

First, we reached out to all of our friends. They gave me anecdotes, tales of terror, recommendations, and several "pick me" notes because if I went with their company, they'd get a discount or something else really cool. I got a few questions, too, about what might have happened to trigger the sudden need for a house alarm.

Surprisingly, all of the alarm companies I got estimates from asked me the same thing.

Well, nothing. No break-ins, no murders down the street, no suspicious guys in trench coats hanging around outside. A house alarm is something Harry and I had thought about from time to time and it just seemed like the time was now. The economy will increase crime statistics, and it's making some companies offer better deals.

I wanted to make the right choice, so I set off on my quest for choosing my alarm company. I called the three biggest names in the Yellow Pages and set up estimates. Then I started receiving answers from all of my friends, so I went back to the Yellow Pages and called three local guys, too.

One of the six didn't make it out of the gate. On that call, I reached their answering service, who didn't want to talk to me since I didn't have an alarm going off. "Call back during business hours," the woman said. (Just a sec, be right back. There. Made a note to call that place and tell them they lost a sale.)

Of the other five, one took my name and number, three made appointments right there and said they'd send a Sales Rep out (and gave me his name), and one . . . one made the appointment and told me he - the person on the phone - would be the one to come out and
estimate our house. Hmmm.

I created a spreadsheet (I *am* an analyst) to keep track of my criteria for judging these competitors. I rated the first call on timeliness of answering, politeness/professionalism, where "if you have an alarm emergency, press x" was in the phone system line-up, and
how much information I was given about alarms in general. Then I added items for the estimate: punctuality of the rep, friendliness, knowledge/skill, if any reading material was left with me and whether the dog and cats liked him. And last I added price, contract terms, and equipment.

I sat back and waited for the first estimate, eager to be started and even more eager to be finished.

Each rep gave me more information. My history with alarms is sketchy and I wasn't sure what was available. It's hard to decide what you want when you don't know what the choices are, so I told each that I didn't know much about alarms and that I was estimating with several companies.

With each rep my wish list grew. I had to add a new tab on my spreadsheet just to hold it. I wanted the doors and windows included. I wanted a motion sensor. I wanted a glass break sensor. I wanted an extra keypad. I wanted fire alarm service, too. And hey, can the alarm turn on a light when it is set off?

I'm sure they had some nickname for the alaHouse account that included "Fort Knox."

I found out some interesting things. The monthly monitoring price doesn't change with most of the companies depending on what you have to monitor. With two, it did; more stuff in the alarm system, more money to monitor it. Some companies give you the option to buy the equipment up front, making the monthly charge lower. For those that didn't, I expect the monthly charge doesn't go down when you've paid off that equipment, either, rather like a temporary gas tax.

I found out one company's rep called me every other day on every number I gave him. And one company added me to their email newsletter without my having asked to be on it. (Both black marks on my spreadsheet.)

I called a couple of them and asked other questions, and finally the first round was done. Yes, first round. Now that I'd done my research, I had a complete wish list, but the first companies to quote me hadn't quoted on what I wanted. I had also eliminated three of the five. I let each of the three know I'd chosen a different company and the basics of why. The one that had added me to their email list didn't want to take no for an answer. But we're talking me, here. They did take no as my answer. And removed me from the email list, too.

Down to two possibilities, I reached out to them again and had them requote. With those quotes came my decision, and I contacted the loser to tell them they'd lost and the winner to set up an install date. Well, with a small delay.

Harry said if we were alarming windows, we should replace the last old windows in the house first. So I ordered four windows, too, and set it up so the windows were to be installed the morning of my all-day alarming party.

The alarm company I chose was one of the local guys, the one who is run by someone that reminds me of Harry. He is the one who answered my first call, scoped out my estimate himself, was half of the installation crew, and has been the one to answer all my questions. The company rated second on my spreadsheet, and came in lowest on price due to allowing us to buy the equipment all at once.

I took the installation day off and waited for service people to arrive. The windows were supposed to arrive first, but didn't. The alarm company folk weren't surprised or dismayed; they had enough to do thanks to my long wish list to keep them occupied. We had a change of plans on a location for a keypad and the placement of the alarm"brains." Other than that, I got everything I wanted (except for one little leftover that isn't yet done). Installation went well, and the windows showed up just after 9:30am.

The last of the crank-driven windows are gone.

Installation wasn't quite finished in one day, so the afternoon of the next day I came home early and the crew came and finished it up. Except part of it wasn't working. The system was registering all the alarm spots, but wasn't talking to base. If the alarm went off, no one would know except those within earshot. That would never do. They called tech support (hmm) and ordered a replacement part. The equipment is all Honeywell, but it *is* equipment. You just never know if it's going to work until it's set up.

I couldn't Drivel about the alarm then because it wasn't done enough, but I could hardly hold back from letting you all know!

That bump was hurdled, but it took about a week. During that week, I found out something amazing. I was sleeping *better* even though the system wasn't armed.

The system makes noise when something wired (we say "wired" even though some of it is wireless) is opened. If you want it to. And I do. I love the chime. Beep beep beep, it says, when a door opens. Or a window. It's like having eyes on all the rooms all the time.

Used to be if I heard a noise at night I'd strain to hear if it was something I had to worry about. If I couldn't tell, I'd have to get up and check. Now, I rely on the chime and the alarm keypad lights. Green is ready to arm - nothing open, nothing triggering the motion
detector. Red is armed - nothing open and it's ready to scream if something is opened. I hear that noise I can't identify, look over at the keypad, and turn over and go back to sleep. It's heaven!

In my head, I hear a line from Star Wars, Return of the Jedi: "That Death Star is operational!"

Well, it is. And it feels really, really good.

If you have a housekey, contact me. You're entering the Death Star and will need a safe-entry code. :-)

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