Wednesday

" Stolen Life" by Jaycee Dugard-A Riveting Account of Abduction, Fear, Theft of a Childhood

Pic of Day



 Posted by Hello


I read this book by Jaycee Dugard-"A Stolen Life" and I was weakened by the horror of it all.

Now I'm quite sure that Jaycee did not write this book all by herself but her personality came through every word clear and precise. Her tormentor is now in jail, what an awful, awful man married to an equally awful woman.

Jaycee Dugard was only 10 years old when she was kidnapped by Phillip Girardo and his nut of a wife, Nancy. She was going to school one morning and next thing she was swiped up from the street into a passing car. Phillip Girardo and his wife put Jaycee in a dark closet for many weeks while Phillip repeatedly raped the girl and left her alone and in the dark.

Jaycee describes her ordeal and at times I had to put the book down and walk away. What the hell were these two idiots thinking?

Over the course of time Jaycee was given bigger quarters in the form of a tent along with some comforts such as air conditioning. She was never happy but was terrified to try and escape as she was abducted when she was just a child, was scared of her captor, had no idea where she was.

Phillip Girardo was a bad, bad man and one big thing one would learn from reading her book is how damn bogus psychological care can be. Jaycee might have been a child, denied school beyond the 4th grade or so, but she was smart enough to see how easily Phillip Girardo fooled his court appointed psychologists.

Nancy Girardo needed psychological help way more than her husband. At least he was allowed to enjoy himself while she reduced herself to the lowest of the low, procuring young girls and tricking them into doing splits and tricks for Phillip's viewing pleasure.



The final big horror of it all is that Jaycee bore two daughters by Girardo. She handles the situation with her daughters quite well, hiding them from nosy prying eyes, accepting that the man of her torment was their father. She can not change that and she accepts that which she can't change.

One of the more horrible parts of the story is Girardo's use of some drug cocktail that made him go sexually nuts. Poor young Jaycee had to suffer this man' degrading sexual assault, sometimes for days at a time, that left her sobbing with the pain.

Dear Lord, this man had a plethora of law enforcement and parole officers visiting him. He had a huge amount of psychologists to whom he lied and fooled as he tortured a young girl for almost twenty years.

Jaycee has started a charitable foundation called the JAYCFoundation. She uses her story to raise money to help innocent children of abuse. She's had many pets through the years, pets that kept her sane but were still taken from her to an unknown end. Jaycee really did have a stolen life. Thank God she's free now. I urge Jaycee to walk and talk  proud cause you survived a horror few of us could imagine.

Jaycee didn't say it in her book but I did a sign of the cross at the end of the book that these people were finally discovered and locked away.

Because I don't care that Jaycee's little girls were his children. I believe that came the time he'd start attacking them to a horror as well.




Dancing With Stars 2012-First Ousted Celeb Dancer No Surprise

Pic of Day


They're Still Good But Some Weaknesses Spotted

Below, a two minute recapture of all the dances on Dancing With the Stars Spring 2012's episode aired 3/26/12:



Now in words a summary of what went down on Quickstep/Jive night. Order is Celeb name and partner, dance they performed, song for the dance, singer of the song, judge points awarded.

Roshon & Chelsie
Quickstep
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
Good Charlotte
26

Sherri & Val
Jive
Proud Mary
Ike and Tina Turner
23

Melissa & Maks
Quickstep
Dancing with Myself
Billy Idol
20


Jack & Anna
Jive
Gimme Some Lovin'
The Spencer Davis Group
21


Gladys & Tristan
Quickstep
Sir Duke
Stevie Wonder
19


Katherine & Mark
Jive
Ain't Nothing Wrong with That
Robert Randolph and the Family Band
26


Jaleel & Kym
Jive
Marry You
Bruno Mars
22


Maria & Derek
Quickstep
Sexy, Sexy
The Brian Setzer Orchestra
25


Martina & Tony
Jive
Tell Her About It
Billy Joel
17




Donald & Peta
Quickstep
Stay the Night
James Blunt
24

Gavin & Karina
Jive
Wild One (Real Wild Child)
Jerry Lee Lewis
21

William & Cheryl
Quickstep
Nice Wokr if You Can Get It
Sting
26

It's only a matter of time before William Levy and Katherine Jenkins start scoring perfect scores.

I am still amazed at how good these contenders are compared to past contenders.

Below is a grid of the current standings with to-date totals.


Below is a grid of the score to date of last Fall's version of Dancing With the Stars after two performances.


Note that the highest two week score last fall was 44 with the lowest of 34 not counting the first dancer sent home. This spring the highest two week total is 52 with the lowest at 37.

Though it is just fine that the celebrity dancers are so much better this season. It's just surprising is all. What you bet that as time goes on some of those contenders take some dance lessons or bone up on their existing talent before even throwing their hats in the ring?

Whatever the case, Katherine and William are the ones to watch for, particularly Katherine, who beguiles on every level.

Martina Navratilova was sent home and this was no surprise. I'd commented on her negative attitude prior and it's almost liked she begged to be voted off.

Martina, Gavin and Jaleel were in the bottom three.

Below the first two posts on this Blog for DWS.

Dancing With the Stars Spring 2012-Celebrities Announced, Thoughts, Pics and Opinions
Dancing With the Stars Spring 2012 Begins-Some Early Observations. Some Tongue In Cheek

DWS Performance round airs Mondays, ABC, 8pm, the Elimination round airs Tuesdays, ABC, 9pm

Click here to go to this Blog's main menu and see what other TV series we're covering.


Survivor One World-Now One Tribe and the Nasty One Is Gone

Pic of Day


Colton Leaves Thank God

Colton was about one of the most interesting things with this season's Survivor-http://www.cbs.com/shows/survivor/- though I suspect a lot of his antics were scripted.

For I find this season of Survivor quite boring. I don't know what I'm looking for as I know this reality series is very formulaic: a small challenge for a reward, a big challenge for elimination, some vignettes of the contenders where they express their concern and angst, some interaction of the contenders as they decide who to vote off.

Let's begin with the challenges. Somebody tell the producers you can only throw so many coconuts and compile so many puzzles before the eyes glaze. I know the idea is to have the females shown in their short swim things as body parts jiggle. But beyond this the challenges all seem to meld into one boring run, jump, throw the coconut, find the puzzle piece….yada, yada.






As for the contenders, well we've a Tarzan wannabe and I believe one guy is a midget of some kind. We had Colton, an openly proud homosexual and this kind of stops us cold. "Big Brother" is more of a homosexual contender show than Survivor. Indeed Colton participated seldom on any kind of big scale in the challenges.

Colton played himself as a stereotypical homosexual which didn't do him justice. Survivor could have opened new ground here by having an athletic and vibrant homosexual contender but instead they script Colton to be mean and nasty.

Below, a short clip from the show.






Beyond those few contenders that stand out, and maybe Kat who breaks all records for being stupid, the other contenders have no outstanding personality traits that make these shows kind of fun to watch.

In the most recent episode I watched-3/28/12-Jonas was voted off. I never once paid a whit of attention to Jonas and have no idea why they voted him off.

The two tribes have no merged into one and Jonas will be the first member of the jury. The new combined tribe's name is TIKIANO.

Trying to stay awake, I will continue to watch this show.

Below, earlier posts on this Blog for Survivor One World.

Survivor One World-It Begins With Some Really Strange Contenders

Survivor One World-Men versus Women Continues and the Women Were Doing Okay. Now It All Changes

Survivor One World airs on CBS-Weds, 8pm


Click here to go to this Blog's main menu and see what other TV series we're covering.





The Politicos Tried to Shoot the Sheriff but Shot Their Own Feet Instead; More Delaware Politics

Pic of Day




It's been a strange couple of weeks and please don't believe I am fooled. The Sussex County Council is determined to stop Sheriff Christopher, whatever it takes.

The Sussex County electorate, however, is not so convinced.

Of course us boobs know that there's issues with Sheriff Christopher and the Sussex County Council. This argument has been part and parcel of the ousting of former state senate candidate Eric Bodenweiser up to a flap up in the Georgetown GOP office that involved kicks to the groin and flying paper.

Sheriff Christopher, for his part, is busy making the rounds to all the GOP meetings he can and other venues and he does quite artfully make his case.

My First Sheriff Post

I've listened to Sheriff Christopher a couple of times and like many Sussex countians, I suppose, I am a bit confused. What I hear the Sheriff requesting is more money to update his force's cars and to better train his deputies. I've been to about three things that had Christopher giving a presentation and on all occasions he asserts that the Sheriff in Delaware has full arrest powers. He then states that he would like to have his deputies get more training for those times when an arrest might be required.

The legislators, however, via two "rulings" by Attorney Generals, state that the Sheriff has NO arrest powers in Delaware.

It's very unclear as to whether Christopher or his deputies have arrested anyone to date, not that the elected guys think us boobs out here in la-la land where we carry this county on our backs, need to know anything.

THERE'S the rub.

All I know is one morning I woke up and a whole bunch of Sussex Republicans, the STATE elected guys, sat down and wrote a whole bunch of new laws changing the Delaware code as concerns the Sheriff. There is also some question as to an impact on the Delaware state constitution that mentions the Sheriff and his duties. The elected guys did NOT change the Delaware constitution but those laws they wrote seem to have de facto changed the Delaware constitution and this makes folks uneasy.

The rumble could be felt throughout the county.

It's not so much that there aren't issues as concerns the Sheriff, we get this. But so far we've only heard the argument from the Sheriff as the elected people can't be bothered.

And goodness knows we understand that oncit the Sheriff was the law guy, dag, we all watched Andy of Mayberry.

What most of us full well understand is it is the Sheriff's job to serve official court documents, to oversee evictions, to be the government representative doing those things that require an authoritarian type of presence.

While Fedex might be able to take over the job of delivering official court summons and such, maybe it's because I worked for the largest property owner in Baltimore city and the Sheriff is a very important fellow to a property owner.

Because, go with me on this, sometimes people do not pay their rent. And a person who rents out their property to others needs a bit more help ridding the non-payer from his or her life than the store owner who can just refuse to give away their product for free.

Evicting people is nasty, nasty business.

I suppose someone could be hired to do the job but I simply can't envision it. And folks getting thrown out of their homes are quite often not happy. I'd think a Sheriff should have the use of a firearm for protection at the least, and a kind of common sense tells me that he should be able to arrest any evicted resident who tries to take matters violently into his or her own hands.

Further, the Sheriff is an ELECTED position. Legislators shouldn't be willy-nilly messing with positions elected by we the people without, at the very least, allowing for an open forum and healthy debate.



The Sussex and Delaware elected folks didn't even try to run it by us the rubes. They sat down and wrote a tome to change the code as concerns the Sheriff's arrest powers when hey, I want to talk about it before embarking on such a drastic action.

Again, I remind, the only guy doing the talking has been Sheriff Christopher.

Now we add a little salt in that this is an election year, an election year following a nasty mid-term that had the rabble-rousers of Sussex county rising up to oust Mike Castle, a Blue Blood Republican who loved to spit in our faces and lie. We also have Obama in the White Hut doing his darndest to dismantle our federal constitution, goodness we've got Supreme Court Justices going overseas and advising other countries NOT to use our constitution and add the sweet cherry topping of Schwartzkopf and his rant about radio talk show listeners a week after a major trumped up attempt to oust conservative favorite Rush Limbaugh and man they got tin ears, every damn one of them has a tin ear.

I hear that the Sussex county council is still diddling with HB290, which they tabled last week in response to a mass rumble of unrest by really irked Sussex countians.

They are the political class they are. They know better than us, they have more inside information, this is not something for us to worry our pretty heads over.

It doesn't matter anymore if they are Democrat or Republican. For a Republican Blue Blood will reach across the aisle with polished fingernails but will rip off the head of any of an ornery base they threatens their power and perks.

They will get their way re the Sheriff and their reward will be a dispirited Sussex county electorate who not only will not get out and help get their fine selves re-elected, what you think we're going to go all out trying to get Mitt Romney elected, a guy we're lukewarm about alread?

Below the response by Democrat County Council Representative Joan Deaver. I am the campaign treasurer for her opponent, for the record:

Dear Friends,
In Delaware the sheriffs in all three counties function as an arm of the court, serving papers and auctioning property. These things could also be done under contract with a private company or directly by County employees.

The County Council has to comply with State law and we have two Delaware Attorney General opinions confirming that the county sheriff has no powers of arrest. Jeff Christopher wants the sheriff to be the ultimate law enforcement official in Delaware. While he pursues his political crusade, misdirects County employees and misuses County cars and equipment it is urgent that we seek help from the General Assembly or in Court.

COUNCILWOMAN JOAN DEAVER Serving Sussex County's 3rd Council District
Home Office 302-645-6657, http://councilwomandeaver.com/
To contact county council click here http://www.sussexcountyde.gov/suggestions.cfm




American Idol 2012 Continues With Eight Left; Top Five Predictions

Pic of Day       
Watermelon Art
Top Five Predictions

The theme for American Idol- this past week (3/28/12) was songs from the contenders' Idols. It was an intriguing episode with some surprises. The elimination night was also a surprise in that a couple of those who landed in the final three were a bit shocking. But maybe that's just me.

Stevie Nicks, who seems to be everywhere any more and doesn't sing nowhere near as good as she used to, was the mentor for the night.

Colton sang a Christian song and right there I'm impressed. It was by a group called Lifehouse, titled "Everything".

Skylar's Idol was no surprise. She sang Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead" and my notes indicate "she's got momentum".

Heejun, this year's Chinese comedian (doesn't AI have one every year?), sang "A Song for You", and he did a great job of it.
 
Cutie Hollie, I dunno, she sang Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel" and I really don't think that was such a good idea. I think she did a pretty good job of it but nowhere near as good as Carrie. The general rule of thumb is to avoid, if possible, certain singers and their signature song. Whitney's "I Will Always Love You" is one, if following that rule, to avoid. Not even the best contender of all will likely sing it as well as Whitney.

So too with Carrie Underwood with an added disadvantage that she's a more recent singing star who was also an American Idol.

I'm thinking Hollie probably spent a lot of her life singing that song and dreaming of the day when she'd sing it on stage. I think that was a dream that misled her.

http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/get/flashplayer/current/swflash.cab" id="Player_6dded4df-10d8-471f-9cf3-afa54ea25657"  WIDTH="600px" HEIGHT="200px"> http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?rt=tf_cw&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Ffishbookrevi-20%2F8010%2F6dded4df-10d8-471f-9cf3-afa54ea25657&Operation=GetDisplayTemplate">http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?rt=tf_cw&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Ffishbookrevi-20%2F8010%2F6dded4df-10d8-471f-9cf3-afa54ea25657&Operation=GetDisplayTemplate" id="Player_6dded4df-10d8-471f-9cf3-afa54ea25657" quality="high" bgcolor="#ffffff" name="Player_6dded4df-10d8-471f-9cf3-afa54ea25657" allowscriptaccess="always"  type="application/x-shockwave-flash" align="middle" height="200px" width="600px">


So okay, I really hated Deandre's song, "Sometimes I Cry" by his Idol, Eric Benet. I don't know Eric Benet probably because, well I don't like that kind of constant falsetto in a song. If Deandre were to be judged by how well he imitated his Idol's song genre I imagine he'd get a higher score from me. As it was, meh….just not a joy to my ears.

Jessica, a beloved of the judges, sang Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams". It was okay. I'm not that fond of Jessica though I'm sure she'll make the top five, more on this later.

Phillip Phillips sang a Johnny Lang song, "Still Raining". Phillip is a rocker, no doubt about it. And he's good at it, no doubt about it. Will America vote him in as the next Idol? On that, there's some doubt. Remember Daughtry.

Joshua is a fellow who I watch with great interest. I think this is the year for a great black male singer though I base this on naught but a hunch. Joshua, he goes up and down, he's great and not so great. For this song I think Joshua tried to add too many voice effects. Still, he's got talent and he's got a great voice.

Elise was a real surprise this night as she belted out Led Zepplein's "Whole Lot of Love". Sheesh, who'd have thought that Elise, once needing saving by the judges and since always hovering near the bottom, had such a voice in her? She did a great job of it, yes she did.

So Hollie, Skylar and Heejun were in the bottom three with Heejun getting the boot off. I was not so surprised by Hollie as her song choice, along with the fact that everyone else did so wonderfully with their chosen genre, was not a good one. Skylar really surprised me.

Skylar is great at her genre, really great. She's fighting the fact that last year had TWO country stars make the top two and it might not be the year for one so obviously country as Skylar. Still, she's got a great voice and performs her music well. I suppose Skylar will be removed sooner than I'd originally envisioned.

My predictions for the top five:

5-Hollie
4-Colton
3-Phillip
2-Joshua
1-Jessica
Finally, let's re-visit the matter of Randy's neckware.  Last week he wore some kind of light thing look like a kid made it.  Here he wears ropes of beads that look like candy strung on a string.  What's up with that?

American Idol performance rounds air on Fox, Wednesdays and elimination on Thursdays. 
Other AI 2012 posts on this Blog below:
American Idol 2012 Top 24 Announced, Lists, Photos, Some Predictions

Can "American Idol" 2012 Outshine The "X Factor", "The Voice" and "America's Got Talent"? Some Gossip & Snark

American Idol 2012-Critiques and Already Some Predictions

American Idol 2012 Catch Up As Top Ten Begins Going Down

Click here to go to this Blog's main menu and see what other TV series we're covering.





Thursday

Dancing With the Stars Spring 2012 Begins-Some Early Observations. Some Tongue In Cheek

Pic of Day


Every One of Them Were Good

As anybody who reads these columns knows, I'm not one to swoon over these competetive reality shows although I do enjoy them.  I'd argue I have a firm grip on reality about it all, I understand the need for some scripting, some pathos, some angst and other raw emotion to keep viewer interest.

 This group of contenders here in the spring of 2012 is one of the better groups since DancingWith the Stars' inception.  And just to prove myself, I checked on some earlier score grids for comparison and here's some facts: on the first episode of autumn 2011's DWS,  fully EIGHT of the contenders scored under 20 as given by the judges.  After the scoring of the first episode of DWS, spring 2012, NONE of the contenders scored below a 20.  The highest score of the premiere episode of DWS for autumn of 2011 was 22.  The highest score of the first episode of DWS spring 2012 was 26. 

 So the spring 2012 premiere of DWS has twelve contenders all scoring 20 or above on their first dance. 

 I watched the dances and as each contender took the floor I thought no way this team will beat the last dance. 

 It began with Derek Hough and Maria Menounos .  This team did a cha cha and I thought they were looking good.   They scored 21 and silly me, I pondered, knowing that this was the first episode of the season, if this duo might be in the top three.  Up next,  Jack Wagner and his partner  Anna Trebunskaya .  This duo performed a Foxtrot and my eyebrows begins to raise.  Dag, I thought, this looks to be a good team and here they are scoring 23 on the first dance. 


 So I sit up straighter as Donald Driver is introduced with his partner,  Peta Murgatroyd .  They begin a fine cha cha and I type quickly that Driver is quite the dancer and he is one to look out for.  In fact Driver received a score of 21, a quite respectable score for the first dance of a DWS season but, indeed, this score was one of the lowest of the first episode.

 Gavin DeGraw and his partner,  Karina Smirnoff , perform a  Foxtrot.  I made no special notes on the performance so it must have been ho-hum.  Still the duo scored a 20 for their performance.

 Disney star Roshon Fegan takes the floor with his pro partner,  Chelsie Hightower .  The younger Disney stars, of which there is always one as DWS is aired on ABC, which is owned by Disney, usually are a challenge to the other contenders if for no other reason than their youth , popularity and general fun nature.  This team scored a 23 on their cha cha.  My notes indicate I thought he was terrific.  If nothing else, Roshon sure was confident.

 Sherri Shepherd of daytime's The View, was introduced along with her partner,  Val Chmerkovskiy .  In a cute effect, this duo performed a Foxtrot to the old Four Season tune "Sherry".  This team got a score of 23 and by this time I'm wondering how high these scores will go in this very first episode.

Melissa Gilbert, she of Little House on the Prarie" fame,  came on with her partner,  Maksim Chmerkovskiy .  The duo performed a cha cha and it wasn't until this performance that I spotted anything amiss.  I could swear I saw Maksim trip and Melissa resembled a little girl playing hopscotch.  Even with that this team scored a 20.

 William Levy performed a cha cha with his partner,  Cheryl Burke and they rung up a score of 24.  

 Tennis star Martina Navratilova  performed a Foxtrot with her partner, Tony Dovolani  and with this contender things got a bit interesting, if nothing else.   Let's just say there've been rumors about Navratilova's sexual preferences in the past.  Not that there's anything wrong with that. 

 Martina complained about her dancing shoes, her makeup, her hair care.  She was complimented sincerely by both hosts about how nice she looked, which she did, she looked very nice.  Her response was to the effect that for all the effort that went into getting her ready she sure should look nice.  Her score was one of the anemic lowest of 20 points and I'm thinking that with her attitude, Navratilova might not be around very long.


I've never heard of Katherine Jenkins but the producers did a good job of introducing her as a singer that she is.  In fact she sang on an episode of last year's DWS and a clip of that performance was shown.  She is a very beautiful woman and dances beautifully.  Right now, with her score of 26 for a Foxtrot performed with her partner,  Mark Ballas , I consider her this early on one to look out for.




Up next the fabulous Gladys Knight and she was a delight to watch as she did a cha cha equal to one done by someone half her age.  With her partner,  Tristan MacManus , they scored a 23 and America smiled as the empress of soul danced around the floor.



Finally we have Jaleel White, goodness, if isn't Urkel as an adult!  How we remember the infamous Urkel, his high wader pants, suspender and nerdy ways.  Only this later and greater version of Urkel scored one of the top two scores with his partner, Kym Johnson


The first episode left me a bit astounded.  Almost every one of these contenders are on an equal footing in terms of talent and fluidity of movement.  For now I only question Navratilova as one to exit quickly, perhaps Melissa Gilbert.

 I definitely think Katherine Jenkins is a top fiver and I'm willing to give Gladys Knight a nod as a possible winner of spring 2012's DWS mirror ball trophy.

My first post on the subject:


Monday and Tuesday nites, ABC, check times, change for amount of dancers left

Click here to go to this Blog's main menu and see what other TV series we're covering.

American Idol 2012 Catch Up As Top Ten Begins Going Down


Pic of Day       


Top Ten Inches Down to Top Five
It was Billy Joel night on American Idol 2012 episode aired 3/21/12.  There were ten contenders left and it's time to look them over with critical eye.  There were some interesting developments during the episode aired to begin culling down the Top Ten. 



Let us begin by mentioning Randy's bizarre pin.  It's made of those Lego things that light up.  It shows Randy wearing green eyeglasses and this kind of "jewelry" is all the rage as I am to understand.

Heh.  Maybe I'm lacking taste but I think they're ugly and look like something I'd wear only if my granddaughter made it for me.

Deandre begn the night with a rendition of "Only the good Die Young".  This is one of Joel's more popular songs and Deandre did okay.Deandre was one of the bottom three.  He's not an American Idol and I doubt he'll be around much more than a few weeks no matter that the Obama girls like him.

Erika sang "NY State of Mind" and I thought she was pretty good.  Erika underwent some sort of dramatic makeover as Tommy Hilfinger was on the show that has nothing to do with him and he was giving out makeovers.  Erika dyed her blonde hair black and as someone suggested on a live thread I was on that night, she looked like Mrs. Kardashian.

All of this effort, even her decent performance, was for naught, however, as Erika was voted off.  She'd been in the bottom three the first two episodes so it was only a matter of time.  Erika wasn't the next American Idol that's all there was to it.

I still say Joshua Ledet is one to watch out for although he has been in the bottom three.  But the guys's got talent and a great set of pipes and I'll throw this out there, it's about time for a black male to win this competition.  It's not how American Idol works, I know that, but humankind in general will look for variety if given a chance.  Joshua sang "She's Got a Way" and he performed okay.  This was definitely not his genre and frankly that song was way too white for Joshua.

Speaking of out of a genre, Skylar sang "Shameless", a Joel Song I've never heard before but somehow Skylar found some countryish rendition of it and it was different and interesting.

Phillip Phillips, whose parents came up with an easy way to remember his name, sang "Moving Out" and I thought he did a terrible job.  Pay me no mind, however, as the judges loved Phillips, as they seem to love him while I don't know why.

Elise sang a song titled "Vienna" which I never heard of.  She had a husky tone to her voice that some might like but I didn't.  Elise had been saved by the judges early on in this contest and she was in the bottom three last time.  I don't think she'll be around too long.


Cute Hollie, one of my favorite, sang "Honesty", one of the more famous Joel tunes.  The judges remarked that the rendition sometimes got pitchy and this was true.  But it was seldom and her astounding high notes and vibrato eclipsed those few times, at least as I saw it.  I see Hollie in the top five at the least, maybe in the top three.  She's young, sweet, and has a great voice.
Heejun sang "My Life" and goodness, he made Steven Tyler mad.  I didn't even think Tyler could get mad but he did not like Heejun's rather mocking performance.  I don't know what Heejun was doing but he ripped off his shirt and was wearing some sort of shirt that was supposed to be funny.

Heejun does not expect to be around much longer as he said himself.  And, indeed, he was in the bottom three and if he hangs around much longer it would only because of his comedic ability amusing America in a show that at times takes itself a bit too seriously.

Ah, Jessica...the one all of America expects to win this thing.  She sang "Everybody Has a Dream" and she did a great job of it.  If I had to predict a winner I'd pick Jessica but I really think she's too young and not especially exceptional.  Skylar, for example, has a great voice and way more personality.  It's not that Jessica's unlikeable, not at all.  There's just some air about her that seems to throw out a snobbery that I can't quite define.


Colton of the raccoon hair got a really lucky break on Billy Joel night.  Colton plays the keyboard and to great effect he played and sang "The Piano Man".  It was Colton's night to shine and he did.


Click here to go to this Blog's main menu and see what other TV series we're covering.



Coming Down to Finals of Worst Cooks in America. Predictions, Some Snazzy Snark

Pic of Day   



Top Two Battle To Prize Coming This Weekend

Before beginning an excellent synopsis and overview, as expected, if any of yon readers should be interested in being on Food Network's Worst Cook in America, here's some information from the web site:

Are you — or someone you know — a complete disaster in the kitchen? Tell us about the Worst Cook in your life.

Send the following information to mailto:FNDish@foodnetwork.com subject ="Worst Cooks Casting"

1. Name and hometown of your worst cook. You can nominate yourself or someone else in your life..

2. Tell us a little about the person you are nominating: their age, what they do, what’s their personality and why are they great for the show?

3. Why does this person need to be sent to Worst Cooks Boot Camp?

4. What are some of this person's worst, funniest or scariest cooking disasters?

Thus it would seem that the plan is to continue with this show and I suppose it was entertainment in a fashion. This cooking food show junkee was entertained but there was some disappointment.

The premise of the show is a good one. The maligned cooks are sent to a cooking "boot camp" headed this year by Food Network's Bobby Flay and Ann Burrell. The teams, headed by their appointed cooking mentors, are entered into two challenges for each show. One is the "skill drill", a small cooking challenge that begins with the cooking mentors illustrating whatever skill is included in the challenge. The contenders learn what they can from the mentor demonstrations and then are left to their own devices to replicate the skill called upon.

Recent skill drills included making a comfort food, preparing a nutritious meal for school children, and replicating a meal prepared by a mentor.

The competition moves on to the elimination challenge which varies like the skill drill. The most recent  episode had the remaining four contenders preparing a meal for a loved one. Husbands, children and fiances were flown in to be culinary critics of dishes that would be served without identifying the chef who prepared it. The mentor and family members critiqued the dishes presented to them. They did not know who prepared the dishes presented to them. Under this scenario, a close family member or loved one could be responsible for the elimination of their beloved contender.

The show began with each cooking member overseeing the cooking instructions of eight contenders. Each week brought its incidences of cooking tragedies, pathos, laughter, learning and angst. I did my best to learn a thing or two as I'd like to cook better. My disappointment came in that these so-called worst cooks in America were being taught cooking skills way above my level.


"Knife skills", for example, baffles me. I have this handy dandy little chopper thingie that works just fine for the few items I must mince or otherwise reduce from big item to little pieces. It's not an item that would impress most master chefs I suppose. And for sure a cook looks very deft wielding a great big ole knife while fluidly chopping green pepper slices that are match stick thin.

I'm just not convinced that the cooking skills taught were the sorts the "worst" cooks in America need to learn.

Over the course of the contest the contenders have had to cook for school children and their own family. They've had to make diner comfort food and combine extreme flavor combinations. They've made pizza and seafood towers and had to replicate dishes made by their mentors.

In the end, the two remaining contenders are Vinnie and Kelli.

Vinnie, poor Vinnie. He's a nice guy, a big amiable fellow who wanted his son to so much enjoy his steak that he almost cried with joy when he did. Throughout this competition, Vinnie's been criticized by Bobby unmercifully for his inability to control his time.

The final two competitors will be cooking a three course meal for some tough critics on behalf of their mentors Ann and Bobby. I see these two finalists as being about equal in talent though I'd give a slight edge to Vinnie.

The final show is scheduled to be aired on Food Network, Sunday night, 4/1/12, at 9pm.

The first post on the "Worst Cook in America":

Food Network's "Worst Cook in America",an Intriguing Concept

Click here to go to this Blog's main menu and see what other TV series we're covering.



Wednesday

The Lorax-A Review-The Only Bad Thing Was It Needed MORE of One Thing; Guest Writer Michelle Wrestles With Water

Pic of Day

Thank God It Wasn't a Liberal's Wet Dream

I was a bit skeptical about this movie although I totally adore Dr. Seuss.  How well I remember reading his books when I was in the third grade, how I loved his play on words, how I adored the pictures.

Still there are those among us who wrest all that we once held sacred and use it for advancing their own agendas.

I feared it would a movie about global warming or some stupid liberal thing and I wanted to avoid exposing my granddaughter to this kind of propaganda as long as possible.  On a more acceptable, but still wary, note, I also feared the movie would be delivering a message about the fiction of "green jobs" or the nonsensical horror of using fossil fuels to power our lives.

The movie did, to my great relief, deliver a message of kindness to our environment and examples of the consequences cruelty of our natural world might bring.

I might be of Conservative idealogy but no mind that the liberals like to depict Conservatives as mindless of our world, I am a trained Backyard Wildlife Habitat Steward with a yard certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

Indeed I am very conscious of my environment, every year creating a grand compost pile of my yard leaves, adding vegetable peels and such all season until a dark earth is formed that I then spread over my happy gardens.  I provide food, shelter and places to nest for the bird fellows and I live by a rule of thumb to recycle EVERYTHING, at least once.

Thus I am not averse to teaching the environment and love of same to granddaughter.  But I don't want her to hear claptrap about global warming or any lesson that it's somehow against natural law for humankind to use the bounties of nature.

Human beings are creatures of God, as are the insects, birds and other mammals of the planet.  Destroying the surround is against every natural law that can be conceived.  Without the earth and its bounty all animal life would cease.  I get this, all animals get this on some level.

The story of the Lorax involves a pretty community that hasn't seen a genuine tree in many, many years.  As the story unfolds, we learn that a somewhat selfish entrepreneur destroyed all the trees in the surround.  No trees, no oxygen released as is the natural pattern of the plants.  The plants also absorb our exhaled carbon   dioxide.  The disappearance of the trees, though replaced by newer plastic models, some with remote control, makes the air a bit crappy.  Enter another entrepreneur who makes a fortune in Thneedsville selling fine bottled air.

I didn't have a single problem with the movie's message although really, it would be an almost impossible result to remove all the trees from the surround.  Trees have seeds, they grow AFTER they are chopped down, they do a fine job of spreading their seed and pollen, indeed.  Still and so, the world would be sad and unstable if a large generation of trees were suddenly yanked from the earth.  Sure they'd  grow back, unlike the depiction in the movie of a dead forest that never re-generates.  But plenty of damage would be done;  birds and other animals depending on the trees would move away. 

The problem with the movie that I DID have was that there was not enough music.  The music that was featured in the movie was quite good, especially the song of the movie climax "Let It Grow".  I expect to hear that song at next year's Academy Awards.  The song was sang at the movie's ending but by me it could have been presented in a much grander fashion and lasted a bit longer.  I think it should have been  presented like the scene in "The Grinch That Stole Christmas" when, at the end, all the village people sang the song, the grinch joined in.  In that movie, the grand finale song become very much a part of the experience of the movie.  I felt a bit let down with that finale in "The Lorax".  It needed to be way longer and grander.

But if the only problem you have with a movie is not having more of a good thing, that should say it all.  "The Lorax" is a movie telling a good, believable story.  We have some famous narrators in the movie such as Betty White and Taylor Swift.

I never did much think it mattered all that much who was the voice of the characters but I'll mention it.
=================





Shop Amazon's Gift Cards - Perfect Anytime



Drivel: Wet

On and off and on again rain has turned my world into a wet wonderland.

I love rain and I know it'll be 110 degrees way too soon, so these last few summer storms have been wonderful for me. One day we couldn't get our mail because the mailbox stood in the middle of a small lake. The deck in the backyard was surrounded, too, and when Guia tried to run around it, she found herself hock-deep in marsh. Our lawn is suddenly green and lush.

In the reflected grey of a cloud-covered afternoon, the neighbor's flooded field looks like newly poured asphalt. The drive to El Dorado Hills is full of overnight rivers and pass-the-night ponds where ducks and even a few geese play. The cattle gather tight-packed under the trees, tails facing the wind. None of them notice me.

The afternoon clears and the sparkle of sun on roadside water is blinding, winking at me as I drive home. A hopeful crow searches a sodden pasture for nest-building twigs and a red-tailed hawk pounces on something in the grass - perhaps a mouse whose home has flooded. Sorrow amid the joy. Along with the aquarium, just more proof the many days of rain don't make it a wet wonderland for everyone . . .

The weekend was wet on Saturday and pretty dry on Sunday, so Harry and I decided to do a water change on the aquarium. The fish and shrimp (and snails; where do those come from, anyway?) have been doing pretty well, although our nitrate levels are a bit high. Consequently we're fighting an algae infestation, but we'll have that under control soon.

Harry had bought a bigger machine to make good water; this one has standard hose flow and we can hook it up to a faucet with hot and cold water so we can put the right temperature water in the first time. I think it's a reverse osmosis machine, but I'm really unclear on the difference between that and a de-ionizer.

Harry hooked it up to the garage sink and it promptly sprayed water everywhere. The fittings were a bit leaky. We captured some of the water fountaining from it and tested - good ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and one hardness test but it flunked the other hardness test. Harry got some other fittings and reconnected everything so we could move it into the house without washing the walls when we changed the aquarium water. That done, he put it into the hall bathroom - no leaks. We tested the water again and all levels were good.

A length of hose helped us drain old aquarium water into the kitchen sink, and then we carefully modulated the temperature of the machine water to keep it close to the 79.5 the fish are used to. All good, we filled the tank back up. When I flipped the pumps back on, I noticed one Congo tetra wasn't swimming so well. The other fish were racing around the tank.

Since the timing was "dawn" for them, this wasn't a good sign. A quick test showed the pH had dropped to 6.0 (or less; that's as far down as the test goes). As Harry and I shut down the pumps and did an emergency drain of some of the aquarium water, more and more of the fish succumbed to the sudden change in levels. All were toward the top of the tank, many being pushed around by the current without any sense of balance or up or down. It looked like we'd managed to take a pretty nice day and kill every fish in the tank.

One of the big shrimp tottered out onto the golf course and fell over. Make that "kill everything in the tank."

I managed to suck two of the disoriented fish into the draining hose. I felt terrible about it, but my focus was on saving as many as possible and they weren't swimming away like normal when warned from the hose. It didn't look good; my heart sank as we stopped the drain and switched to putting our crappy tap water back in. We knew it would bring the hardness problem back, but the suddenly low pH would certainly kill everything.

 Adjusting the tap water to keep temperature as consistent as possible, we replaced about half of the water we'd originally removed and refilled. As the water level came up, some fish began to look better.

 By the time we were done, all but a few fish were doing okay, and the shrimp on the golf course had gotten up and gone back into the bushes. That night, all the fish were doing well enough to eat when I fed them. Both big shrimp were out and about, too.

We had three known casualties, but I'm sure there were others whose bodies I'll never find. Apparently the water poltergeist curse is still in effect in alaHouse . . . but I do wish H-2-Uh-Oh would stay away from my aquarium.

The Desk Drawer writer's exercise list