Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Celebrity Duets

I don't know what I'm going to do in two weeks on Tuesday nights. Rock Star is coming to an end, Celebrity Duets will have been on for a couple of weeks and Dancing With the Stars 3 will be starting. What to do, what to do?

Of the celebs on Duets, Lucy was pretty good, Alfonso was good and Jai was very good. Of course, we should expect that. According to some simple research I did, Lucy has been singing since she was little and was training to be an opera singer and Jai was on Broadway in Rent (as Angel).

Alfonso is the only surprise for me. Lea was also okay, but she was sharp in spots.

Carly was flat, Cheech was bad, Chris was just this side of gawd-awful and Hal was so-so.

After only one round, I think Carly is going to get sent packing.

Is it just me or is Little Richard just a little odd?

Rock Star: Supernova, week 9


So now we've got six people left: Dilana, Lukas, Magni, Ryan, Storm, Toby. We see some footage of the contrived drama left over from last week. I stuck with Celebrity Duets because I just want to see the singing on Rock Star.

Rock Star is becoming more and more American Idolish with the long intros and filler. I wish they'd just start singing.

This week, the fans are picking the songs for the contestants. First up is Lukas with more Nirvana. Why do they have so much Nirvana on this show!?!?! It's actually a good song for him because he doesn't have to open his mouth to sing it. Kurt Cobain was kind of mush-mouthed himself and that's good for Lukas. The performance is very good, and considering that I don't like Lukas and I hate that song, it should guarantee him sticking around.
Verdict:

Next up is Magni with "I Alone". I can't understand why he's been in the bottom 3 these past two weeks. I liked the performance. Vocally, he's spot on and Tommy must like it, too, because he's playing the air drums. If this show were left up to me, I would declare Magni the winner today because I think he's the whole package in terms of a lead singer.
Verdict:

Ryan gets to go third with "Clocks". I'm not a Ryan fan and this performance didn't do anything for me. I thought he was shouting in places and the crawling all over the piano was kind of strange.
Verdict:

Storm is fourth with "Bring Me to Life". I don't know that this is the right song for her. At least she can blame song choice on someone else (speicifically the voting public). Getting Toby to sing with her was a good choice. It's not as bad as I thought she was going to be and it was much better than Gilby said it was.
Verdict:

In the five spot we have Toby who takes a bad song and turns it into a good performance. The vocals were okay, but he did a good job on the stage. I think he's also going to get a little bit of a boost from helping Storm out.
Verdict: ↑/↔

Wrapping up the show is Dilana who they have been saving, probably as a result of all the drama. Her fan-picked song is "Mother, Mother". I think she's pretty good, even though I don't really like the song. She also startedout with a singing voice that wasn't her usual deep, raspy voice, although she started shouting later.
Verdict:

I think it's telling that no one was outright bad this week, even if I didn't care for Ryan (the band did, though). I think any of these people could win, although I think Toby and Ryan are on the outside looking in.

For me, the bottom 3, should be Lukas, Ryan, Toby, but I think Magni will probably end up there again.

We find out the preliminary bottom is Lukas, Ryan and Storm. Storm was pretty good, but my wife thinks she's going home.

On the split screen, I was mildly surprised to see Chris Jericho get sent packing ahead of Carly Patterson, but I'm sure next week will be her time.

High Lord. Out.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The first step on the journey

I was driving home from work this past Tuesday when my cell phone rang. I usually don't answer when I'm in the car unless I have my headset on, but it was the Lincoln County School Board. I figured they just wanted to make sure I was willing to be on their sub list for next year.

"Hi, David," Tina said. "What do you want to teach?"

"What are my choices?" I asked.

"Math or science."

It took me a second to process what she was offering. It was a long-term substitute position. "That depends on the math and it depends on the science."

"I've got algebra I and chemistry at the new high school," she told me. Lincoln County (West Virginia) recently consolidated all of their high schools into one big one (although it still is about half the size of the one I went to) and I thought all the jobs there were already taken.

My mind churned for a few seconds. Both of my degrees are in history. The only reason they're even asking if I want either of these jobs is because I have enough credits to teach them on my long-term substitute permit.

"Chemistry," I said. My reasoning was this: The content I can re-learn. Chemistry is at least active and a little exciting. Algebra is (in my opinion) pretty boring. Besides, I needed a challenge.

"Great," she replied. "Can you be there tomorrow?"

"Not really," I stammered. "I'm actually training someone to do my old job. I might be able to come out for a little while in the afternoon, though."

"I'll tell Mr. Snyder you'll be out then."

I finished driving home in a daze. Mind you, I haven't had chemistry since my junior year of high school. That's 1989-1990 for those of you keeping score.

On Wednesday morning, I got up and went to Marshall and spent the morning training my replacement. I had planned on leaving that job and taking a different GA in the same department; I just thought I would have three days to train her, not one morning.

Fortunately, my replacement is a smart girl who picked up on things quickly and after a morning, Heather seemed to pick up quickly. I met my friends Rachel and Brandon for lunch down in the new cafeteria and then drove out to the new Lincoln County High School.

I arrived and it was pandamonium. There were all sorts of workers still putting the finishing touches on the building, teachers running around in various training seminars and administrators putting out fires left and right.

After introducing myself at the welcome desk, I was introduced to the principal, Mr. Snyder who was very nice and got me a packet of stuff and then called the science department's de facto chairman, Mr. Escue. He showed me to a room and then started piling stuff into my arms.

Keys, books, school supplies, computer use and abuse policy and a brand new laptop computer. Wednesday afternoon was a little overpowering.

I got introduced to some of the other science faculty and began to settle into my room which had about 10 desks fewer than it should have had, but was otherwise in pretty good shape. The rest of my afternoon passed in a blur, but I left feeling a little less intimidated than I had earlier, but still with the feeling of "What the hell have I gotten myself in to?"

That night, I got home, flipped through one of the textbooks and tried not to get nervous too early. Sarah and I went to Wal-Mart and I started buying school supplies that all the other teachers had, but I lacked. Stupid stuff like a 3-hole punch, a stapler, hanging file folders and that sort of stuff.

Thursday morning, I went down to Marshall for a couple of hours to make sure that Heather was okay in her new job and to talk with the certification people at Marshall to see what my options were. Yes, I had a long-term sub job, but it was outside my primary-content area. How would this affect my clinical? Or my student teaching? I got a few answers, but for the most part, I was consumed with this new job.

I went back out to LCHS and got there a little before 11. They had just let the teachers out of a seminar and were sending them back to their rooms to get ready for the open house which was happening that night.

It turns out that I'm not teaching just chemistry. In fact, I'm not even primarily teaching chemistry. The person who had originally bid into this job decided (presumably at the last minute) that he didn't want to drive all the way across the county to teach at LCHS, so he went to another school, leaving them high and dry. That's when they called me on Tuesday.

I have four classes of 9th grade general science, called CATS science (don't ask me what that stands for right now), and 2 classes of "technical" chemistry. Actually, it's one class of technical chemistry, but they're blocked together so I have the same kids for two classes in a row so if we need to do a lab that takes more than 45 minutes, we can.

The "technical" part of the chemistry class is that it's geared more towards how chemistry will affect students in the real world rather than being hardcore on theory. I got the feeling that the kids in this class would be more in the vo-tech track than the college prep track.

So I spent Thursday afternoon mostly in my room. One of the other teachers gave me some extra desks that were in his room (he has lab tables) but he didn't have any chairs. I also found the tech chem books I was missing and told everyone in the department who had taught CATS9 or chemistry that I was going to be a general pest for lesson plans, labs and activities to do.

I stayed until about 4:30 Thursday afternoon. I bugged the IT guys and they gave me a wireless mouse, a smartboard and a projector. I got some more supplies from the departmental stash. I found my cubicle in the teacher planning area where I could go during my planning period if someone else needed my room. I ran into a few of the kids I recognised from last year when they came through for open house.

On Friday, I was hoping to be able to look through the department's lab supplies, but instead, we got stuck in meetings all day. On one level, I was kind of upset that I was going to be set back a day in terms of setting up my classroom, but on another, it was good to get some of the policy that had been handed out without me.

The rest of the faculty had been in training since school got out at the end of last year and they all reported on Monday. I got none of that. I'm still behind the 8 ball on a lot of things. For instance, I didn't find out until Friday afternoon that kids weren't allowed to have backpacks in classrooms.

As I left Friday afternoon, I was starting to feel like a real teacher. I had all of my textbooks and a teacher's manual for each class. I was starting to get my room under control and I picked up a couple of syllabi from other teachers to sample.

My room wasn't nearly ready, so I came back on Saturday for a few hours. I put everything up, re-arranged the desks and tried to get ready as best I could. I took a bunch of stuff home to look at, but haven't. I'm too nervous.

I've got a couple of introductory activities set up for the first week and am getting ready to issue textbooks and make up seating charts. I wrote a syllabus for each class and have my first assignments ready to go. I don't know what I'm going to do after day 1, but school starts tomorrow (actually later today) and there's no stopping it.

On one level, I'm terrified beyond belief. It's not that I'm out of my content area. I could actually care less about that. I can re-learn content. Science will come back to me. And besides, I really only have to be about two days ahead of the kids.

It's everything else that bothers me. Being a substitute teacher is hard work. The kids tried every trick to test me and try me. I had an excuse not to care whether they did their work or not. Now that's gone. It's all on me. I've been working towards this for a while, I just didn't think it would come so soon. But even if my first class had come after graduation, would I still feel any different?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Rock Star, week 8 results

Let's start out with what was perhaps the least important part of the show, the actual elimination. I think everyone knew Patrice was going home. She kept escaping the bottom 3, but I just don't think her style was ever right for this band. I think she knew it too.

Of course, leading into the elimination was 20 minutes of drama, 20 minutes of music and fifteen minutes of product placement and advertising.

Singing aside, and I thought all of the performances were actually pretty good, the centerpiece of this week's show was the drama surrounding Dilana.

The real question is whether the drama is real or manufactured.

I have no doubt that not everyone in the house gets along all the time. They didn't last year. There's no reason to expect 7 people who have a variety of personal backgrounds to mesh.

However, all of the Dilana vs. Lukas stuff seems to be made for TV.

I also don't like how Dave seems to be egging it on.

The show seems to be sending mixed messages. On one level, they say, "be yourself" and on another they say, "don't be a bad bandmate".

From what I saw, Dilana's big sin is that she answered every question she was asked with absolute 100% honesty. For better or for worse, the consequences be damned. However, is honesty what people really want? Of course not, they want drama, especially out of a reality TV show.

I think the show is manipulating the way the contestants are perceived (won't be the first time; American Idol does it every year) and the person who got the shaft this week was Dilana. I wonder why they're doing this.

My theory is that she is so far ahead of everyone else in the voting that they're trying to bring her back to the pack. Of course, this is only going to infuriate her diehard fans and they'll only vote that much harder for her, so it might backfire on her.

Anyway, there was no surprise in the results this week, other than that Magni was once again in the bottom 3. I would have thought that having his kid on the show would have boosted his popularity, not sank it.

Also, the reason why I was late this week is that some things have come up (in the good way) that are going to be keeping me busy. I probably won't have as much time to blog, but I'll try to keep up with the shows I usually watch.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rock Star, on a one hour delay

What's up with the 1 hour delay? Why was Dr. Phil on my TV at 8? In and of itself, that's not so bad, but why was I then subjected to Big Brother? I had to switch over to Food Network to watch Rachel Ray.

Now that we're down to 7 contestants, all of whom have at least and outside shot at winning. I saw odds that showed Lukas as the frontrunner, but frankly I don't see him finishing out on top.

As usual, super-hot über-MILF Brooke Burke starts the show. She has been dressing--I hate to say this--conservatively lately and it's good to see her back in a see-thru nightgown. We get to see some video of the others being jealous of Dilana singing with the band. Then everyone wants to sing their own song; this week Patrice and Ryan get them. Then we get to see Dilana running naked around the pool for Toby, which would be pretty hot if not for all her scariness and the good parts fuzzed out.

And look, they slip some product placement in there, too.

First up is Patrice with her original song, "Beautiful Thing". I like Patrice, but I don't think she's right for the band. She strikes me as the kind of girl who would rock out the Lilith Fair, but I can't see her in front of this particular lineup. Still, I enjoyed her original song, even if I'm not really qualified to render an educated judgment on her songwriting skillz.
Verdict:

Next up is Magni singing "Smells Like Teen Spirit". WTF is up with all the Nirvana on this show? Even Magni can't make me like this song. He's resorted to shouting, although the crowd and the band seems to like it. I still hate the song and I hate that Magni likes it. I think he's safe from the bottom 3 this time.
Verdict:

With the second original song is Ryan. His song is called "Back of Your Car". He looks like he's in pain. I think he's serious bottom 3 material this week. I think he's the weakest of the remaining contestants. Again, I'm not really in a position to make a call on his songwriting skills, but I am thoroughly unimpressed. And what's with the guitar throw and the howling at the end? The band seems to like him, though.
Verdict:

Batting clean-up we have Storm with the song no one wanted, "Cryin". She's actually got the voice to pull this song off; maybe only Magni can match her on a power ballad like this. It would absolutely bury Lukas. After the "I Will Survive" debacle last week, I think they'll have good things to say about her this week. I liked it, the band did, too.
Verdict:

The five-spot is the recently-nekkid Dilana singing the world's greatest stalker song "Every Breath You Take". Somehow the thought of being stalked by Dilana is very disconcerting. What's with the wedding train skirt? Anyway, the song is okay. Not great, but okay. I expected more from her.
Verdict:

Is it just me or has Dave been hitting on everyone with breasts lately? He even had it for the blonde violin player last week.

Toby gets to go sixth with "Layla". The arrangement is orginal. He's no J.D. Fortune, but it's okay. I'm meh on him this week.
Verdict:

Getting the Pimp Spot tonight is Mush-Mouth. I wonder if he (and his Aviators) feels the need . . . the need for speed! He's singing "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers. I can't stand to watch him sing and the longer this show has gone on, I ahve rapidly tired of his singing voice. He's hiding his mouth behind the microphone kind of like the way Michael Jackson does now that he's not black anymore. I'm glad Gilby called him out over turing his back to the audience so much.
Verdict:

My picks for the bottom 3 are: Patrice, Ryan and Toby

I think Patrice and Ryan are going to be in the bottom 3 until they're both gone. I just don't see them with the fan bases necessary to stick around. I also think Toby is in danger of being outclassed by some of the other singers with the bigger voices (Magni, Storm) and bigger personalities (Dilana, Lukas), so I think he's the third peice of the bottom 3 this week.

After the voting starts, we find out the preliminary bottom 3 is Patrice, Storm and Toby.

I hope Lukas is in the bottom 3 even if there's no chance that the band sends him home.

High Lord. Out.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rock Star results

She's gone!

Woo-hoo!!

To be fair, Zayra has come on strong lately. This past week, she didn't prance and preen around the stage and last night, she was very covered up. However, she almost always has pitch problems and I think the band would overplay her all the time.

I was surprised that Magni was in the bottom 3; he clearly didn't deserve to be there. I thought for sure it would be Toby in the bottom 3. I though Ryan deserved to be there, but maybe it's because I hated the song more than I should have.

Where has the Patrice from last night been all season? She was HOT. Her performance was energetic, she didn't over-sing, she didn't get lost behind the band and she didn't seem as timid as she has in the past. If she would have gone balls to the wall every week, she would be in the top tier, not in the wannabe category.

I'm happy Zayra is gone because now the remaining 7 all seem to be legit or at least have a shot. At least, an outside shot, in the case of Patrice and Ryan.

It also seems like the band is starting to come together more with some of the band's original songs. I still don't see Supernova as a long-term project, but it will be a nice springboard for someone like Magni, Dilana or Storm if they should win.

So You Think You Can Dance


I know I haven't blogged about this show much this season, but I was happy to see Benjy win. He was clearly the best performer in the bunch. Not the best technician, but the best performer.

Since Nigel is the executive producer of both SYTYCD and American Idol, I wonder if he is going to make the American Idol finale more streamlined like the SYTYCD final. It flowed, the filler didn't seem contrived and they didn't seem like they were super-rushed for time like Seacrest always is now.

So who's going to the tour?

In other singing show news, CBS is showing previews for another show, "Celebrity Duets" which looks like a higher-class version of VH-1's "But Can They Sing?" show.

I'll be watching this with keen interest, too.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Dancing with the Stars 3 preview

The new cast of Dancing With the Stars was unveiled on Monday with 11 (WTF?) B-list celebs and their partners.

Here are the celebs (because the pros are for the most part unknown and inconsequential):

Tucker "CNN, Please Bring Me Back With the Spin Room" Carlson
Monique "I'm More than High School Musical" Coleman
Sara "The Future Mrs. Mike Adams" Evans
Willa "I Wanna be Pink" Ford
Vivica "Who Cares What the A. Stands For?" Fox
Harry "Mr. Lisa Rinna" Hamlin
Joe "Don't Call Me Joey" Lawrence
Mario "I Had Ali Landry and Couldn't Keep It In My Pants" Lopez
Shanna "There Are Nudie Pictures of Me On the Internet" Moakler
Emmitt "Better than Walter, Not Better than Jerry" Smith
Jerry "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!" Springer

Do you think they gave Ashley Delgrosso the first pick of partners after getting the shaft last year?

It's an odd list with people who aren't generally considered beautiful and athletic (Jerry and Tucker), some people who are obviously trying to resurrect their careers (Willa, Joey, Mario), some people who are trying to extend their fame for just a little longer (Shanna, Monique) and some folks who I think are just out to see if they can do it (Harry, Sara, Vivica, Emmitt).

You wonder if the show still has to call people, or if celebs are beating on the door to be on the show.

I do wonder why they had Emmitt on this year. The first season, the athlete was Evander Holyfield and last year there was Jerry Rice. Why didn't they go to a different sport? How much fun would it have been to have Darrell Waltrip, Ozzie Smith or Charles Barkley on the show?

I'm looking forward to this season, especially since the other fall shows seem to be slim pickins.

It's also interesting to note that they've scheduled to wrap up before the American Idol juggernaut gets going in January. It seems that even after their other disastrous forays into Reality TV, ABC can get something right.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Rock Star: Supernova, week 7

After last week's surprise(?) double-whacking, we're down to 8. Unfortunately, one of them is still Zayra.

We start with super-hot über-MILF Brooke Burke opening the show in a purple nightie and Dave is getting naked. Tonight is Rock Star: Unplugged so we'll see who the good vocalists are and who the pretenders are.

After a rockin' night in Vegas, the contestants pick their songs. Toby gets nekkid for Dilana and Zayra lands the original song. She's singing in Spanish, which in one way is a stroke of genius. It's an original song in another language, so who can tell if it's bad or not? All other issues aside, Zayra has pitch problems (again). The bikini top can't hurt her either, right. I'm not overwhelmed, but she's not gawd-awful either.
Verdict:

Next up is Magni and he's singing "Starman". If I'm laying odds on this show, I'd put him as the favourite to win at about 3-1. He's good, and while not everyone likes him, he doesn't have pitch problems and he doesn't get overplayed by the band.
Verdict:

Patrice comes to us in the three-hole with "Message in a Bottle". She's got no chance of winning, but she's come on strong lately. The unplugged style fits her really well. She doesn't have many pitch problems either, but she's not a hard rock girl either. She's bottom 3 material for sure, but it's not really her fault. At this point, she doesn't quite have the fan base she needs to carry her much further.
Verdict:

Wrapping up the first half of the show is the human freakshow Lukas. He's singing "Hero" and he's doing the mush-mouthed thing again. It's like he's afraid to open his mouth all the way and sing. Surprisingly, he's also smiling. What's that about? I still don't understand the charm of this guy and I just can't get past how freaky he looks, much less his odd singing style.
Verdict:

In the five-spot is Storm singing the disco anthem "I Will Survive", not a typical unplugged set song. I think she's also one of the front-runners. Unfortunately, she's looks like she has a meeting at the bank, not a song to sing at a rock concert. Her voice sounds a little off, too. I like her, but I think she could find herself a surprise in the bottom 3 tomorrow. Dave said it didn't work and he's right. Of course, Storm gets in the last word with the line "I like spanking."
Verdict:

Now it's time for Toby who ran around the pool naked to sing with Gilby. His song is "Solsbury Hill" and he's pretty good. Not great, but not bad either. I don't think I would have run around naked on worldwide TV for this, but as they said at the beginning of the show, they're running out of chances to impress the band. Last week, we had Tommy on the air drums and this week, it's Jason's turn.
Verdict:

The lucky seven person is Ryan with "In the Air Tonight". I hate the original of this song, so I don't know that he can do much to change my mind. Ryan is on the bubble and I think this performance of a bad song is going to once again put him in the bottom 3.
Verdict:

Getting the pimp spot is Dilana with "Cat's in the Cradle". This is the perfect unplugged song. I don't know that I could listen to her voice for a two hour show, but she always kicks ass on stage and this week is no exception. This arrangement dragged in places, but I thought it was definite top 3.
Verdict:

Based on tonight's performances, who should be in the bottom 3: Lukas, Ryan, Storm

Who will be in the bottom 3: Patrice, Ryan, Zayra

As always, we find out the preliminary bottom 3 are Patrice, Toby, Zayra.

Everyone was good tonight. Some people were better than others, but even Zayra wasn't as bad as she usually is. We'll see who ends up singing tomorrow.

High Lord. Out.

Separated at Birth

As I was watching MNF on ESPN last night, I kept thinking that Brad Childress and Ned Flanders are the same person. Has anyone seen them in the same room together?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


I also tuned into the game because I wanted to hear how Kornheiser would do. First of all, let me say that I like Dennis Miller. I usually like Kornheiser, although I think Wilbon is the one with the more level head.

The broadcast went okay, although the weak link in the booth isn't Kornheiser, it's Joey T. Tirico is okay, although I think I would have preferred Mike Patrick as the play-by-play guy. For the colour analyst, two of my guys are Tom Jackson and Sterling Sharpe because they're not afraid to rip people, something Joey T. can't do.

And then there is the gawd-awful pre-game show which features Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Michael Irvin and Ron Jaworski.

Of course, Irvin is the odd man out. Not only because he doens't know what the hell he's talking about, but because he's annoying as hell. I can't believe Steve Young (who is no gem of an analyst either) lost his seat at the big peoples's table to Irvin.

Have I mentioned before how much I dislike Michael Irvin as a football analyst?

Anyway, all things considered, I think the MNF crew is better than the Sunday night crew, although I wish we could combine the NBC pre-game show with the booth from Sunday night.

And of course, I want ESPN to get the Sunday night highlight show back because it was, frankly, the best hour of football on any network, any time.

Friday, August 11, 2006

What happened to JB?

With football season within sight, we have just one more hurdle to go: the NFL pre-season.

Could this be any more meaningless? Of the 53 guys who will end up on an NFL roster, about 35 of them are already guaranteed jobs. This is because of the salary cap and the way the economics of the NFL work. The rest of the spots are up for grabs or reserved for specialty players (long snappers, kick-off specialists, etc.).

So why are we subjected to 4 (sometimes 5) pre-season games per team? All they do is get people hurt. Oh, and they make money for the owners.

The NFL pre-season should be 2 games. I'm not in favour of expanding the regular season, but get real, coaches and GMs don't need to see guys for four games before cutting the ones who aren't going to make the team.

It might be different if football players still had side jobs in the off-season or didn't have personal trainers to keep them in shape. But nowadays, guys who make a minimum of $275,000 per year can afford to show up to training camp in shape.

And then I wouldn't be subjected to so much blah, blah, blah while I wait for the real football to start.

Since I can't stand John Madden and Al Michaels (individually, much less as a broadcast team), I didn't watch much of the Hall of Fame game so for me, my first good look at something resembling NFL football was last night with the Colts at Rams.

Have I ever mentioned how much Joe Buck annoys me? If I haven't, I can't stand him either. He's got a snarky attitude I just don't care for and I guess I also resent the way he came over from baseball and was automatically put on Fox's "A" team, even though there are other other play-by-play guys who have been paying their dues and got by-passed like Dick Stockton and Sam Rosen. Of course, working against Stockton and Rosen is the fact that they're older and that they're not pretty boys like Buck.

My opinion of Buck also dropped a few years ago when Randy Moss did the faux-moon at Lambeau. Buck went on and on about how "disgusting" that was, when, in fact, Green Bay fans routinely moon the opposing team's bus as they depart the stadium. So, in actuality, Moss's moon was pretty funny, and if Buck had done any research into the Green Bay fans, he might have known that. It also seems terribly hypocritical of him to have bad things to say about Moss's motion when he works for the same network that brought us such high-class shows as "The Littlest Groom", "My Big, Fat, Obnoxious Fiancee" and "Temptation Island".

Joe, you might check to see what's on your network's lineup before calling something else "tasteless".

Anyway, another thing that I noticed was that in the "pre-game" crowd, ubiquitious host James Brown was conspicuously absent. Terry said that he had "gone his own way" or something like that.

WTF?!?!?!

JB has always been the most stable of the people on the Fox pre-game show and now he just disappeared. I hope it wasn't over money because Fox should have ponied up every penny he asked for. He's better than Chris "I love to hear myself talk" Berman, Bryant "Oreo" Gumbal and though I like Bob Costas, I still can't get past NBC hiring Madden and Michaels.

The Fox show has been the best pre-game show for a couple of years now (since ESPN started resorting to stunts instead of good, basic reporting) and the constant has been JB keeping the peace between Terry and Howie (the person sitting the fourth seat has been largely inconsequential).

I fear that the Fox show will start to slide without JB's calming influence. Plus, I'd really like to know what happened to him

Did he get bored? Was it about money? Did Terry force him off because he needs more money to pay his alimony?

Dammit, I want answers.

EDIT

Thanks to commentor lb for the 411.

Links to additional info here and here.

I don't know what this is going to do to my pre-game watching patterns. CBS has had the worst show since they started showing NFL games in the latest contract cycle (1998 or so).

At least they've gotten rid of Jerry Glanville. Now if they can just dump Shannon Sharpe. Between JB jumping ship to CBS and the demise of NFL Prime Time on ESPN, things are not looking good in the world of football pre-game and highlight shows.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shocker?

With 10 contestants left, we're coming down to crunch time. In my mind there are two distinct groups.

The contenders are five people who actually have a shot at winning: Dilana, Lukas, Magni, Storm and Toby.

I can't stand Lukas, but since he's never even sniffed the bottom 3 and the band likes him, he gets into the contenders group.

Then there are the rest. Jill, Josh, Patrice, Ryan, and Zayra. I think they all know they have no chance and it's just a matter of the order in which they get whacked.

At the end of the performance show, we found out that the preliminary bottom 3 was Jill, Josh and Zayra. After two encores, we find out that Ryan and Patrice also spent some time in the bottom 3 during the voting.

Dave isn't surprised at any of the five because well, they're the weakest contestants and have the least fan support. The first person to be announced as safe is Zayra. She's surprised, but I'm not. I think I called this one last night.

The three who are singing are Jill, Josh and Ryan. Jill isn't as good as she usually is in the bottom 3, Josh is horrible (I don't know why the band thinks he can sing) and Ryan is pretty good.

Ryan is announced as safe and then in a mini-shocker, Tommy whacks both Jill and Josh.

Remember, they did this last year, too, so no one should really be surprised. Especially considering how weak both Josh and Jill are as contestants. I think they should can Patrice, Ryan and Zayra in one fell swoop next week to put them out of my misery, but then CBS would be passing up three weeks worth of ratings.

In any event, we're down to 8, with five contenders and three wannabes.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Rock Star: Supernova, week 6

Here we are, ten people left and unfortunately, Zayra and Josh are is still among them.

Super-hot über-MILF Brooke Burke starts us out with some meaningless banter with the band and surprisingly, Dave doesn't tell her that she's hawt. What's up with Brooke? The last two times we've seen her, she's been mostly covered up.

Why does Magni get a visit from home? Did anyone else? Is he the only married contestant with a kid? Did you like how they slipped in the V-Cast product placement? It was far more subtle than the way American Idol does it.

Going first is Dilana and she's the only one who wanted to play with Gibly on "Won't Get Fooled Again". To me, her voice is her downfall. It's just too raspy, too deep for my taste. She's not scary this week like she has been in the past. And she doesn't to the bump and grind with Gilby either. I also think her voice is better than the shouting she sometimes resorts to. Not bad, but not great either. It's not her fault, but I just wasn't crazy about the song.
Verdict:

Next up is Jill singing "Mother, Mother". It's not a song I know. And now she's shouting again. Her voice is better than this and she needs to stop hiding her face behind her hair. Could have been better. Could have been worse.
Verdict:

Contrary to American Idol, batting lead-off on Rock Star isn't the kiss of death. This first pair finishes up and I have a feeling that Jill is going to be in the bottom 3 and Dilana is going to be able to coast for the next week or two after tonight.

In the trey is Ryan with "Paint It Black". Have we heard this already this year? Now he's doing the hooded Sith Lord thing. Either that or it's an early Halloween again. The singing isn't that bad, but why can't he just sing the song? Why the stunts? Is he that desperate? (The correct answer is yes).
Verdict:

Storm is batting clean up singing the song that nearly sank Jackass last year. She would take this, but didn't want "Won't Get Fooled Again"? At least she has a big voice. A pretender like Josh would have struggled with this, but she actually manages to sound respectable.
Verdict:

Zayra wraps up the first half in a gold body suit and top hat. How did she con Magni into playing guitar for her. She's singing "All the Young Dudes" and it looks like she's given up prancing and preening all over the stage. She's actually singing and while she's not the best vocalist, she's actually not bad tonight. Why couldn't she do this every week? And wear an outfit that doesn't let me read her lips.
Verdict:

Beginning the second half is Josh and Brooke says he's going back to his soul roots. He's singing "Interstate Love Song" with a surprise appearance by Tommy. He's still got that odd nasal twang to his voice. Maybe it's that creepy smile he has when he sings that messes with his voice. Plus, he's flat (and when I can tell, it's bad). Last year, Suzie singing this song was one of the highlights of the entire competition, but Josh just doesn't do it for me.
Verdict:

The lucky seven performer is Magni and he's got his wife and his kid in the audience. Brooke give Live credit for their own song. Some other people don't like him, but I think he's one of the strongest contestants this year. He's older and grounded by his family, so you know he's not going to be unstable or be prone to self-destruction. Plus, he's a seasoned performer and his vocals are pretty good. I still wonder if the whole "family man" bit is just a bid by the show to get him votes.
Verdict:

Patrice is singing John Lennon and she's pretty good. I don't understand why she was in the bottom 3 last week and after this week, she doesn't deserve to be back. She's not going to win, but I think this solidifies her squarely in the middle of the pack.
Verdict:

The final group starts with Lukas singing an apropos song, "Creep". I still don't like him and I still think he's mush-mouthed. Let's see if he can remember all the words this week. The falsetto doesn't do anything for me. Unfortunately, the band and the audience liked him. Dammit!
Verdict:

Getting to go last is the Aussie Toby. He draw Talking Heads and he's rocking. I like it, and I don't really like this song. The vocal demands aren't that great, but he's very good on stage. Even the megaphone is good (if a little different). I think he's in the top tier and will end up as one of the last ones standing.
Verdict:

I would like the bottom three to be Josh, Lukas and Zayra, but Lukas has too much support and Zayra wasn't as bad as usual and I think that buys her another week.

To me the bottom 3 should be Josh, Lukas and Ryan.

However, I think the actual bottom three will be Jill, Josh and Patrice.

As the show ends, we find out the preliminary bottom 3 are Jill, Patrice and Zayra.

We can only hope this is the week that Zayra gets canned.

High Lord. Out.

A weekend away

With school about to start and summer winding down, Mrs. High Lord and I drove up to Columbus, OH for a nice weekend of gluttony. I was threatening to make her go to the Star Wars exhibit as COSI but didn't.

Instead we ate, shopped and did all sorts of other non-productive stuff.

Usually, when we go out of town, we have two rules regarding restaurants: no chains and no going to the same place twice. Well, we broke those rules.

You see, the Easton Town Center has two of our favourite chains: The Melting Pot and The Cheesecake Factory.

We got in early afternoon on Friday and went to the Melting Pot for dinner. We didn't quite have enough money for new Big Night Out, but instead had the "Pacific Rim" entree for two which features a cheese fondue appetizer, a salad and a main course that consists of the regular vegetables, tenderloin, duck, chicken, shrimp and pork. It was, of course, fabulous.

Instead of staying for dessert, we went over to the Cheesecake Factory. Sarah had her favourite, chocolate mousse and I had the Oreo Mudslide Mousse, which turned out to be too rich and I didn't finish my slice. We also did some chopping at the new Crate & Barrel and some of the other stores on the south end of Easton.

After getting up Saturday morning, we went back to Easton, shopped some more at the Container Store, Trader Joe's, Harry & David, Ten Thousand Villages and some other places before hitting Restaurant Hama for lunch. I had the chirashi and a couple of rolls while Sarah had some tempura and a really spicy tempura and cream cheese roll that she said was very good.

I strongly recommend you go there for lunch. The food is top notch and the lunch menu is up to half off the dinner prices. One night, I'd like to go there, sit at the sushi bar and tell them just to start fixing me sushi and not to stop until I was full.

After our sushi bar excursion, we drove up to the Polaris Fashion Mall where we went to The Great Indoors which we could have lost ourselves in for days. I got a pair of cow-shaped creamers which reminded me of the one my grandmother had. My plan is to give one each to my brother and sister and then lay claim to Grandma's.

After that, we drove around some and went to Maggie Moo's which is a knock-off of Coldstone. Their one saving grace was that they had cinnimon ice cream which Coldstone only whips out around the holidays. Then we went to a place called the World Market which is a combination of Pier 1 and an international market. I finally got a wine rack that holds bottles upside-down (to keep the cork moist), not that I drink wine, but I think they're really cool.

After that, we went back to Easton for dinner at P. F. Chang's. I had the shrimp in lobster sauce; Sarah had the chicken fried rice and some spring rolls. The food was good, but not great. Get a reservation if you're going on Friday or Saturday nights. I could have gone back to Restaurant Hama.

After dinner, we walked around Barnes & Noble while waiting for our food to settle before going back to the Cheesecake Factory to get some dessert to go. Sarah again had the chocolate mousse and I had the New York-style cheesecake with a couple of big-honkin' strawberries on top.

Sunday morning, we slept in and then headed back to Easton (again). This time, we went to the Melting Pot for lunch because Sarah wanted to have their cheese fondue again. I also got the steak and shrimp entree. After lunch we went back to the Cheesecake Factory (that's three trips) to pick up some cheesecake for the ride home. We got back at about 4:00.

It was a good weekend without the phone ringing and without us having to be anywhere.

Oh, and Sarah called her friend Bev who had gone to Easton a couple of months ago, but when she went to her favourite restaurant, Panera Bread, she couldn't get what she wanted because they were out of bread bowls, so Sarah called her and told her that they had bread bowls this time. It's probably funnier if you had been there.

We spent more money than we should have and bought some stuff we really don't need, but everyone needs to splurge once in a while, right?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rock Star: Supernova, week 5 results

Why the hell wasn't Zayra in the bottom 3!?!?!?!


Why, oh, why is she still around? Who the hell is voting for her. The Vote for the Worst crowd is takingon Canadian Idol, so I know it's not them. Zayra was absolutely 100% gawd-awful this week and she was safe. What the hell is that about.

When the uncharacteristically well-dressed super-hot über-MILF Brooke Burke announced that it was Patrice and not Zayra who was in the bottom 3, you probably heard me yelling "Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!"

Did you notice that when Brooke announce that Zayra had been in the bottom 3 at some point, the crowd was mostly silent? There was no shocked disbelief. No anger. No boos. No cheering. Just silence. As if everyone expected it. And then expected to see her get canned.

That left us with an all-girl bottom 3: Dana, Jill and Patrice.

None of these three girls had a shot at winning. The only girls who have a chance are Dilana and Storm. Dana and Patrice are basically interchangeable. Jill is too young. Zayra is a sex kitten and nothing else.

Jill's performance of "Alone" was good until she started screaming. Patrice was also okay, but she knows she's overmatched and I think she suffers from nerves. I just wish we didn't have to sit through yet another week of Zayra.

Last night, we also found out why Lukas was more mush-mouthed than usual this week: he forgot some of the words. Not knowing the song, I would never have guess that, but he rightly said he deserved to be in the bottom 3 this week. At least he was ready to take his lumps over that.

I think the remaining 10 contestants are clearly divided into two camps.

In the top tier is Dilana, Lukas, Magni, Storm and Toby.

Any of these could probably win and do well. They've been reasonably consistent throughout the competition and that helps them.

The second tier is Jill, Josh, Patrice and Ryan. They don't have a chance. Josh is too young and admits that his style might not fit the band. Patrice will get left in the dust behind the band. Jill shouts too much. Ryan, despite inexplicably getting the encore last night, isn't consistent enough.

Far, far behind everyone else is Zayra who should not have lasted beyond about week 2.

I'd like thank my friend Mike for finding some pictures of Storm which are PG-13 so I won't post them here, but I would check out the link if I were you.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Rock Star: Supernova, week 5

Here we are, four people gone, ten more to go until we have a new lead singer for Super Nova.

Super-hot über-MILF Brooke Burke comes out and engages in some meaningless banter with Dave and the band. Surprisingly, her outfit covers the majority of her body. We see some video of Magni's kid's first steps that he's not there for. And then it's off to the singing.

Batting lead-off is Patrice and she gets to sing while Tommy plays drums on "Higher Ground." I'm not crazy about the arrangment, mostly because it's hard to make the Stevie Wonder tune better than the original. She's not bad on stage, although she looks a little spastic to me. Does everyone have to suck up to Tommy and his drum solo? They didn't do that with Gilby and Jason.
Verdict:

Next up is Josh, whom I think should have been canned last week. He's singing "Santeria" and he's a dork on stage. I'm not a regge fan and I just think he has no place in this competition. This performance isn't really that bad, but it just seems to be so far from what the guys in Supernova have played, that I don't think it does him any favours.
Verdict:

Going third is Dilana and she's singing "Can't Get Enough" and I like it. Her voice is a little bit too deep and raspy for my tastes, but she's a hot performer and she knows how to work the audience. Plus, she's not looking extra scary this week.
Verdict:

The first person of the night's second troika is Toby and he's singing Nirvana. Why do they sing so much Nirvana on this show? Even Toby can't make me like the song, although I don't hate it either. His pitch is actually pretty good and I don't know that he can do anything on stage other than brood. Wasn't good, wasn't bad. Forgettable.
Verdict:

Zayra is in the five hole and she's singing one of the greatest one-hit wonder songs of all time "867-5309/Jenny". I don't know what the cape is about but the arrangement is actually pretty good. At least she's bringing something new to the song. Can she just sing? And not prance around the stage with the sex-kitten act. If she had just done the song, it would have been pretty good. Why again is it that she's still on the show? The band isn't taking her seriously, so I can't help but wonder if they're puzzled at why they haven't eliminated her.
Verdict:

The halfway performance is by Magni who we are reminded once again, has a child who is learning to walk without him. Is that American Idolesque sympathy vote manipulation. He's singing "clocks" and his pitch is a little off but it's not too bad. I like him, especially compared to some of the others who are still around, but I don't know that he's ultimately going to be right for Supernova.
Verdict:

Lucky seven is Jill singing the theme from the Breakfast Club. She follows up last week's bump and grind with a push-up bra and some pole dancing on the microphone stand. She, too, brings something new to a classic 80s song, so it's not all bad. The shouting is all bad, though. She could be bottom 3.
Verdict:

In the eight spot, we have Ryan and he's singing R.E.M. He's at the piano and his voice is pretty good, although I don't care for the arrangement. I think it's too slow and brooding. It was okay until the screaming started. Dave and the band liked it, but I didn't care for it.
Verdict:

Lukas is next and he's singing Hole. He's spent a lot of time with his back to the audience. I don't know if it's his accent or his vocal technique or if he's just mush-mouthed. I haven't liked him from the beginning, but a lot of other people like him. It seems that we spent about half of the performance staring at the back of his head.
Verdict:

Going tenth we have Storm taking a swing at "Changes". Her voice is one of the better ones and her nice, pants suit fits the song very well. Unlike Zayra, she is showing that none of the stunts matter when you just sing the song.
Verdict:

Wrapping up the show is Dana trying her hand at The Who. Like Storm, she's just singing the song. It's a good way to end the night. There are a couple of pitch problems, but I liked this performance a lot. I'd say it's her best of the competition.
Verdict:

Who I would put in bottom 3 based on this week: Josh, Lukas, Zayra

Is this the week Zayra is finally put out of my misery? Why keep her around? It is apparent that she is not going to win. The voting public puts her in the bottom 3 on a consistent basis for a reason. We can only hope they finally can her.

At the end of the show, we find out that the preliminary bottom 3 is Jill, Toby and Zayra.

Please, please, please!, don't let Zayra get out of the bottom 3.