Archive for February 2008

 
 

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy

‘BIG BROTHER’ STAR FIRED FOR ‘RETARD’ COMMENT – New York Post

The “Big Brother” contestant who stirred up a controversy when he called autistic children “retards,” has been fired from his job. But Adam Jasinski, who worked for the United Autism Foundation, doesn’t know he’s been canned. He is sequestered in the “Big Brother” house in LA, cut off from contact with the outside world, in keeping with the show’s rules.

Wild Sourceless Rumor/Prediction of the Day

It was announced today that AMERICAN IDOL acquired the rights to the Lennon/McCartney songbook for the first time in its seven seasons. And what does that mean? BEATLES WEEK!

IDOL has said that they’re focusing on the contestants more this season and only planning on four guest mentors. Surely, scoring McCartney or Ringo would be a huge “get” and one worth doing.

Now, hold onto your hats:

Apple is a major sponsor of IDOL this year. Besides selling all the audio and videos of the show performances on iTunes, they’re also advertising their computers and iPods during the show.

Apple LogoWouldn’t “Beatles Week” be the perfect time to release the Beatles catalogue to iTunes, with an original Beatle appearing on the show and everything?

It’s corporate synergy. It’s the biggest TV show of the week. It’s masterful marketing and promotion. You don’t need Steve Jobs to make the announcements to a few hundred journalists when you have Ryan Seacrest telling tens of millions of people, after weeks of advertising the iPod Touch on the show.

Discuss.

AI7 – Results – Round of 20

Wow, we got ourselves a shocker this week. It’s always fun when you’re down to the bottom two contestants and one has her head tilted to the side, nodding, and accepting her fate. Then, Ryan tells her she’s safe. It was almost painful to watch. Surely, the better singer went home tonight. Alaina didn’t deserve to go. Heck, she didn’t deserve the critical drubbing the judges gave her last night, either. In rewatching it tonight, it was almost entirely unwarranted on every level. Kady should have been the one to go. Aside from having a killer Britney impersonation, she’s not defined herself yet. She picked an awful song this week. She never showed off what she had, and yet she’s getting another chance.

I’m in disbelief that the person who sang a GREASE song just got kicked off. C’mon, that’s the kind of song that the prime voting demographic for this show eats up. I don’t get it.

I really thought we were going to have a complete mental breakdown on stage with Alaina. I didn’t think she’d get through her song. The hardest part is starting it, I guess. Once she did, the well-trained and well-practiced performance stuff kicks in and takes over, for the most part. The tin foil hat wearing part of me thinks Ryan gave her the choice to not sing as a way of shaming her into singing, knowing full well that the other girls would prop her up and make her sing. (Did you catch one of them telling her that a record producer might be watching, so she had to sing? Wow, those kids are devilish these days.)

Oh, and Alexandrea is out this week, too. Oddly enough, she sang her Chicago song better after being eliminated than she did on the performance show. I thought it was very cute how she ran over to hug David Archuleta after her song. He was weeping like a little girl. Luke looked like a concerned older brother in propping him up through the song.

Once again, my predictions this week ran .500. The same thing happened with the men. I picked Jason Yeager and Danny Noriega. The latter was clearly wishful thinking. Yeager was almost a no-brainer. He’s so dang cheesy and theatrical that he’s annoying. Losing Robbie is a bit surprising, but not a great loss at all. I was hoping he’d rip off his wig at the end of his song on live TV, but I didn’t see it. Not unless it happened after the credits finished rolling.

Or, you know, it could all be unfounded internet rumor.

I never considered Robbie as a potential elimination, but yet it didn’t surprise me.

In other news: I read the news this morning that IDOL got the Beatles catalog rights at long last. Then Seacrest announced the happy news.  I wonder if we’ll see a Ringo or a McCartney mentor week now? I have one other thought on this that I’ll save for a separate post.

And IDOL Gives Back returns this year. Everyone set your calendars — it’ll be a double elimination week the following week.

AI7 – The Girls – Round of 20

American Idol logoOddly enough, Ryan dressed up more for the guys than the girls this week.

Carly Smithson – works at an Irish Bar – “Crazy On You” – The show enders from last week (Carly and Michael Johns) are both opening the shows this week. Why is she always looking up? The vocal is nice. The song is a little on the safe/boring side, but she’s doing a good job with it. Lotsa screaming there at the end. This felt like more of an Amanda song, though. Just like Michael Johns, she picked the song because she always wanted to sing it. (Rarely is this a good idea.) Simon’s right that she hasn’t connected with the right song, yet. What is she? Rocker? Balladeer? I don’t know but he’s right that she has a strong voice.

Syesha Mercado – has done local commercials – “Me and Mr(s). Jones” – I’m not sure this song needed to be slowed down any more, but she has great vocal control with it. Sadly, that doesn’t save her from an overall boring performance.

Brooke White - went to beauty school – “You’re So Vain” – Her voice is perfect for Carly Simon, isn’t it? She went with the acoustic guitar, though I’m not sure it helped her. Didn’t hurt, though. She sounded great. Simon “absolutely loved it.”

Ramiele Malubay – Polynesian Dancer (fancy term for Hula Dancer) – “Don’t Leave Me This Way” – Very breathy start. Seems oddly off beat, but that’s likely on purpose. She hasn’t moved yet off that spot on the stage she started on. While her arms are moving and her hips are going, it’s a bit odd that she hasn’t left that mark. That wasn’t all that good, I didn’t think. Kinda karaoke, honestly, and wee bit pitchy. I agree with Randy — bad song choice. “Just kinda laid there,” he just said. That’s the best way to put it.

Hunh, Simon is getting married this spring, eh? Nearly spit up his Coke when Ryan make a crack about it.

Ooh, I just had to rewind back to see the iPod Touch commercial. Nice.

Kristy Lee Cook - is a tomboy and can’t walk in heels – “You’re No Good” – That’s a very shiny outfit. A little redundant of a song and a bit karaoke, but she has a stronger/more powerful voice than I think many would have given her credit for before this. Scratch that — this was a very redundant song. If I hear “You’re No Good” one more time. . . It never shifted into second gear, as I like to say, but it worked for her despite that. And now Randy agrees with me almost point for point. Hunh. I must be getting better. She’s promising more of a country tune next week. Yeeha.

Amanda Overmyer – is a bookworm – “Carry On My Wayward Son” – Looks like Kelly Clarkson with The Bride of Frankenstein’s wig on. Hmmm, when she sings the softer lower notes, she sounds weak. She needs to be screaming to sound decent. I worry for her long term viability as a contestant on this show. Very bad song choice.

And, yes, that was another song recently used on DON’T FORGET THE LYRICS. The band must enjoy the duplication an awful lot. As the music plays the judges off, Simon says, “It’s the Oscars!” heh heh heh

Alaina Whitaker – likes to keep her food separated – “Hopelessly Devoted To You” – Uh oh. Is this going to be one of those songs that the girl just wants to sing because she really really loves it and not because it fits her? Like, ohmigod, it’s GREASE? HOW COOL! Thankfully, she’s got a great voice. Really. This song is silky-smooth. She switches to the high notes without a problem, but then doesn’t carry that first one right. Whoops. Wait, she’s really straining at the top of the high hard notes. She hit the last couple all right, though. It started off very strong, but faltered a tad. It’s a bit karaoke.

Yup, and there she goes admitting it’s one of her favorite songs. You couldn’t see THAT ONE coming a mile away.

Simon thinks her grandmother picked out that dress. Uhm, no. Grandma would never pick out something strapless, or with heels that high. He might be right about being a little “pagaenty. . . “

Ooh, Simon and Ryan are going back to the homoerotic subtext back-and-forth.

Alexandrea Lushington – poster child for the Atlanta Fire Dept – a Chicago song whose title I don’t know: “Please Don’t Go”? – I have no appropriate way to describe what she’s wearing. It’s an odd combination of things. Safe song choice. Solid vocals, nothing spectacular. She tried to “make it her own” at the end there, but it did nothing for me. Forgettable.

Randy: “What’cha think?”

Alexandrea: “It’s over.” (She meant the song, not her Idol tenure, here.)

She knew it was a bad choice as soon as it was over. She looks beaten. It’s definitely a big disappointment over last week.

Ooh, and now she’s giving Simon the stink-eye, after shrinking in front of Randy and Paula.

Now she’s being defensive to Ryan. Weird. There’s a whole range of attitudes here.

Kady Malloy – can do opera – some Heart song: “Magic Man” maybe? – Can’t hear her at the start. Band is too loud. The mix is bad again. Maybe it’s just a bad bad song choice. I could watch the guitarist work all day. He’s good. This is a weird song. She has moments of inspired singing, but the whole thing doesn’t hold together for me at all. She loves the song, but it was awful. Randy flat out says it didn’t work.

Asia’h Epperson – cheerleader – “All By Myself” – Perfect Idol song. One of my all time favorites, though I was just thinking back to it this morning. Friend Shawn B. asked me if there’s every been an Idol Moment as early as last night’s with “Imagine.” The first one that came to mind was LaToya London‘s version of “All By Myself.” In the third season, they didn’t separate things into Boys vs. Girls. They did separate groupings. She was in Group 3. It included the likes of Jon Peter Lewis, Elizabeth Letendre, Amy Adams, and Leah LaBelle. How do I remember this all? I looked up my original writeup of that show. (Wow, I love my archives sometimes.) London didn’t make it nearly as far as she deserved to make it on the show, but did release an album a couple of years later that was a dud, including a full version of “All By Myself” that loses the raw power and energy of the live performance.

Thanks to YouTube, you can watch that song all over again. It’s still amazing. She’s clear. She’s precise. She added in her own flourishes. (Simon looks heavy.)

Gina Glocksen even attempted it last season. She was better than Asia’h was this season. But that original version of “All By Myself” is an Idol Moment of the earliest kind. It’s impossible to compare it, time-wise, to Round Two of this breakdown of Idol, but I’m giving Latoya the credit here for earliest Idol Moment, anyway.

That brings us to Asia’h on the same song, 4 years later. It’s nowhere near Latoya London’s. It’s nearly a crash and burn, I think. Was she purposefully underpowering it, or is she just unable to hit the notes?

To me, she just cheated on every power note that she had the opportunity to blow the roof off the place with.

Miserable failure.

Randy is already making apologies for her. She was sick this week, it seems. And then he tells her she did a really good job with it. No. She didn’t. The song was bigger than her. She didn’t bring it home. Someone BitTorrent me that London performance.

Simon is the only honest one there. “The truth is, you’re not that good a singer.”

Simon: “You’ve got to know your limitations, Ryan, something you’ve managed to do quite well in your career. No, it’s true. That’s why you’re on the Red Carpet.”

Ryan: “Towards the end of yours, you’ve accomplished a lot, too.”

I still think Simon won that round.

So who goes home this week? Asia’h and Alexandrea? What about Syesha? Or Kady? Or Amanda? I think the early attention on Amanda puts her through for another week. Kady sang a song that the voting population for this show loves, so don’t expect her to lose. I’m going with Asia’h and Alexandrea, with Syesha a close third.

De Blieck Out!

AI7 – The Guys – Round of 20

American Idol logoTop 10 Guys tonight. This week, they’re letting us in on something that they don’t think America would know about them.

Michael Johns – tennis player – “Go Your Own Way” – It’s a bit strained, a bit shouty. It’s Yet Another Johns performance. It’s in his wheelhouse, for sure, but it’s a little redundant. Not bad, but nothing special. And going first, he NEEDS something for people to more actively like. And what’s with this pumping his microphone fist in the air thing he likes to do so much?

Jason Castro – hates interviews – “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” (does that sound right?) – He needs to get out from behind the guitar. This song isn’t as good as last week’s. And he’s in danger of looking like a serial repeater. Bad song choice, really.

Luke Menard – sang in an a capella band for six years – some Queen song, I think – I really liked it, but it verges on the cusp of being over-the-top Broadway theatrical. He has to calm that down a bit, but he has a really nice voice. With the right songs, he could go far, but I don’t think he’ll make it to the top 10.

Robbie Carrico - drag racer – “Hot Blooded” – I think he’s more natural as a pop singer and not a rocker. Look at the way he so carefully choreographs his every move to the lyrics. It’s something you’d expect a boy band guy to organize. And then he just paced across the stage as he sang the song. He needs more energy. It’s better than karaoke, but not by much.

Danny Noriega – Used to be in a punk band – “Don’t You Remember You Told Me You Loved Me Baby” (I’ve never known the real title to this song) – Oh god, not a ballad. Oh, my, that first note or two is painful. Major pitch problems on this one, I’m afraid. Sounds flat. Got better when the pace picked up, but this is definitely not his high point. Randy tells him to stop overthinking it and doing too much with it. That’s putting it mildly.

And now Danny mentions that he thought last week was a disaster. That saves him slightly in my book.

Simon: “Try to say it without moving your head.” Danny does have a habit of moving his head like a sassy black woman does — with no shoulder movement. It’s crazy. I just wish I could arch one eyebrow, and this kid can do that with his neck.

Hey, remember that Kelsey Grammar sit-com? It’s OK, nobody else did, either. It’s back tonight. And tomorrow. I smell “burning off episodes.”

David Hernandez – gymnast as a kid – “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” – Odd song choice, particularly for a guy. But this kind of thing can work. First, Tina Turner and Beyonce sing it together. (I think I’m misremembering the Grammys there.) Then, Dance War does a number to it. And now David Hernandez is on American Idol crooning it. And he’s pretty good at it, actually. Nice strong ending, too. Camera loved him there. A little vocal strain there can be forgiven. That was good. Really good.

Simon: “That was the best vocal of the night so far.” I have to agree.

Jason Yeager – plays multiple instruments, self-taught (impressive) – “Without Love” (maybe that’s the title?) – Has a lot to prove after last week’s unmitigated disaster. Ohmigod, this is not starting well. His smiling and mugging have to stop. He’s too theatrical and Broadway for this show. And what the hell was that arm-flailing ending?!? This guy bothers me greatly. I think we just got a two-for-two CRASH AND BURN here.

Simon during Ryan’s uncharacteristically long interview bit with Jason: “This is like the Oscars — it’s neverending.”

Chikezie - his name is Nigerian – Some Donnie Hathaway tune. “I Believe” maybe? – He’s layering polo shirts now? Isn’t that so 2006 or so? And what is that watch? An early 80s toy calculator watch pasted onto one of those too-hip sweatband looking things? Weird. His vocal is strong, though, and he’s comfortable on the stage. Lots of fun. The audience loved him. This is ten times better than last week.

And now Chikezie is practically apologizing for talking back to Simon last week. He’s a lot more lovable this week.

David Cooke – huge word nerd (crap, now I kinda like him) – “All Right Now” – He broke out the guitar. Should have set the mic a little lower because his head looks uncomfortable reaching up for the mic, though I’m sure it’s better for the vocal end of things. This is a believable rock performances, if only because of the guitar. The vocal was good, too, for what the song is. Compare this guy to Robbie and you can see who feels more natural as a rocker.

Oh, crap, he just talked back to Simon. This is NOT good. Simon just smacked him down, though he’s wrong about the crossword puzzle thing being a bad thing.

David Archuleta – met the first season finalists and sang for them with cute grainy home video – “Imagine” – For everyone who wonders how Sanjaya made it as far as he did, look at the IDOL demographic. Listen back not-so-carefully to this show at how the girls (with their text message friendly pink cell phones) scream and squeal anytime his name is said. Thankfully, Archuleta is also a good singer.

Anyway, over to Yet Another Rendition of “Imagine.” I hate this song. I’m sick of this song. But, damn, he’s adding his own thing to it very early on.

I hate this song and yet I’m getting chills from this performance. I’m so confused.

Holy crap. Best performance of the season so far. This kid is ridiculously good.

And Paula is crying and wants to squish his head and dangle it from her rear view mirror. Someone check her meds, stat! Thankfully, his mother laughed it off.

Simon: “Right now, you’re the one to beat.” He’s right. Listen to the girls scream for him. This is the Archuleta show.

I’ll just call it now – David Archuleta has the first Idol Moment of the season right there.

Winners this week: Archuleta uber alles. Chikezie has a great week. David Cooke showed himself off well. David Hernandez became one to watch out for tonight. Luke redeemed himself from last week, though it’s not quite there yet.

Who’s going to go? Jason Yeager. That’s two very bad weeks in a row. After that, I have no idea. Maybe Danny Noriega? The demographic that he’s serving will be so busy voting for David A. that they’ll forget to vote for the weaker performance of Danny.

I might even argue that Michael Johns is in trouble for going first, but I think his last couple of weeks will carry him through this week. I fear for Luke Menard, who could get tossed just as he’s finding a stride to hit.

I’ll go with Jason and Danny. What the heck.

De Blieck Out!

Spare Idol Thought

The most talented guy on the AMERICAN IDOL stage? That guy who plays lead guitar in the band. Both on IDOL and DON’T FORGET THE LYRICS, the man plays everything well.

Full IDOL writeup coming soon. . .

New DVD Releases for 26 Feb 2008

It’s that time again! Fire up your DVD and Blu Ray players, and let’s get to work on what’s new this week:

  • Justice League: The New Frontier

Based on Darwyn Cooke’s insanely beautiful comic book mini-series. (It looks even better in the ABSOLUTE edition, trust me.) Can it possibly hold a candle to its source material? I guess we’re about to find out.

It’s available in the standard release form, as well as a two disc special edition set and a Blu Ray special edition.

The Best Buy special edition comes with a Green Lantern figurine, too.

  • Newhart: The Complete First Season

This is the Bob Newhart I grew up watching, and have such fond memories of. Remember when Monday nights were CBS nights? (OK, besides this and then Murphy Brown, just what was on the schedule for CBS on Mondays that causes me to remember it fondly? I can’t remember anymore.

  • The Smurfs, Season One, Volume 1

I hope you caught the link on this blog earlier in the week about the CGI movie that’s forthcoming. I’m still holding out hope for a comic book revival/translation.

  • Hotel Babylon: Season One

A BBC production. Anthony Stewart Head (of VR.5 fame) did a guest stint in an episode of this.

  • Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale

I still haven’t caught the two seasons of this show, but it appears to have followed THE OFFICE’s structure — two seasons, a Christmas special, and done. This disc stands alone. It was previously available as part of the complete series set.

  • Beowulf

Yes, that’s right. There are actual movies out this week, too! This one is written by comic scribe Neil Gaiman and features rotoscoped animation of a naked Angelina Jolie, as well as another excuse for everyone to write about the Uncanny Valley.

As a special bonus, there’s an HD-DVD version of the disc out this week, as well. Instant relic!

  • 30 Days of Night

I’m not trying to stuff this week’s release list with comic book references, but I can’t help it. This one is based on the comic book. AND it’s live action.

  • The Last Emperor

Why is this just coming out now? It’s not — this is the Criterion Collection edition of the movie. Impressive.

It’s a big big week. What else are you looking at? What’s on your Must Buy list?

This Yahoo thing gets better every day

Fox Said To Be Exploring Termination Of Google Advertising Deal

Even while parent company News Corp. continues to try to disrupt the Microsoft/Yahoo merger, Fox Interactive Media (FIM) is rumored to be in negotiations with Microsoft take Google’s place as the MySpace advertising partner.

To recap, then: Microsoft wants to buy up Yahoo. It’s a hostile takeover bid.

Yahoo is resistant to becoming part of the Evil Empire.

Yahoo begins round the clock negotiations with FOX Interactive to find a way to make a deal work with them to keep Microsoft away.

But before all this happened, FOX Interactive (owners of MySpace) made a deal with Google for advertising on the heavily-trafficked social network web site with some of the worst design in post-millenium history.

Now, FOX is considering pulling out of their deal with Google to make a better deal with Microsoft for ad revenue, while at the same time trying to work a deal with Yahoo to prevent Yahoo from having to sell themselves to Microsoft.

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying this soap opera. It’s almost as much fun as watching the fall of HD-DVD — a technology Microsoft championed.

Video that makes me laugh

Huey Lewis reprising his lines from “We Are The World” is funny, but Josh Groban steals the video.  Thanks, Jimmy Kimmel. I just can’t link to the video from here, because VandS tries to be family friendly. I think you know what I’m talking about here. . .

eBay Boycott Impressive

Online auction listings down 13% in boycott of eBay – USATODAY.comeBay Logo

The biggest boycott by eBay sellers concludes Monday, capping a week of acrimony after the online-auction site raised fees and changed its feedback policy. Auction listings on eBay.com dropped some 13% since the strike started Feb. 18 to about 13 million items, according to third-party tracking sites such as dealscart.com and medved.net.

This would be more impressive if it weren’t for the fact that eBay listings are going to shoot back up 13% over the usual numbers tomorrow.

Twitters of Recent Past

You can follow the Twitters live as they happen, or what for the periodic updates here:

  • Recording a one hour Skype podcast: Fun. Editing it later when you realizing the MUTE button doesn’t mute the recording? PITA.

  • Photography teaches you that a second is a VERY LONG time.
  • Does nobody have a clue how to play Big Brother this season?!? Are they ALL incompetent game players?
  • Am looking into JungleDisk.com for backup needs. . . Amazon S3 is SO cheap.
  • Watching Victor Borge videos on YouTube. That there was a damned funny man.
  • American Idol 7 will be ruled by the young and infectiously cute.
  • Remember when eBay was an auction site and not a “Buy It Now!” site?
  • Lusting after new camera lenses. The more pics you take, the more lenses you convince yourself you need. Vicious cycle.
  • I bought a Canon camera, and so now Nikons are all the range. Sorry, Canon users. It’s all my fault you lost mindshare this year. me = jinx
  • Took lotsa pictures in the park. Snow is cool. Polarizing the sky is cool.
  • @globetrotteri – I’d love to get the Canon 10-22mm, but it’s about three times what I can afford at the moment.
  • @globetrotteri – So, instead, I’ll save up for the more doable 70-300mm from either Canon or Sigma. Not exactly L lenses, but suit my needs

Monday Morning Link Dump

  • The horrors of The Lowercase L. Now that I’ve seen this site, I just know I’m going to see this problem everywhere I go this weekend. (via Gruber)
  • It’s such a perfect fit, but is it too early? Take a gander at this GameCube modded as Wall-E, from PIXAR’s upcoming movie of the same title.
  • iTunes is starting special 99 cent movie rentals.  Get your Apple TVs booted up and ready!  (Don’t have one yet? There’s a pic to the right you can use to buy one at Amazon! ;-)
  • I find it wrong that CBS.com is the site to stream MacGyver episodes. It’s an ABC show, dangit! (That’s also one of the reasons the series died when it did — damn you, Monday Night Football!)

Lost Season Four, Episode Four

Lost LogoI’m finally all caught up, and I think this season is pretty gosh darn terrific. I loved this episode. They pulled a pretty good bit of slight of hand in this episode that I never saw coming. It brings up all sorts of questions. So what do you think? SPOILERS after the break and in the comments. Let’s discuss this one.

Just remember — don’t talk about the coming attractions. That way lies evil.


Den ganzen Beitrag lesen…

It’s a snowman kinda day

It’s a snowman kinda day, originally uploaded by AugieDB.

Some samples of today’s photography are now up at Flickr.

Wii Sales Don’t Last Long

Amazon did four special Wii game sales Friday. Super Paper Mario was their deal of the day and sold out pretty fast. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn followed. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption sold out at $29.99. (Heck, for that price even I might have picked it up.) But the one deal of the day I was home for started at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Five minutes after it started, I clicked on it:

Wii Simpsons Game

Sold out in less than five minutes. I bet it didn’t last a minute. Wii fans are ravenous.

I’m going back to Guitar Hero III now, thanks.