You gotta have priorities

Tonight, my friend Mark convinced me to start reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. He's been pushing it for a long time, and I finally told him, okay, I'll start reading it. He went on about the evocative language, and how it'll be really good to read in the Fall, and that it'll be good to curl up with when I've got my fireplace going. Okay. Sounds good to me! It sounded like it'll make me a little more intellectual.

But then he pushed his luck. He said, "So, are you going to start reading tonight?"

I was like, "Tonight?! Nooo....I've got TV!" I then told him I've got The Office, and Ugly Betty, and ER, and Grey's Anatomy, and My Name is Earl!! That's 5 hours of TV I need to catch up on, just from this evening!

So much for being intellectual. I do plan to start it this weekend though....


My Fall TV Lineup (Finally)

Premiere week is upon us, and I realized last night that I hadn't yet picked out what I'm going to watch this year. Well, here it is. New shows are in bold, and I included the date of when each show is supposed to start. At this point, I'm most looking forward to The Office --I can't wait to see what happens with Pam and Jim.

Anyway, here's my chart--plenty to watch! (You'll have to click on the graphic to clearly see the whole thing.)

Some comments and observations:

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm has been really funny this season.
  • Aliens in America is an Entertainment Weekly pick -- it's a comedy "about a Muslim Pakistani kid plopped in the Midwest."
  • K-Ville is on Mondays at 9:00 about two cops in post-Katrina New Orleans. I'm not adding it to my list, but if I did, it would only be because that cutie Cole Hauser is in it. :o)
  • There's a 3-way conflict on Mondays at 8pm. I'll give Chuck a try this week, and if I like it, I'll have to work my way around this for the following week.
  • The Biggest Loser has three teams this season, and now the show is too damn long. The last two shows have been two hours, and EW is showing that it's slated for 1.5 hours. Debbie and I both mentioned that we've been fast forwarding through stuff. I guess it'll get better as the number of people reduces, but for now, it's annoying.
  • I've heard mixed reviews about Kelsey Grammar's new show, Back to You. I figure I'll watch it this week and make a determination as to whether it stays on as a Tivo Season Pass. I missed the first show last week.
  • Bionic Woman isn't my kind of thing (I didn't watch it or the Bionic Man as a kid either), but I'll give it a try based on some good reviews.
  • I decided to try Dirty, Sexy Money solely because Peter Krause's in it.
  • Not sure what Big Shots is really about, but it's got some nice eye candy with Dylan McDermott and Michael Vartan, so who cares?

  • I again plead with everyone to please give Friday Night Lights a chance. I'm afraid it's going to get buried in this stupid Friday night lineup, so people need to be watching and supporting it!
OK, that's it. Let's watch TV!


One more quick recommendation

Joan Osborne - 'Breakfast in Bed' CD cover
Love it, love it, love it! The CD includes her two live performances from Standing in the Shadows of Mowtown. Her rendition of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" is wonderful.


You must read this book!

I was at the nail salon recently when a lady struck up a conversation with me about books. She saw that I was reading Jodi Picoult's The Tenth Circle, and asked how I was enjoying it. I told her that it was a bit difficult and painful to read so I was having a hard time with it. We started talking about other books and we seemed to have similar tastes. Then she recommended Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and told me it was about the circus. I was like, huh? The circus? She then went on about how much she enjoyed it and said I should really check it out.

I looked at it a few times at the bookstore, but just didn't think I'd be interested. I've been to two circuses in my life, and though one was the center of a great childhood memory*, the other I thought was great fun, but I never felt a burning need to go to another. (Though I do want to see Cirque du Soleil, but that's a different story!) Anyway, I finally went ahead and bought the book, and I'm so glad I did. I LOVED this book! (And now I'd like to see another circus!)

It takes place during the Depression Era and follows a train circus that traveled around the country. The author's research into the circus life was thorough, and the whole world seems so interesting. I loved the way she wrote about the animals--they had such personalities, especially Rosie the elephant. I can just picture her smiling, as she likes to do.

The author mentions at the end that she'd never really had an interest in the circus either, until she read an article in The Chicago Tribune about Edward J. Kelty, a photographer who followed traveling circuses in the 20's and 30's. She bought two books featuring his photography, and says, "By the time I thumbed through them, I was hooked."

She also mentions in the interview that many of the stories that take place in the book are based on real-life accounts. My favorite is about stolen lemonade. I'll leave it at that, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone.

There. Now you have to go read it, so you can find out what happens! :o)

*When I was five, my dad surprised me and took me to the circus. I don't remember how my parents proposed it to me--I just know we got in the car and I didn't know where we were going until I saw the huge big top tent. I remember being in awe, and feeling SO special because it's the first time I remember doing something with my dad by myself. My mom stayed home with Debbie, who was two at the time and too little. What a great memory!


A proud moment

The folks at Rotten Tomatoes have listed the top 10 worst-reviewed movies of 2007, and thankfully, I haven't seen any of them (nor do I want to.*) I don't think I've seen anything this year that I really didn't care for, so I feel my nearly $10 a pop has been fairly well spent.

The following is actually quoted from washingtonpost.com:

1. "License to Wed" "A pastiche of tortured slapstick, groan-inducing dialogue and a lethal dose of treacle, apparently awaiting one of [Robin] Williams' trademark sprees of riffing and vamping to save the day." (Los Angeles Times)

2. "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" "Like 'Tootsie,' only without the drag. Or the class. Or the laughs." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

3. "Daddy Day Camp" "We try to remember the good times, when we actually enjoyed watching [Cuba] Gooding on-screen." (The Washington Post)

4. "Captivity" "Sick, slick sleaze." (New York Post) I don't even know what this is. ~val

5. "Rush Hour 3" "None but the mad will want to see it." (Financial Times)

6. "I Know Who Killed Me" "Incoherent and semi-vile." (Chicago Tribune)

7. "Bratz: The Movie" "Apparently, Jon Voight can do worse than 'Baby Geniuses 2.' " (Efilmcritic.com)

8. "The Invasion" "Plays as if it had been made by someone in a trance, though not a cool one." (New York Times)

9. "Georgia Rule" "The subject matter is grim, the relationships are gnarled, the worldview is bleak, and, at any given moment, you suspect someone's going to be hit with a pie." (Variety)

10. "Evan Almighty" "Shamelessly juvenile, pseudo-religious, mock-sincere." (Rolling Stone)

SOURCE: Rottentomatoes.com

*Okay, full disclosure. At first, I wanted to see Georgia Rule and Evan Almighty after reading about them in Entertainment Weekly. But then I saw previews and heard a few reviews and changed my mind.


What a hot mess

Of course I'm referring to Britney Spears' awful opening performance on MTV's Video Music Awards last night. (Though, I could also be referring to the show as a whole.) Britney was awful. Her face had no expression, she was lip-synching badly (I don't know why they bother to put a "mike" on her), and she looked drunk as she walked back and forth--she definitely lost her balance a couple of times. It was horrible. I love this quote from the Ohmylord Update blog: "Cuts to the audience revealed fellow artists rolling their eyes. 50 Cent looked like he might have just thrown up in his mouth, and Rihanna was flat-out laughing to a table guest."

It was so true. A couple of other artists like Puffy/Daddy/Diddy/whoever looked confused. It was just painful.

Oh dear.


The Fall Season is Coming....

I got my Fall TV issue of Entertainment Weekly on Friday! Can't wait to go through and figure out what my viewing schedule will be starting later this month.

Stay tuned....

Na na na na-na-na-naaaa

I bought a new car recently (which I LOVE) and am now on the mailing list for the Nissan dealership where I bought it. Today they sent a newsletter with various articles, including one about the top 10 sing-a-long songs. (It doesn't say according to whom, but I did a search on Google and found the source here.) Here's the list:
What do you and crew do in the car? Why not have a sing-a-long? Who knows you might be the next American Idol. Have fun, keep the windows rolled up tight and sing with all you got!

Here are the Top 10 All Time Pop Sing-A-Long Songs
  1. Baha Men - Who Let the Dogs Out
    This hit illustrates the narrow line between great singalong and disturbing annoyance. For most it’s the former and for some the latter...particularly faced with a rowdy crowd reveling in imitating barking dogs. The chorus is so irresistibly catchy it nearly forces you to sing along if only in your head.

  2. Beatles - Hey Jude
    As the legend goes, this song was originally written by Paul McCartney to try to cheer up a young Julian Lennon when his father John was breaking up with Cynthia. Regardless of how it came about, it soon had the world singing along about taking a sad song and making it better, and, particularly, that extended "Na na na na" chorus.

  3. Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
    You always wanted to try out your falsetto, right? To get it absolutely right, you have to match Barry Gibb's other-worldly falsetto note for note while strutting down the street a la John Travolta.

  4. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You
    This is the gold standard for aspiring pop divas. If you can match Whitney Houston here, you might have the goods for divadom. If your tastes lean more to country than r&b, listen to Dolly Parton's original recording of this song and singalong with her.

  5. Tommy James and the Shondells - Mony Mony
    Where would wedding dances be without "Mony Mony?" It's possibly the most memorable wedding dance shout-along in history. The original by Tommy James is still the best, but Billy Idol works up a good head of steam on his version as well.

  6. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - I Love Rock and Roll
    You not only sing along with Joan, but you want to crank up that guitar as well. Few songs do so well at truly uniting rock and pop fans in 3 minutes of pure bliss.

  7. Don McLean - American Pie
    "Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry, them good ol' boys were drinkin' whisky and rye singin' this'll be the day that I die." Could Don McLean have had any idea at all this would be one of the most familiar lyric lines in the history of pop music?

  8. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
    The movie Wayne's World showed Wayne and Garth rocking out to this classic in their car, but it was only a reflection of what so many of us had been doing for 15 years. It's goofy and over the top, but easy to sing along and full of killer hooks, that's pop perfection.

  9. Santana Featuring Rob Thomas - Smooth
    On "Smooth," Rob Thomas showed us all how an ordinary white guy could transform himself into a sexy Latin crooner. Sing along and you can imagine yourself there.

  10. Village People - YMCA
    Thousands of people in stadiums and arenas around the world stand up, spell out letters with their hands and arms, and shout the abbreviation of the Young Men's Christian Association when this is played over loudspeakers. It is a pure singalong phenomenon.

Hmmm....I think I'd take out "Who Let the Dogs Out" (I hate that song), "I'll Always Love You" (hate this one too), "Mony, Mony," and "Smooth" and throw in Wild Cherry's "Play that Funky Music," Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," Marvin Gaye's "Heard it Through the Grapevine" and Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two" (you know you love singing along to that!).

OK people. What else?