February 17, 2009


  1. . . . They're not blowing.
  2. . . . The economic stimulus plan … There's more than one way to skin a cat.
  3. . . . Welcome to Washington. It's still Republicans vs. Democrats and each party has its own way of thinking. Everything's a fight. Nothing's nonpartisan or bipartisan or whatever you wanna call it. Always has been, always will be. You can't change that.
  4. Aretha Franklin is redoing My Country, 'Tis of Thee, the song she sang at Barack Obama's inauguration, and making it available to the public by this weekend. She sang live which, of course, she should have. (Instrumentalists Yo Yo Ma and Yitzhak Pearlman and others that day at the Capitol — actually "lip-synched" (played along to recorded tracks), a cheat to the public.
  5. . . . Aretha complained after the event that her voice wasn't up to snuff due to the weather conditions; she wasn't satisfied with her performance. That was the fear of Ma and Pearlman and the reason why they lip-sank. Then why wasn't the Queen of Soul given that option?
  6. . . . And Faith Hill and Jennifer Hudson both lip-sank at the Super Bowl because the TV producer of the pre-game show said that's the way it's done now. Nobody wants to take a risk at singing live when something could happen to make it less than perfect.
  7. . . . Mr. Big Stuff suggests not having any performers at live events anymore if they're gonna lip-synch. "Just play the recorded track and be done with it. Stop the charade!" he championed. Right On.
  8. . . . And somebody else said they didn't like the way Hudson sang the National Anthem. "It was written with very precise notes. Her recent Idolizaton of it -- singing 50 notes when one would do -- is traitorous and obnoxious."
  9. . . . The New York Daily News, however, said she "redefined our national anthem last night as a statement of hope, faith and — yes — even a hint of defiance."
  10. Somebody said Michelle Obama looked like she was wearing a chenille bedspread to the inaugural balls.
  11. That actress, Isla Fisher, the one who's in Confessions of a Shopoholic, looks just like that other actress, Amy Adams, the one who was just in Doubt and Enchanted. I had to look twice.
  12. HEIGH-HO. The work song from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) has been transferred to a TV commercial for Hershey's Kisses, showing the assembly line process at a chocolate factory. No animated dwarfs in this one, just an off-camera whistler who does the song.
  13. . . . Not sure if I like this but hey, they take liberties with everything now.
  14. Nina Totenberg of NPR was on TV talk show Inside Washington and criticized President Obama's new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the way he speaks. "Nobody will listen to you if you speak through clenched teeth," and she demonstrated how the man seemed to talk. He does seem like his teeth are clenched and, while we're at it, his nose looks like Pinocchio's.
  15. Was it those red, round granny glasses that did Tom Daschle in for the secretary-ship of the Department of Health & Human Services? They weren't very complimentary.
  16. Does Joe Kennedy really lug that pump from the oil truck up to people's houses like they show in the commercial for his Citizens Energy (CITGO) company? I doubt it.
  17. . . . He spins a sympathy story about people who can't afford heating oil and acts like he's a savior for the common man "because no one should be kept out in the cold."
  18. . . . Good God, those ads are like a mini-reality show. Let's hug, let's cry together.
  19. Someone wrote in to a washingtonpost.com online chat and said this about Michael Phelps: "Can you imagine the size of the hit Phelps could take on a bong? This guy can hold his breath the entire length of an Olympic swimming pool!"
  20. . . . I guess it would be considered quite "awesome."
  21. . . . ASKING. How on earth did a British tabloid get that picture of the eight-time gold medalist and beat out their American counterparts? Somebody's slacking on the job.
  22. SICK OF HEARING IT. The Roxy Music (Bryan Ferry) song (1982), "More Than This," in that CTIA wireless commercial? Once again it's a matter of taking a great song and running it into the ground so you never want to hear it again in your life.
  23. . . . It's good for the artists but not for the listener. Happens all the time.
  24. Why was it necessary for CBS to show Katie Couric talking to Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, standing up casually in his kitchen, for her 60 Minutes piece on the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 who soft-landed the plane in the Hudson River without anybody getting killed?
  25. . . . Just stay in the chair and interview the newsmaker. We don't need a Person-to-Person tour of his house and surroundings just to see how familiar and comfortable Katie is with her interview subjects, showing how human and cozy she can be. For crissakes, who cares about any of that garbage?
  26. COP THE PHOTO. That famous Obama/Hope picture, the posterized/colorized one, sort of Andy Warhol-ish, was apparently a photo taken by Associated Press (AP) photographer Mannie Garcia in April of 2006 and not an original by Shepard Fairey. Fairey has acknowledged that his version is based on the AP picture. AP said any use of the image requires permission and compensation, which Fairey did not seek with the news organization. He claims that he, the artist, is protected by fair-use standards (copyright law that allow limited use of material without permission from rights holders).
  27. . . . The picture is hanging up in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
  28. . . . What made him think he could get away with it? He just copped it and made it his own. Somebody oughta tell him that the whole world's not for free, like the Internet is. If you want something you have to pay for it and that's that.
  29. Baseball's Alex Rodriguez told ESPN's Peter Gammons earlier this week that he took performance-enhancing drugs (steroids) when he was with the Texas Rangers between 2001 and 2003. He said it was such a "loosey goosey era."
  30. . . . Duck, Duck Goose.
  31. IMPROPER. Would someone tell whoever's in charge that salmonella is not pronounced like salmon, in that the "l" is silent. You say/hear the "l" in salmonella. A few cable and local TV anchors have been guilty of this mispronunciation and it shows their ignorance.
  32. . . . Where did these people get their schooling and training?
  33. . . . Doesn't matter, anybody can do that job.
  34. Why is, of all people and in God's name, Scary Spice (Spice Girl Melanie Brown), along with her husband Stephen Belafonte, ringing the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange? She did so last Monday with a big smile, a big gavel in her hand and a Totally Fit (workout tips) banner hanging on the wall behind the couple and stock exchange president Larry Leibowitz.
  35. . . . What does she have to do with the American economy? All it smacked of was self-promotion during a serious time when the whole world's reeling from the recession. What were they thinking?
  36. COMPLAINING. Parade magazine's James Brady, the man who writes the very popular weekly In Step With …column, died on Jan. 26 at his home in New York City. He was 80.
  37. . . . Prior to Parade he helped start the Page Six gossip column for the New York Post, wrote for Advertising Age and Crain's New York Business and wrote a "gripping account," according to The New York Times, of his combat experience in the Korean War.
  38. . . . So why hasn't there been one mention of him in Parade yet? He died over two weeks ago. The man deserves some respect.
  39. . . . He probably hasn't been mentioned because the magazine has such an advance publish date. They "put the mag to bed" way ahead of time and things that happen in the news after that don't get into that particular issue.
  40. . . . I don't like that. I want the news now!
  41. LATER. Finally an Editor's Note appeared three weeks later, a two-line mention of the above. Is that all he's gonna get? No Appreciation? Boy, talk about cheap.
  42. Punxsutawney Phil is a cute groundhog — that face, his nose, his 'wil mouth. He was held up high by a top-hatted member of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club in Pennsylvania on Feb. 2. Phil supposedly saw his shadow and that means another six weeks of winter.
  43. . . . Me, I've had it with winter already. Bring on the warmth.
  44. GOOD DOC. PBS's American Masters: Marvin Gaye, What's Going On. It was on TV the other night and told the story of the Motown soul man who came up through the ranks at the Detroit record company, and later became, like Stevie Wonder, an artist in his own right, producing and writing for himself, reaching critical acclaim with the album, What's Going On, living a life battling personal demons and finally dying at the hands of his father. With soundbites and recollections from David Ritz, a biographer, Gladys Knight and many others who knew and worked with him. Revealing.
  45. JUST ASKING. Why was it necessary for President Obama to grant five sit-down interviews to ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News Channel and NBC anchormen last Tuesday at the White House to talk about his stimulus plan? (NOTE: This news was pre-empted by the news of Tom Daschle withdrawing.) Isn't this overkill? What possibly could be different from each one in terms of substance?
  46. . . . It's absolutely ridiculous and a waste of time. How many times does something have to be repeated simply because a network wants to brand its name on it?
  47. . . . MY ADVICE: Stop trying to please everyone all of the time and get to work. And stop gussying up to the media for the lead spot on every night's evening news.
  48. Hanalie, dog in the neighborhood, seems to be sleeping more soundly these days, reveals owner Sally. Not sure why, maybe she's just getting older. "She snores all night and takes up half of the bed," said Sally.
  49. . . . Snoring's not very ladylike.
  50. "THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN WHO LIVED IN A SHOE . . ." That's what Octomom, as the New York Post calls Nadya Suleman, the woman who used fertility drugs and ended up with six children and then gave birth to an additional eight for a total of 14 … reminds me of. "She had so many children she didn't know what to do."
  51. . . . Her pregnant belly was exposed in a picture that sleaze celebrity Web site TMZ got and the papers and other sites picked up. She looked like she had swallowed one of those giant exercise balls and you could see veins popping through the stretched skin. Ewww.
  52. THEY'RE GROWING. Those annoying bar code stickers on apples. I noticed the last time I ate a Fuji. It takes more of the apple away. I'm leery of eating the part of the apple that's under that glue, might be toxic, so I cut it all out. But that's a big chunk of my apple gone.
  53. . . . Do we have to bar code everything? What's next? Individual broccoli stalks, for crissakes?
  54. Why doesn't NBC bail out the country? They made enough money (a reported $206 million) in one night of Super Bowl ads to make a difference in the economy.
  55. TAKEN. The Liam Neeson movie about a family whose daughter is kidnapped while on a vacation trip to Paris with a girlfriend and who falls into the hands of Albanian Mafia-types who scope out young women and deal in sex trafficking.
  56. . . . Sounds great and the preview/trailer was good, some said, but the movie fails. Neeson's character is just too tough and unrealistic, leaving a trail of killing that's not to be believed. It's a different kind of movie for Neeson — he's been in big ones (Schindler's List) — but acting like a terminator doesn't get it. He's better than this film
  57. . . . His makeup made him look waxen and his hair reeked of auburn dye, pathetic.
  58. They say Jill Biden, former senator and now Vice President Joe Biden's wife, insists on being called Dr. Jill Biden because she has a Ph.D. in education (earned it at age 55). They say it always bothered her that she and her husband would get mail addressed to Sen. and Mrs. Biden. She wanted a title too, felt lacking.
  59. . . . She's been criticized and some think it's pompous and affected; others think it's okay.
  60. . . . Maybe it would help if she just wore a stethoscope around her neck in all her public appearances.
  61. EXPOSURE. In Will Ferrell's current Broadway show, You're Welcome America. A Final Night With George W. Bush, they put up a big picture as a backdrop on the stage of a flaccid penis, supposedly George Bush's (not really). The reason: to illustrate that the president was a free man again, could do whatever he wants, could revert back to his hard partying frat boy days and might feel like exposing himself.
  62. . . . Many people laugh, others have walked out (six audience members as of last week).
  63. . . . What would you do?
  64. The brake fumes in Wasington's Metro the other day caused many people, including me, to choke and cough and cover their mouths and noses. On the escalators (the one out of three that works) on the way down you could see smoke coming up. It seemed like a gas chamber.
  65. . . . Can't they do something about that?
  66. . . . UH . . . Smoke on the WaterDeep Purple, on EMI, 1972.



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