Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Review: One of Our Thursdays Is Missing

One of Our Thursdays Is Missing (Thursday Next, #6)One of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When you read a Jasper Fforde novel, you have to be prepared to enter into a completely fantastical realm of novel reading. The book twists and turns at the drop of a hat, and just when you think you may get an inkling of an idea of where the story might be headed you are distracted by a sarcastic rant on the state of books and writing disguised as part of the plot. This is what I would call the Monty Python of novel writing, and I hope the author wouldn't be offended by that comparison, as it is meant in the highest regard. Dizzingly smart, completely droll, often crazy, Fforde's writing highly entertains this (one of 6*) reader.

This actual novel is a continuation of sorts of his popular "Thursday Next" series. But Fforde is so smart in that he doesn't try to make another sequel - instead he constructs a novel that references and uses aspects of the series so that readers of the other books have some familiarity, but it is different from the other series. To give you an idea, the main character is not Thursday Next, but the written Thursday Next. And if you can wrap head around that, then you are well on your way to making your way through the book.

Sprinkled with antecedents, such as the written Harry Potter forever mad at having to now be associated with looking like Daniel Radcliffe, and a dangerous encounter in a "mimefield", and a plot line that involves a war between "Racy Novel" and "Women's Fiction", the novel can almost at times get a bit lost in its own cleverness. But the genius of Fforde is that he knows it, and suddenly you're thrust back into the plot through a clever break thru of the fourth wall. It is such a pleasure to read such creative writing.

Part improvisation, part mystery, part comedy, and a thousand other parts, this book, as most of Fforde's books do, defines genres. Just don't tell the Council of Genres that*.

*Recommend reading the book to get these references. But do so at your own imagination's peril :).

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This is Good

Sometimes you come across things that just ring true.  And since this also something that I have been learning about my own faith - to embrace the mystery - and love and believe and hope in spite of and because of it, I wanted to share this article.

"I'm Right, And You're Wrong" by Dan Miller
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science.  He to whom this ‘emotion’ is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder, or stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. His eyes are closed.”  Albert Einstein 
In today’s world it seems we want to remove the mysterious. We all want “evidence” and we want to be “right.”  In religious and political circles we’ve abandoned civility for the sake of proving who is “right” and who is “wrong.”  Richard Rohr says he doesn’t recall Jesus ever saying “This is my commandment: thou shalt be right.”  The amazing arrogance of people today to claim the truth creates walls, wars, and wailing. 
Where is the embrace of the mysterious?  When asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus replied:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt 22:36-40) 
Does loving our neighbor require that we first prove who is right?  Does standing in awe at the sunset require that we first argue about color refraction?  If I am in Venice, Florida and pull into a service station, do I demand proof that what comes out of the hose is gasoline before I pump it into the tank of my beautiful car? 
Faith, by definition, requires walking ahead without clear “evidence or proof” that what we believe will happen.  If we remove faith and the mysterious from our lives, we are not reaching for our ultimate best; rather, we have deteriorated into mechanized robots — or as Einstein says, “as good as dead.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review: Inheritance

Inheritance (Inheritance, #4)Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

*Sigh* I start this review off with a sigh because that is how I felt each time I picked up the book to read it. I have anxiously awaited the release of this book for the sheer fact that I wanted to see how the series ended. I had really enjoyed Eragon, and then Eldest, and when Brisingr came out was ready to see how the series concluded. However, when Christopher Paolini changed the game and made it a 4 book cycle instead of 3, I believe it embittered me toward the fourth book from the get go. I was annoyed that I had to wait another three years to see how the story would end. And I really did not want to wade through another Brisingr, which would have been much better with sharper editing and fewer pages. So imagine my dismay when my pre-order book arrived and I discovered that it was 850 PAGES!!!

Really? 850 pages? The story couldn't be wrapped up in fewer than 850 pages?

But I was determined to see how it all ended (though I had forgotten much of how it all began because of the delay in between books). It took 250 pages for the story to really pick up and only then, halfway through the book did the story become compelling.

I don't want to take away too much from Paolini's creation - for he did create it, and I have a lot of admiration and respect for those who create stories. But, I believe that there is as much power in EDITING your story as there is in creating it. And here is the rub for me. There was WAY too much detail and superfluous sentences in the midst of long-winded descriptions for me. If the description does not move the story along, why include it? Why include an encounter with giant snails? Why draw out the ending of the tale (and make it eerily similar to the end of LOTR?)? Why all the chapters about Nasuada's torture and giving us hope for her escape - yet never realizing that hope? Why a whole chapter on Eragon healing a baby born with a cleft lip? It is instances like these that I did not understand, but muddled through, in order to continue on with the larger story.

I also was annoyed that Paolini spent the last three books fleshing out the character of Angela, and yet still (in 850 pages!) still did not provide her origin story or who she was. I also was mildly annoyed that King Orrin didn't prove to be a spy of Galbatorix's, because the story seemed to be going in that direction - and I'm pretty good at guessing the direction of stories.

It is a good story - I wont' deny that. But I will remain perturbed that I had to suffer another 850 pages to get to the end of the story. I guess now I can go tackle War and Peace.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where are the Good Samaritans?

Over this past weekend while great college football games were played around the country, a former defensive coach at Penn State was arrested on child abuse/sexual assault charges.  And as more and more details come out, a once revered football legend, Joe Paterno, and his entire football program, are being shown as men who did nothing in the face of facts and eyewitness accounts of abuse.  The details are horrifying to read and even harder to stomach.  A man who was allowed to continue on in his profession for years, all the while attacking innocent children, and all the while working with colleagues who knew about previous transgressions.

Is anyone innocent here?  Legally, yes.  Morally? That is an all-together different question.  I can maybe understand a person being so shocked by what they saw (a 28 yr. old graduate assistant witnessed an actual act of assault) and so intimidated by a powerful athletic program, that maybe your first course of action would be to go to the head coach (Joe Paterno) and tell him what you saw.  And being the head coach, maybe you would go to your athletic director first and expect him to take action.  Maybe everyone involved assumed someone else would take this to the police.  But what is inexcusable is when it became apparent that the matter was going to be swept under the rug, not one of the people who knew went to report it to the police.

Perhaps the bystander effect, also known as the Genovese syndrome, took over - a term that refers to cases where individuals do not offer any means of help in an emergency situation to the victim when other people are present.  It was first named after Kitty Genovese, a woman who was murdered in 1964, in a neighborhood where bystanders and neighbors heard about the assault, but did nothing to help the victim.

The crazy thing is that just a week ago there was a high-profile murder case in DC about a young woman who worked at a Lululemon in Bethesda, MD was murdered by her coworker.  The case itself is gruesome and bizarre, but the truly horrific thing in my mind is that there were two Apple employees right next door, who HEARD the entire attack and did NOTHING.  A young 30 yr. old woman could still be alive today if those workers had picked up a phone and dialed 911.

In both of these instances - in the case of the Penn State football program and the murder of Jayna Murray - people failed.  Humanity failed.  They just looked the other way and did nothing.

Is there any hope?

In Christianity,  the basic tenet of the entire faith comes in Luke 10:27 - "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself."  A Pharisee asks Jesus after this statement has been made, "Who is my neighbor?"  And Jesus goes on to relate a story in which an innocent man is attacked by a band of robbers and left on the side of the road for dead.  A priest walks by and moves to the other side of the road, ignoring the half-dead man.  A Levite, a person looked up to since he is from the tribe of Moses and Aaron, also ignores the beaten man.  It is only a Samaritan, the Jews' enemy (almost like a Palestinian, to put a modern spin on it), who stops and takes pity on the man and takes care of him, at a personal cost and sacrifice to himself.

And that is the rub - there is a cost and a sacrifice to being a Good Samaritan, to loving your neighbor.  I'm guessing for Joe Paterno, it was that a deep darkness would be exposed in his beloved football program he had devoted his entire life too, and the exposure of unthinkable horrors in a man he had trusted.  Maybe that cost was too much to go the extra mile and show courage and bravery on behalf of an innocent boy, who now, instead, forever bears the scars of his cowardice.  

My heart breaks for those innocent vulnerable children - and for a man who knows he should have acted differently.  My heart breaks for the family of Jayna Murray who will forever live with the pain of loss and knowledge of the brutal death their daughter suffered - and also for the Apple employees who now will forever live with the guilt of doing nothing and knowledge that perhaps they could have prevented a loss of human life.

Here is to hoping that instead of bystanders, more Good Samaritans will be found and stories will be reported of people stepping up to do the right thing, to love their neighbor, and protect them from harm.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Now Know Why Antiques Roadshow Airs Late At Night

Antiques Roadshow is a show constantly flabbergasts me because I will never understand how these innocuous things, like a piece of sand art, can be worth $4k.  That is just ludicrous to me and I guess the ludricousity to the general public is what makes the show appealing to the wider PBS audience.

But imagine, if you will, you are innocently watching this program, because the show you were watching prior to this finished up and you haven't had the chance (read - are too lazy) to change the channel yet. So you're sitting there, watching a piece of sand art be valued for $4k. And while you are marveling at the ridiculousness of that, it suddenly switches to a story about a chair that co-joined twins used.  And you think that that is kind of an odd story, so you start to pay a little bit more attention.  But then something wild is said, so wild you have to rewind the program to make sure you heard correctly.  The two appraisers relay this story about Chang and Eng, the co-joined twins, and yada yada yada, something something something, "...and they had 21 children, and would you look at the turnings on this chair, wonderfully preserved..."



21 Children??

Co-joined twins?

How did that one work??

And I thought Antiques Roadshow was supposed to family friendly!!!

The chair, by the way, was valued in between $10k-$12k.  In case you were wondering what a specially made chair for co-joined twins would go for.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review: Closer Than Your Skin: Unwrapping the Mystery of Intimacy with God

Closer Than Your Skin: Unwrapping the Mystery of Intimacy with GodCloser Than Your Skin: Unwrapping the Mystery of Intimacy with God by Susan Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book that sneaks up on you. It starts off slow and whiles its way through vignettes of the author's childhood. But as this memoir moves on, something begins to happen to your soul. As I read along the pages a long-suppressed desire of hearing and seeing God on the move awoke. Through example after example, and story after story, the author relates this quiet power that is accessible to all believers - but something that we so often suppress and ignore. Why do we question the ways that our God can communicate with His people? Why do we not believe that He can reach out to us in a dream, through a song, a fleeting interaction with a stranger? This books served as an awakening call - one that I am sure that I will have to be reminded of, as the jadedness and bitterness of life creep back in. But for now, I am enjoying the stretching of my faith and the realization that God is bigger than the box that I constantly seem to put Him into.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Road Less Traveled Less for a Reason

Last week I had to travel for work to Pittsburgh, PA.  It required getting a rental car and driving for 4 and 1/2 hours to a city.  No big deal, right? I am almost thirty years old and shouldn't be scared by the thought of driving into a city, along unfamiliar highways and roads, right?


On the way to Pittsburgh, in VA. Some of the
most spectacular scenery I've ever beheld.
I am not the most adventurous of souls.  Well - that's not true.  Half of me is not an adventurous soul - the other half relishes the unexplored road, the thrill of figuring out how to get from point A to point B in unfamiliar territory.  But that half, the adventurous part needs to actively conjured up and it usually comes forth in the moment, when I am able to detach myself from myself and look around at my surroundings and revel in the experience itself.  But when I have time to think about traveling to the unknown, I start to worry.  Fears crop up - how am I going to be able to navigate strange roads?  Can I drive a strange car?  Can I drive in a city without getting in an accident and annoying every other driver on the road with my lack of familiarity of the area?  I mean, I avoid driving into DC and would rather take the Metro for these very reasons - how in the world would I be able to navigate Pittsburgh??

The first part of the journey, the getting to Pittsburgh part, was exquisite.  It was the clearest, brightest, most beautiful fall day that a person could ask for.  And I really do love to drive (the adventurous half of me), and the drive was so much fun.  Lots of rolling hills, curves, fast cars, and scenery that made my heart melt. Great music was a soundtrack to the swelling of my heart as I accomplished getting from point A to point B.  It was a cake walk.

Coming back? Different story.

First it was raining as I left the city.  And in trying to get out of the city I took a many wrong turn (did I mention that I did not have a GPS, just paper directions? Yes, that's right - I navigate old school - with a hope and a prayer and my ability to read road signs, which isn't that great given my terrible eyesight, even with contacts).  Finally I got on the road that I was supposed to be on.  But as I was leaving the city, I noticed one strange thing - the directions that I had were different from the directions that I had taken to get me home.  So I had a decision to make - to just go in reverse from the way that I already knew would get me from point A to point B, or to follow and navigate my way around these new directions.

And this is when I would like to state that sometimes when you have influenced your thinking by making yourself take risks, to follow the words of Robert Frost, and the example of Christopher McCandless (Into the Wild), and go down the literal path that you don't know - it can be utterly terrifying. Utterly. Terrifying. Like all of the sudden you are actually living nightmares that you've legitimately had.

Some things you learn as you navigate your way around unfamiliar territory:

  1. Google really does know everything.  Because how in the world could it really know all these random two-lane back roads through the mountains of PA, MD, WVA, and VA?
  2. As great as the iPhone 4 and the Google Maps App is, you wish you had the new iPhone4S so that Siri could reassure me that I was going to be ok - aka. that I was going in the right direction.
  3. The back roads through the mountains of PA, MD, W.VA, and VA are as twisty, bendy, and curvy as you can imagine.  And as you are navigating them in a white Toyota Camry, you wish for your curve-hugging VW Jetta and grateful that you aren't in your boss's SUV because you would for sure have rolled it over.
  4. Recurring nightmares of being in a car and going up and up and up and up at steep angles can actually come true - except in your nightmare you just go straight up. Reality you curve around bends as you go straight up a mountain.
  5. Rainbow in Maryland on the way home -
     did I mention it was raining the whole time?
  6. You wonder if these are the literal paths that Daniel Boone forged through his way into Kentucky.
  7. And then you wonder how in the world armies crossed these mountains during the Civil War.
  8. That Paw Paw, West Virginia is a real town.  And that there are some real life Paws Paws who inhabit the town.
  9. That high and acute stress can cause heartburn, even when you haven't had anything to eat all day - and then of course you wonder if you're actually having a heart attack and try to pay attention to see if your arm is going numb - but you don't have any intention of really stopping, and so pray something like "Dear Lord, please let me not be having a heart attack right now as I go around this 90-degree bend in the road."
  10. You will see some of the most spectacular views that you have ever seen in your life.
  11. When you finally get into familiar territory, you will abandon your quest to travel the road less traveled  and take the major highways home, hence being able to take deep breaths again.
Do I regret taking the road less traveled? It's fifty-fifty.  Half of myself is glad to have done so - the other half wonders why I put myself through all that stress.  But then both halves agree - it was certainly a memorable 24hr. trip.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Five Years of Blogging

September came and went before I could acknowledge The Road Goes Ever On's fifth year anniversary.  And holy cow, I can't believe that I started this little experiment over five years ago.  Seriously?

I have to admit though that this blog has been neglected for a long time.  I have been dealing with conflicting feelings about this blog and what it is for and what to actually write about and if it is even worth writing on here.  It is a pull between saying too little and saying too much.

But letting fear stagnate creativity is not something that I wish to keep doing. Life has kept me from pursuing this medium and exploring the power of the written word, but that is also an excuse that masks the fear, the lizard brain, from standing up and putting words to random thoughts that are connected in the unique way that I happen to see.

So I promise to keep going with this blog and to put a little bit more time, thought, and courage into it.  Let's see where the road takes us next...

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ten years ago I remember starting the day as any other normal day.  My new roommate, who had just transferred from NYU, had turned on the Today Show as we were getting ready to go to classes.  All three of us were in some various state of getting ready for the day, because as college students, our classes naturally didn't start till 10am.  I happened to be in the room watching the live view as they reported on the crash into the first tower when all of the sudden the second plane crashed into the second tower.  I remember gasping out loud, not believing my eyes, but having to tear them away to go to class.  An hour and half later, leaving class, I heard reports that a third plane had crashed into the Pentagon and then shortly thereafter, the news that a flight had crashed in Pennsylvania and that it might have been related to the earlier attacks of the day.  I remember going home and being glued to the television, watching the towers collapsing and all the coverage related to it, shocked beyond belief, not believing what my eyes were showing me.  I remember watching Tony Blair give a speech with such eloquence and poignancy that perfectly captured the feelings swirling around the day and then being disappointed when our own president lacked the same elocution.  I remember talking to my parents, particularly my father who got upset with me, because there were already talks on that day of launching attacks against Afghanistan and I was upset about all the impending loss of innocent lives that would result out of those and my dad being upset with me for being against those airstrikes. I remember watching Arabs in the Middle East celebrate at the loss of American life and being deeply saddened and incredulous.  I remember one of my foreign affairs professors who didn't cancel class - it was his way of not giving in to the terrorists (truly, he said as much when I stopped by earlier in the day to see if class was still going to happen) - and instead we sat for an hour and half in the afternoon talking about the attacks, their implications, and remembrances of prior attacks of terror worldwide.  And I remember watching an entire Congress come and stand on the steps of the Capital and sing "God Bless America", unified.

Yet I can't remember too clearly what life was like pre-9/11. I don't remember being able to fly without having to go through security. I can't hardly remember what life was like without reports of soldiers or civilians dying each day as it is numbing to hear and so far away removed that it is almost impossible to understand from a daily life perspective.  I can't remember a life without living under the constant threat of an attack from somewhere and yet living life in spite of that reality, visiting DC and NYC with a thin undercurrent of fear.  Same with flying - knowing that a plane you're on could be a weapon - or traveling of any kind for that matter - the world becomes an imminently dangerous place with innocent tools or modes of transportation being transformed into weapons of mass destruction.  I do remember that up to that point, our biggest foreign policy risk and potential threat of war came from China. Yet four planes changed an entire foreign policy in an instant.

Post 9/11 I remember the economy collapsing - and arguably is still on the brink ten years later.  I remember my beloved Yankees making it all the way to the World Series, an entire city rallying around them, only to lose to the Arizona Diamondbacks (a loss I will never forget). I remember the Dixie Chicks career ending after Natalie Merchant said derogatory remarks about President Bush, while Toby Keith flourished singing songs about America kicking ass.  I remember the all too brief months of unity as a country.  I remember the war on terror starting in October, with airstrikes in Afghanistan and rumblings beginning not soon there after of attacks to begin in Iraq, and knowing that we were in for a long-term affair.

And today, and over the course of the weekend, as I watched other Americans remember this day, a mere ten years later, the tears fall for the loss incurred, for the bravery of those who tried to save others and lost their lives in the process, and for those who now fight still on our behalf, keeping our shores safe from catastrophic acts of violence, as well as for those civilians on the other side of the world who have lost loved ones because of our acts of violence. The images broadcast in all the televised events of memorials and remembrances of that day's events bring back a flood of memories and remind me it is a day that will not fade away in my memory anytime soon.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: Such a Pretty Fat

Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest to Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie is Not the AnswerSuch a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest to Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie is Not the Answer by Jen Lancaster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After finishing, "You Had Me at Woof", I wanted to continue reading some light-hearted, easy-to-read books, especially after having my brain stretched by Malcolm Gladwell. In doing so, I turned to Jen Lancaster and this memoir about her travails with the world of dieting and exercise.

H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S. This woman is kind of my soulmate. Her writing just hits the funny bone nerve in my body and I was laughing out loud at multiple parts. Jen somehow managed to capture everything I have ever thought about exercise on paper. And in the process of doing so, she puts together some crazy antecedents about barking dogs, reality tv shows, her neighbors, and her drives through the "hood" (otherwise known as a trip to the ATM machine). Her relationship with Fletch, her husband, is precious and so real - I love them both.

This being my third Lancaster memoir, I have to admit that they start to get a bit one-note. I don't think I could read another one right away, but one every once in a while it is like a well-deserved dessert - key lime pie, perhaps?

Bottom line, this was a fun, great read, with lots of laughs. And there's no downside to that!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Dot, Dot, Dot - Oh wait, I mean Period. Wait, I mean Question Mark? Comma?

Thanks to the love of my life (aka, my new iPhone), I was able to take notes on tonight's episode.  Here are my quick thoughts...

1. Thanks to this season's Bachelorette, "Dot, dot, dot" is now part of the pop culture lexicon.  It's been said approximately 58985497394579384759784 times this season, it has been embedded in all of our brains.  And as of tonight, we can now add "...followed by a period" to our dot, dot, dots to signify closure.  (See, that sentence ended with a period - closure.  But what about parentheses? What do parentheses now signify?? Or semicolons? Or ampersands??  These are the thoughts I now I have to live with for the rest of this dot, dot, dot season)

2. Yes, Ashley, Lucas's "manlihood" was in full force tonight - there is a real, sweet guy there. Thanks for reminding us Lucas of what those are like.  Even if Ashley uses made-up words to describe your awesomeness.

3. Ashley telling the audience that she now had closure (a period, if you will) to Bentley, yet she still couldn't move on, made me almost throw my salad at the television screen.  Only the fact that I was really hungry and respected my carpet too much to dirty it, stopped me.  Really Ashley, really?  All you need to do to move on is to use a comma! Those generally will create movement in sentences, even if it creates a constant movement, otherwise known as a run-on, like this sentence.  If you are going to let your love life be ruled by grammar, please, for the love, add a comma to it, so we can get to the end of this season!

4. I loved Team Josh Groban on the group date.  They were hilarious - "Dude, we're getting smoked." "Yeah, like salmon". Hahahahahahahahahahaha

5. I, for one, loved the Chinese version of the Bachelor engagement that happened stage left on the screen (how else can you explain the inexplicable hordes of people that Team Josh Groban were somehow able to find at the last minute to row them in the dragon boat competition?). I have a feeling that this might be the only engagement we get to see this season, unless it is saved for the "After the Final Rose" taping.

6. Ben C. (the winemaker Josh Groban) is a total hipster wannabe as evidenced by his eschewed tie around his chambray shirt under his neon yellow v-neck sweater.  We should have caught on to this by the fact that he "harvests" his own wine, but this ensemble solidified it.

7. "Sorry, I just felt that," after Ryan kissed Ashley's hand in the middle of a sentence while talking to her, HAS to be one of the funniest lines I have EVER heard - I almost rolled off the couch laughing (which, LBH, happens quite often when watching this show).

8. I love JP.

9. I love that Constantine totally called Ashley a liar!

10.  Blake was about as secure as Ashley is with herself.  Which really means that had he stuck around, they would have engaged in an emotionally manipulative relationship with each other.  At least something healthy and helpful happened this season!

11. Yes Ames, we DO all want our fairytales to be simple, yet, as you also said, life is complicated, and that is what makes it ALL so beautiful. So wise my trust fund boy, so wise.

12. Adios Mickey Blue Eyes!

13. Oh, wait a second, Ashley - you mean the guys WEREN'T happy that Bentley came back!?! SHOCKER!!

14. I appreciate that Chris Harrison was able to refrain from shouting "I Told You So!" to Ashley, as she tried to digest why the guys were so upset that she told them about Bentley.

15.  Hey Ashley, freaking newsflash - relationships are all ABOUT communication, not mind-reading!!

And the most disturbing thought - I am really concerned that there hasn't been a helicopter date yet!!! What is up ABC??

I also must pass on this fashion tip - a see-through sequined dress is NEVER a good idea.  Just in case you were considering one. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kind of Obsessed...

I totally have my friend Rebekah to blame for this new obsession - "The Glee Project".  I don't even watch the show, but the episode I got to see tonight had not only the song "Mad World" but also "Your Song". Consider me hooked, line, and sinker. 

(Thanks for getting me hooked on another reality show Bek :).)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Episode of Epic Proportions

Disclaimer - This entire post is dedicated to this past Monday's episode of the Bachelorette.  For those who don't watch, I am sorry.  For those who did watch, there are lots of other better recaps to read - check out and  But for the crowd of people who should have been in my living room with our eyes popping out of our heads, rolling off the couch laughing, covering-our-faces-with-pillows-because-i-can't-believe-my-eyes-or-ears-right-now, this is for you.

To reveal or not reveal - that is the question
I have been watching the Bachelor/ette franchise for a long time.  Every season they promise me an episode that is the MOST DRAMATIC EPISODE EVER and once in a while they actually deliver (For instance, Jason Mesnick's bait and switch comes to mind pretty quickly), but more often than not it is just the same ole' storyline rehashed in some creative way (and yet I still will always watch - always!).  So when Chris Harrison was blowin' up my twitterfeed with promises of "You are not going to believe tonight's episode" and like ilk, I was hesitant to believe him.  From the previews it just seemed like it was going to be relegated to one skeevy guy breaking the Bachelorette's heart, and I'm sorry, but I've already seen that done (umm, hello Wes, Justin "Rated-R", and skinny-jean-emo-hipster-wannabe-Frank).  Oh me, of little faith.

The Far East Movement, best known for the hit song "Like a G6"
First off the episode opens up with Ashley borrowing an oversized one-shoulder top from Ali's season and whisking kind of cute Ben C. off to a dance studio in her ABC-rented-from-Hertz's-luxury-line BMW sedan in which she can barely see over the top of the steering wheel.  And should we ever forget that, yes she may be studying to be a dentist, but her true passion will always be dance, we are treated to Ashley teaching poor Ben C. how to "pop a bottle" and sway this way and that.  I give Ben C. credit because he gamely plays along, popping a bottle and what-not, until they are all of the sudden in a park with hordes of people staring at them sitting on a blanket.  Ashley then makes poor Ben C. get up and dance to no music.  Ben C. asks "seriously??"  Seriously poor Ben C., seriously.  All of the sudden, as if out of the blue, America's new favorite past time, flash-mobbing is taking place!  So fun!  To the classic tune of "Like a G6" (By the way, were they referring to a Pontiac? That's the only G6 that I know of...)!  And ohmygosh, there is a band all of the sudden appearing out of nowhere called "The Far East Movement" (I think it may have something to do with their Asian heritage? Just a guess)!  So fun!!  And while the Far East Movement has everyone waving their hands in the air, Ashley and Ben C. just sway back and forth to the music, until their date progresses to dinner in which Ben C. shows his true-hopeless-romantic-unrealistic-expectations-for-a-real-relationship colors.  It's cute and Ashley, the most unconfident Bachelorette ever, gives him a rose for saying all the right things.

And then - then there was the BIG REVEAL of our masked man.  I hope the Emmy people were watching, because this my friends was an editing masterpiece.  First our man appears on the balcony overlooking the driveway that will soon be hosed down for the Bachelor Pad premiere.  A dramatic shift in mood is signaled by the soaring organ of doom.  While the organ is intoning in the background, our masked man, aka "Jeff", tells us that he is going to "reveal himself" to Ashley today (I apologize if any images of men in trench coats just wormed their way into your heads by use of that word choice.  Those were "Jeff's" words, not mine).  So "Jeff" pulls Ashley aside prior to everyone heading out on the group date.  A hawk nearby swoops through the scene and alights upon a post.  A squirrel scampering about the grounds pauses for a second (I'm really not making these details up).  And then this happens.

If only it had been this dramatic!  The mask reveal was so anticlimatic and revealed just a normal-looking guy, with nice blue eyes, who then dramatically said, "Hi, I'm Jeff", which revealed his dramatic-dork side.

With that now out of the way, we proceeded to go upon the "group date" which turned out to be a roast - another term for "what idiot thought it was a good idea to subject the least self-confident bachelorette in the history of the franchise to jokes about her to her face".  I'm not going to go into too much detail about this other than to say that William is a freaking idiot and I really couldn't believe all the flat-chest references the guys decided to make.

And then there is Bentley.  Bentley, who after he did not get the date rose on the group date, even though he suffered through half-attempting to comfort Ashley and putting up with her crying, decides to leave because he feels like he has duped everyone in the house and he just doesn't want to play the game anymore.  So he packs his bags, tells the camera that he is going to make Ashley cry, and that his hair looks good.  Sorry ***hole, it doesn't.  Truly, even if I hadn't known from the get-go that Bentley was there for the "wrong reasons" I would not have found him very attractive.  I just can't wrap my head around WHY Ashley was SO devastated by him leaving, other than the fact that it played into her worst fears about being on the show in the first place - that the guys didn't want to be with her.  But whatever.  I can't go any further into this - mainly because I need to stop writing and go to bed.

I just want to end this with the best line from Our Host Chris Harrison, who was amazing - "Was it the idea of Bentley that you loved? The fact that he was forbidden? Because if a guy wanted to be with you, he would have moved heaven and earth to be with you!"

Preach it Harrison. Preach it.

PS - I can't end this post without mentioning something about the barely covering her assets dress that Ashley was wearing with a 90s metal choker.  I mean, really wardrobe? Why in the world would you let her wear something like that?  But why am I asking rhetorical questions about the Bachelorette yet again? Will I never learn.  I don't know.  I guess that is as open-ended as "dot, dot, dot."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Power of Your Vote

I had a college professor once say that you have no right to complain about your government officials if you do not exercise your right to vote.  And I have lived by that credence ever since I first heard it, because I for one like to voice my opinion disparagingly on things that I don't like.

For instance - take my freshman (first) year in college.  Skittles, my favorite candy, tried to reinvent the rainbow and change the green Skittle from lime to green apple.  Anyone who is a true fan of Skittles knows that by converting the flavor of the green Skittle from lime to green apple is truly messing with the entire chemistry of the Skittle bag - there is no real "Tasting the Rainbow" with a green apple in the mix.  So I took it upon myself to vote every day on the Skittles website for the Lime skittle.  And to this day, the Lime skittle remains in the Rainbow.

When Ruben Studdard won American Idol Season Two I had no right to complain because I had not exercised my right to vote for Clay Aiken.  Lesson learned.  And learned again with each season that I did not vote (Bo Bice, you were robbed - a capella in front of a live TV audience?!? gah, still kills me).

But of all reality voting shows that exist, America's Best Dance Crew is by far my favorite and far the show in which I have exercised my right to vote the most (no one vote per person here).  In Season Two I helped propel "Super Crew" to the winner's circle.  Season Three I voted more for my girls Beat Freaks than Quest Crew, but I was ok when Quest was named the winners.  And then the dark season four came along with the two worst dance crews to ever dance in a finale - AfrikaBorike and We Are Heroes - in which I declined my voting privileges in protest of the awful-ness of the dance crews in the finale.  In Season Five I came close to helping BluPrint crew win over the clowns Poreotix.  And in this seasson, Season Six I am hoping to stave off a travesty of travesties.  This has been an amazing season of dance crews, with the exception of the gimmicky Iconic Boyz - and they are in the Finale!!! These pre-pubescent Jersey kids have capitalized on the popularity of Jersey reality shows and the fact that they can dance better than most 10 year olds.  But there is NO way that they should be in the finale - NO way.  Cuteness does not equate skill.  So here is hoping that my non-stop voting for the crew I Am Me will prevail.  Because if they don't, I am warning you to be prepared for complaining of epic proportions and a boycott of any further ABDC seasons.

See what I mean?

Be sure to always exercise your right to vote - or else give up your right to complain about reality dancing competitions.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

He is Found

I would just like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers - against all odds, Matt was found alive and well - he had left DC of his own volition.  I don't know much else or any other details other than this news story, but I am just so thankful that he is alive and in one piece.  Thank you again.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Find Matt Hill

To those who read this blog and live in the NOVA/DC/Maryland Metro area, I wanted to pass along this prayer request and website.  A person that I knew, Matt Hill, from my Fauquier Gator days has gone missing - he was a youth worker at a DC church, Capitol Hill Baptist, and has been missing since this past Tuesday morning.  Please pray that he will be found, intact, in one piece and that no foul harm has come to him.  He was last seen driving a black 1996 Honda Civic LX with DC license plates.  Anything that you could do to help spread the word to find him would be much appreciated.

This is a Facebook page that has been created to help spread information about the search for him.  And this is a Twitter page with information as well about the search.  And this is a link with a news story about Matt from Fox 5.  A video is posted below.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for Matt and his family.

Monday, May 2, 2011


"Ten years ago I went to Afghanistan to report a war initiated by the actions of OBL...and I've been going ever since.  While I'm glad his death provides closure for some...I can't help but wish, that as a nation we were somehow more reflective than triumphalist.  It's not the fear of retaliation, but rather the cold feeling that perhaps we've learned nothing in the process." ~ Kevin Sites
When I saw the news last night that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, I found myself more surprised by the euphoria and excitement of everyone in America at this news than any excitement about his death.  And all day long I have been having these conflicted feelings.  Maybe it is because I am more a contrarian by nature these days, but I just haven't felt excitement or euphoria about this news.  And I think the quote above by Kevin Sites helps explains my thoughts.
In Greek mythology there is a monster called the Hydra, in which when one of its heads was cut off, two heads would grow back.  And in the aftermath of the execution of Bin Laden, all I can think of is the scenario in which two will rise up where there once was one.  And that it wasn't just 3,000 lives lost on 9/11 - it is that, plus 7,211 casualties of coalition forces who have been waging war in remote countries for a little over ten years.  And that doesn't take into account the loss of the potential of all the men and women who now suffer from PSTD.  It doesn't even consider the loss of lives or livelihoods of the civilians in the middle of these conflicts.  Nor the impending loss of life in the feats of retaliation to come over the years.
And yet it feels like none of these things are being discussed in the midst of this jubilation over the assassination of an evil man.  That the cost paid in achieving this feat is so high and has been so costly and that it will remain to be costly for the rest of our lifetimes.
I am thankful that a piece of evil on this planet has been removed forever and it is going to be an incredible story as more details emerge about the SEAL operation.  However, to me, this event just seems to be a hollow victory for me to get too excited about without having other conflicting feelings as well.  This event wasn't a systemic change in the nature of American or international foreign policy or history - something which would be a real cause for jubilation (like the rise of democracy in Tunisia, Egypt, and the desire for it by the populations of Libya and Syria) - and that is what is most worrisome.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Had Always Wondered...

One of the many reasons I love E News - I now know that Ja Rule is still alive and is fighting the IRS for tax evasion...I was really dying to know what he had been up to since his duet days with J.Lo...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mass Protests spread to Yemen

On the heels of the uprising started in Tunisia and the continuing ones in Egypt, comes a new one in Yemen.  This is huge - the current Yemeni government is a significant ally to the US in the "War on Terror" even as it serves as a training ground for Al-Qaeda and is subject to terror attacks.  These protests could serve as a turning point for autocratic governments in the Arab world.  Just imagine if our foreign policy, instead of supporting the status quo, supported the building of new representative governments in these countries, and helped to provide the opportunities that so many of these people are desperate for.  What if instead of letting the people get further entrenched into hopeless poverty under repressive regimes, the United States took a stand and helped bring opportunities to people.  A 20-something with opportunity in this world, will generally not sign up for a life of militant jihad. This is how we should be fighting the "War on Terror".

Instead it seems as if we will only watch and wait to see what happens.  And watch as oil companies flow money into the autocratic regimes to provide stability to region and quash the protests so that they will be able to drill for more oil and post more billions of profit, that end up being larger than the GDP of the countries that they export oil from.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Turmoil in North Africa

Thomas Hobbes was a seventeenth century political philosopher who wrote the seminal treatise, Leviathan.  The most famous principle from this work, the social contract, sets the foundation for man to leave a "state of nature" and enter into "civil society", consenting to be governed.  If man rejects the social contract, his choice is to remain living in a "state of nature", which means "...each person would have a right, or license, to everything in the world".  This ends up leading to a "war of all against all" and "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" lives.
What does a seventeenth century English political philosopher have to do with North Africa?  Several things.

Today marked the twentieth anniversary of the fall of government in Somalia.  In that 20 years, as the linked article from the Post relates, a whole generation has grown up in anarchy.  Children wake up to the sound of gunfire every morning.  The young man in the article lost his mother after a gang invaded a neighbor's home and she ran out to help her neighbor.  There is rampant poverty.  Survival is each child's only form of education.  Warlords and gangs fight each other in the streets and roadblocks are set up everywhere, controlled by bribes and intimidation.  Foreign Al-Qaeda fighters stream into the country, becoming the new training ground for foreign terrorists (which attacked Russia this week).  It is the definition of man in a state of nature.  The lives of the people are "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short", and there are few signs for any kind of hope of order being restored.

And as Somalia marked the downfall of its government, two other countries have erupted in mass protests against the autocratic regimes that rule their countries.  The people of Tunisia and Egypt have taken the world by surprise and are protesting the regimes that have ruled their countries for 30+ years with the hopes of overthrowing them and establishing more representative governments.  Tunisia actually has already ousted its leader, Ben-Ali who has fled to Saudi Arabia.

Mubarak, the current leader of Egypt is essentially a dictator.  More than 60 percent of the Egyptian population is unemployed under his regime.  It is a level that is put into perspective when you remember that the United States is currently experiencing a 10 percent unemployment rate, thereby making the Egyptian unemployment session 6 times as worse as it is currently in our own country.  And along with unemployment, the Egyptian people have suffered under political oppression for over 30 years.  Yet the government of Mubarak, that has been in power since the assassination of Anwar Al-Sadat, has been unprecedentedly supported by the United States government.  Along with Israel, Egypt has received more than a third of all foreign aid provided by the United States.  It is an amount that totals to around $1billion a year.  A billion of our tax dollars has gone into the pockets of Mubarak and his allies.

The protesters in the streets of Egypt are calling for an end to the oppression and poverty that they have lived with under Mubarak.  Emboldened by their counterpart in Tunisia, they have risen up, demanding a new democratic form of government that clearly represents the population - both Muslim and Christian.

And this presents the United States with a conundrum.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did issue a statement today calling upon the Mubarak government to let the protests happen peacefully, but that is all.  In my opinion, the Obama administration faces one of its most important foreign policy tests in how it handles this development in this region.  Will it continue to give billions of dollars of aid to a country when it cannot guarantee stability and a strategic alliance?  I think it will depend upon whether or not a transition of government occurs and how it occurs - whether these popular protests succeed or not.  At the most, there is the chance that these developments in Tunisia and Egypt have the potential to prove another political theory, the democratic peace theory - and that would be a worthy investment of any foreign aid.

Perhaps this is where the people of Somalia could find a reason to hope.  That when a population rises up together, forgoing religious and ethnic differences, they can establish a social contract with each other for a reasonable government.  I hope that some day in my lifetime there will be improvements in that country that will afford the citizens a chance for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  That no more generations will grow up in a state of perpetual anarchy.

(Footnote - Even though I make no mention of Lebanon in this post, there has been a huge development in that country as well with Iranian-backed Hezbollah taking control of the government.  Afghanistan is suffering its own woes with a deadlocked parliament.  And Palestinians are taking to the streets in Gaza in response to leaked documents from Mohammed Abbas on his negotiating positions with the Israelis, further derailing any kind of talks between the two nations. I wish that the 24hr news networks would report on these issues and give them the kind of attention and detailed analysis that they give to a remark by Sarah Palin or on a book about a method of parenting.

Also, to get more insight into the plight and situation of the Somalians from a Somali, I suggest that you listen to the raps of K'Naan, a Somali-Canadian hip-hop artist who doesn't hold back from describing the living situation that he came from.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hitting Like a Ton of Bricks...

Emotional ones that is.  Yes, this week was all about the emotional walls we keep with each other.  I confess, I have lots of emotional walls.  Watching Loveline with Dr. Drew made me realize this.  And I don't believe that my walls have come down yet, but I can guarantee you all that I am here for the right reasons - to bask in the awesomeness of the Bachelor and people making fools of themselves on national TV!!  And if you're not here for the right reasons, well, I suggest that you just not accept the rose offered at the post tonight.  Without further ado, let's "dive" into ten thoughts.

1 - Chantal really made an impression on Brad last week because lookey here, she gets the first one-on-one date of the night.  And, what is that?  Dost my eyes deceive me?? Why No, it is the first appearance of the ABC helicopter arriving to whisk our Bachelor and his erstwhile date away to some random California seaside town (Catalina I think they said? Looked pretty whatever seaside California town it was).  And for their date, what do they get to do? Walk some murky underwater "wonderland"? It really didn't look like Ariel's cove to me - no Sebastian singing "Under the Sea".  In fact, I think all it did was show the polluted water, which is really attractive to look at on national TV.

2 - Aww, I like Chantal with Brad.  I have a feeling that their connection could go far.  She keeps him on his toes.  But wait, what's that? She was with her high school sweetheart for 6 years and then married to him for 4 years?  That's kind of a long time.  OH well - keep keeping our Bachelor on his toes Chantal.

3 - Group Date Time!  And we are whisked off in the limo with mimosas!! Sign me up!  I really like how the producers have gotten these things down to a science - liquor these girls up and watch the crazy come out.  Sounds like a winning formula to me!

4 - Wait, is that Dr. Drew?!  Loveline?!  Ummm, can we say AWESOME?  Oh, and what is that in the girls' hands?  Could that be some more alcohol?  Right before going on a pyschotherapy radio talk show?  Ummm, AWESOME.

5 - Oh wait a second.  How did I get all the way to #5 without mentioning Michelle's fake black eye?  And was it just me, or did her "black eye" change sides?  Probably not, but I swear I thought it was on the other side.  I swear to you guys, this girl is not here for the "right reasons".  All of her interviews this week just seemed too scripted - she had me fooled for the past three weeks with the craziness, but this week it just seemed to cross the line of fake-ness.  Probably because via my new fav Bachelor blog, The Possessionista I learned that this "hair stylist" is going to be in a movie that comes out this April.

6 - YES!!! THANK You Chantal for totally calling out Michelle on her hypocrisy.  That was a brilliant reality TV moment.  And ohmygosh Ashley H., get a grip!  Or go find Frank in Chicago where you can both bemoan the hardness of being the first date on the Bachelor/ette and all the emotional roller coasters that you ride as a result.

7 - Forget the repelling down a building in LA...what about the fake conversation that Michelle had about "her daughter" Brielle?  When you compare her reaction to Brad's question to Emily's reaction last week, I think we get a clear picture of this "woman's" connection to her daughter.  Yet it is so typical that Brad is into her.  It is a rule of all Bachelor/ette seasons that the completely crazy person somehow convinces the Bachelor/ette that they are completely into them.

8 - Poor Meghan and her walls.  Smart girl for having them.  Not smart girl for admitting it to the Bachelor - especially when she didn't have any real chemistry with him in the first place.  Sorry girlie - time to take the hideous hot pink wedges and go home.

9 - That was really sweet how Brad pulled Scarlett/Melanie/Emily aside and "recreated" their winery date outside in the front of the mansion.  What is not sweet is the promos for next week in which they show Emily on the group date on a NASCAR RACE TRACK!!! Seriously, Producers, have you no heart or compassion for a poor woman's grief???

10 - I LOVED how Brad waited until the last rose to give a rose to Ashley H.  That was priceless.

Oh this show.  How I love thee.  I'm putting bets on Lisa, Marissa, and smiley Alli are the next goners.  How about you?  Who's next to go?  Who do you think will make it to the final two?  And most importantly, when will Chris Harrison resume his role as the Bachelor therapist??  Plleeeasseee more screen time for OHCH!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

What I'm Listening To...

One of my passions in life (besides The Bachelor and all of its spinoffs) is music.  And my ear doesn't really discriminate when it comes to good music.  So I wanted to share with you all some of the music that I've been listening to this week.

First up is a duo that I recently discovered through some kind of Web 2.0 convoluted way and I've fallen in love with them. Be sure to have a listen to The Civil Wars.

The second piece that I've been listening to non-stop is from Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, Movement Two.  I got fixated on it after hearing it in an integral part of the movie, "The King's Speech", which I highly, highly recommend everyone to see.  It is a fantastic film - a quiet movie but with a beautiful message and some really superb acting.

One of my favorite hip-hop artists, Talib Kweli, drops his new album next week, "Gutter Rainbows".  From what I've heard so far, it sounds like it is going to be awesome!

And finally I have been loving Kayne's latest album (the edited version - I'm not that hardcore).  And this song is just auditory awesomeness.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Love is a Hollywood Studio Lot

I'm not sure that I will be able to properly recap this week's episode because I was in the midst of experiencing some kind of 24hr stomach bug while watching this week's episode.  Most of the episode was watched in some kind of stupor - which, in hindsight, was probably the best way to view it.  So, with all that warning, here are my ten thoughts on this week's episode...

1 - Seal singing "Kiss From a Rose" acoustically was everything that my eighth grade self hoped that it would be.  I now need to dig through my dusty CD collection and find a CD player somewhere in the museums to play it on.  Can you just imagine being Heidi Klum? If I was her, I would have Seal sing that to me all the time.

2 - Ashley S. is just cute. I can't help it - she reminds me of my cousin who lives in Mississippi - who is in the eighth grade - which is the same age I feel like Ashley S. is.  But whatev - she is a cute NYC nanny and I am sorry that she lost her daddy.

3 - An action movie group date? Say what?  Really Bachelor producers, getting Steve Ho, the stunt actor double for Donatello in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to "film" an action movie.  Because clearly the best way to find a wife is to see how she high-kicks her way through a bunch of manufactured stunts.

4 - Again with the fireworks Michelle? Please, can't you find some other kind of analogy for your first kiss with Brad?

5 - Hey Alli, when you are going to highlight your boobs on national television by wearing a half-top bra thing, why oh why, do you follow it up with some kind of awful blue slip non-dress thing with a black pattern thingie on it? You my dear win worst-dressed of the week for me.

6 - What kind of crazy pills do you think Michelle is on?  Do you think she is always this calculating in real life or is this some kind of gamble for 15 seconds of fame on the Bachelor for being the crazy-of-all-crazies?  I mean, not only does she proclaim her and Brad in a fight because he's kissing other girls (umm, hello, are we not on the show The Bachelor?), she also creepily intrudes on other people's one-on-one times and proclaims feeling confident in front of everyone else. She is reality TV gold.

7- Chantal's dad passed away too?? Really? How many other girls are going to have sad sob stories that will be revealed? Oh well, tough girl has a heart of gold. I think she and Brad are going to go far.

8 - Oh look, there goes Ashley the dentist off the deep end because Brad is getting close to other girls.  Like we didn't see that one coming...

9 - I usually love the Bachelor producers for the endless hours of entertainment that they give me. However, putting poor Melanie - whoops, I mean, Emily - on a tiny private plane to go on her date with Brad was a really poor-in-taste move.  Having had her fiancee pass away via plane crash wasn't enough for you guys to pause for a second and advise Brad to choose another fantasy date for their one-on-one?  That was just a low blow.

10 - The fangs weren't real!!! They were clip-ons??

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Can't Promise That I Won't Suck Your Energy

To all two of you that read this blog, I apologize for the delay in posting my semi-put together thoughts on this week's episode.  My DVR failed me on Monday night and tragedy of tragedies, the episode failed to record, so I was forced to watch it online, which I finally got around to doing last night.  So, Kat - here are my top ten moments of this week's awesomeness.

1 - Thanks to Melissa I have a brand new favorite term - "Energy Suck".  I intend to try to use this term in my everyday life as eloquently as Melissa was able to cobble in between the 5000 words-per-minute she was spewing during her one-on-one times with Brad.  Part of me actually felt a little bit bad for her - but then that part started laughing and shaking its head with the other part of me.  I mean, seriously, I can't even capture the multiple personalities and rollercoaster of emotions that she covered in one episode.  And don't you think that if you were on the Bachelor, you would stay away from all onions and garlic like the plague?  Or at least refrain from revealing that detail to the Bachelor and a national TV viewing audience? Moving on...

2 - I think I was scared more for Ashley the dentist (is she really a dentist or is she a dental hygientist?? I need to do some investigating) when the light switched on and revealed a carnival date than when they were driving in the dark down a dirt road.  I don't know about you all, but when the carnival comes to town I think "death trap".  My sister almost flew out of a Scrammbler ride one time at a church carnival!

3 - My college roommates are saints.  Because when I turned 20, I freaked out.  I wasn't turning 19, and I wasn't turning 21, I was turning 2-0. Two decades old!! Moving officially out of my teens was a huge deal for me for some reason. And my lovely friends had to listen to me freak out for at least a month.  Girls, I can't promise you that I won't freak out about turning 30 next year, but I will promise that I won't do it on national television.  Thank you for loving me, birthday freak-outs and all!

4 - Jackie got to go to the Hollywood Bowl, wear a REALLY pretty dress, GORGEOUS jewels, receive a rose, and have dinner with a pretty hot guy.  The only thing that can ruin a dream date like that? Train performing live for you.  Sorry all you Train fans - after the second time I heard "Hey Soul Sister" an undying hatred of all Train music sprung up in my heart.  And the only thing worse is watching two very white people dance very awkwardly to non-danceable music.

5 - Chris Harrison + Bright Blue Shirt = me swooning on the couch.

6 - I guess since Ali actually picked a guy at the end of her season, she and Roberto qualify as being able to read people and determine who is here for the "right reasons".  Clearly, they will be able to determine this from two-on-one conversations that last about 30 seconds.  And clearly, Ali still has not gotten over her penchant for all things sparkly, off-shouldered, badly proportioned garments.  Her hair looked slightly better. I'll give her that.

7 - Besides Michelle's 5000 reminders that it was her birthday, she had many, many, many other moments.  Her weird rose-in-the-mouth dance after Brad gave her the birthday rose was pretty tasteless.  And then her stealing Brad away in mid-sentence to ask really important questions like "Starbucks or Coffee Bean?" and "What's in your fridge" was jaw-dropping psycho-manipulative.  She is a master at playing the game, you can tell.

8 - Getting to see Brad's abs.  Thanks ABC.

9 - Getting to see the terrible American Red Cross promotional ad that they filmed - I can't believe that they actually aired that during national TV.  Really American Red Cross? Really??

10 - Seeing in the promos for next week that my dream of Seal singing "Kiss on a Rose" acoustically to me will come true so soon!! Can't wait!

There were many other moments - too many to properly capture in writing. Let me know yours!  And while you're at it, be sure to check out these other amazing, more talented recappers:

Chris Harrison
Kristen Baldwin for

Till next week (or next post :))

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A New Year, A New(ish) Bachelor

While there are so many other great Bachelor blogger recaps out there, and while all of my fabulous friends are so hilarious with their commentaries and observations, I just have a few thoughts on this new season...

Highlight #1 - First five minutes of this season equaled every girl and woman's dream - Brad Womack - who is pretty easy on the eyes - not only shirtless, but also admitting his commitment issues, the neglect of his father, his own desire to be a dad, his admission of being in therapy for three years, and finally being ready to fall in love - and all in an easy Southern drawl.  I mean, come on - seriously??  The Bachelor just doesn't get any better than this!

Highlight #2 - DeAnna Pappas clearly hasn't gotten over being dumped on national TV.  She looked like she was ready to strangle Brad - despite her having "moved on" and being engaged to one of the Stagliano twins AND a previous 20/20 special in which she and Brad already had a "reunion".  Oh the joys of staged reality TV, how I love thee and your made-up drama!

Highlight #3 - Ashley the dentist making a fool of herself by dancing around in her underwear and oversized shirt for her 10-second spot in the "Get to know random facts about these poor bachelorettes" segment.

Highlight #4 - Madison the model who ends up having - FANGS!!! I mean seriously!? (And a kudos to Kristen Baldwin for making the Hot Topic reference in her recap - that was genius!)

Highlight #5 - It's a tie between the pillow that went over my face when the girl gets out of the limo and said "catch me!" and then proceeded to run and jump into Brad's arms, or the girl who rolled down the limo window, held out her hand, and insisted that Brad come get her out of the limo.

Highlight #6 - The fashion "marketer" 's hot pink wedges with her strapless black dress.  I don't know if it was highlight or an identity crisis, because in theory, I, out of all the people on this planet, should be the most supportive of a girl wearing bright pink wedges. But, ohmygosh, I don't think I've ever seen more hideous shoes on primetime television, except for maybe some shoes on "What Not to Wear".  I just don't see how someone in fashion could choose those shoes - with that dress!  Am I alone in this??

Highlight #7 - Scarlett O'Hara - oh, whoops, I mean Emily from Charlotte, NC - sad story was tragic.  But the highlight of it for me was figuring out that the "Ricky" that she was "engaged" or in a full-time relationship with and had his kid after he died in a plane crash, was none other than Ricky Hendricks, the up and coming NASCAR driver in 2004, son of Rick Hendricks, who operates one of the bigger racing teams in NASCAR.  Now, how did I figure that out?  I wish I could relate the way that random facts interact and coagulate in my brain - I really do, because then I would have a greater understanding of myself.  But if you google it, you will see that I am right. 

Highlight #8 - Not really a highlight, but more of an annoyance.  I cannot STAND the rockette, Keltie!!  There is just something about her that rubs me the wrong way.  Maybe it was the way that she was trying to drum up drama when that poor girl in the blue prom dress kept getting pushed away from her one-on-one time with Brad.  But either way, there's just something about her that I found really annoying.  I hope she is gone soon (with my luck, that won't be the case).

Highlight #9 - The highlights from the upcoming season revealing to me the lifelong dream I never knew that I had - Seal, singing live and acoustically, to me, "A Kiss On a Rose", through my television screen.  I can only hope that Heidi Klum will be somewhere in the wings to tell the hapless bachelorette on that date (because you know it will be one of those do or die bachelorette dates where they get sent home) to say "Auf Wiedersehen".

Highlight #10 - Chris Harrison's presence once again gracing my television screen.  Four months is just too long Chris - it's just too long!!

How about you - what were some of your favorite highlights from the 21st season of The Bachelor/ette franchise??!! PLEASE let me know :)