I Don't Know How to Ride A Bike... <BR>(and other ramblings): December 2005

I Don't Know How to Ride A Bike...
(and other ramblings)

Friday, December 23, 2005

It's a Year In Review Extravaganza! (Done by other people)

Item: Everybody's got their top picks of 2005. And I'm no different. Around this time of the year, Michelle and I work around the clock to review the highlights of 2005 so we can praise or rag on them in our webzine. Since this is also the time of the year for drunken celebrating, my memory has been greatly hindered by lamp shades on the head and the like. Fortunately, many other publications are putting out their lists, so let's take a look.

Under Scrutiny: Entertainment Weekly, which used to be my bible until it turned kind of boring and added a Stephen King column to its roster.
What They Call It: Entertainers of the Year

#15: Sarah Silverman
The fun things I learned about Sarah in her little write-up include the fact that she's a bed-wetter, used to tell really bad jokes in high school (you mean, there's hope for me?), and is dating Jimmy Kimmel -- so she must have a pretty twisted sense of humour. She's apparently the "funniest woman in America," and I think "Saturday Night Live" might have a problem with that assertion.

#12: Jodie Foster
While I agree that Foster is a great actress and deserves accolades every morning as she drinks her coffee, I don't know how a year with Flightplan and nothing else is going to land you on a list. I won't crunch the numbers, but EW puts it thusly: "Foster was the only actress to carry an entire film by herself and lead it to box office success in 2005." She is starring in the Spike Lee film, Inside Man, due out next year...let's hope that this film is marginally better than the last three he's put out.

#11: Shakira
When you include "Shakira" and "barbed lyrics and wide-ranging intellectual hunger" in the same sentence, it makes me want to cry.

#8: Gwen Stefani
I don't want to take anything away from Gwen -- it's true, she did have a great year, and her solo effort has done better than most. But it's her execution of things that annoy me, and her quotes in the write-up don't help either: "I was able to indulge my cheesiness and the theatrical side of myself. I didn't feel like I had to make something that was serious. If you listen to the lyrics and music, it's not a serious album! It's just pure fun.'' (At least she's self-aware.) And: "There were some perks of being a solo act. Interviews are easier on my own. If I want to talk about lipstick or fashion or girly stuff, I can.'' (You can also add self-indulgent and vapid to that list.) She also misses the comforts that a band can bring, because the effort that things like concerts call for can be evenly split: "That was one of the hardest tours of my life." Boo hoo, Gwen. I'm sure Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé are ready to offer you a Kleenex.

#4: Kanye West
Oh, Kanye: "When I sit down and say, 'Yo, I want to make an album better than [Stevie Wonder's] Songs in the Key of Life,' people say, 'What the f---? That's blasphemous.' But I'll end up having an album that's better than everything else of its time by default. It's like playing in the NBA and trying to compete against Michael Jordan, and then going and playing in high school the next day. Obviously, you're going to crush everybody!''

Entertainment Weekly also has a Year in Review poll, but really, you should do ours.

Under Scrutiny: Barabara Walters, staple of ABC, "20/20," and "The View"; so-called "investigative" "journalist."
What It's Called: Most Fascinating People of 2005 ("fascinating" being Barbara's sole opinion)

The first thing that struck me about this television special is that Barbara sucks. I mean, her interviews were about five minutes long and she managed to not only prove that these people aren't that fascinating, but that she should, by no means, call herself more than a "personality." The questions she lobbed at her interviewees were "Romper Room" calibre at most, and she did little more than give them a forum to vent and talk about the year as they saw it.

Take one of her picks: Dakota Fanning, the oldest 11-year old that I've ever seen, last gracing our screens in Dreamer and War of the Worlds. Fanning is, in interviews, as you'd expect her -- prim, proper, and all smiles, all the time. She's like a robot set on cruise control. She spoke intelligently about choosing film roles and doing chores around the house. Fascinating! Then Barbara asked her if she felt she was a spoiled brat (Fanning earns about $3 million per movie role) and if she ever threw temper tantrums. Fanning admitted that she did, and also that she was addicted to crack cocaine. Of course that's not what she said, but it would've been a heck of a lot more interesting than her "no." (Fanning is set to star in The Secret Life of Bees next year, which is an outstanding book, but I'm not sure I agree with the casting choice.)

Similarly, Lance Armstrong sat around his living room and spoke about his struggles with cancer and the wonderful year he's had. No interview would be complete without Sheryl Crow by his side. She didn't get named a fascinating person by Babs, so I'm not sure why she was there. Could it be that she's the reason that Lance is fascinating? That's not what Barbara is implying...is it?

Kanye West admits that he's cocky. Jamie Foxx is looking forward to the extra whores that his new album will surely bring. Tom Cruise still loves Katie Holmes.

Perhaps the biggest whopper was her MOST fascinating person of the year, which was revealed at the half-hour mark to be Camilla Parker Bowles. Which...no. Camilla might have made scandalous news when she hooked up with Prince Charles and subsequently married him after a 30-odd year affair, but this doesn't qualify her as the most fascinating person that ever fascinated. Perhaps a movie-of-the-week or the subject of a Danielle Steele novel, I can see.

Thanks Barbara, for making me hate the people on your list a little more, purely by association.

Under Scrutiny: The Radio Music Awards, which I didn't even know existed.
What They Call It: The Radioees...I don't know.

This is just another excuse to give out awards and to fill out the usually dead holiday programming. The categories, they confuse me: "Artist of the Year/Alternative and Active Rock Radio," "Song of the Year/Adult Hit Radio." What's with all the hybrid categories? What's "active rock"? I know I'm stretching here, but there's no need to make up new categories just to establish that you are not The Billboard Music Awards.

The nominees for each category are also strange: Mariah Carey doesn't get a nod for "Artist of the Year/Mainstream Hit Radio," but Usher does. Under "Artist of the Year/Alternative and Active Rock Radio," Pearl Jam and Nirvana are nominated, along with ex-Nirvana member Dave Grohl (The Foo Fighters)...? Have I stepped into 1994? Should I be bringing out my Doc Martins and obsessing over my teen crushes and writing angst-filled poetry about how no one understands me?

And..."Song of the Year/Urban and Rhythmic Radio" nominee: "Drop It Like It's Hot," Snoop Dogg (no mention of Pharrell's hard work on the song). I distinctly remember this song coming out sometime in 2004, so I suppose release dates are irrelevent when it comes to The Radio Music Awards (and perhaps they are...who knows, songs on the radio are different than songs on SoundScan charts). In The Radio Music Awards bizarro world, everything and everyone is eligible for nomination!

Happy holidays to everyone, and have a safe and joyous time!
Christine

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Interlude I

My boyfriend thinks I watch too much television. And this is true. But my television viewing habits counter the fact that I don't really MSN (yes, I'm an MSN deadbeat, among other things -- to my friends who have me saved on your list and I'm just taking up space at this point, I'm very sorry), belong to any "networks" such as Friendster and, as my sporadic posts indicate, I don't blog as regularly as I wish I could.

So when I stumbled onto this awesome
blog, and was set to comment, imagine my surprise at Blogger's new SPAM-reducing technology, e.g. an added word verification box to be filled out before submitting. As I hate SPAM as much as the next person, I was happy for the new addition.

But what's this? As I started typing in the letters that I saw on my comment screen, I realized that I had no idea what the first two letters were. Is it just me, or does that look like it could be a capital "A" with all that wonky font? Or was it a small "f" followed by an "l"? The other "f," which appears right before the "t" and "y," doesn't really look like the "f" that might or might not be the first letter. Since I'm a neurotic nut, I started to panic, wondering what would happen if I were to submit the wrong letters. Would my long thought-out comment disappear? Would Blogger have marked me as a SPAM abuser and blocked me altogether? What would become of my life on Blogger? The seconds ticked away as I pondered my life on the lam.

As you can see, I eventually typed "flwefty," and my comment was accepted. But sheesh, Blogger, would it kill you to not go too crazy on the font? How about something in the arial family, or a nice trebuchet? I know you're trying to avert SPAMmers and all but, you know, I ain't much brighter than a SPAMming program.

Thank you,
Christine

Jay-Z and Beyoncé Set To Wed! (And other romantic news)

Item: Jay-Z and Beyoncé, one of the most private couples in the world, are set to marry next summer in a small Caribbean wedding. The couple was rumoured to have put their initial wedding plans on hold because Beyoncé wants to concentrate on her acting career. And not that she's gotten rid of the dead weig--, er, now that she's no longer a Destiny's Child, she should be busier than ever. (Her upcoming project is The Pink Panther, with Steve Martin.) The details of the wedding are still up for speculation, but at least they're not denying they're a couple anymore. Trackback the initial wedding buzz here, and the new theory here.


Item: Brad Pitt proposes to Angelina Jolie every day, that 's how smitten he is. Trackback the urgency here (scroll down for story). "Close" "sources" say that Pitt, who thankfully doesn't seem to be turned on by a vial of blood around his neck, is desperate to be married to Jolie. Jolie, on the other hand, wants to wait to be sure that Pitt is the right man to become Husband #3 (#1 being Jonny Lee Miller, #2 being Billy Bob Thornton). This report comes after a wake of wedding rumours and speculation, and the media's obsession with Pitt's legal adoption woes. Of course, if Pitt and Jolie did marry, it would save a heck of a lot of adoption paperwork.

Item: Britney and Kevin are heading to splitsville? That's what some say, while others say that the two are trying to reconcile. And others don't care for the high-drama; they're just starting betting pools with predictions of the demise. The latest word on this couple's status says that they're back together -- in fact, more "close" "sources" claim that Britney can't stand to be away from Kevin for more than a week before she starts missing his skanky ass and takes him back. The obvious questions would be: why? Is Britney involved in some sort of co-dependent relationship that will lead to years of psychotherapy? Is this relationship so dysfunctional that even Dr. Phil won't touch it? But the question for me, at the moment, is: where does Kevin stay when she kicks him out? Since he's such a broke-ass and all, I'm wondering how he raises the funds without doing an ounce of work. Because I want to know, so that I may quit my job and loft around as Kevin does. (And yes, in the tiny picture I found, Britney is indeed groping Kevin's "manly" "package." Because this is what I do on my Saturdays -- look for perverse pictures that I can post on the Internet.)

Item: Eminem and his estranged ex-wife, Kim Mathers, have reconciled and might remarry. Trackback the love here. I don't know how tall Eminem and Kim are, but in this picture she does tower a good foot and a half over him. I digress, because the point is that Eminem has chronicled his life and times with Kim on all his albums, ad naseum, so I hope that this reconciliation doesn't soften the rapper to Will Smith proportions. Some of Eminem's stuff sucks, yes, but I've always felt that his hatred for Kim has often driven him to genius artistic proportions. What will become of his music once he and Kim rekindle their love? At least there's always Ja Rule for inspiration.

Item: Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony are set to star in "El Cantante." It's a real movie, I swear. Trackback the IMDB listing here. The real-life couple will also be portraying a real-life couple, Hector Lavoe and his lady love, Puchi (which is the cutest name ever, no?). Jennifer Lopez is also producing the film, which explains a lot. Now that everyone's asserted that there's only one person in this couple who can actually sing, it'll remain to be seen if the same can be said for acting. Although Anthony has had a lot of acting experience already, most notably in Carlito's Way and Man on Fire, will he be able to keep up with his wife? I mean, she did play Selena. But she was also in Anaconda and Gigli, so I won't be too hard on Anthony.


Off to curse at some snow,
Christine