Idol Eyes

Why does Ryan do the extra-long “I’m about to tell you who got booted, but I just want to soak in the anticipation” pause before he tells us what “This” is? We know. It’s American Idol. That’s kinda why we’re watching. And he always points out that it’s live. First of all, it’s never live when I watch. Second, duh. It’s always live.  And Scott has poofy Ziggy Stardust hair.  Let’s move on to “people have to like the song enough to download it” night.

Anoop Desai
Anoop tells us he’s singing Usher’s “Caught Up,” returning to the form of weeks gone by when every performance made us question why he was on the show. You remember, the Bad Arse days. Anoop, Anoop, Anoop. You know when Michael asked the infamous musical question, “Who’s bad?” Nobody in the history of the world has ever answered that question by saying, “Anoop.” Holy crap that was terrible. Kara accused him of just living up to a dare from a bunch of frat guys, and the camera cut immediately to a bunch of frat guys denying it . . . perfect. I don’t know how Paula and Randy could say the vocals were good.
I just don’t get it. He had two performances that were good and that the judges liked. And then he decides to perform the style of song that sucked his entire identity so hard he became the human hickey. That and he’s wearing one of Michael’s old “I’m a lieutenant in a big gay army” shoulder chains. Sorry. That took too long. People are really gonna have to suck for Anoop to survive.
Megan Corkrey
Megan Joy borrowed “Turn Your Lights Down Low” from Lauryn Hill and Bob Marley, and she borrowed the style of Wyclef Jean. Here’s what’s going on with Megan, who didn’t even do her little dance: she’s singing to four judges. I don’t think she intends to, but that’s what’s happening. What Megan needs to do, if America realizes she did in fact suck way less than Anoop did, is sing to just one person. Her confidence and her heart are just not showing up. What the judges need to do is put a lid on it. When they’re disappointed, they’re taking forEVer to tell us about it. Megan is in danger, but I don’t see her waving goodbye.

Danny Gokey
“What Hurts the Most,” by Rascal Flatts earned Danny a glowing review from Simon in one of those rare moments when a performance actually makes Simon approach an apology for the previous week’s criticism. He was good. I wouldn’t rave the way the judges did, especially not Kara’s “I’m so enjoying this Sweet Tart” love fest, but . . . hey. He’s clearly one of the best.
Allison Iraheta
I don’t know how the song will go, but I kind of like the fact Allison hunted down Sanjaya and is wearing him as a headdress. As for her version of “Don’t Speak,” it didn’t leave me wowed out of my mind. She actually did play the guitar in a way that you could actually, oh, what’s the word . . . hear? But the song was not exactly right. Given Allison’s track record of not earning the votes her vocals earn, she might have something to worry about. But . . . I think she’s safeish. And I just have to say, Paula right now reminds me of George W. Bush reading the names of foreign dignitaries off a teleprompter. I love Allison.
Scott Macintyre
Dude . . . I’ve already talked about the hair, but I actually thought that was his weakest performance. I didn’t like the Hasselhoffian look. I thought his voice was shaky. His piano skills are solid, but they just don’t stand out for me on this show. And somehow, the judges once again totally disagree with me. And I’m cool with that. Still, I think Scotty has an outside shot of leaving this week.
Matt Giraud
In the style of Anoop, Matt returned to his top-36 style of hitting up the college rock scene with the Fray’s, “You Found Me,” which allowed him to totally lose me. It’s the classic, classic AI pitfall, singing a song that you love instead of a song that loves you. And last week, it seemed like America didn’t love on Matt all too much. But at this point, I think America starts to vote their conscience instead of their actual impressions of the song, so I think Matt’s gonna get through. Maybe.
Lil Rounds
Well, Lil has been touted as vocally awesome, and this is her chance to prove it. She can definitely deliver some powerful notes. But I think you should break out the Power Diva song only when you’re on the upswing. It’s the gesture of a lion standing over it’s wounded prey, not the defense mechanism of a cornered gazelle. And as Power Diva songs go, Celine Dion’s “I Surrender” is a crappy one. Lil’s another one who is picking and performing songs for the judges instead of what actually suits her. Lil could go. But the judges would save her.
Adam Lambert
He played that funky music a la Wild Cherry, and all I have to say is, I have to, have to, HAVE TO hear a duet featuring Adam and Norman Gentile. He’s really good. And yet really hilarious. And Paula’s coming out of her prom dress.
Kris Allen
I’m sorry, but does anybody else feel like the reverb is on absolute overdrive when this dude sings? He was fine. He really could use a butt kicking. And everybody loves him, yay! But let me tell you, any male caught owning one of this guy’s future albums loses his man card immediately.
Bottom three: Anoop, Megan, Matt.

Nobody’s Spoon but Mine

Blind Willie Johnson, “It’s Nobody’s Fault but Mine” 

Led Zeppelin, “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” 
Soundgarden, “Spoonman”
I realize I’m a little late with this observation, since the most recent fossil in the evolutionary chain of the song was unearthed by Chris Cornell and friends in 1994 and the oldest came out of the 1920s. But this morning I realized that I a) had a song in my head and b) couldn’t tell if it was “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” or “Spoonman.” I decided I’d lump those two songs together on the Musical Ripoff jukebox despite their obvious differences—there’s just an undeniable influence, in my ears anyway.
But then I discovered that Plant and Page weren’t the original authors of the song after all. I was delighted to learn the song is actually an old Negro Spiritual catalogued as far back as 1924. 
I also learned I’ve been misinforming people about the origins of “Spoonman.” I knew that Chris Cornell wrote the song based on a made-up song/band name from the movie Singles. What I didn’t know was that Jeff Ament had indeed implanted meaning into said name. It is, indeed, about a guy who plays spoons (and also likes to cuddle): Artis the Spoonman.
Go figure. Actually, forget the figuring. Just listen and compare and see what you think.

March 31, 2009 question – Final Day of Trivia

Out Like a Lamb
March, GM, or Adam Lambert?

American automakers are scaring the tar out of me.
It seems very, very odd to have the President of the United States telling the auto industry how to do their business. Maybe I’d feel more comfortable with it if President Ford were in office. Of course, it’s also quite unnerving to see the Motown movers and shakers begging for congressional help. Maybe I’d feel better if they were actually Shakers.
Hey . . . maybe I’m on to something here. Any chance the Pennsylvania Dutch can take over the auto industry? I’m pretty sure they have some thoughts on alternative energy sources . . . like horses. (I wanted to say ‘horses & buggies,’ but it wouldn’t rhyme.)
I think the Mustang would look different. Their hybrid would be a Mule. And their CEO would be ridiculed for his luxurious cross-country trips on the company’s private moped. And when they succeed, the move would come to be known as the Obamish Rescue Mission.
Today’s Question
Maybe these category clues should be bigger?

I’m going to give you all another chance at yesterday’s question. Only this time, I’ll give you a hint that almost everyone overlooked from yesterday’s question (the category was, “People Whose Last Names Start With the Letter P): You have definitely heard of this person, and his last name starts with the letter P.
What U.S. Civil War veteran went on to buy the St. Louis Post and the St. Louis Dispatch and eventually merged them into the St. Louis Post-Dispatch?
Yesterday’s Answer
And the people who knew it

No one guessed yesterday’s question correctly, but I will give credit to Charles for being the one person who ventured a guess that started with the right letter. Congrats! As to the answer . . . that will come tomorrow.

Overheard, Ad Placement

I could tell you Addison doesn’t watch much TV. I’m good at lying like that. But the fact of the matter is, Addison absorbs whatever he watches, and he’s especially quick to connect to anything he sees on a commercial. Some recent quotes prove his allegiance to all things advertised:

“Hey, Dad, do you want to win $5,000? Then be sure to watch the season finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”
“No, Dad, I want to use my Reach toothbrush. It’s better than normal toothbrushes. Here, I want you to see. See that? (setting it on the sink and pointing to the head) It’s above. It’s got an angled neck.”
“Hey, Mom? Are you gonna get some of that so your eyelashes will be long and luscious?”
“Dad, we have to watch Special Agent Oso. It’s all part of the plan . . . more or less.”
I am so ready for spring to invite this boy outside again. 

March 30, 2009 question

Yes or Nolympics
Your answers
On Friday I asked for your input on the pros and cons of seeing the Olympics come to Chicago. Thanks to everybody who enlightened me while making my decision as the official PWANS (Person With Absolutely No Say) all the more difficult. Here are your responses:
The Pros

    * When Michael Phelps exhales, the smoke will be lost in the wind. (Kyle)
    * I won’t have to travel far to see it. (Charles . . . and me)
    * I will definitely come and definitely impose on all of my Chicagoland family members and try to go see an Olympic event or two. The coming and the imposing are definite. The actual attending of the Olympics is still at a try and see status. (Heidi)
    * It might get the 3rd airport opened. (Heather M)

The Cons

    * The cost and hassle has overshadowed any benefit of the Games to the city for every host city that is not in an authoritarian state. Like Chicago needs more costs and hassles. (Heather M)
    * The Democrats cannot pull off the Olympics (even though, unfortunately, they can sometimes pull off the presidential elections). (Elena)
    * I despise sports and the coming together of nations and Chicago and Olympic Villages. No, wait, I love all those things except maybe not the Olympic Village, but I could tolerate the Olympic Village for the coming and imposing and trying to see. (Heidi)
    * The tendency of constructing temporary stadiums; support of Chicago (or any city) hosting the Olympics is contingent on constructions that provide a permanent benefit to schools or universities in Chicago (Charles)
    * It would be yet another distraction for the Chicago Bears quarterback.

So thanks, everybody, for your thoughtful and/or humorous insights. I will submit them to the IOC for their immediate disposal perusal.
Today’s Question
People whose last name starts with “P”
What U.S. Civil War veteran went on to buy the St. Louis Post and the St. Louis Dispatch and eventually merged them into the St. Louis Post-Dispatch?
Friday’s Answer
And the people who knew it
Of dimes, quarters, and half dollars, which one’s cents weigh the most? It’s a tie. A half dollar weighs exactly the same as two quarters or five dimes. Who knew?
Well . . . nobody. But now you all do, and isn’t that what counts?

Real? Really?

I don’t know how real this is consistently managing to be, but I’ll consider this post to be my reality check. Here’s just a little nugget of reality:

I have gone a few days without spending meaningful time in the Word of God. I’ve read the next chapters in Job a couple of times, but I have just not had the motivation to really dwell on the meaning therein. Maybe it’s Satan trying to stop me. Maybe it’s just me being me. Honestly, I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t really care what the cause is. I just know what the effect has been . . . and that’s a lesser me than what I should, could, and would have been had I given God anything close to His due attention. So . . . this is my attempt.
Job, chapters 29 and 30. This is a really sad pair of chapters, because chapter 29 is a reminiscence about the way life used to be for Job. The long and short of it is, Job was a stud. Job was the man. Job was everything Sinatra said he wanted to find himself to be when he woke up in that city that never sleeps. The higher ups all loved him. The down-and-outs loved him, too. He was the Ferris Bueller of his time, and they all thought he was a righteous dude. And he was. His only mistake was thinking it would always be that way.
Because chapter 30 is Job’s lament of his current state: he was the fermented dung buried beneath the muck, lying below the dirt in which was rooted the grass that was flattened under the very bottom of the totem pole. Reading the two chapters in succession just leaves me very, very sad.
But I guess if there is a light shining through the gloom of Job’s dichotomous experience, maybe it’s the simple fact that in God’s eyes, His relationship with Job didn’t change when everything else in Job’s life did. Even when Job wasn’t feeling a single warm fuzzy toward God, God loved him eternally. 
I’ve never really seen my life turned upside down before. It’s usually swelling and ebbing tidal shifts of emotion and varying levels of satisfaction. But I do know that I need God at every moment. I wish I would act like it more often. It heartens me to know that He is a constant despite my inconsistencies. It also makes me feel ashamed at the same time.
Oh, how I need Him.

Comparitively, Everything Else Is A Diet

The eating day started out innocently enough: a bowl of Rice Krispies, some OJ, some coffee. But it all went to digestive inferno after we headed to the Curious Kids Museum in St. Joseph, Michigan. 

The museum itself was a blast. Addison had fun. Colin had fun. Everybody had fun and not a calorie was consumed. Then we headed to Roxy Burgers for lunch, and here’s how it broke down:
Chili cheese dog. Onion rings. Large Coke. Remnant fries. Remnant ice cream . . . with sprinkles. I don’t eat chili cheese dogs. I tried one 11 years ago, didn’t like it, and gave them up without even feeling the need to swear them off. But for some reason, seeing “CHILI CHEESE DOG” spelled out in red plastic letters proved too oddly compelling to resist. And I loved that chili cheese dog.
We returned home and made plans with my dad to meet for dinner at Quaker Steak & Lube. I had never been to Quaker Steak & Lube, but you don’t go into a meal at a place called Quaker Steak & Lube expecting to eat like a bunny. And unless bunnies routinely scarf down chicken enchilada soup, an 8-oz. steak (medium), an enormous pile of gravy-laden mashed potatoes, and four lemonades (they stick a half-lemon atop each one, and they’re really good) without leaving the tiniest shred of leftovers, I outstripped those leporine expectations.
Then my dad, Heather, Addison, Colin, and I finalized the meal by sharing a triple rich brownie with vanilla bean ice cream. My belly was hurtin’, but my mouth was in heaven. Seriously, go to Quaker Steak & Lube and ask for the Triple Rich Brownie. Abandon all pretense, culture, and whatever other shallow tides of cultured self-righteousness have caused you to turn your nose up at the QS&L and their TRB . . . go get yourself one. If you have the means, I highly recommend it . . . it’s so choice.
Fifteen hours later, I’m still full. But it was still worth it.

March 27, 2009 question

Windy City Win or El on Earth?
IOC officials will soon visit Chicago to review its candidacy for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Now, Chicago is my favorite city in the world. And the Olympics are my favorite quadrennial multi-sport international event. But I’m a little back and forth on whether I want the Olympics to blow into the Windy City.

The main pro: maybe I would get to attend an actual Olympic event for the first time in my life.

The main con: I really don’t want people to start calling Chicago the Silver Medal city.

But I want to know what you think. Be it serious, playful, or just downright wrong, I invite you to please complete either or both of these sentences:

I want the Olympics to be held in Chicago because . . .

I do not want the Olympics to be held in Chicago because . . .

I’ll post my favorites here on Monday. If no one responds, I will make some up and arbitrarily assign them to you.

Today’s Question
According to the U.S. Mint, a penny weighs 2.5 grams (or 2.5 grams per cent); a nickel weighs 5 grams (or 1 gram per cent). Of dimes, quarters, and half dollars, in which coin does one cent weigh the most (which has the highest gram per cent rating)?

Yesterday’s Answer
And the people who knew it
Bangladesh . . . did I ask this question before? Because y’all were all over the answer. Here’s who knew (sorry if I forget anyone . . . it’s a rather long list of geniuses):

Heather M (the M stands for Mash The Dish)
Paul S (the S stands for Slam The Dish)
Mike K (the K stands for Kick The Dish)
Nancy K (the K stands for Knee The Dish)
Steve J (the J stands for Jingle The Dish)
Karen H (the H stands for Hang The Dish)
Steve T (the T stands for Turn The Dish Upside Down And Give It One Of . . . These, And Another One Of . . . Those)

Way to know.

March 26, 2009 question

Guest Intro
At least I thought it was funny
I’m stepping aside from the trivia mic today to allow a guest joke from my 5 year old, who made me laugh out loud the other day with this joke he surely borrowed from a magazine or something. I don’t care. I’ll pass it on to you as if it was his own:
Him: Wanna hear a construction joke?
Me: Sure, let me hear it.
Him: Sorry, I’m still working on it!
The great thing about email is that you don’t even have to pretend to laugh to humor the parent who thinks everything his child does is funny. You can just move on to the question without a second thought . . . although, if the answers come in too quickly, I’ll worry you didn’t take the requisite time to catch your breath.

Today’s Question
What country was known as East Pakistan until 1971?

Tuesday’s Answer
And the people who knew it
Carbon has the highest melting point of any element, outlasting even Tungsten, which will leave a decidedly undecided Karen H boiling, conceding victory to Karen M (the M stands for My Best Friend Is A Diamond).