Palin and the “R-word”

February 10, 2010

I can’t do it any better than Lewis Black:

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R-word aside, what’s most interesting about this debate is how Limbaugh said something against FoxNews corespondent Sarah Palin, essentially ridiculing her for making this such a big deal. What will this mean to the right, who love them some Palin and Limbaugh? More division. Exactly what the party needs.


Groundhog Day?

February 2, 2010

Is anyone else wondering how on earth we began the tradition of pulling a groundhog out of his hole and predicting future on whether the thing sees its shadow or not?

According to the official Web site of Phil the hedgehog:

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

According to an old English song:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

Weather, sort of explained, but what about pulling vermin out of the ground? National Geographic answers that one:

Legend has it that the Romans also believed that conditions during the first days of February were good predictors of future weather, but the empire looked to hedgehogs for their forecasts.

These two traditions melded in Germany, and was brought over to the United States by German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania. Lacking hedgehogs, the German settlers substituted native groundhogs in the ritual, and Groundhog Day was born.

So there you have it folks, Goundhog Day, the weirdest holiday celebrated in America.


Oscar Nominee Predictions for 2010

February 1, 2010

by Andrea Burke

Let’s see how well I can do with this. Someone keep score.

This year, The Academy is nominating 10 films which I think is a heinous idea, but whatever. The decision has been made. And the nominees will be announced tomorrow. So here goes my best guess for the 10 movies that will be nominated. I’ve also included if directors/actors/etc will be nominated from said movie.

1. The Hurt Locker. Kathryn Bigelow, best director. Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie deserve acting nominations, best actor and best supporting actor respetively.

2. Up in the Air. Note: This movie got big early buzz, and I think its too bad some of it has died out. It deserves it. Jason Reitman, best director, best original screeplay. George Clooney, Best Actor, Vera Famiga and Anna Kenrick, both will be up for Best Supporting Actress

3. Avatar. James Cameron, best director. I’m guess it will win all the nerdy special effects/tech awards too, whatever they are called.

4. Up. Its animated, but it’s great. Best Original Screenplay, Best Animated Film. And if Randy Newman wrote another song (I can’t remember), it’ll get nominated.

5. Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino, for directing and best original screenplay. Christoph Waltz will not only be nominated, but take home the Oscar for best supporting actor. I’m calling it. OH AND he’ll give a terrible acceptance speech.You can bet your life on it.

6. Crazy Heart. Jeff Bridges, best actor.

7. Precious. another win prediction goes to Monique for best supporting actress. Gaby Sidibe, best actress.

8. (500) Days of Summer. This is not a shoe-in. It’s my out-on-a-limb one, but c’mon, they should nominate this excellent movie!

For the last two, it’s a toss up, I would say Invictus and Julie and Julia have a good chance of getting in there, as does An Eduation. And as a fan, I think Fantastic Mr. Fox should be a nominee.

I’ll call it all again before the acual awards, but let me say now, if Avatar wins it’s a crying shame.


Republican? Senator Scott Brown

January 22, 2010

I’ve been trying to avoid politics since Christmas.

Its true.

But I’m back to talk to you about Scott Brown.

It’s all about Money. (and maybe good looks) Otherwise, why elect Scott Brown? In fact, fiscally-conservative is the only way he seems to qualify as a republican at all (he does say he’ll vote against national health care). Socially, I would say he’s a moderate to liberal. (his Issues section on his web-site)

He’s pro-choice, and favors states to decide individually on gay marriage, so what gives?

While republicans hold him up as a poster boy for his party, I’m continuing to wonder, as I have since McCain lost the election, where does the republican party stand? Does it care about the issues anymore? or just trying to get another guy who will stamp an R by his name in the senate?

SO with this win, yes, its a Republican in Ted Kennedy’s former seat, but while you all cheer and get so excited, you guys might pause to think what Republicans are agreeing to. What precedent are you setting?

It seems 2010 will be an interesting year, watching the Republican party lay down some of its hardest-fought fights to claim back some power, but I can’t help but wonder at what cost?

I’m just curious.


Team Conan

January 14, 2010

In the drama that has happened with the late night line-ups, Mr. O’Brien was an obvious choice.

Even though I think Conan’s quirky since of humor hasn’t shined as brightly in the earlier time slot, it just seems poor form for Leno to have the power to swoop in and take back his old gig because he’s been AWFUL in his new one.

It’s the same reason the bail-outs bothered me: If you fail, you’re out! I’m not saying there’s no mercy, but c’mon Leno! Can you please just retire and give someone else a chance?

And the other late night hosts agree. Here’s Jimmy’s take on the Late Night Wars.

Craig Ferguson and David Letterman took their own shots, while Jimmy Fallon tweeted today that he would be talking about it after his monologue.

After Conan’s letter Tuesday, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen, but if Leno does make it back to the Tonight Show, I’m one viewer who will not be watching.


SNL revived?

January 11, 2010

In case you didn’t see it, last night’s SNL was one of the best all season (which isn’t saying ALOT but its still something). I think the key to their success was not relying so much on Kristen Wigg, making the skits shorter, and trying to actually utilize their host which they haven’t been doing at all this season.

And Charles Barkly, the lease likely person in my opinion, to ever be a good SNL host was somehow funny. His acting is obviously not great but somehow it worked.

Here are some of the highlights of the night. AND Hopefully this one will put SNL back on the right track!

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Essential Books 2009

December 19, 2009

It was hard to choose, but here are the best books I read in 2009. If you want more info, click the links:

1.   The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. If you only read it in your high school English class, you should go back and try it again. I feel like the Lost generation is happening all over again with mine.

2.    Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This is Young Adult, and you can’t help but fly through it. Original, action-packed, political with a little romance.

3.    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Do not believe what they tell you. This is not a love story. But it is completely brilliant.

4.    Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. SO, so funny. But if you don’t get irony or wit, don’t bother.

5.    On Writing by Stephen King. Non-fiction, King writes about what he’s been doing for 40 years, writing. He also adds a small autobiographical section and a sort of journal of how he recovered after nearly being killed by a car.

6.    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larrsson. The trouble with these books is that once you hit a certain point, it’s impossible to stop. I was up to 6 a.m. one night reading the first and the second’s ending is unbelievable. I will warn you, it takes a little while to get into the first one, give it 150-200 pages.

7.    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Eugenides writes more beautifully than anyone I’ve read in my life. Gorgeous prose. This book was a Pulitzer winner and its easy to see why.

8.   Travel Writing by Peter Ferry. Quirky and original.

9.    When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. So funny. I was laughing out loud, but the end, a day to day journal while he’s quitting smoking, kind of drags.

10.   The Handmaiden’s Tale by Margaret Abbott. Post-Apocalyptic is one of my favorite topics and this book looks at everything from a woman’s prospective. The role women play in Abbott’s book is pretty shocking, but she makes it completely believable.

Honorable Mentions: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, My Life in France by Julia Child, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, and Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

And The Best True Story, but Worst Written: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Everyone really should read this even though it felt like pulling teeth to get through it. The story is amazing. And Mortenson wrote his newest book, Stones into Schools, by himself. It’s in book stores now.


SYTYCD Season 6 finale

December 16, 2009

Pretty much the lamest finale ever to the lamest season I’ve seen of this show. I think it was definitely hurting from Mia’s departure, SYTYCD fatigue due to back to back seasons, and a lame 6 contestant finale.

BUT the good news is, the girl who’s been my favorite from the very get-go might win. Kathryn has been consistenly great, but it was awesome to see her with Jakob. They were unbelieveable and I can’t believe the bomb Nigel dropped last night. This was by far the very best number of the night:

My Least favorite. Stop with the crying already! This routine was so easy, you know poor Travis held back so much. And if either of them win, I don’t know what I’ll do…Notice none of the judges even comment on the dancing.

And now to the prediction of the winner!

I would love to see either of these 2, because I think they are amazing:

But, of course, I’m really hoping Kathryn got the votes.  And how can I forget Russell? This guy is unbelievable, it’s almost like a light shines from him when he dances. You can watch when he shows up Ashleigh, but I was glad he and Kathryn finished out the show.

OH. P.S. All this talk about Ashleigh’s injury blah blah blah. Did you know Ellenore tore her rotatar cuff last week and danced through it? It’s crap that Ashleigh/Ryan and the “show’s doctors” made such a big deal of Ashleighs and no one said word one to commend Ellenore on being brave through hers.


On Topic: Obama’s Grade from the Left

December 16, 2009

by Andrea Burke

On Oprah’s special, Obama gave himself a B+ and while I slightly disagree with his self-grade, I don’t whole-heartedly disagree the way the good little sheep who watch Fox News do. Remember little ones B is for Baaaaad.

Hanna, in the great tradition of many Republicans before her, thinks that the conditions Obama stepped into office under are irrelevant.

And you know what, I realized tonight that each and every one of them are so right! History does not matter. If you buy a used car and it has some problems in the first month or so, its not the dealer’s problem because clearly, in that short amount of time it was in your possession, you messed it up.

It is so Obama’s fault that the economy sucks and that unemployment is up and that we are at war. The way I remember it, we’re fighting because he wants to free his Muslim brothers! THAT’s the real reason we’re over there.

But seriously, how can you smart people buy into this way of thinking?

My rule is that he has to stop referencing the problems Bush left behind when we’re out of them. We’re not out of the 2 wars Bush greenlit, we have not recovered from economic failure. Obama is having to make decisions on someone else’s policies and in essence, yes, clean up the mess that he stepped in to.

And God bless him for even wanting to take on that responsibility.

He has initiated a bill to cover something he cares about: Health Care. But we all know how that’s gone. He’s fallen in the polls and he’s being admittedly blocked by Republicans.

All in all, Obama’s followed up on most of the campaign promises I cared about. I wanted Guantanamo shut down, I LIKED the cap and trade bill (we can talk about this another day). I’m not sure how I feel about health care, but I love that he continues to stand by it even if the country is more fickle.

I want out of Afghanistan, but even more I want out of Iraq, but the right way. And I think he’s completely right not to call it a victory. I love that he cares about other countries’ cultures enough to follow customs (lowering your head below a host’s head) even though he must know psychos like Glenn Beck are going to call it worship or subservience.

And the stimulus. As one final act, Bush bailed out Wall Street, and Obama’s stimulus was an answer to those millions who asked “What about main street?”

So, overall, I’m giving him a B. He’s actively working on solutions to the wars, the economic failure, our relations with other countries and the rest of his campaign promises.

It’s just naive to think he could fix everything in one year. It took many, many years to get us to this point.


So You Think You Can Dance, top 8

December 10, 2009

I’m sad I didn’t have time to post before the cuts last night. I’ll get to them in a second as well as the usual stuff, but first I have 2 complaints:

1) Ashleigh and Ryan’s guilt trips on Tuesday. She’s injured and he fake cries their way into the top 6. How could you buy into this America?! These two are the worst dancers to ever get so far through the competition. I really wish they would let us call to vote off. I would vote the entire 2 hours for these 2.

2) A finale with the top 6? Are you kidding? I can’t believe they planned it like this. Why couldn’t they have cut out one week of stupid auditions in order to fit in a real finale?

But onto better things…The Best routine:

Ellenore and Legacy really did kill it. But then….

the Worst:

On 2nd viewing, I don’t think it was as bad as I originally thought, but still the weakest on a strong night.

But we all know the outcome: Legacy and Mollee left last night. And neither should have gone.

Finale next week! I’m so glad Kathryn and Russell made it. And on a side note, I hope they never do back-to-back seasons again. Last season was way better than this one.