disrespectful of the ReaL idols

We’ve passed the point, really, where too much is too much. Idol is going to be the show that marks the day the music died.

This is not anywhere near the most talented season of Idol. Quite the contrary, actually. And yet, this year is the year of the absolute BIGGEST stars. (Remember, they’ve done the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Dolly Parton.) Basically, most of these people have butchered some of the best songs in recent history.

And tonight, it’s Neil Diamond’s turn to …turn the other cheek.

1st half:
Jason Castro – keeps embarrassing himself. Not having the words? Come on. After last week’s atrocity? (People are still talking about his idiotic choice to sing ‘Memory’.  When even ALW wondered why.)
David C – this song is one nobody knows. When he finished, nobody cared.
David A – coasting, like he’s got it in the bag. He chose ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘America’. [David C should have chosen ‘America’.]
And even, Neil’s ready to say goodbye to B. He said he was “pleasantly surprised” that she could pull off one of his songs.
Syesha, Syesha, Syesha – The more I see and hear, the more I love her. I think she’s benefiting from the comparison to the awfulness that is the competition. I really liked ‘Hello Again, Hello’.

I like the speedy feel of the show, tonight. I’m still fast forwarding through all the Ryan-crap.

2nd half:
Jason – awful. nervous. poor guy. he could go home. David A should’ve done ‘September Morn’.
David C – really good song choice. delivered well, nicely done.
B – I kinda feel sorry for her having to be on the show anymore. She should not be there. (Simon was whispering to Paula. I think they’re gonna be nice to her so she will get kicked off.)
David A – no no no no no no no no. NO. NO. NO! NO! NO! AHHHHHHHH! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Awful. I’d send him home over this. I’m not sure why they’re saying this is good. Well. Apparently, he’s selling kool-aid, and the judges are buying.
S – not super. not super-sucky. maybe not sung the best, but performed well.

Alright everybody, say it with me: Paula, be quiet. Please.

um. it IS so middle school

This crap between LC and Heidi is freakin’ childish.  I understand the desire of loyalty from Spencer and Heidi, since Stephanie is Spencer’s sister.  But really, either squash it altogether or quit “running into each other”.

And I cannot even believe Audrina, Lo and Lauren are cohabitating.  Seems like a bomb that’s just waiting to go off.

Overall, though, I think MTV gets the editing right.  For better or worse, this is LC’s life.

And maybe one day it’ll work out and you’ll get married.  Cuz that’s what i really want!  ~Lo

(ps: justin-bobby finally got a haircut.  he looks halfway human.  now all we need is jason castro to follow suit.)

oh tyra

I stumbled upon the beginning of Tyra’s talk show just now.  And I’ll say one thing for her – she knows how to hook a viewer.  I didn’t see the whole preview – just the part with a father pushing his daughter to be a prostitute.  And there ya go, I had to watch.

The show is about prostitution, and how and why women get into it.

“…for a lot of women, they seem to just jump into the industry as if it’s the most glamorous choice in the world.” ~Tyra (emphasis hers)

Then she introduced two women, 25 and 27, who are…auditioning? interviewing? trying out? to be Bunny Ranch girls.  The 25 yr old, Anna, is looking to save money for her mother’s liver transplant.  She also said that she considered earning the money this way because she “really likes to please men”.  The 27 yr old, Shy Love (I don’t know if her parents were hippies or if she’s already chosen her ‘bunny name’), is a nurse who’s tired of working 24/7 and missing important moments in her 5 children’s lives.  [That’s right, 5 kids.  They are 11, 8, 7, 6, and 4 going on 5.]  She also said the money wasn’t that great.  I suppose, for the hours, that could be true.  And compared to working at the Ranch, that could be true.  Anyway, she said she weighed the pros and cons, and the Ranch was a clear winner.


Woo.  Can I just take a moment to let all that sink in?

How is it that we have women choosing to become prostitutes in order to support their families?  To me, that sounds like this country has let them down.  Completely.  And I’m not just talking about these 2, going for the Bunny Ranch.  They’ll do much better there than the girls across the country that have decided to do the same thing, for the same reason, but have no protection.

Ok, back to the show.  Turns out, Shy Love has a serious bf, Chris.  He’s not thrilled about her choice, but he says he can handle it.  Up to five years.

Tyra:  Ok.  Five years of other guys pounding your girl. [emphasis hers again]
Chris:  You know, thanks.
Tyra: Ok.
Chris:  Thanks.
Tyra:  I’m just keepin’ it real – just keepin’ it real.  Cuz it is what it is. Ok, we’ll be right back. (giggle)

Ok, I don’t think I’ve ever watched a whole episode of Tyra, so I’m not sure what I should be expecting.  Not much, I guess.  Her questions [IMO] are borderline offensive, and she doesn’t seem to grasp what is appropriate and what’s not.  Now, this bunny ranch fella she brought on the show just commented that since we’ve all seen ‘Pretty Woman’, every woman [at some point in her life] has only been one step away from working at the Ranch.

I dunno if I’ll be able to stomach the rest of this.  I’ve seen some interviews where prostitutes have said that other women are selling sex as well, they’re just not getting money for it.  They’re getting dinner, time, affection, whatever.  That’s how they refer to the dating process.

And I can see the point.  Especially if we’re talking about women who have sex with men they barely know.  Regularly.

But alleging that even the majority of women have the desire to be prostitutes?  Well, it’s no surprise to me that a man said that.

I’m thinking that maybe somebody is punking Tyra.  They’re trying to make sure she looks like a fool on tv.  Cuz this girl from the Ranch just said something about how we all use our bodies at work, and she just uses a different part, and what did Tyra say?  “You use your coochie.”

The so-called father-daughter aren’t really.  He’s a father-figure.  That doesn’t make it any less creepy that he does bikini waxes on her, but at least it’s not her real dad.  And Summer, 18,  is an adult-industry star, apparently.  And her “dad” is her manager.  And he’s trained as a…I dunno…someone who does waxing.

Oh no he didn’t.  Oh no that mofo did not just call Ashley Dupre a ‘ho’.

So, fake-daddy drops Summer at the Ranch and she’s crying cuz she doesn’t want to do this anymore.  But he says, “Chin-up. I want you to go in there and make a good impression, ok? I love you.”  So she gets out of the car, and goes.  Her “daddy” keeps calling this a career.

The more I watch, the more I think these women need someone professional to talk to.

I’ve turned the sound off on the show.  It’s too painful.

I’m a more old-school feminist.  So I’m not into porn and prostitution as some kind of liberating behavior for women.  I think it’s bad for women.  Men too, actually.  I think it just perpetuates the patriarchy.  And I really hate the term “sex-positive” because that infers that people like me are “sex-negative”.  But just cuz I want a more level playing field in the bedroom as well as everywhere else, doesn’t mean I’m not in favor of sex.

Just selling it, I suppose.

personality, preference, and race

Typical doesn’t usually apply to me.  In fact, I’m not sure if it ever does.  But my humanity is not any less accessible than anyone else’s – I love to laugh, spend time with people I love, be entertained, play games and generally have a good time.

But the things/activities that I enjoy – are they specific to a certain group?

I don’t belong to just one racial group, but it seems obvious that certain pieces of entertainment are geared to one or another, often exclusively [but without overt malice].

Take, for instance, the allusion to differences between ‘Living Single’ and ‘Friends’, in the comments here.

I loved Living Single.  I loved Friends.  I loved lots of shows.  [I really like tv]

I spent most of my young life not thinking about deep racial issues.  I completely bought into the ‘white = default (read: normal)’ idea without even being aware of it.  I was aware of some cultural differences…I spent time with people of different racial backgrounds, but I got the general idea that people were either ‘white’ or ‘black’.  Anyone with skin light enough to be white, was.  Everyone else was black.  That was certainly the way things seemed to be.  And even now, that still seems to ring true, though it’s a tad bit stickier with many more Latin people in America [fitting into both and/or neither category].

So, I wasn’t thinking about how I only saw black people on ‘90210’ when they were in a gang or being bussed to West Beverly to get out of their impoverished school. [Classic white savior/token black person episode]  I never thought about the lack of diversity on ‘Friends’ until I saw a black comedienne refer to it as ‘We-Don’t-Have-Any-Black-Friends’.

And I do like the diversity that has lept into most tv shows.  I notice it more frequently, and I appreciate it.  But I tend to identify with characters based more on personality than anything else.  That’s including race and gender.

Perhaps because of the way I grew up, always knowing that I was different, I never expected to see someone like me on a tv show or in a movie.  When Mariah appeared on the scene, I had an ally in the music business, though she and I look nothing alike, and my range is …slightly less than 5 octaves.

So, when I started thinking about things more deeply, in terms of race and gender and sensitivity, I found that my preferences and affinities didn’t change.  When I realized that there hadn’t been any black people on ‘Friends’, I didn’t stop watching.  I didn’t watch one or two of the seasons cuz it got a lil slow toward the end.

But I remember being around some semi-friends, while I was growing up, and feeling that I wasn’t ‘black-enough’ because I watched certain shows, listened to certain music.  I think this helped spark my ‘all R&B – all the time’ period, which lasted from ~’91 to at least ’97.  I wouldn’t share my interest in some of the music that my sister unashamedly listened to – the great one-hit 90s bands like Gin Blossoms, Blind Melon, STP, etc.  [the nostalgia from one of these is incredible, nonetheless]

I didn’t have anything to prove with white people, because I was generally accepted as the ‘present company excluded’/’I don’t think of you as black’ friend.  And that was weird to me, but I didn’t know how to respond.  It felt like acceptance, I thought.

I spent a lot of time trying to fit in to some group.  I was most comfortable away at school, in a dorm with other girls who seemed to have a better grip on understanding me.  After that, I struggled, until I kinda fell into the International [Students’] Club, my 2nd to last year in school.  Being completely and utterly American, I still don’t know how I ended up being a member [and eventually an officer] of the ISC but, there you go.  It was probably the most fun time of my college career.  I was learning to be myself, regardless of the expectations.

As time marched on, I continued to look for a niche to fill.  And I was accepting myself as being both black and white in a way I hadn’t before.  Trying to prove my blackness was becoming less of an issue.  But the pressure was still there.  I began to assert that, though some of my black friends might never have met someone like me, that didn’t make me white [even though I am], it just made me different.

In the meantime, I began to meet people who somehow thought that I would understand/approve of them having some kind of specific ‘type’, when it came to their romantic interests.  A black girlfriend of mine decided she was into white boys [exclusively].  A black guy friend went the same way.  Another guy friend [korean/white] talked about how he was into only blonds.  I spoke to them all about it.  And the answer I invariably got: it’s a preference.  It’s not a race thing.

It doesn’t sound any better to me today – and this is years later.

Race is a crazy construct, but the assumptions and excuses and conclusions that come with folks with ‘preferences’ just turn the whole thing into a ball of confusion for me.

The complexity of it all and the lateness of the hour causes me to question the coherence of this blog.  I guess my point was just that while people can appreciate this or that piece of media regardless of its loose connection to reality, it doesn’t [to me] hold the same import as, say, the specific [romantic] preference toward the opposite/same sex [hair/eye/skin color & texture].

passing out now.

allergic to work

Work has been a roller coaster the last couple days. Last Monday I was so upset, I thought I might quit. [or more likely, give notice] Even though I haven’t been looking for a new job, I was ready to pack it up and go stay with my daddy, in lieu of working for my-crazy-boss. Things kinda got better as the week went by, but were soured at least once a day by the yelling. Always with the yelling.

This week has been crazily work-centered because of the corporate competition amongst businesses here in town. Four different companies (and the YMCA) are involved in a yearly, two-week battle to claim a trophy. Competitions are varied, from pure cheese (the ‘banner & skit’ competition), to physical (Softball, bball, rock-climbing, etc.). This year I was on the quiz bowl team, and semi-coerced on to the swim team. Rules for all events require four person teams, with two men and two women, with at least one team member over 40. One of the women on the swim team backed out, and I happen to work with the captain, so I was in. I love swimming, but I’ve never done it competitively…until Sunday. It was a relay, and I only had to swim one lap (Praise Jesus!) but I thought that I might pass out afterward. I gave everything I had in that one lap, in order to not let my teammates down. I didn’t. We finished 3rd (missing 2nd by about 3 feet). The Y was 2nd, and they had lifeguards and swim instructors on their team. So I don’t feel bad about 3rd. Though I wish we could have made up those 3 feet.

The Quiz Bowl was Tuesday night (double elimination, so each team must lose twice). We started off a little timid, but found our groove fairly quickly. Whooped the first team we played, lost to the second, and switched out a team member for an alternate before our 3rd game. We dominated the 3rd game, and prepared to play for first place, when all of a sudden we were called for a conference with a judge. Apparently, our toughest competition decided to cite us for a rule violation (subbing in an alternate) that we were unaware of (since that rule had not been announced or provided to us prior to the game – or indeed at all, until we were told about it). So we were DQ’ed.

But I came in to work yesterday feeling as though we’d won anyway. I had a great time, regardless of what the final scores were. My biggest regret was that we didn’t get to play the final round. Not to necessarily win – though that would’ve been nice. I just really like playing.

And then my experiment worked.  Better than it has up to this point.  And this thing has been ongoing for months.  But I’m kinda new to method development, especially with this particular instrument – I’m actually more familiar with chromatography.  But anyway, all excuses aside, nothing I’ve been trying has been working.  My sample’s in a problematic matrix and the concentration range is vast (ppb to ppm).  Not to mention my instrument is older than my degree.  So, ugh.

Presented my results to boss-lady today only to get hit with a brickwall and a ‘back to the drawing board’.  Way back.  So.

Thankfully, it wasn’t done with yelling today, and I could tell there were moments when she seemed interested in actually helping me develop my skills in this area instead of dropping me off the side of a cliff  with a box labeled “Parachute: some assembly required”.  So..some days are better than others.  I think we all just wish we knew which kind we’d be walking in to every morning.

Which makes me feel near ecstatic that she won’t be there tomorrow.  I’ll be at work, but it’ll still be like having the day off.  Sad.   But real.

And then, today, I started sneezing a lot at work…either the grass pollen’s out now, or………

tamyra gray is mimi?

Rent is my favorite Broadway show. Has been ever since I first saw it…I don’t know how many years ago anymore. Since then I’ve seen it five or six more times. Once on tour in Atlanta, once with Joey Fatone as ‘Mark’, at least twice from going to the lottery at the box office… I’ve got the complete original soundtrack, and have most of the songs memorized.

So I love the show. I never imagined Tamyra Gray as ‘Mimi’. I loved her in the first season of Idol and thought she should’ve won, but I kinda think that Kelly Clarkson has more stage presence. It would certainly be interesting to see her in the show…

***Newsflash: Just in case you didn’t click the ‘Rent’ link, be advised – the show is closing this year (9/7/08). It’s been a good run. The Nederlander will go on with some other show, I suppose. So – if you haven’t seen it yet, now’s the time.***

In somewhat related news, Vote for the Worst is ruining the show. I’m not sad that Carly’s gone – I never liked her. But it was most certainly, and without question, Brooke White’s time to go. I knew Syesha’d be in the bottom, so I voted for her for, like, an hour last night. The second number was completely free the entire time I was calling in. That’s shameful.

With the talent pool shrinking every year, and vftw[dot]com cranking up more and more support every year, it’s no wonder we’ve come to this point. So I say again, I think this is my last season of Idol.

How many more songs does Brooke need to mess up?

the return of justin-bobby

You know, Kristin (wikipedia says she’s an actress – I wouldn’t go that far) really missed the boat. When the first season of Laguna Beach came on – she was the star. Undeniably.

LC was a hanger-on. She was Kristin’s semi-nemesis with Stephen, but didn’t get a whole lotta airtime. Season 2 pitted the two girls against each other, and gave Lauren greater visibility.

The kids graduated, and Lauren parlayed her new-found reality stardom into even more reality stardom ~ and The Hills.

We are now on the third season of The Hills. And LC has shown herself a savvy business-woman, using the show to get paid. and fame. and a job. and a better job. Stephen’s coming back on the next episode.

Unbelievably, people I know her name, her life, and side with her on crazy drama like this crap with her and Heidi Montag’s bf, Spencer. [Heidi wins the award for very worst music video of the decade (if not all time) with this precious gem, shot by her then-snookums, Spencer.]

And the piece-de-resistance: Audrina, LC’s current roommate, who used to be good friends with Heidi, but isn’t so much now, because of the Spencer/Lauren thing – exacerbated by the fact that Brody (Spencer’s old bff) chose LC’s side in the split – is back to talking to her ex-bf Justin (who for some reason wanted to be called Bobby, and is now called Justin-Bobby by Lo and LC because of the ridiculosity of that whole thing) but they’re not actually together.

If you can follow all of that, you’re an addict [like me] and it’s time for the twelve steps.

#1. Admit you have a problem…

a childhood idol

I was at a prime age to fall in love with the Cosby Show when it came on, and follow it for the duration.  Dr. Huxtable was loving, strict, and hilarious – a lot like my dad.  Even though I only have one sibling [my younger sister], I felt like we were the Huxtables.  Looking back now, I know that I based this on the parts that I could actually relate to: kid/parent dynamics, general awareness of being black, having both parents in the house.  My parents are professionals, but not doctor and lawyer, so our financial outlook was quite different, but the difference wasn’t stark to me.

After the Cosby Show, I’d basically give anything that had Bill’s name on it a chance.  I still think it’s the best show that’s ever been on tv.  So I was taken aback when he started his roaming ‘call out’ sessions a couple years ago.

It’s really hard to describe how I feel about his approach and opinions.  I am not a supporter of teen pregnancy, absentee fathers, high-school dropouts, and saggy pants…I’m actually quite conservative in my personal life.  So you might think that I’d be on board with his messages.  Except that I’m not.  Not all the way.

My dad is convinced that saggy pants are tied to the inevitable demise of America, but I don’t see it.  I can’t see how they’re more of a threat than long hair, bell-bottoms, tie-dye, and leisure suits ever were.

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a great article for the Atlantic about Bill’s efforts to save the black community, and carves out some of the words I’d been looking for.

If Cosby’s call-outs simply ended at that—a personal and communal creed—there’d be little to oppose. But Cosby often pits the rhetoric of personal responsibility against the legitimate claims of American citizens for their rights. He chides activists for pushing to reform the criminal-justice system, despite solid evidence that the criminal-justice system needs reform. His historical amnesia—his assertion that many of the problems that pervade black America are of a recent vintage—is simply wrong, as is his contention that today’s young African Americans are somehow weaker, that they’ve dropped the ball.

Cosby suggests that the lack of strong black families, and educated black people is a creation of the current generation.  But that’s not the case.  Sure, there is business that we need to handle.  But uh, the situations that exist right now are complex – and were not solely created by our own community.  That would seem to be my central point of disagreement with Mr. Cosby.

That – and the fact that I really do feel like he’s airing dirty laundry.

I sure do run into a lot of white people who think he’s RIGHT ON.  That should give him pause, too.