Saturday, March 19, 2011

American Idol, 3/16 & 3/17 2011

Did America get it right? Should Karen Rodgriguez have been the Idol contestant to leave this week? I say yes. With the level of talent we've seen this season, anybody who leaves will have supporters who think America got it wrong. But this year, any one of the top 12 or 13 at this stage of the season could have made the top 5 in recent seasons.

The reason for the better talent pool is obvious. Better judging. Have you noticed how the show is focused on the contestants and not on the judges' antics? Paula is not slobbering drunkenly on Simon's arm. Simon is not insulting the contestants and the audience. Ellen is not fawning over every contestant telling them they are wonderful. Kara is not ... doing whatever it was she did ... and more importantly, we will not have to suffer through one of the songs she writes for a contestant to sing ... Gag Me!

Steven, Jennifer, and Randy are a fine mix of talented (been there - done that) music industry professionals. When they talk, every contestant listens ... and learns.

Ryan is much more comfortable this season. His banter with the judges is friendly, allowing him to ask pointed followup questions to each judge about a contestant's performance, without fear of babble from a Kara or Paula, and without fear of rebuke from a pompous @$$&*!&.

No longer do the judges rush through the end of a show because they won't shut up. Too often in the past, the show was focused on them and not the contestants, leaving the last contestant to be almost forgotten or preempted by the next Fox show. All has changed now for the better. I don't yet know if the talent warrants a trip to see the top ten at the Idol Tour this summer, but the final five should be exciting as we wind down to the season finale in May.

I don't think a clear winner has yet emerged. Do you see one yet? Comments?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Punxsutawney Phil - NMRI Newest Member

It was bitter cold. Still, hundreds, perhaps thousands of people from around the country, joined Punxsutawney Phil on Gobbler’s Knob to await Phil’s forecast for an early spring, or six more weeks of winter. Mr. Mallow from the National Marshmallow Roasters Institute was in attendance, having been invited by the Groundhog Club's Inner Circle to oversee the many marshmallow roasts and S’mores creations that traditionally occur on this cold February morning.

What a time was had by all. We found out the most important news of the day when Punxsutawney Phil was pulled from his stump and set atop it to make his prediction. Phil was offered his usual treat, but ignored that. We could all see his little nose twitching at some odor in the air. We all smelled it, too. The unmistakable scent of hot roasted marshmallows wafted to the top of the knob.

That’s when Phil stood up on his hind legs, surveyed the crowd and leapt like a flying squirrel onto the shoulder of one of the news media cameramen in the front row. From shoulder to shoulder, Phil followed his nose to the edge of the crowd, where Mr. Mallow stood holding his SmorStix roasting skewer with a freshly roasted, golden brown, succulent sweet marshmallow waiting to be devoured. “What could I do but offer the beautiful gooey orb to that plump guinea pig?” asked Mr. Mallow. “I’d certainly had my fill that morning for breakfast, and now was the time to share.”

It took us more than an hour to get Phil away from the roasters and back to his stump on the knob. We could see the satisfaction in his eyes as he stared out at the crowd, having informed the Inner Circle of the coming spring weather. No, he had not seen his shadow. And yes, it will be an early spring. But more importantly, Phil informed the crowd that he would become the first rodent member of the National Marshmallow Roasters Institute. We certainly welcome him into our fine organization and we will be back next year to Gobbler’s Knob again to make Phil’s day a sweet one indeed.