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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Picture Everyone Naked"

Now that I know that I have your attention, first things first.

I've been meaning to write this for sometime now. I wanted to give a quick shout of thanks to my blogging friend, Pratt for sending me not one, not two but THREE items off of my wishlist, and it isn't even my birthday...yet. (though June 18th is just around the corner). I thanked him privately on my own, but I wanted to still thank him publicly and properly here. Go visit him when you have the chance. He's got a great blog incuding tons of free pictures of bunnies. He's also very generous, but that was just an unexpected by-product of the relationship, I swear.

Enough gushing, moving some point in our lives, everyone has things happen to them that they wish never happened in the first place. What I want to hear about is your most embarrassing moments. I know, I know they are embarrassing, but that's what makes them so great! In fact, the only good thing about embarrassing moments is that once the dust has settled and the sting has worn off a bit, there are great icebreaker like stories to tell at parties and even on blogs like these.:)

So, what hall of shame moment do you want to share with the class today?
Monday, May 30, 2005

Tommy, Can You Hear Me?

So I was trying really hard to be quiet about this Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes "romance". I don't know why I bothered to even try though, because it was all in vain.

First, the obvious. Yes, it is a little creepy that they're dating. Ok, maybe more than a little. In fact, the only people who don't think it's creepy are men that wish they could secretly (or not so secretly) do the same. To me, it's almost like he's dating my college roommate. You know the one I never actually knew, but watched for four years while I was in college so I feel like I know, ya know?

So since I kinda sorta know you Katie, let me give you a piece of advice. Don't fall for Tom. Luckily, I'm not the only one who feels this way. I know he's dreamy in a "Take My Breath Away, Make Me A Cocktail, Risky Business" kinda way, but all of us girls in the know know that men like Tom aren't a catch without there being... a catch. I'm not saying anything about what the catch could possibly be. By the way, you haven't introduced Tom to James Van Der Beek yet, have you? I was just wondering.

Anyway all I'm trying to say is Tom seems like a nice enough man's man and you, a nice enough girl. Yet we both know you don't always use the best judgment when it comes to men, (although you did once make a wise choice in Pacey) But together, you and Tom don't exactly conjure up the phrase, "You Complete Me".

Still, I could have handled all of this until I saw the Ground Control To Major Tom moment that broke the camel's back. In this clip, you'll note Tom is neither "sane" nor "coherent". Discuss. Oprah may have thought this new, quirky Tom was a delight, but personally I haven't been this weirded out by a celebrity since Howard Dean had his now infamous Woo! transformation.

In fact, if I didn't know any better, I'd think Tom was acting like this was the first time he'd ever felt this way for a girl. And we all know that can't be possible, right?
Saturday, May 28, 2005

What About Prom, Blaine?

That precious time of the year is once again upon us. You know the time of year when graduations, proms and weddings are being celebrated every which way you turn. Even if it isn't your prom, graduation or wedding, no doubt it's someone you know's special day.

But the main focus of this post is the prom. Part of me understands why the prom is such a big deal. It might be you and your sweetheart's last high school hurrah. Or perhaps it's the last chance to drunkenly profess your love to the girl or guy you've been secretly pining for all four years. It's everyone else who falls somewhere in the middle who gets short changed at these things and thus has the so what? attitude towards the "big" day. I, my friends, was one of those people.

I didn't go to my prom. I wasn't seeing anybody at the time and I didn't have any particular desire to overspend money on a dress to hang out with people I could normally hang out with for free. Oh sure, I love watching the big prom scene on tv shows and in movies,, but living it in real life is another matter entirely. At the time I had a crush on a guy friend who was a bit older than me and didn't go to our school. Ironically though, HE was going to my prom with his ex-girlfriend who was a classmate of mine.

Meanwhile, in the other corner of this hormone-raged dilemma was a close friend of mine who, at the time, was going to the prom with a guy who she was in love with who also didn't go to our school. This all would have been fine...had she not had a boyfriend already who she was NOT going with. This boyfriend, by the way, also happened to be the best friend of the guy I liked. And to think, they say John Hughes like script ideas are dead. Huh. You want a good John Hughes teen movie plot? I got your John Hughes revival right here!

So my friend's boyfriend half asked me to go to my prom so he could still hang out with his girlfriend. But going to the prom with your friend's sometimes boyfriend is about as fun as calling dinner and a movie with your dad an actual date. Needless to say, I politely declined, opting instead to meet up with everyone for the post prom festivities.

I don't know about when you went to school, but in my town, the prom was never about the prom night alone. Oh no. The prom was literally an all weekend event. A promapalooza, if you will. Many people got hotel rooms down the shore and partied like MTVers on spring break. My group didn't do that. Come to think of it, I forget exactly what my group did. As you can tell, despite what Billy Joel may have told you, this was not the time to remember.

So then, why write about it all now? Well, this whole post was inspired by a recent episode of The OC devoted to the prom and with it cropped up a prom-related pet peeve that has nothing to do with corsages and barf bags. Instead it has to do with the distinction between prom and THE prom.

Many times in tv and movies THE prom is referred to simply as "prom".


Are you going to prom?
Are you going to THE prom?

See the difference? To me, the latter is clearly the superior choice.

Case in point, the teen classic, Pretty In Pink. In one scene our young heroine, Andie (Molly Ringwald) corners her always rich, sometimes boyfriend Blaine (Andrew McCarthy) about the special day. Over and over Andie repeats, "What about prom Blaine? What about prom", all while pummeling a tiny but extremely wide-eyed Andrew McCarthy into the lockers.

Everytime I see this emotional scene I want Blaine to yell, "It's what about THE prom Andie! THE prom! And shit like this is precisely the reason I'm not going with you!

Of course that never happens, not even in the deleted scene footage on the DVD.

I hadn't seen or heard prom (minus the THE) references in awhile, until The OC came along that is. The OC of all places. I mean the show only has two words in its title. Take away the THE and it's just OC. Which I guess would work, but still, that's not the point now.

In any case on the show, I noticed both variations being used and quite simply, that's not good enough. Who are these writers anyway and where did they grow up? Because everybody I know refers to it as THE prom. It's not like the annoying rOOf vs. ruff debate or vAAse vs. vahhs. While you're at it, why not call the prom a promenade, like it was truly intended to be and call of the farce? In the meantime, I and everyone I know will call it THE prom thank you very much.

THE end.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005

And The Winner Is...

Ok, I need to see a show of hands for those of you who watched last night's American Idol. I know that once again I am about to alienate half of the 10 or so of you who faithfully read this blog by writing about this, but so be it.

Last night, we were down to the final two, Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice. Those of you who have been reading this blog since the beginning of this season know I have been a Carrie fan since before day one, with day one being the first time we actually voted on who should go through. No, I was for Carrie as soon as I saw her audition. Not that I'm trying to rub it in or anything, but then again, when a girl's right, you gotta give it to her.:)

Still although Carrie has always been my personal favorite, Mr. Bice is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, for the first time in AI history I believe we FINALLY had ourselves a proper finale of strong talent, unlike the uneven, horrific mismatches of previous seasons.

Early on, (yet still after I called it), Simon Cowell predicted Carrie would win it all. And if we are looking strictly at the odds, Carrie has them in her favor since she is the only contestant who has never been in the bottom three. On pure, raw vocal talent alone, I say Carrie takes it.

HOWEVER, Bo has long been the dark horse of this competition. He outlasted fellow rocker, Constantine Maroulis (although I still miss you more, Connie!) and held his own in a variety of genres. Bo also won a lot of people over with the energy he exudes on stage, a quality that "the deer caught in headlights-like" moves of Carrie, unfortunately do not surpass. So in terms of stage presence, the scales tip in the favor of Bo.

Then we have the finale itself. Call me crazy, but the week before the finale actually included better performances than last night's showing.

Bo kicked it off with this God awful, I hope I never hear you again as long as I live, repitious crap of a song called, "Long, Long Road". In case you didn't get the hint, I didn't like it. If I had to venture a guess I'd say Bo didn't like it either. In fact, the whole evening he seemed rather disenchanted like he was just a little bit off. I couldn't quite put my finger on why or how. Maybe it was just nerves, but was it nerves that he would win or that he wouldn't? That, my friends, is the real question. While his next two songs were better, they still weren't the winning Bo performances America had grown to know and love him for.

Then we have Carrie "thank you Lord Jesus" Underwood who sang songs entitled "Inside Your Heaven" and "Angels Brought Me Here". Bo also sang "Inside Your Heaven". To me Carrie slightly outsang him on this one. For the record, both of these were credited as "original" tunes, original here meaning complete and utter shit.

In the end, I've always felt the performer who sings last sings last for a reason. Yes, I know there was a coin toss involved, but don't think AI doesn't have their ways. Last night's performances were no exception. The performance of the night, hands down, went to Carrie's "Angels Brought Me Here", complete with the "dramatic, choking back the tears, I can't believe I'm really here" slightly ironic moment at the very end. I couldn't have scripted it better myself. I mean, sang it.

So there you have it. It's really anybody's win, and to be honest, I'd truly be happy with either one. But when I vote, I don't vote on one night alone, or one factor alone. There is a whole season of work to look at and being the teacher that I am, I have to give Carrie a higher overall average. Of course, there are no losers here, just people who walk away without an official AI contract, which in reality, might not be such a bad thing. This is also why I kinda think Bo shouldn't win because AI wouldn't really know what to do with the Bice man and creatively, Bice would be stifled. Carrie is the better choice for the AI queen and all that entails.

Besides, individually they are both excellent, but together, they can "Islands In The Stream" the hell out of a reunion.

UPDATE: Here she is...Miss America-n Idol, Carrie Underwood.

So tell, me do you think the right person won or are you out there right now, rioting in the streets in protest?
Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things"

There are a lot of things in the world that can bring a girl (or guy) down. The good news is there are also a lot of things in the world that can cheer a girl (or guy) up.

What I want to know is what types of little things keep you going? For instance, I LOVE the feeling of waking up and looking at the alarm clock with dread, only to realize it's Saturday and I don't have to go anywhere, anytime soon. It's the best.

I also love the feeling of really warm clothes that just came out of the dryer, eating hot, homemade chicken soup and much, much more.

Now it's your turn. What little things mean a lot to you?
Monday, May 23, 2005

Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone

Last fall, I commented about how much I love all things autumn. Really, I love fall because that is when the mind numbing repeats are finally behind us, and our beloved favorites finally return to television. In addition, new shows that will hopefully become fast favorites also premiere for the very first time. This is a very exciting time for me historically, probably too exciting given that I am now a grown adult.

Still, with all of the excitement at the supposed return of my primetime playground, I know that before I know it, some of these shows will be knocking on death's door. Some are lucky enough to remain untouched the whole season, while others bite the dust quicker than you can say Life On A Stick.

This year I was lucky enough to get on board with some solid programs that are undeniably safe and probably even headed to the land of syndication one day. Yes, new shows like Desperate Housewives, The Office and Lost are keepers. Some of returning favorites are also in the clear including Gilmore Girls, The OC, Amazing Race, and of course, American Idol. There are even those that skated past by the hair of their chinney chin chin such as The Bachelor and Arrested Development.

But for every greenlighted program, there is another show that wasn't quite as lucky. Early on I mourned the demise of Life As We Know It, an intelligent drama about teenagers which, not unlike the late great My So-Called Life, was doomed from the start.

Also gone but not forgotten is Joan of Arcadia. With Joan the writing was on the wall. Here's a show where the lead character, Joan talks to God and is supposed to learn life lessons along the way. Only problem was, even Amber Tamblyn who played Joan would tell you that after a season and a half Joan didn't seem to be learning, well much of anything.

Then there was the somewhat surprising demise of Jack and Bobby. Although this was freshman series was far from a hit, it had promise of being the little show that could as it was on the network that is notorious for giving shows a chance, The WB. Apparently even The WB, all riding high in their Gilmore-ferred, One Tree Hilled glory decided not to take a chance, which was a shame.

Still, the one that really stings is the loss of my favorite, American Dreams. I know, I know I wrote a post about how upset I was about American Dreams in the past, so it really makes no sense to elaborate about it here. I even signed the petition to NBC, but I should have known it was all in vain. But what hurts even more is what NBC opted to take on, not what it cancelled. Apparently shows like The Apprentice with Martha Stewart and another seeason of the weight watching show The Biggest Loser are superior choices to a historical family drama rooted in morals. Silly me for thinking the American public would want otherwise.

Even more disturbing than all of these cancellations is looking forward to the future. Infact, stars from American Dreams and Life As We Know It have already lined up new gigs. I don't know about you, but for me, watching actors I've grown to know and love as one role take on another is about as fun as watching your ex settle down with someone new. It's for this reason alone I understand an actor's hesitancy to sign on to a tv program at the risk of being typecast. No matter how many jobs Michael J. Fox gets, he will always be Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties and no matter how many jobs Kirk Cameron doesn't get he will always be Mike Seaver on Growing Pains.

The silver lining to this cloud is that there are more and more choices out there then ever before. As soon as one favorite gets cancelled, there's another one waiting in the wings, ready to take it's place. Sort've. Just look at two of the most so- cheesy-they-are-intriguing summer premieres on the horizon: Hit Me Baby One More Time and Dancing With The Stars. And the kicker? Summer shows, rarely, if ever, get the boot.

But regardless of how I feel about it, times marches on. Shows I watch get cancelled and shows I watch will be cancelled again. It's a tried and true method actually. Come to think of it, if I really, really recommend a show, I would stay away from it if I were you.

Seriously, don't say I didn't warn you.
Friday, May 20, 2005

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

This year, I've spent a lot of time teaching my 3rd graders all about probability. They're intrigued by this concept mainly because of THE CUP. THE CUP is a cup containing popsicle sticks, each one bearing a child's name on it. THE CUP is unusual in the fact that it can be both a source of "good" and necessary "evil". It's good when I'm picking names to sit on the pillows during silent reading, but "evil" when I'm looking to see who was paying attention to a lesson. Either way it's a good teaching tool for the concept of fairness.

When you think about it, there are many examples of THE CUP in everyday life. In fact, life itself is one big cup of possibilities, both good and bad. Unfortunately it's the good ones where the odds are against you. Why? Well it's because everyone wants the good things silly, thus decreasing your chances of getting them to work in your favor.

All of this is a long, convuluted way of explaining my summons for jury duty this week. At 27, I've already been called for jury duty twice while friends who are older than me haven't even been called once. Ironically, where's the justice in the justice system? If they can figure out who pays their taxes from year to year, you would think they could develop a system that allows everyone to pass through jury duty who is eligible before recycling names again, but I digress. I wish I could say this was an indication of my being an extra good citizen but I think instead it's just a case of how the cookie crumbles. As Rod Stewart once said, some guys have all the luck.

If you've ever been summonsed for jury duty in the state of NJ you would know there is a list of top 10 excuses of how you can be exempt from jury duty, one of which being if you are a public school teacher. So when I got my paperwork a few months ago, I submitted my excuse and I was shot down, which makes me wonder why they have the damn excuses listed if that list is prehistoric now.

Most people think the worst part of jury duty is the waiting. Most people are right. Seriously, I can barely get through it so I can only imagine how hard it is for those adults that still suffer from ADD. Waiting is agony. I've never been through Chinese Water Torture, in fact, I'm not even sure I know what it is, but I know it's bad. It might not be as bad as that though, but it's bad. If you watched the 3 hour finale of The Bachelor on Monday night you might have an idea of the kind of bad I'm talking about. You might think, "Well what can be so bad about waiting around in a room for your name to be called? At least you're not working!" Those people I know are the ones who have never been on jury duty, otherwise they wouldn't make such a dumb ass comment.

Recall if you will, the longest time you ever had to wait to get in for a doctor's appointment. Oh sure your appointment is for 2:30, but you don't get to see the actual doctor for a whopping five minutes until 3:45. How did that happen you wonder? Where did the time go? The difference in this case being you know what the light at the end of the tunnel is. You know you will eventually get in to see that doctor. With jury duty, that is just not the case, no pun intended.

I invite those people who think jury duty is cake to sit and wait, day after day in an unbelievably cold room with complete strangers, some of whom you may be lucky enough to strike up a conversation with, but most often not. Watch as people slowly become more and more lifeless, helpless to the lack of control from their surroundings. In fact, I think this would make an excellent Fear Factor like segment. I'd go for it because I hate Fear Factor and jury duty pretty equally.

For me though, jury duty has taken on a whole new level of suckage. There are some judges that don't give a damn that I am a teacher and in fact prefer jurors who are teachers because they know there is a substitute filling in for them back at the school. But what they DON'T know is that a warm body and a CAPABLE one are not always mutually exclusive, not to mention the fact that I'm a first year teacher with a 3rd grade show coming up and that teachers are still required to plan their days, even if they are not there. If they want to get paid, that is.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that you have NO IDEA how long you will be on jury duty. I didn't know until Sunday night that they didn't need me on Monday and I didn't know till 4:30 on Monday that they'd need me on Tuesday and so on and so forth. As far as I can see it, the only good thing that comes out of being on jury duty is getting to sleep an extra hour or so because it's not that far away.

Since I've been to jury duty before, I roughly knew the drill coming in. I checked in and made my scan of the room. You know the scan. It's when you determine what's the best seat you should sit in for the next some odd hours. You make the scan when you go to college for instance or even to a club. Who do I want to associate myself with for the rest of the semester or, the rest of the evening? Decisions like these are small, but crucial. Unfortunately for me, I scanned the room and noticed maybe 20 people under the age of 40, ten under 30. Not that this matters, but compatibility wise, you look for patterns. People just naturally gravitate towards certain people. Whatever. I don't make the rules.

The first day I was there there were "a lot" of cases so inevitably, I was called. I will say one good thing about being called for a case: it sure does break up your day. A few jurors were dismissed before I was called into the jury box. By this time the judge had broken the news that this trial would extend into next week and he was asking for excuses. It was then I had a chance to plead my case, so to speak. I told him I was a first year teacher with end of the year assessments and a school show coming up. He said he knew plenty of school superintendents, so he was sure it would not be a problem. Meanwhile, he was dismissing others on far less.

Luckily, it ain't over till the lawyers have the final say and one lawyer excused me and on my way out he said to me, "I want to let you get back to the kids." See, there are nice lawyers out there after all! Of course that lawyer is only one man on one trial. And just because you get taken off of one case, doesn't mean you can't be put on another. Once you're sent packing, you're sent back into the jury pool to wait. And wait. And wait some more.

Back in the waiting room, it's business as usual. Once again I perform the scan: Didn't I go to high school with that girl? Wow! I didn't know Nick Nolte lived in my county! Other than that, I've got nothing. The tv is on. I find it a bit ironic that out of all the choices on the television, some idiot decided to put on a court show. I don't know if they were intentionally trying to be ironic or they just take their civic duty seriously and I should put on a copy of Eye of The Tiger while they prep for their jury duty moment in the sun.

Day one was bad, but day two was sheer agony, mainly because no one was called for a new case until 3:20 pm, a mere 20 minutes or so before we get out. I wasn't on that list. Then at around 3:30 the woman gets on the microphone and announces that anyone who filled out the survey (not me) can go and come back at 9 am the next day. So for a split second the rest of us think we are in the clear as she steps away from the mic. But lo and behold, she comes back and says, "Oh and the rest of you can come at 8:45 tomorrow". It's that "oh and..." nonchalance that really gets me. I swear some people take sadistic pleasure in playing mind games.

On day three I was bitter and two free coffees away from disgruntled postal worker territory. Day three was more of the same, waiting but no calling. The jury I would have been on had I not been dismissed got up and went to their trial, only to come back down again about 20 minutes later, grinning from ear to ear. Somehow, someway the trial was over. Mistrial, plea bargain, I don't know. Hey, these things happen. Of course the irony here being those people got to walk before me anyhow.

Finally 11:40am rolls around. A second set of surveys are distributed and we are then broken up into two camps, just like in American Idol fashion, not knowing which camp was the better one to be in. Those who had the survey were instructed to complete it and return at 1:30. Those who didn't were instructed to leave then and return at 1:00. So off I went and returned at 1:00.

On the dreaded walk back into the court room I passed a familar face. After staring at the same faces for three days straight you would think some would start to stick, wouldn't ya? Going in the opposite direction back to her car she says, "Hurry up because they're letting you go." I was like, "What?!" How is that possible? She said, "Did you have to fill out a survey?" I said no. She said, "Well then you can go swipe back in and leave." I said, "Let me get this straight. We were told to go to lunch only to come right back to be dismissed?" She shrugged her shoulders in agreement. I don't mean to be difficult, but I mean really. I drove all the way home for lunch (I needed a chance of scenery, BADLY) only to come back to go back home? Now that doesn't seem right. I'm not arguing with it, it just doesn't seem right. In fact, it seems like a case of our justice system's inadequacies at its finest.

So there you have it, my civic duties completed, I returned home to blog about it, of course. Now I can finally return to my classroom and all the chaos that comes with it after being out for three days.

Oh and did I mention today is field day?! Greeat.

No need for further explanation, I rest my case.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005

If You Can't Be An Athlete, Be An Athletic Supporter

Before I get on with the post, let me point you in the direction of a great educational website called Education Wonks. This site is great because it takes worthwhile stories about teaching and brings them to educators, as well as those interested in education for whatever reasons they might have to be interested. What's extra special about Ed Wonks is that it has an Education Carnival weekly where any blogger can set up their own "booth" about an educational story they wrote about on their blog. Education Wonks has been good to me so in turn, it's only fair to be good to them. So when you get the chance, go check them out. I promise, you will not be disappointed.

Looking back, I can now objectively say I was somewhat of a weird kid. Most kids enjoyed running around outside, breathing in the fresh air, having to have their moms scream at the top of their lungs repeatedly to let them know dinner was ready, but not this girl. Sure, I enjoyed the occassional game of tag and loved swimming in a pool (the one I didn't have), but overall, I prefered the indoors.

Let's face it. I didn't like heat. I didn't like bees. I didn't like most sports. So as a result, I didn't like things like camp. My philsophy was this: why run around and get all sweaty when you can stay inside in the cool air conditioning and read a good book or watch some tv?

See, I told you I was weird.

As I stated in the past, I had my years of what most people would politely refer to as being a "chubby" child. I'm not gonna mince words though, I was FAT. For those of you think I might be exaggerating, I've got the pictures to prove otherwise.

When I was about 12 or so, I would get into long, drawn out arguments with my pediatrician about the benefits of outdoor exercise or merely exercise, period. Don't get me wrong, I loved the man (still miss him to this day), but I wanted no part of the outdoor antics so many people were so fond of. So it only makes sense that my feelings for outdoor recreation spilled over into my feelings towards indoor recreation, namely gym class.

For most children, specials are the time of day to look forward to and are only second best to the undefeated champion known as, lunch time. And while I enjoyed specials just fine I despised gym.

Truth be told, it's a classic, "chicken vs. egg" scenario. I say this because I can't really be sure what I hated first, outdoor activities or gym class. I mean I know I liked playing outside when I was little, but then it became about picking teams and being "good" and obviously, I wasn't, so for me, it wasn't fun anymore.

But the real reason I hated gym was because unlike any other special, it was simply not ok to suck at it. You didn't particularly enjoy reading? The librarian didn't care. You couldn't draw to save your life? You got a A for effort. In fact unless you were the type of kid to be downright disruptive, specials were all about fun and the easy A.

But gym teachers...gym teachers are a breed all their own.

In gym class it was simply NOT OK to not be good. It wasn't ok in the kids minds but more importantly, it wasn't ok in the gym teachers minds. If you simply couldn't run as fast as Jimmy then you were not going to get a good grade, it's as simple as that. "Trying" doesn't cut it in the land of kickballs and perfect passes.

In fact, I think nearly all of my "most embarrasing" moments involve gym class. There was this one time, I had to be in like 1st or 2nd grade, when we were doing rope climbing. But damnit if I couldn't get up that rope. I tried, believe me I tried, but I just couldn't do it. So I did the next best thing. I simply started to swing from side to side. The kids had a chuckle, but the gym teacher wasn't amused. In gym class up is down and down is up. It's a place for the "bad kids" to shine and kids like me to have a turn at being "the problem".

Then another time in like 5th grade, we were playing basketball. For the most part, I liked basketball. I don't know why, considering I wasn't particularly tall or even that great at it, but compared to everything else I suppose I was. So one day I managed to get the ball and make a basket. I was SO ecstatic. Until I realized I had scored a point alright, but for the wrong team.

From there things just went from bad to worse. I constantly was failing those state mandated fitness tests. I couldn't do a chin-up to save my life. I almost broke my back trying out for cheerleading (I thought it was a soft mat, honest I did) and without fail, to this day, volleyballs always find my head.

If you weren't good at sports you wore the scarlett letter and were branded for life, not only by the students, but by the teachers. Cause while the kids were laughing at you for not being able to do a decent push up, the gym teachers were right. there. with. them.

I thought perhaps the times they were a changin'. But when I pick the kids up from gym at school it breaks my heart because I see it's the same as it ever was. There are still the kids that won't be as good in sports, no matter how hard they try and there are still the hard nosed, punk ass gym teachers who not so secretly like to make fun of them for it. This could very well be because the kids who are gym teachers today learned from "the best" all those years ago.

Before you ask, yes my lack of athletic prowess has spilled over into my adult years. But like my dad once said, when you get to be a certain age, nobody cares how well you throw a ball. Of course, had I been born a boy, I don't think I would have gotten that same speech exactly.

I must say, some things have changed. Over the years, I grew to like some aspects of gym class. When I got to high school, for instance, we had a class called legs and abs which was so fun for me because I was on an aerobic kick, no pun intended. To this day I still feel the need and the importance to incorporate exercise into some part of my daily routine. My pediatrcian would be proud. My gym teachers, however, would not.

However, ther is a down side. I still can't play or follow most sports and really have no interest in doing so. That ship, as they say, has sailed. I freaked out that I was going to fall when I tried to learn how to rollerblade. Volleyballs are still my enemy and I probably still couldn't do a chin up no matter how much weight training I go through.

So the message, my friends is simple. If you happen to have a kid, boy or girl, who goes through gym class with ease, count your lucky stars. But if you have a kid who is always picked last for the team, my heart goes out to you. It's not going to be easy, but, unfortunately, it's still all part of the game.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Players Only Love You When You're Playing"

There are songs that I would be perfectly happy if I never heard them again. These are the types of songs that were waayy overrated to begin with and still manage to infiltrate radio stations and special occassions everywhere. You think they're gonna die but they just don't stop and/or should never have been a hit to begin with. The following are just a few off the top of my head:

"That's The Way (Uh Huh) I Like It" by KC and the Sunshine Band
From This Moment"- Shania Twain (or really nearly anything by Shania)
"Rock Me Amadeus"- Falco
"Funkytown"- Lipps Inc.
"Butterfly Kisses"- Bob Carlisle
"Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm"- Crash Test Dummies
"Who Let The Dogs Out?"-Baha Men
"Lovin' You"- -Minnie Riperton
"Spin The Black Circle"- Pearl Jam

and my most recent, least favorite song and thus the inspiration for this post:

"Rich Girl"- Gwen Stefani. Who decided bringing Fiddler on The Roof to pop music would be a good idea?

Now it's your turn. There are tons I didn't touch. Go ahead. Tell me where it hurts.
Monday, May 16, 2005

Not A Baguette, A Blogette

It's spring. The birds are chirping. The weather is (slowly) getting warmer. And with a new season comes yet another new blogging contest.

Being a girl that has no shame, (see wishlist) I have gone and entered myself in the latest contest to cross my path, The Blogette Awards. The Blogette Award is given to the woman blogger with the most votes by the end of the contest on June 25th. More details are available if you click the hyperlink.

The great thing about this contest is that anyone can enter themselves. The bad thing about this contest is that anyone can enter themselves. That and the fact I think you can only vote once. I voted for fellow woman blogger, Mrs. Mogul because she writes a great blog and she brought a contest to my attention that I wouldn't have known about otherwise (of course, I'm sure she never thought I'd enter too).

Anyway, competition is stiff. For Pete's sake, Dooce is even on there! Luckily Pete isn't though because like I said this is all about the sisters doing it for themselves.

So if you go and visit some of the great sites listed, and still decide you want to vote for me, that would be pretty cool. Oh and if you know how I can add the logo to the sidebar for the next month and a half, hook a girl up, k?
Friday, May 13, 2005

I Wish I May, I Wish I Might

Reason # 52 not to air your dirty laundry on your blog. It can come back to haunt you in the comments. All of a sudden this blog is teetering on Jerry Springer territory. Understand that I don't wish to respond publicly about it in the comments and wish it all never happened to begin with. It just makes me sad and continuing to post like usual is the only way I know how to deal with it right now.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming, already in progress:

Speaking of wishes, a few months ago I made a rather bold blog-related move. I added a Pay Pal button along with some Google Ad Sense to this very site. I've seen it on well-written blogs before. So why not add it to mine?

You silly, silly girl.

For starters, I believe I set up my Pay Pal account wrong. I contacted them, but the only people who contact me are false Pay Pal represents who have somehow come upon my information and, as a result, have swooped down like vultures. Not that it matters anyway. Nobody clicks on the Google Nonsense or attempts to actually like, donate via Pay Pal.

So why keep them up at all? That's a good question. I guess up until now they made me look like I might be getting something for nothing. Until I went and blew my cover with this post that is. Nice move, Janet.

But then there have been (very) few of you who have actually approached me about how all the bells and whistles have helped my blog. I have been honest with each and every one of you. But a (very) few others of you have asked about why I don't have an Amazon wish list yet.

For clarification, a Amazon wish list is just like a list you might make at Christmas time, asking Santa to bring you all that your little heart desires. And for those (few) of you who have asked and even requested such a list, God bless your little hearts.

For awhile, I've been on the fence about promoting any of these things on this blog. I always felt like it's a bit presumptuous to assume y'all would want to get something for little 'ol me. But since some of you have come to me and not the other way around, I caved and figured it doesn't help to put it out there.

So, without further adieu, I present to you my Amazon Wish List. If the link doesn't work, you can also go directly to Amazon, click on wish lists and search for my name. I'm sure some of you will go if only to get a hearty laugh at all the cheesy movies I have, but need to collect desperately on DVD.

By the way, if you happen to know how to add a wish list link to this blog, please let me know so I can go ahead and do that and not plug it here anymore. Instead I'll put it somewhere over there. Or maybe even... there.

Oh and in case you're the type of gift giver who looks for special occassions, my birthday is coming up in June. Who knows though. You might be one of those "just because" gift givers.

Of course, you also just might be disgusted and really, that's ok too.
Thursday, May 12, 2005

Heaven Knows It's Not The Way It Should Be

Ok, so maybe I jumped the gun a little using the word last in my last post. Cause before I knew it, here I am, talking about it again. Instead I should have used the expression it ain't over till the fat lady sings. Or in this case, it ain't over till your boyfriend breaks up with you...again.

If this post seems out of the blue don't worry, just play along. Really, I should have listened to Rick Springfield and never talked about the situation without all the details to (semi) strangers.

A brief, but necessary history. My (ex)boyfriend and I have been off and on for the last five years. We've had our share of differences, most of which I always believed we could work through. But it's hard being in a relationship where you are the only one who believes in it and when he changes his mind about your future the way most people change their underwear. That being said, I still wasn't the "breaker". I don't know why, but historically no matter how messed up something is, I am loyal to a fault and stick with toxic situations even when I know I shouldn't. It's weird how I am rational in every other area of my life, except when it comes to he who shall not be named.

All along I always said this blog wasn't going to be a blog about that. But right now I'm mad, and posting to your blog when you're mad is just about as smart as calling ex-boyfriends when you're drunk which no, I didn't do. I might regret posting this at all, but in the moment I don't care and I need to vent more than anything else.

Jewel once said, "I'm sensitive and I'd like to stay that way." Well, if you take away the last seven words, you'd have me. I am sensitive, but I often wish it weren't so. So when I read some of your comments on my latest post, I took them to heart. Sometimes meaning gets "lost in translation" and somehow along the way I think I inadvertently offended people by posting about my relationship here.

As with everything on this blog, the bag post was meant to be a serious issue with a somewhat light approach. Trust me, most of what you all said has occured to me before, but I guess I didn't expect people to dig as deeply as they did. Man, you guys are good! Everything you said to me rung true because as the comments piled up, all of the concerns I work so hard to push down did as well. This is also probably why I hadn't really posted anything about the relationship on this blog up until this point.

So how did I handle it? By writing another post which in retrospect was so stupid to do. But you know what they say about hindsight. Like when I said "don't go there" for instance. I meant there were aspects of our relationship that I didn't feel like blogging about, one because it's private and two because I could literally devote a seperate blog to my relationship woes. Just ask anyone who knows me. It would be next to impossible to address all of your concerns in one single post, but not acknowledging them at all didn't seem right either. Or when I said that there were deeper meanings attached to the argument, I was more or less saying that perhaps it was unfair to write all of that without giving the whole story, which again, is probably impossible to do. But just like with any incident, when it's retold, it's often retold in isolation. So in essence, I was sort've apologizing for posting it in the first place but at the same time apologizing for posting something to my blog is almost as silly as my questioning my right to ask about a bag for my purchase. Get all that?:)

That being said, all of your comments and concerns are welcome and taken seriously. Please don't think otherwise, despite the way my posts (or comments) may seem sometimes. You should know I've even gotten to a point where I rarely speak about the issue with real lifers because they've heard it all before and are probably sick of a situation where the writing is so obviously on the wall to everyone, including me, if I could just step outside myself, if that makes any sense.

But back to the reason for this post- the breakup. I wrote a long, convoluted post about the backstory of our relationship, but realized it was growing way too long to post here and assume it would be of any interest. It's partly that and the fact that maybe I'm still not ready to share that part of myself. Maybe that's wrong. But it's still ok because it's my blog damnit, just as it was my purchase and thus, my bag.:)

For the record, the breakup was not about the bag or the bag incident post, although to me it stemmed from something equally as small, at least in theory. But just like many of you pointed out, small arguments are rarely, if ever, about all the small things.

All you really need to know at this point is that you, my faithful readers, know more about my day to day existence than he does. So long story short, I'm posting this here as a reminder to myself of how I felt on this day in the hopes it will help me remember this feeling. I also promise to work on sharing more of this side of myself in the future because I think it's good to have an outlet to let it out, just not all at once. In the meantime, feel free to ask all the questions you want. As David Hyde Pierce once said, "I live my life as an open book, I just don't intend to read it to anyone."
Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Cat's Out of The Bag: A Final Commentary

Wow! Who knew a fight about nothing would have y'all saying something. Now you see how I felt about it. Most of you pointed out how this argument was silly and blown out of proportion, which was precisely my point all along.

In fact, my anger stemmed from the fact that he got so angry. I didn't really care one way or another about the stupid bag. I didn't give much thought to it which, in his eyes was all the more reason I shouldn't have taken the bag. Because he did care.

But the real purpose of this post is to make a few clarifications:

Recycling and/or what the bag was made out of was not a factor in the argument.

Yes, the purchase was technically mine and mine alone.

The bag, I believe, is still in my possession. When we got to the car, he in his fit of anger, took the item out of the bag and tossed the bag somewhere in the car. When I left his place we weren't talking and I proceeded to put said item back in the bag before carrying it into the house, just as I planned.

I can't speak to insecurities on either side. I mean I could, I suppose, but let's just shelf that as the "don't go there" part of the argument for now. I will say that yes, I agree that the argument was not about the keeper of the bag per se. But then again, what little thing arguments are ever really about little things?

I agree, to an extent, that men and women communicate differently. But then again, many men commented here and agreed...with me. So there goes that theory.

Finally, for those of you who are wondering, I have yet to show the comments on this post to my boyfriend. I will warn you though, he is an excellent debater. My guess is he will say one of 2 things:

1. You don't understand the backstory and thus you would naturally side with me.
2. You are all my readers and thus you are still going to side with me.

Regardless, I should post things like this more often just to keep my sanity. Perhaps hooking up a live feed would help. I also know we all would love to see his rebuttal up here as a guest blog.

Finally, on a semi-related note, Foxy Mama, go here to read all about the modern day wonder that is Tivo. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Dipping The Pen In Company Ink"

Does anyone watch the new show The Office? I love it. It has all the things I don't miss about working in an office, all rolled into one neat show. It also deals with many office issues that really apply to any line of work. Look, here comes one now!

Today I want to explore the topic of mixing business with pleasure. Now I'm not talking about a Corey Clark like scandal necessarily, just the touchy topic of what is and what is not appropriate that is going on between co-workers. Specifically, I'm referring to the boss/employee relationship. Depending on the size of your company, this might be a non issue. I bring it up because I work in a rather large school, yet my principal has taken it upon herself lately to hang out socially with a select few teachers quite a few times. Meanwhile she barely knows the rest of us by name.

My question to you is, is this a conflict of interest? Did you ever feel weird about relationships at work? Does becoming friends with a boss in a bigger company lend itself to preferential treatment or not?
Monday, May 09, 2005

Mothers Be Good To Your Daughters Too

A happy belated Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there! I am not a mother, despite what my students may think. They simply cannot comprehend that I'm over the age of 16 and childless, but I digress.

I spent Mother's Day with my mom and her mom, also known as my grandmother. Oh yeah, dad was there too, along with a few "extras" also known as extended relatives. Holiday etiqutte is always a bit awkward. Children get gifts for their mothers, but how do you ignore grandmothers even though they do have a day all of their own? So in other words, it was cards all around.

Which leads me to the burdensome task of gift getting. You should know that I am good at admitting my shortcomings, creative gift giving being one of them. I always strive to be better at this each year, but it's the little matter of what to get people that always eats away at me every Christmas and birthday. Holidays like Mother's Day are no exception.

For years, my parents did not want to accept gifts from me. "You're too young!" they'd say. "Save your money!" they'd add. But now that I'm on the verge of turning 28, the old, "the gift IS me" excuse doesn't cut it anymore.

But what do you get the people who have everything? My mom doesn't even have any hobbies, besides shopping which makes this job even harder. Another blouse? More perfume? A generic but safe gift certificate perhaps? I've done them all, and thensome.

Unfortunately this year was more of the same. The holiday snuck up on me once again and once again my mother picked out something for herself that is probably ten times better than what I would have hypothetically picked out. The side effect of this being my mother knows exactly what she is getting.

After some careful observation, I believe my mother sort've inherited the gift getting gene from her mother. My grandmother simply cannot accept a gift without complaining about it one way or another. This is not to say that she's not appreciative, she just has an extremely hard time saying thank you and leaving it at that. "Let me give you some money," she often says. "This is too much!" she whines. In fact, the end of any holiday I can remember has culminated in my grandmother chasing my mother around trying desperately to give her money towards her own gift.

Going out to celebrate the event is another challenge. My grandmother lives in a city which is not the best, but is ideal for an 88 year old woman like herself who never drove a day in her life. But for most of us who do drive, it's a real pain in the ass. My father usually circles the block a few times, cursing his way through a five block away parallel parking nightmare.

Although cities like these are a bitch to visit, they often have shoebox-sized restaurants that put the likes of Outback and Olive Garden to shame. We had a 1 o'clock seating for dinner. 1 o'clock might seem early to you if you're not Italian. If you are Italian, you know 1 o'clock is the norm for a Sunday dinner anyhow. In fact, as a general rule of thumb, eating with Italians is a lot like visitng the zoo. They both have feeding times every hour, on the hour, like clockwork.

While all of my family holiday experiences are amusing, albeit somewhat predictable, there's always been an inexplicable sadness that washes over me when we're all sitting at the dinner table. It's really a horrible, horrible feeling. This has happened to me for as far back as I can remember. Luckily the feeling leaves almost as quickly as it came. Still in that moment, I always search in vain to find its source.

Regardless, it's days like these that make my mom, her mom and I suppose mom's everywhere a little happier. Really, that's all that matters.

And I'm in the clear, gift giving wise. Well, till the end of May anyway. That is when my dad's birthday rears its ugly head.
Friday, May 06, 2005

That's Not My Bag, Baby

A few weeks ago an incident with my boyfriend occurred that he gave me permission to blog about here. In case you haven't noticed, I rarely blog about my boyfriend or things pertaining to my boyfriend. You know, the whole "protect the innocent" stuff. But in this case, we both still think we are right, so he gave me the green light to go ahead and open the floor to the input of complete strangers.

First, the backstory. A few months ago I decided to splurge and pamper myself with a big money item. You should know I rarely, if ever, treat myself to anything. I am a save your money for a rainy day kinda girl. Meanwhile it could be pouring, and I'd still be waiting for the hail. Finally I decided back in January that I should treat myself for a change and so I ordered a Tivo.

And God has been punishing me ever since. First with the cost of the ticket, then with the accident.

Getting the Tivo to work properly was also a catastrophe. Don't ask why, it just was. Even now I can't record cable channels like Starz or HBO with it. I still don't know why nor do I even care anymore. So I purchase the Tivo and along with it I needed a few extra bells and whistles to make it work. I leave all things Tivo to my boyfriend. He was the one who knew what to order. He was the one to program the device. He is the electronically minded half of this relationship, although I do think I can hold my own, thank you very much.

So we go to this electronic store to pick up a splitter and some cable. It was a misty day outside and I live roughly 2 hours away from my boyfriend. This all might seem like meaningless details now, but trust me, paying attention to this will come in handy later.

We get to the counter and I go to pay for the items. Then the guy innocently asks a question that has passed many a salesmen's lips:

"Do you want a bag with that?"

My boyfriend immediately equally innocently interjects, "No, we don't need one." Now I hear his interjection, but I don't think anything of it. All of this occurs within a split second. So while I hear him, I've already formulated my response in my mind. So out comes my answer "I'd like a bag."

Now to me this is all innocent enough. He said no bag, I said bag. I got a bag. There done, good. End of story. But apparently to him, this was only the beginning. And herein is where the plot thickens.

When we get to the car he starts probing me about why I had to have a bag. I didn't have a reason. To me asking me why I had to have a bag is like asking me why I decided to wear the earrings I wore that day. I just did. Sometimes I do things that unconciously might have a deeper meaning, but really, unbeknownest to me there is no hidden agenda.

So I said just that. But my boyfriend was already on a roll at this point. His point of contention was this: If I had no reason, why couldn't I just have let his answer of no bag lie and not made him look like a fool in front of the cashier? And if I did have a reason then he really, really wanted to hear it, because he couldn't think of one good reason to have a bag in the first place.

At this point I'm like racking my brain for a good reason to have a bag. To me, there are plenty of them, but the top five reasons are on the board:

1. What if I want to return said item one day?
2. I like keeping like items in one, central location.
3. I still had to travel home 2 hours and wanted to keep everything together till I got there.
4. It was raining outside and I didn't want to get the items wet.
5. 'Cause walking out of a store without a bag makes me feel like I'm stealing sometimes and I'm not a stealer, despite what you may have heard.

Now this is the part where you just have to know my boyfriend. 'Cause if you knew my boyfriend you would know that there was no answer that would have been sufficient. It was already "Past The Point of Reason" Boulevard and now I was making a right at "Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't" Drive. Being silent doesn't help. Fighting back doesn't help. Hell, agreeing just to move on doesn't help because honestly, I'm really, really bad at keeping my mouth shut when I think I'm right.

Which I did, I mean do, think.

But in all honesty, being right isn't important to me. In fact, in my opinion, the whole incident was completely blown out of proportion as are many meaningless arguments we have. The actual argument, although nasty and unnecessary, is now water under the bridge, but the basic underlying principal remains a point we agree to disagree on. Sort of.

Which brings me to why I've been "given permission" to write about it here. I told him I had half a mind to post this story just to prove that my wanting a bag was really no big deal and he kinda encouraged me to do it. So here I am, doing it, obviously.

So what do you think? Was I undermining my boyfriend's decision by interjecting about a purchase that was mine to begin with? Did I have every right to ask for a bag if it was my money? Did I really have a secret, subconcious wish to do the opposite for no real reason at all? Or is he blowing things out of proportion, bag or no bag?

Go. Act quickly! Don't miss this chance to Dr. Phil the hell out of this situation while you still can!
Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Who's Keeping Score?

Awhile ago, I wrote about how my 3rd grade students had to take the dreaded, cumulative test called the NJ Ask. As a result, many of you wrote to me about your kids and the tests they had to take in whatever state you are from. In the end, there was a commonality amongst all of us: These tests suck.

What I didn't write about last time is that the NJ Ask isn't the only test the kids took. My students also had to take aptitude tests, known better to you and I as IQ tests. The main reason I didn't write about these tests at the time was because I was writing in reference to all my students were supposed to know but that they probably didn't. Unlike the NJ Ask, aptitude tests are not something you can study for. But while the results for the NJ Ask still remain unknown, the aptitude test scores came back recently.

Lucky for us, the test results delivery coincided with our grade level meeting for the month. This was the first time I had been in on a meeting where such a matter was openly discussed. We all received our perspective scores, some secretly, some others not so secretly, wishing to know how they measure up against the other third grade classes.

Let me just say I dread the time of score getting. I dreaded it as a child and I knew I'd dread it now. I dread it, because I feel for those kids. I know we tell our kids to try their best and that's all we ask, but big brother is watching more closely than you and I will ever know. It doesn't matter if you had a headache that day, forgot to eat breakfast or just broke up with your girlfriend. There are many, many people in the world who judge your worth based on standardized test scores. Just take it from a girl who was an A and B student all through high school, but didn't manage to break a 1000 on her SAT's.

IQ tests, to me, are no different. There are so many factors that go into the scoring of standardized tests. One big issue that has been continually brought up in my district is the bias these tests have against minority students. In fact, the bilingual classes in my district don't get to take a bilingual test, they just have an extra 15 minutes or so. Cause you know, if you were going to Spain, an extra 15 minutes of time would be all you need to express yourself perfectly.

The good news is the third grade classes were more or less on the same page. I believe the average for the grade was about a 104. The average for my class was a 99. The lowest IQ I had was 83, the highest, 119.

Now I'll admit it, I didn't even really know what a good IQ was. But I learned, quickly what it was based on my district's standards. Our principal said that anyone who had a 120 or above should be seriously considered as a candidate for G & T next year. G & T is the gifted and talented class. In a district like the one where I work, G & T is not true G & T. We don't have a hell of a lot of overachievers or high scorers. Why is a study that quite simply, hasn't been written yet. But when I say G & T in a district like mine it more often stands for "good and tame" than "gifted and talented."

Now here's proof. There are currently two G & T classes in third grade. One teacher did not have any student score higher than a 119, if not lower. The other teacher had a few in there 120's, but so did a few other regular ed teachers. More proof that placement is not an exact science.

Which brings me back to my principal's comment: Anyone who has 120 or above should be seriously considered as a candidate for G & T next year. So does that mean my two students with 119 should be considered by those standards or that they just missed the mark? And how does a year's worth of work figure into the process? Ok, so these two students might be my highest scorers, but does that really mean they are necessarily my highest achievers? Because everything I've seen this year doesn't indicate so. Sure, maybe if they were pushed. But then you mean to tell me I should recommend these two students on the hopes they will live up to their "potential" while I'd have to tell other kids that have busted their ass all year, now deemed "just average" sorry, but thanks for playing?

That just doesn't seem right to me.

On the other end of the spectrum, retention recommendations are also around the corner. My principal doesn't really like to retain anyone so you have to make a very good argument for doing so. But does any of it really matter if everything hinges on one or two test scores?

In defense of my principal, it is not entirely her fault. She, like us, are just part of a bigger system that makes standards that we all have to measure up to. But there's a serious danger in doing this that the men in suits are too far removed from to understand. I am a firm believer that a person's potential is not in direct correalation with their standardized test scores or even regular 'ol test scores. Instead it is in the things that are immeasurable, but observable. I mean didn't they think Albert Einstein was retarded at one point? Who made that genius decision and more importantly, what was their IQ?:)

I think a lot of factors feed into success: opportunity for one, desire for another. Many of the kids in my class, are unfortunately, part of a system that isn't really built for them. Third grade assessments are just the tip of the iceberg. Not to get all Whitney Houston, I believe the children are our future on you, but I tell these kids all the time that they can be whatever they want to be and I believe it. Do I think it's going to be easy for them? Of course not. But no piece of paper is going to tell me otherwise.

But don't take my word for it. I'm just another sometimes poor standardized test scorer who didn't amount to anything.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Allow Myself To Introduce...Myself"

Ok, first of all I gotta say that Blogger just plain sucks. I had this post all up and ready to go and now that they have this super duper "recover post" feature I notice that I actually lose more posts than ever before. Now that Alanis is an example of something that is ironic.

So let me see what I can remember. Oh yeah. Well, it's Tell It To Me Tuesday and I came up with this idea a few weeks ago. So this is why I'm a little hazy on the details. This Tuesday I want you to tell me what YOU want to know about ME. In return, I promise I will answer every comment posted here in a post of some sort. I might even make them into seperate posts. You just never know with me. Of course I reserve the right to write "no comment" in my post and still hold true to my promise. But that's just plain common sense.

Remember, you hold the cards. The more things you think of to ask me, the more details you will in turn get. All in all, I think it's a fair trade, no?
Monday, May 02, 2005

Five Finger Discount

Ahh my American Idol lovelies, we meet again. It seems like only yesterday I was writing this post about this season's top 12. Now weeks have gone by (seven to be exact) and that twelve has dwindled to the five chosen ones:

Carrie Underwood
Scott Savol
Anthony Federov
Bo Bice
Vonzell Solomon

The good news is I predicted all but Bo Bice would make it to the top 12. Call me crazy, I just didn't see the Bice man coming. Now I know better. I also know that if Mr. Harold "Bo" Bice might fare better by being known as Harold "Miami Vice" Bice.

Before I go any further, please bow your heads and have a moment of silence, a la sappy awards show style, for the gone too soon but not forgotteners, Nikko Smith, Nadia Turner, and the most recent mistaken departure of Constantine Maroulis. The last one my friends is like pouring salt into an open wound. It's nearly a week later and it still smarts. Of course, being the reality show conspiracy theorist I am I think it's more than a coicidence that Connie got the boot a week after his band got signed. In other words, I doubt this is the last we will hear from this brooding "bad" boy.


Still everytime a contestant bites the dust, along with it goes a little piece of the show's dynamic. Now that the dust has settled, we're left with the top five, some of whom are deserving, others not so much. I'll let you choose who falls into which category. Oh who am I kidding? No I won't.

Bo Bice- I like you Bo. Really I do. I don't like you as much as Constantine and I'm a bit freaked out that not only allegedly bought cocaine, but you allegedly purchased it a seedy strip club you frequented. Allegedy. But I mean Hugh Grant went slumming and he's still America's sweetheart right? So what I'm trying to say is, wonders never cease.

Vonzell Solomon- I enjoy Vonzell. I think she deserves to be in the top 5. That being said, I still don't want her to win. This might just be because I feel she picks annoyingly overplayed songs that I would be perfectly happy if I never heard them again, ever. Cases in point, "Let's Hear It For The Boy" and "I'm Every Woman". Even if they are the best renditions it wouldn't matter. I find myself checking out halfway through just because these songs have such a been there, done that vibe about them. Unfortunately I fear Vonzell's career might suffer the same fate.

Anthony Federov and Scott Savol- Yes I realize that these are two entirely different contestants but they have one very significant thing in common, neither one of them should still be in the competition at this point. I'll begin with Anthony first. Anthony seems like a sweet boy. I'd like to have lunch with him. Perhaps I'd even enjoy him singing at a wedding or a communion or two. But to call him MY American Idol? I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I can't do that. A good peformance every few weeks or so does not a winner make. And so Anthony happened to nail his rendition of "I Surrender" this last week and once again, the American public falls for the whole "you're only as good as your last song" trick, vs. voting on the whole package, like someone else I know, ahem Constantine. But I'm not bitter. No, not at all.

Which brings me to Scott "Prisoner Number 23456" Savol. By now everyone knows about Scott's brush with the law involving his baby's mama. But just like Bo, he said he was sorry. Which apparently is enough for the casting directors over at American Idol and the American voting public.

What I want to know though is when did mediocrity not only become tolerated, but somehow become revered? I mean Scott isn't horrible, though he is this year's cockroach. This season's Keith Richards. The latest Nikki McKibbin. In other words Scott is the contestant that just WILL NOT DIE.

I mean really, who is voting for this guy? Because everyone I know isn't and the radio stations I listen to people aren't. So where are all these people and what exactly do they see in him? I mean I know he's got an everyman vibe going on, and I too felt sorry for him when I thought he looked unfortunately creepy. That was until I realized that he doesn't just look creepy. That the people were right to be concerned. That was weeks ago. So I gotta ask, are the prisonmates using their one phone call to vote for Scotty or what?

Finally there's Carrie "why do birds suddenly appear" Underwood who is like American Idol's little angel. She's Kelly Clarkson without the rhythm. Marcia Brady without the psychotic sister. Carrie Underwood has been the only untainted thing about this seasons's Idol. She's managed to squeak by unscathed so far and has been my favorite from day one. While those who have gone before have saddened me deeply, in the end I still wanted Carrie to be the one standing when all was said and done. Sure she's got white girl's rhythm, but she's got the best natural talent in this whole damn top 12 and that's meant to be a compliment because overall, there a talented bunch, unlike their sight for sore eyes lot from last year. Hello? Have you seen Diana Degarmo in the past ten months? More importantly, do you even know who Fantasia Barrino is? I rest my case.

So there you have it. My take on this season's top five. Are they really the tops? No, not completely. But America still has a chance at getting it right.

So please America, give the nice little white girl the break she so desperately deserves and pray she doesn't get corrupted in the process.

Branagan, out.



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