Friday, April 30, 2010

To quote Peaches & Herb - "too much, too little, too late..."

The U.S. Women's Gymnastics team got a bronze medal...10 years after the fact.

The International Olympic Committee stripped China of its 2000 Olympic Games women's team bronze medal based on the recommendation of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). After conducting an internal investigation, the FIG nullified the results of Chinese gymnast Dong Fangxiao at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. It was determined that Dong was 14 years of age in 2000, which violated the rule that gymnasts must be at least 16 years old to compete in the Olympic Games. The FIG recommended that the IOC strip China of the team bronze medal

At the Bejing games in 2008 there was a lot of talk and accusations thrown around about the Chinese team being under age and therefore having an unfair advantage. And to tell you the truth, a lot of those girls from the 2008 Chinese team did look to be about 8 years old; but it's surprising that FIG went ahead and investigated the claims from back in 2000.

Should we expect more investigations concerning the Chinese Olympic gymnastics team?

I will say that after reading a lot of the comments from the ladies the competed for the US in 2000, while they're happy with the decision, it doesn't seem like it's going to have a big effect on their lives. Maybe there were some opportunities lost a decade ago, but besides bragging rights with their kids, what does this really do for them?

Of course Bela Karolyi, the infamous U.S. (and former Romanian) gymnastics coach is thrilled. He's been quoted as feeling justified after all these years later, and he's calling for further investigation into the 2008 team.

You know who I feel the worst for? Little Dong Fangxiao. She's now a 24 year old woman who's probably feeling a little humiliated about something that wasn't really her fault. Imagine the pressure that she must've been put under to lie or evade questions about her age. What a gross thing to happen to that team.

I can't wait for the Bob Costas narrated special report about all of this that's bound to air during the next summer Olympics in London in 2012.

Friday, April 23, 2010

For the love of Valerie Brown

I grew up in a super progressive family, in a diverse and accepting neighborhood, in a big, seen-it-all-don’t-care city. In some ways, looking back, my 1970s childhood was kind of idyllic and almost somewhat insulated and protected. I was a mixed race kid who knew at an early age that I would have to identify as a black person because of the color of my skin. But I truly didn’t have to deal with prejudice or race “issues” until I was out of high school.

However, it wasn’t hard to realize at an early age that there weren’t many (any) folks that looked like me on television in the 70s, especially in cartoons. And I can't say that I wasn't affected by the very white-washed television of that era. Was it healthy that I was obsessed with Jamie Summers (The Bionic Woman) and Charlie's Angels? Did it matter that these childhood icons were white? That’s why I was so obsessed with Valerie from Josie & The Pussycats when I was a kid. Valerie is notable as the first African-American cartoon character on a regular animated television series.
Valerie had brown skin like me, and cartoon version of my hair. And she was really pretty (for a cartoon). And she didn’t have a cliché “blackccent”, nor was she “sassy”. And she was the smartest Pussycat – she was almost always the one that saved the day and came up with the solution to whatever problem the Pussycats had that week on tour. She was a mechanical and scientific genius, often having to fix the Pussycat tour bus or figure out a way to make some antidote to a poison that Alexander had accidentally ingested or something.
And while Josie was the group leader, Valerie was the lead singer (and in the comics, the songwriter) and a kickass bass and tambourine player.
I LOVED Valerie. I wanted to be Valerie. She gave me confidence. I even asked for a bass and tambourine one Christmas. Guess which instrument I didn’t get.
"Josie and the pussycats,
Long tails, and ears for hats
Guitars an' sharps 'n' flats
Neat, sweet, a groovy song
You're invited, come along
Hurry, hurry
See ya all in Persia
Or maybe France
We could be India
Or perchance
Be with us in Bangkok
Makes no difference
We're involved with this or that. Everywhere the action's at..."

I started thinking about Valerie today because I was reading about how Archie Comics (yes they're still around!), is introducing their first openly gay character later this year, and how this is coming in a year that has already seen some groundbreaking moves. Because in a recent Archie comic issue good time boy Archie himself shares a kiss with one miss Valerie Brown. And on the cover and everything! You go on with your bad self Valerie! I don't really approve of your choice redhead, but at least it's not Jughead.

You're looking at a winner!

This is the dude that just won $258 million dollars yesterday. (Well actually it's $124 million if he takes the lump sum; minus the 6 mil or so he'd pay in state taxes, not to mention federal taxes).

He's young, unlike most lottery winners, so personally I'd take the payout option, where the lottery commission pays you 30 installments over 30 years or whatever.
I don't know the pros/cons of this, I just know that most people take the lump sum. But maybe that's just good ol' American greed for ya', and not some smart money management scheme.

I sincerely hope that the first thing young Chris Shaw does is fix that grill.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Upcoming SYTYCD Season 7 - A discussion between two fanatics

Kitty: So I think we finally have all of the pieces of Nigel Lythgoe's demented Wizard's pie for this upcoming season of SYTYCD.
Kathie: Yep I think so but I'm still confused over some things. But let's talk about the "All Stars" first. We've got:
tWitch Boss - Kitty: Some of the choices for the All-Stars were obvious and Twitch was one of them.
Kathie: I love Twitch though so I was excited that he was one of the first names that Nigel announced.
Kathryn McCormick - Kitty: She really grew on me last season, so while I'm disappointed that Ellenore isn't an All Star, Kathryn will do. And at least she spells her name correctly.
Kathie: Zzzzzzz. Sorry I think they could've gotten someone much more charismatic. And you're wrong about the way she spells Katherine.

Pasha Kovalev - Kitty: Sigh. In my top 3 SYTYCD boyfriends.
Kathie: Who are the other 2? Kitty: Artem and Dmitry.
Kathie: All ballroom dudes? What about some contemporary guys like Jakob, Mark, or Blake? 
Kitty: I have a rule that while I can admire the dancing abilities of the gay boys on this show, I only crush on the straight ones. Neil and Will round out my top 5 crushes. Anyway, Pasha was another All-Star choice that seemed like a no brainer, especially since Dmitry is still doing Dancing With The Stars.

Allison Holker - Kitty: Oh, I missed her.
Kathie: Who the hell is Allison? She has great hair but I don't remember her at all.
Kitty: C'mon, season 2? Danced with that white popper Ivan? She went home too soon.
Kathie: I got nada.

Ade Obayomi - Kathie: Oh, lord here we go. Kitty: WHAT?!
Kathie: I know how much you love Ade. You must've bust something when he was announced as an All Star.
Kitty: well truth be told, even though evidently Nigel announced him days ago, I only found out yesterday that he was chosen. But yes, I did gasp a little with excitement. I lurve him; even more so since we saw him on tour.
Comfort Fedoke - Kathie: Don't start. But really who else could they have gotten for the girl hip-hopper?
Kitty: I know. She and Lauren were the people I knew were probably inevitable but who I was praying wouldn't be brought back to torture me. I was thinking they might pick Sarah from S3 but she was more of a B-girl than a true hip hop dancer. But still, I really effin' hate Comfort.
Lauren Gottlieb - Kitty: cough*fawkingbeeyatch*cough 
Kathie: please explain your hatred of Lauren. She was so great with Neil in S3; the Wade "devil dance"! She's Tyce's assistant.
Kitty: for all of the reasons you just named and more I can't stand her. I never understood why people loved that Wade dance; I thought Neil was a pompous douche until he reached top 10 and started dancing with different girls, so it was obviously Lauren bringing out the worst in him; and anyone who Tyce handpicks I have to give a big thumbs down to on principle.
Kathie: but c'mon, "Transformer" dance with Pasha? That was awesome.
Kitty: Ok, I'll give you that one; she and Pasha were pretty great in that routine, but I attribute that more to Pasha and Shane Sparks' choreography than Lauren alone. Anyway, I was 99% sure that Nigel and Co. would choose her and Comfort so whatever.

Mark Kanemura - Kathie: Eeeeeeeeeee! I thought he was out because he's been on tour with Gaga.
Kitty: I know! This All Star announcement was probably the most exciting for me. Sonya Tayeh must be so happy.

Anya Garnis - Kathie: Another snoozer for me. They should've gotten Janette.
Kitty: Don't be a hater, I kind of love how "over the top sex kitten" Anya is.
Kathie: I think she's ridiculous but she's sort of a package deal with Pasha so her pick was not a surprise.

Dominic Sandoval - Kitty: Oh goofy Dom.
Kathie: Man, I was really hoping that they'd choose Legacy as the other B-boy. He's so much hotter and so less annoying. But since he's done those "man on the streets" pieces for them I kind of figured he'd be chosen.
Kitty: Yep, it seems like the producers specifically chose past contestants that made strong fan connections and are generally well liked so that this season's finalists are all on an even playing field. And Dom is a good dancer. I was reminded of that the other night when I watched the ABDC charity show and saw Quest crew perform again. All kinds of awesome.

Courtney Galiano - Kitty: I was pleasantly surprised that Courtney was an All Star pick. I really liked her in her season (4) and still feel that the lyrical hip-hop routine from NappyTabs that she and Will did is one of the most beautiful and underrated performances this show has had.
Kathie: Eh, she's fine I guess. I still wish they had gone with Ellenore or Janeane.

Neil Haskell - Kathie: Hubba hubba. Now this is what I'm talkin' about! A little eye candy up in this joint. Neil was my favorite from the 3rd season.
Kitty: When Nigel originally announced this whole All-Stars thing, I made a list of who I wanted to be on the show and Neil, Travis, and Jakob were my top Contemporary guys, so I'm happy that I got at least one of them. I know he's been doing Broadway and tours and I'm excited to see him dance again. He was definitely a contestant that grew in my eyes throughout his season. Besides thinking he was cute, I didn't care for him at the beginning of S3 but by the end I was a fan.

Kitty: So that's the pool of All Stars that the ten Season 7 finalists will randomly be paired up with. People will change partners every week, and only one person gets eliminated each week; although the All Stars don't go home.
Kathie: One question I had was whether or not the pairings will all be boy/girl. Will we see any fabulous same sex action?
Kitty: Are you kidding? Not with Nigel "gay panic" Lythgoe at the helm. Nigel tweeted (@dizzyfeet) that the partners will always be boy/girl which is a shame because the same gender routines that are done in the finale each season are always some of my faves.
The other thing that Nigel tweeted is that the All Stars won't be choreographing which I'm fine with. I would truly miss the talented cadre of choreographers this show uses.
Kathie: The only question I have left is around how they're doing the judges this year. I heard that Mary Murphy is going back to choreographing and won't be a permanent judge. I don't really care as long as Cat Deeley is still the host.
Kitty: I too heard that Mary Murphy is going back to creating routines - she's really good at it. And anything to keep her horrifying voice out of my ears is appreciated. I also missed Debbie Allen, Lil' C and others as rotating judges last season. But let's face it Season 6, besides giving us amazing talent in the form of Jakob, Ellenore and Legacy, was a huge failure in almost every other aspect.
Kathie: Yeah, and are we ever going to get to see the S6 dancers on tour? I'm still so effin' mad at Nigel & Co. about that.
Kitty: Maybe they'll do a combo tour with seasons 6 and 7?!
Kathie: Harrumph...
Kitty: I have to give it to Nigel. This whole slow reveal of these rule changes and All Stars for season 7 has been an excellent promotional and marketing scheme. He had the fans talking it up and obsessing on who would participate for weeks. And now we only have a few short weeks before we get our fix.
Kathie: I wouldn't say we were obsessed. I mean yes, we talked about and analyzed every single All Star announcement for a few hours, but it wasn't like it was all I thought about.
Kitty: **ahem** You're right. We also got caught up in our other reality shows Project Runway, NY Housewives, Sober House, and my new fave 9 By Design.
Kathie: Oh those hip yuppies with their GORGEOUS children, don't get me started.
Kitty: That's another conversation for another time...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My new favorite tv show (April edition)

Timothy Olyphant has a great walk. I've always thought so. He displayed it to great effect as the Sheriff on Deadwood, and now in his new show on Justified he's brought his slow swagger walk to his latest lawman character - Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens.

I love Raylan Givens. I love how flawed he is, but in the most amazingly imaginative way, not in a cliche tv cop way. I love his accent, his cowboy hat, his sports coats/blazers, and yes that swagger.
Justified as a whole show is almost as awesome as the character of Raylan Givens but it does sometimes fall a little short with the character development of the other players. But it's still one of the best things on television and far superior than the tired CSI or NCIS franchises on network stations. The writing is smart and tight, and the cast is great, especially stand-outs like Erica Tazel who plays Marshall Rachel Brooks and established character actor Raymond Barry who brings depth to the character of Arlo Givens, Raylan's con man father. (although note to Ray Barry - work on your Kentucky accent will you? So far you keep trying different ones and have somehow ended on one that sounds like coastal Maine by way of New Orleans - it's very distracting).
I've been talking up this show to anyone who will listen. I only wish F/X would repeat at better times. It's normal slot is Tuesdays at 10PM which is bad for a lot of people like my dad, who would love Justified. The only times F/X repeats it during the week are Wednesdays at 1 AM and Sundays at 11PM. Again, for people without DVRs like my dad, these additional showings of the episodes is totally inconvenient. Justified has received decent critical reviews, and I hope that it's picked up for a second season; I also hope that they repeat the entire first season on a day/time that will allow it to pick up a bigger audience. They should take a page from shows like TNT's The Closer, and AMC's Breaking Bad concerning building an audience and the power of repeated airings.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Real World/Road Rules Challenge - a story of addiction told in pictures

Once again my guiltiest of guilty pleasures has sucked me back in for another season. This time these fame-whore, human petri dishes are destroying some nice place in the woods of British Columbia. What is it about this show that keeps me coming back? It's certainly not the "challenges" which are seriously super lame; and it's not the host TJ Lavin, the biggest stoner on the planet. Does the dude to the left seem like a dynamic tv host? 'Cause he's not. Is this all TJ does now? Is he still a "professional BMX racer" whatever that is?
So if it's not the structure of the show itself, or the host, could it be the cast? You can't call them contestants really, because although there is a monetary prize, these aren't your typical game players, even under reality tv standards.

Yes, as deplorable and disgusting as most of these arseholes are, I find them wildly entertaining. Let's take a look at some of them:
First, I can't talk about the Challenge without talking about Kenny Santucci. Although there were several Challenge seasons televised before Kenny made a strong first impression showing up on the scene in the original "Fresh Meat" competition, he's quickly established himself as MTV's go-to guy for this ridiculous show. I unabashedly and without shame adore Kenny. And when he almost went home this week (in only the 2nd ep of the season!) I was really sad. But hopefully he and Landon can put past differences aside and work together to take control again.

Speaking of Landon. I now pronounce you Husband and Bear.
Sigh...I love Landon to distraction. The dimples, the body of course, his weird high-pitched mid-western accented voice, his sexual charisma that manages to be super-hetero and ambiguously gay at the same time. If Landon is in a Challenge I will always be cheering for him to win, which surprisingly he has not done yet. It's your time baby! Even if you are saddled with big dumb Carley as a partner.

Speaking of dumb, one of this season's mini-serial dramas involves new Fresh Meat girl Theresa, who's paired up with token gay alumn Ryan. Theresa started drama the first night in the house when she got wasted and came on strong to Kenny, propositioning and declaring her lust for him before she'd even been playing the game 24 hours. Kenny turned her offer of sex down. Which she took like a trouper. immediately turning her charms on pasty asshole Wes who gladly agreed to be boot-knockin' buddies with her. Let's take a direct quote from her shall we? "Being considered the 'hot girl' is really awkward. All the guys are very good looking so it's kinda fun. But then again it could be a bad thing". You think?
Ok, first up, who the hell said you were the "hot girl"? You're cute (sort of, I guess) but there are a lot better looking girls in this season's competition, and certainly in the history of the show. Second, your boy crazy ways are going to f*ck you in this game, rookie. And that doesn't bode well for Ryan. Can the cute gay boy ever catch a break in this game?

Finally, you chose Wes? You call this fugly ginger hot? Not only is he a psychopathic loose cannon, he's also insanely competitive and jealous of Kenny, who stole Wes's fiance (the gorgeous, but stupid Johanna). Now Wes has hooked up with Theresa and doesn't yet know that she was Kenny's reject and that he was 2nd choice. Oh, Wes. I'll be seriously disappointed if this king douche wins another Challenge. Especially if Kenny and Landon don't make it to the finals. Now, I have to get back to my tv watching.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reality TV catch-up: early April 2010

America's Best Dance Crew - the fifth season ended with a deserving final 2, but with the wrong crew crowned champion in my humble opinion.
While Poreotix were awesome little poppin' and lockin' munchkins, Montreal's Blueprint Cru totally deserved to win and were totally robbed of the championship. I think they absolutely suffered from the fact that Canadians couldn't vote, and the fact that a lot of the kids that watch/vote ABDC are strangely loyal to the West coast crews. They've been victorious for most, if not all of the seasons. Check out's blog post about the show - they love ABDC even more than I do.

Amazing Race Season 16 - Who knew that I'd end up cheering the most for the two teams of brothers?! Seriously, I don't care who wins this season. I really hope that Jeff and Jordan are at the finale party (TARcon) in NYC next month.

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat 2 - oh my God this show! Every season gets more fawking ridiculous. But I still can't help watching and loving the hell of these dumbasses! It could have something to do with the big galoomp above right here - I love me some Kenny. No matter how misogynistic, scheming, dastardly, and douchey he gets, I always love him; it's because he's in on his own joke - he totally embraces how ridiculous he is and he doesn't care. God love him.
Project Runway - As usual I looked at and over analyzed the 2010 Fashion Week collections back in February trying to determine who was a real finalist and who was a decoy collection. I guessed pretty well, totally having predicted this season's top 4.
I really really really want Seth Aaron to win, but I also wouldn't mind Jay. Despite his ENORMOUSLY inflated ego, I've liked almost all of the work Emilio has done this season but his fashion week collection is so damn lame. Like "Meredith Viera shops at Chico's" boring. And I hate everything about Mila's point of view so bleh. Which means that she'll probably win the whole thing.
Seriously, except for Jay McCarrol's win in the first season (and somewhat Sibilia's S3 controversial win), I've never been truly satisfied with any of the PR ultimate winners.
Go Seth Aaron FTW!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More Julia Sugarbaker memories...

I tried to find my favorite Designing Women clip from the vacation episode where they all go to the cabin in the woods and Daddy Jones dances with Julia Sugarbaker to "When We Get Behind Closed Doors" but these two awesome clips will have to do:

Not just whistlin' Dixie...

I've lost another pivotal tv icon from youth. Damn, I'll miss Julia Sugarbaker something fierce!

I can't believe Dixie Carter has passed away. I knew that her husband, actor Hal Holbrook had been ill, but Dixie always seemed so healthy. My mom even had Dixie Carter's yoga videos that she put out in the early 90s. Losing Carter makes me think about my mom a lot. Okay, off to watch more Designing Women clips.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

"Hello Angels."

An actor that was a huge part of my childhood passed away yesterday. He had battled cancer for the past year but he was also 92 so maybe it was his time anyway.
I grew up with John Forsythe's voice in my living room for over a decade. John Forsythe played Blake Carrington the patriarch on the seminal 80s tv drama Dynasty, and was of course the voice of Charlie, the rich, never-seen boss on one of my all-time favorite television programs, Charlie's Angels.
He will be dearly missed. Also, WHAT is Joan Collins wearing in the photo below? An embossed electric blue leather coat dress? Also? I'm fairly certain that I owned that exact teal, polka-dotted, shoulder padded, turtleneck dress that Linda Evans is sporting.