Monday, February 27, 2006

Suggested Songs for Idol Competitors: Girls

Because they need the help (and I know you care so much):

Mandisa: 'Shut Up and Kiss Me', Mary Chapin Carpenter
She's shown that she can do rock and soul; I think MCC's brand of blues-tinged country would be right up her alley.

Paris: 'One', U2/Mary J. Blige
The original might seem like an odd match for her, but Ms. Blige's recent cover shows how soulful it can be.

Ayla: 'Hollaback Girl', Gwen Stephani
Might as well put that athletic experience to good use.

Kelly: 'Walking on Sunshine', Katrina and the Waves
A good match for her bubbly persona, and she needs to get away from the country thing every once in a while.

Brenna: 'I Didn't Steal Your Boyfriend', Ashlee Simpson
When attitude is all you've got, might as well run with it. Plus, there's no danger of being compared unfavorably to the original singer and anyway, it's only a matter of time before she's dating Wilmer.

Katherine: 'Maps', The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Call me crazy, but I think it would work.

Lisa: 'Baby Boy', Beyonce Knowles
Honey, you're sixteen. Have some fun already.

Heather, Kinnik and Melissa: I couldn't remember anything distintive enough about these three to pick out songs for them. This is not a good sign.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Closing Ceremony

The return of the Flaming Rollerbladers! Whew. For a minute there I thought things were going to get classy.
It is only through great force of will that I am not making fun of the outfits worn by the Italian military band, because that would be Culturally Insensitive.
Aah! Clowns with band instruments! Playing YMCA! How did they get into my nightmares? And do the adorable but rythm-impared children dancing to it know that it's about going to said institution to pick up other men? (Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course.)
I think the entire population of Canada is here. Either that, or they dressed all of the athetes in their clothes.
Useful fact of the day: Italians invented confetti. Their mothers must be so proud.
Flying a person over a giant fan: seriously cool. Stupid, but cool.
Speeches by local dignitaries are much better when you can't understand them.
Looks like they could have done a bit better on security. Too bad about the microphone.
Hey, look! Imported Mounties!
The Canadian presentation: Because nothing says international excitement like ice fishing. And Legos, naturally. And Avril Lavigne. (And, yes, I am kind of embarassed that I spelled that right on the first try.)
I'm just going to assume the parade of child brides has some kind of significance that I'm missing here. Seriously, they must have cleared out every Goodwill in Italy.
There goes the torch. I was hoping for some kind of giant candle-snuffer.

It's always kind of sad when the Olympics end, but I was ready for it. I don't even want to think about how many hours of tv I have watched in the last two weeks, but I do know that I have developed a surprising affinity for biathalon, a deep indifference towards ice skating and an unhealthy obsession with Bob Costas, and I think that means it's time to stop.

I am so going to Vancouver.


This was supposed to be the men's 50k cross-country race, but instead I get two hours of rehashed commentary, 1.5 hours of which is devoted to figure skating. What a rip-off.

Update: Okay, never mind. They're showing it now.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Deal

There's a deal we viewers have with the Olympic athletes. Once every four years we will lavish them with attention, admiration and endorsement deals for doing things we could otherwise care less about. But in exchange they have to represent us, wear our flags so we can associate ourselves with them, and put in all possible effort for the collective, rather than personal, glory. Some of the stars of the individual sports may not think this is fair, but they can just suck it up, because that's the deal.

The Other Events

This is why I Tivo everything. Because yeah, the ice skating is pretty and downhill skiing is flashy, but this is why I watch the other stuff. Today I was completely thrilled by biathalon, of all things, which has got to be the only sport that understands the mechanics of suspense. I skipped the hockey, of course, but then NBC must have needed some filler because they showed the alternately uplifting and tragic story of a bobsledder named Eugenia Monti, who made pretty much everyone I've seen in the games so far come off as a total putz.

Sorry about the dip into seriousness. I'll get back to the snarking shortly.

Women's Downhill, pt. 2

I want a tiara.


Not that I have ever been on top of a mountain in a driving snowstorm, but if I was, I don't think my first inclination would be to ski down it as fast as possible. This may be why I am not an Olympic athlete. One reason, anyway. Of many.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Women's 30k X-country

An insanely long race. At the end, the racers all collapse like a scattering of corpses in the snow and you wonder if they're ever going to get up again. Then the winner's daughter, who must have been about four, ran out and grabbed on to her mother, who was fortunately able to get up enough to hug her. It would have been kind of sad, otherwise. As it was, it was just adorable, the champion skier waving to the crowd with the baby on her hip.

Ice Skating Commentary (delayed)

"Everyone else skates 'Romeo and Juliet', she is Juliet."

So, she's young and stupid and dies in the end? (I'm not sure about that, but she was done as soon as she two-buttcheeked that landing.)

I'm sure she is an absolutely charming person, but the Japanese skater looks like any minute she is going to scream at an underling for bringing her the wrong kind of water.
However, she totally deserved to win.

Good Idea/Bad Idea: Women's Arials Edition

Good Idea: Skiing in the Italian Alps.

Bad Idea: Skiing, in the Italian Alps, down a steep hill, shooting up a thirty-foot ramp and flipping through the air, all in a fog so thick you can't see where you're going.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

What? Like you believed me

I'm calling it- the top six guys for this year's American Idol:

Prettiest names of Olympic venues:
San Sicario
Pragelato Plan
Cesana Pariol
Setriere Colle
Sauze D'Oulx

Third list of things so this post feels complete:
The Straits of Gilbatrar
A Silver Spangled Hamburg Large Fowl Hen
Gwen Stefani
Creme Brulee

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I can quit any time I want

So, last night I had this dream that I showed up at my next writers' group meeting with only about four pages done, and everyone was very dissappointed in me. I think this may be a sign that I need to dial back the blogging and get to work.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Help! I can't stop blogging!

I wasn't going to blog about American Idol. Why should I? Who on Earth cares what I think about American Idol? But I can't resist. The squeamish might want to avert their eyes.

Mandeesa: How can you not love Mandeesa? Big girl, big voice, big heart. Oversang a bit, but still a favorite.

Kelly Pickler: I really want to like her; she has a great story and doesn't have the attitude even though she's one of the LTPGs (Less Talented Pretty Girls), but frankly, she just comes off as a cut-rate Carrie Underwood.

Becky O'Donohue: The worst of the LTPGs- this season's Ryan Starr. Destined for a future Pussycat Dolls cover band.

Ayla Brown: LTPG #3. Talked in her interview about 'overcoming hardships'. Yeah, like all the hardships that come with being a super-rich, highly gorgeous, senator's daughter. You can see where she draws her inspiration.

Paris Bennett: My pick to win. Awful speaking voice, amazing singing voice and an understanding that the purpose of music is not merely to show off how fabulous you are. Needs to shave her pits, though.

Stevie Scott: Ooh, missed some notes there. Not sure she really should have quit the opera thing.

Brenna Gethers: The anti-Paris. Not sweet, not talented, not here for the finals.

Heather Cox: On American Idol: "I watch it like a stalker." I like her. Too bad she's not that much of a singer.

Melissa McGhee: Former beauty pagent contestant. Oddly, I don't hate her. I do hate her eyebrows.

Lisa Tucker: Scary stage kid, with a scary stage mom, but scary good too.

Kinnik Sky: More Talented Pretty Girl. Actually, that's not accurate; there's nothing girlish about her. Not up with the best, but good. The denim evening gown was an interesting choice, though.

Katherine McPhee: Another good voice with an even scarier stage mom. What is it with all these young girls choosing old-person songs? Do they think the mean voting age for AI is 72?

My picks for elimination: Stevie and Brenna. Not that they will be, but they should.


Whew. I feel better now.

The Big Night

This is probably the biggest day of this Olympics so far; possibly of all. There's the start of the ladies' figure skating competition- 'the marquee event of the games', according to about thirty commentators, replete with possibilities for underdeveloped teenaged girls to fall on their butts. Then there's the men's 1500 speed skating race, ridiculously overhyped, and almost as ridiculously loaded with talent. Not to mention women's bobsled, featuring the stars of some of the best drama of the last games.

I'm watching American Idol.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ice Dancing Costume Analysis

French team: Apparently, they came directly from defending the French Embassy in Iran. You do think they would have stopped for a change of clothes, though. Or at least to change the bandages on her head wound.

American team 1: It takes a guy who is really confident in his masculinity to wear a see-through shirt with sparkly flowers on it. Or gay, of course.

American team 2: The Reno Community Theater called; they need their costumes back for their annual All Showgirl Shakespeare Festival by Wednsday at the latest, okay?

Russian team 1: It must have been a challenge to find a material that perfectly matched her self-tanner. Looks like they could have gone a bit more orange.

Lithuanian team: The land of my heritage. Funny, but I don't remember my grandfather ever wearing a lace-trimmed shirt cut down to his navel.

Italian team: Representing the host country by dressing as a Roman cocktail waitress who has recently been attacked by wolverines and the drapes from Cesar's Palace, respectively.

Israeli team: Hey, wait! She's one of those Star Trek aliens with the forehead stuff! That can't be legal under IOC rules, can it?

Ukrainian team: Strippers On Ice! I wonder if she can make those tassels spin.

Russian team 2: "You wear the matador costume with the sparkles and I will put on the three pounds of eye makeup." "Do I have to? You know we win no matter what we do." "Yes! I will not let the other women upstage me with their skankiness. Now go, or I give you the ice skate to the head!"

Bulgarian team: New security regulations require all skating costumes from former Soviet Bloc countries be put through a paper shredder before entering the building.

American team 3: Snork. Giggle- okay, I can do this. There ruffles and- hehehe... And there's, woohoohoo, sequins and suspenders and- dear God, is that shirt see-through?
I give up.

Ten New Events to Make the Winter Olympics More Exciting

1. The 1km ski jump
2. Full-contact speed skating
3. Ice dancing biathalon: Do a spin, take a shot.
4. Vodka biathalon: Take a shot, do a shot.
5. Synchronized skeleton
6. Cross-country hurdles
7. Downhill figure skating
8. Nude luge
9. Pairs snowboarding
10. I'm not even going to mention curling.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Key Quote of the Day So Far

"If there's one thing the Norwegians know how to do, it's wax."

Funny, I thought that was the Brazilians.

Five Good Things About Curling

It has come to my attention that I have been a tiny bit hard on curling lately, especially considering that I haven't actually managed to watch a match all the way through. So today I set out to rectify that, watching all of the US vs Great Britain match, except for the part in the middle where I fell asleep, and now I am happy to be able to provide you with this list of five positive aspects of the sport:

- The accents of the (entirely Scottish) British Team
- Giving hope to the aged and unathletic everywhere that they too could be Olympic athletes.
- Spectators who have adapted the song 'Jeepers Creepers' to include the phrase "where'd you get those sweepers".
- Shiny rocks.
- That's five, right?

Gold-Medal Behavior

In the course of the games so far, I've seen a number of reactions to winning the gold; from stunned to proud to overcome and teary to jumping up and down with joy. Pissy is a new one.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ice Dancing

In my opinion, any sport with rules that specifically prohibit athleticism doesn't really count as a sport.

Not to mention the fact that the women have some of the scariest damn eye makeup I've ever seen. And what is it about Eastern Europeans and lip liner?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Best Athlete Nicknames of the Games So Far

In ascending order:

The Texas Tornado
Miami Ice
The Hermannator
The Flying Tomato (Il Tomate Volante)
The Speeding White Sausage

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I can't blog tonight; I'm too upset about Santino's hideous pile of sparkly crap getting him to the final round of Project Runway. (Dear, sweet Nick and Andrae, where are you when we need you?) So I'll just leave you with this (rather relevant) Understatement Of The Night:

"Figure skating can have some pretty frightening costumes."

Amen, sister.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Giant Golden Washer of Victory

According to Bob Costsas, the medals for this Olympics are supposed to represent an Italian piazza (not Mike). In fact, they appear to be representing a gold donut, or possibly a cd. Put a chain on it and it would be a suitable accessory for your second career in hip-hop.

A few other observations:

The Olympic committee is all excited about the whole "steroids" thing, and yet no one is doing anything about the woman in the German pair and her tragic addiction to self-tanner.

Serious cameltoe on the male speedskaters. For the love of God, would somebody please introduce these guys to the dance belt?

As for the results of the pairs competition, I can only say: This is why I am over figure skating.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sportsmanship. Who knew?

Sometimes I feel like a kind of a jerk for being such a jerk. For example, I'm watching some cross-country skiing, I sport I only notice at four year intervals. I don't exactly care about the event, but it does get you some nice pictures of the scenery.
Anyway, they all go in a bunch and right at the start there's a tumble and one of the favorites goes down in it. He gets up and kind of stumbles along and then has to stop and fix his ski and as they throw it to the commercial break the commentators are talking about what a shame it is that he's out of the race.
Fast forward through the commercials and back to the race and there he is, right up in the front of the pack. Apparently, when they realized what had happened, his teammates pushed to the front of the pack and tried to slow the race down. And the crazy thing is, it worked. The other racers didn't just laugh and plow on by, they hung back and let the defending champion catch up, and he eventually won the silver. And I'm here wondering, how do you think like that? How do you spend your whole life training for one event and then, when it happens, decide that it's more important that one of your competitors gets a fair break than for you to take every chance at winning?

Me, I just sit around on the couch and make fun of people's hair.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Gotta love that fast forward button

One of the great things about watching the Olympics is how fast you can become an expert in something you had previously never heard of. 'Look at that,' you say, 'Look at his shoulder, way out there. And those toes! I mean, please, you call that luging?'
'I think it's skeleton,' says your friend.

Meanwhile NBC pursues its growing obsession with Bode Miller. I fully expect Bob Costas to tounge-kiss him before the week is out.

I like the Chinese pair for skating to Led Zepplin, but the chick should seriously consider investing in a hot oil treatment, or twelve. (I'd critique the fashion, but frankly, I don't know where I'd start.) But if anyone busts out with the Daft Punk, I don't care what they look like, I say they win. And for all I know of the new scoring system that might be true.

The Russian guy bears a striking resemblence to Ryan Stiles, of 'Whose Line is it Anyway'. Only scary.

The Dutch must just be kicking themselves for inventing inline skates.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Bring On The Curling!

Since I'm planning on watching approximately eight zillion hours of the winter Olympics over the next couple of weeks, I thought I'd blog about it. Which, knowing me, should last about three days before I get bored and slack off. Anyway, it should be fun while it lasts. Since I'm watching everything on Tivo, postings will be somewhat delayed.

Now: The opening ceremony

The first performance looked like what you would get if you gave your cousin the dance major at Reed several million dollars and a cast of a few hundred people in red spandex and told her to express 'passion'. Or possibly 'gastric upset'. The point is driven home by rollerbladers shooting jets of flame out of their heads, which must be the sort of thing that makes sense in Europe.
Then there is a kind of lovely interlude with old guys playing alpenhorns and people dressed as sparkly trees, before the walz of the cows. Which is to say, people dressed in cow-patterned outfits, waltzing while other people dragged plastic cows around the stage. I almost cried.
The Italian flag was brought out by former athletes in Armani shrouds, plus one very sparkly model. The anthem is sung by the obligatory adorable tyke- and even she's wearing those big fuzzy boots. Those damn things are everywhere.

Okay, now we've got formation raving by people in jumpsuits with miner's headlamps. And now they're doing the wave. And karate. (I'm doing this is real time, so my verb tenses are going to change. Deal with it. Or not.) All right, the giant skier formation is kind of cool, but the people in the lower seats must have no idea what's going on.

Here come the flaming rollerbladers again.

I wonder is Cirque de Soleil gets any money when people rip them off like this. I assume the people in gold facepaint doing handstands on the scaffolding represent something, but I don't really care.

Albania only has one athlete, but he's hot.

'Andora has more ski lifts per person than any other country in the world.' See? This is educational.

The poor girls carrying the country namecards have been forced to dress as mountains. Complete with little plastic skiers.

What's with the disco soundtrack? Isn't Italy supposed to have good music?

So far Bellarusse is an early favorite for best-dressed; I'm liking the dark fur hat-knit scarf combo. The Canadians are wearing some seriously silly hats. But the Chinese just overtook them in the dorkiness sweepstakes with their dress-length parkas.

The Costa Rican contingent looks strikingly un-latino, in the sense of being a blonde chick.

The Macedonians came dressed for the international hubcap distributors conference. The French look impeccable, of course. Love the peacoats.

And the winners and still champions, Worst Dressed Olympians. . . Germany! Because traffic-cone orange and so-ugly-there-isn't-a-name-for-it green are never a good combination, especially in a knit baseball cap with earflaps. (At least the are very unlikely to be run over; which may have been a consideration, given the alleged nature of Italian drivers.)

The Virgin Islands delegation is a 52 year-old woman who does the luge (luges? is a luger?)

The Republic of Kyrgystan apparently gets its hats from the people at Hotdog on a Stick. And the Mongolians are wearing an average of four small furry animals per head.

They're playing 'YMCA' for the second time.

The Americans get a warm reception, which is nice. Outfits unexciting but trim.

Only two countries to go. We can do this.

And the crowd go wild for the home team. Unfortunately, they're all wearing those silver emergency blankets you keep in your car in case of a freak snowstorm.

"And now a reenactment of Botticelli's famous painting 'The Birth of Venus'." Sans boobies, of course.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have the first ever Olympic stripper. Granted, he's wearing a flesh-colored bodysuit covered in 'veins' and he apparently represents the future. Which appears to have occured in the Castro circa 1983. Now they're building a car.

Donuts! They're doing donuts with a Ferrari in the middle of the Opening Ceremony. Italy is cool.

'Pictures of things made out of people' seems to be a theme here. The dove was okay, but the skier was still better.

Yoko Ono is going to sing. Has it really come to this? (Fast forward button, do your stuff.) Even at double speed she looks unbearably pleased with herself.

Do these people not realize that 'Imagine' is about how great Communism is? Yay, suppression of individual rights for the common good! Pretty song, though, and Peter Gabriel does a good John Lennon impression.

The cauldron is lit by Stefania Belmondo, who appears to be famous in Italy. She does a fine job of it and nothing explodes that isn't supposed to. Actually, the torch is pretty awesome.

All in all, a fine ceremony, but I don't know if I would have felt good about spending a thousand dollars to sit out in the cold for four hours to watch it.