Friday, January 19, 2007


Last night for one reason or another (probably another) there was no cable connection but horror-of-horrors and even worse, no access to the Internet! The logical first step was to call the cable company who shall remain nameless. After a preliminary period on the phone of somewhere between 5-10 minutes waiting to be acknowledged by someone – anyone – accompanied by a recorded sales pitch describing their many services and new package deals, a technician finally responded. He (the technician) informed my husband who is the designated person to deal with cable-related issues and problems in case there are questions related to technical Internet stuff to which I ‘m unable to answer, that there were no reports of problems. However, he i.e. the technician sugested to stay on line after which the same offers were repeated, accompanied by information regarding their new packages. As an aside this company also provides a cable phone service, which works as long as there is cable. No cable - no phone. We have not availed ourselves of the new and innovative phone service for this very reason.

Another 10 minute wait followed by the technician's return and assurance that there were no problems that he was aware of.

“Tell him about the grainy picture!” I whispered, knowing that American Idol was starting that evening and I wanted to be able to see Simon’s sneers, Paula’s eye-rolling and Randy’s “duding” up close as they comment to the ‘wanna-be-a-stars’

“The TV picture is bad, too,” my husband related to the tech. guy, helpfully, hoping that it would help diagnosis the problem.

After leaving my husband waiting on the phone again for what seemed like forever, the technician came back and pronounced the problem to be at our end.

“Do you know your neighbour living at blah-blah-blah on your street?” the technician asked.

“Why?” my husband wanted to know. “That's near blah-blah avenue but I don’t know the owners personally. What does that have to do with my not having cable?”

There was no reason supplied and the technician moved on to inform my husband that the problem was with our cable connection and they would send somebody to fix it. My husband then told the technician in the way of being helpful that a while back when we encountered a similar situation, the cable-climber-up-the-pole guy told us that it was the fault of squirrels who chewed their way through the wire. Sure - why not blame the poor squirrels who enjoy running along the wires at amazing speeds like an tightrope walker on drugs. Anybody but them!

“So when are you coming to fix the problem. Tonight?” my husband asked hopefully.

Ha - and ha again! In your or our dreams! The earliest they could fix...whatever was in two days.

"Two days!" I heard my husband respond incredulously.

"Two days!" I repeated, my mind racing to remember which of my friends watched American Idol.

“But…I don’t have any connection with the Internet either!” the technician was informed.

After a five minute rant by my husband at the technician regarding the lack of service on their part followed by how lucky we are that our phone service isn’t on cable…blah-blah…blah...their conversation came to a mutual end.

Anyway, the bottom line is late in the morning just before I wrote this, like the proverbial miracle in days of yore, the TV picture suddenly returned to normal and the connection with the Internet returned. My husband’s conclusion was that the cable company probably had trained squirrels on call during the night to fix cable ‘chew-throughs.’ He could be on to something. Meanwhile, I'm wondering about that neighbor down the street mentioned by the technician.

Writers & Friends

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


IMHO - there was something missing in last night's seasonal debut of American Idol and it wasn't for the lack of - how shall we say - interesting performers. Maybe that complacency factor kicked in for me. Those auditioning ranged from juggling whatevers to a wanna-be lioness from Oz (some would say she was way, way over the rainbow) and singers - correction - screamers who lived in Never-Never-land. Frequently, I found myself cringing and looking down, unable to watch the TV screen out of embarrassment for them. Some were that bad. Then again I think I sound great in the shower but I relegate my singing to when the water is running.

However, what really struck me was the lack of gung-ho spirit from the gang.

We're talking here about a very sedate Ryan Seacrest who didn't appear "into it", a surprisingly 'nice-ish' (not completely though thank goodness!) Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson who was the most enthusiastic of the judges. The best that could be said for Paula Abdul is that she managed to say awake in a semi-slouching position in her seat and if she did comment, I didn't hear or didn't understand. Oh well...

Obviously, the show still has an amazing-bordering-on-phenomonal drawing power in that the show averaged a 37.3 million viewers overall. Multiply those numbers by advertisers and we're talking bigggg money.

Am I a fan? You bet'cha. How could I possibly pass up the opportunity or chance of somebody singing yet another chorus of Somewhere Over the Rainbow? Indeed.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Usually, I rarely watch the Golden Globes but for one reason or another, i.e. the lack of anything better in/on view, I decided to tune in last night. Glad I did if for no other reason than the gorgeous gowns worn by the s*t*a*r*s. There was glam abounding with the big name designers going all out given the opportunity to show off their creative artistry in anticipation of the Academy Awards, and the hope of attracting a big name performer to wear their latest creations. You can't buy that type of publicity.

Loved Helen Mirren's dress, style plus understatement and the perfect dress for her.
The always glam and sexy, Eva Longoria, looked hot in a red gown by Bob Mackie, who used to dress Cher.
Keira Knightly wearing a form fitting Valentino gown fit the glamorous mold perfectly.
Pamela Anderson who is usually missing fabric in her outfits for one reason or another went the opposite direction with fabric, fabric and more fabric. Maybe they had a special on her particular fabric. Pass - or bump...
Lost's Evangeline Lily certainly chose the right dress in a stunning green number.
Cate Blanchette had that special something in Alexander McQueen.

On the whole glamor was the word for the evening however somebody should take newcomer and first-time winner, America Ferrera, under their fashion wing. That being said - or written - it was very refreshing in her thank-you speech to address the contentious subject of weight and body image that is pervasive in Hollywood. In her role as Ugly Betty,
Ferrera praised the Globes for honoring a program filled with diversity that wored against stereotypes. She went on to say that since starring in the show she had been approached and thanked by "regular" people i.e. you/me, for assuming the role of a female that does not fit the perfect body image prevalent in society. Good for her!

Now on to the Oscars.

See a whole lot of photos here:

and here:

Monday, January 15, 2007


This falls into the category of "for-people-who-have-everything-and-don't-know-what-else-to-buy."

Seems that some enterprising U.S. inventor (or somebody with a lot of time on her/his hands) has created the 'Fish'n'Flush, replacing your standard toilet tank with a fish tank.

This begs the question or moral issue of the possibility that due to a gravitational pull, a pet fish could accidentally (some might go as far as to say on purpose) be pulled in the swirling eddy of a toilet bowl. Of course the other way of looking at this addition is that it makes the job of disposing dead fishies easier. One flush and it's a done deed. There is the issue of flushing the wrong fish... Perhaps it's a means in which to cut back on fishy-doo-doo that is known to accumulate at the base of the tank. Then there's the issue of visiting guests using the bathroom having to share it with pet cats living in the house...

Just some random thoughts... I'm a big thinker.

See an actual photo of the Fish'n'Flush here:

Read the story here:

Saturday, January 13, 2007


After watching "Armed and Famous" and I really hadn't planned on even clicking on to it given the premise written up in the TV guide, but the fact that LaToya Jackson was involved made it irresistable. All I can say is that police departments all accross the country must be or should be shaking in fear that the quintet could end up working in their precincts.

It can best be described as the Keystone Cops of the 21st century where an older Eric Estrada with his CHIPS fame days long behind him and sporting a visible a paunch; the aforementioned LaToya "I-do-not-look-or-act-like-Michael" Jackson; somebody not-so-famous at least to me, Trish Stratus; skate boarder and little person, Jason Acuna and Jack Osborne, offspring of Ozzie who happens to be the most credible and natural of the group.

The premise of the program is that these "famous" personalities get to be cops assisted by the genuine police officers in the exciting city/town of Muncie, IND. In one segment Stratus helps her real cop partner catch and bring down a thief. Actually, it's the real cop who does the physical work while Stratus - um -talks and chastises the thief about his swearing at them in public. Uh-oh...a perp who swears? Nev-er!

"Did you swear at me? Are you swearing?" she repeatedly asked the perp. Arresting - and very funny - behavior.

In another segment Estrada acts as an Spanish-to-English translator for a man who was being arrested for beating a woman. Very surreal in that the accused recognizes Officer Estrada as a member of CHIPS.

The best part, however, was Officer LaToya who ran into her worst nightmare when answering a call and was side-lined by... a pussycat! Poor LaToya has a cat phoebia and fled the scene hiding out in a cop car refusing to even look at the perp - um - cat. This is not good news for her real-life cop partner since all the bad perps in Muncie now know that all they have to do is bring along a cat while doing B&E's and other un-lawful acts and this will be their ticket to a quick get-away. The second-best or maybe even the highlight of the show was when a woman approaches Estrada while he sits in the patrol car and asks him to sign - wait for it - her falsie or padded cup. Weeeeeird. O-kaaaaay....

It's unclear whether this show is meant to be serious or a tongue-in-cheek critique on reality shows. Whatever the original aim is it's better than most of the sitcoms currently on the TV grid. One can only wonder depending on whether the public takes to the series whether Muncie will become a tourist mecca due to the exposure its receiving.

Over and out... Ten four...whatever.

ARMED AND FAMOUS: Wednesdays, 8:00 p.m. CBS

Friday, January 12, 2007


Less than a week before this year's edition of "how-low-can-you-go"...I mean, another season of American Idol begins. The new trend for the last couple of seasons is to feature some "name"
singers and well-known people from the entertainment industry towards the finals, who actually perform and/or whose songs have influenced generations. Translation: bigggg names who've
made $$$$ and made money for their respective recording companies.

Anywaaay, among the biggies being courted this year are Mariah Carey and none-other than titled singer, Sir Paul McCartney! Given the huge audiences and ratings giant that AI has become, any singer even a Sir would be crazy to pass up the opportunity.

Read about it here:

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Take one powerful millionaire who's in love with the media - and himself, add a feisty comedienne who is no slouch when it comes to defending herself and throw in a seasoned journalist and one of the best celebrity interviewers plus the creator of a show that is fast becoming "must watch TV", and you get an ever-widening escalating fued that shows no signs of burning itself out.

Perhaps the best way to evaluate the daily additions are in rounds as in boxing and today Donald Trump one of the combatants came out fighting - again, on his site no less. He claims that a letter exists whereby Walters refuses to acknowledge the content and existence of a letter he sent to her. Perhaps he's shadow fighting - perhaps he isn't. Go know. Here's "the Donald's" response on his site:

In his letter Trump provides statistics defending the debut of his show as faring well in the ratings and stated for the record that his mere appearance on the "Regis & Kelly"show made a signifigant jump in the ratings for the show. He could be on to something there. If for no other reason people may have tuned in the show in the hope of some further oil on a continuously simmering fire. In any case viewers didn't have to wait long.

The next round, today, Wednesday, January 10, featured both Rosie and Babwa in a tag-team match railing out at him, together. Wanna bet that the ratings of the show will be up again? Read about it here:

Bing! Is that the bell for the next round? Wel'll have to wait and see.

Monday, January 08, 2007

GREASE is the word - at least NBC hopes so

Have to admit that any time the film, "Grease" is on the TV grid, I tune in. First and foremost, I like John Revolt...I mean, John Travolta and the film is just happy, happy, happy with great songs. There have been numerous revivals and road shows and high school performances accross North America and beyond and NBC is banking on the show's long-standing popularity by creating a new TV show, "Grease - You're the One That I Want" with the premise being a search for the new Sandy and Danny for an upcoming Broadway revival.

The program is based on the same formula as American Idol with three judges including a British investor, a well-known Broadway choreographer who will be creating all the right moves and the original creator of the show. Singer (this term should be used loosely in the cases of some of the "singers") after singer audition for the judges and are either given their walking papers or told to hang around and try out to be a resident of Grease Academy, where presumably the finalists will be narrowed down until the final Sandy and Danny are chosen.

The opening show lasted a very long 90 minutes because for some reason or another and for lack of a better word, it lacked personality. The three judges were...there but what was really missing was a cantankerous Simon Cowell, a flitty Paula Abdul and a Randy. There was no inter-action between the Grease trio and it was strictly an all work and a bore to be honest. The fact that most of the young people trying out for the show sang the same Grease numbers over and over in an obvious bid impress the judges that they fit the parts, didn't help. Overall the show can best be described as lacking originality and not the one that I want.

Yawn... I'll pass and one wonders how many others will, too.


Okay - I admit I tuned in and in the end, it was...interesting. The Donald was the Donald was...ever the blustering businessman but in the end he is a showman.

The move to L.A. strikes me as a means in which to increase sagging ratings last season. You know - la-la-land with its sunny, warm climate...tanned roller skating beach bunnies and boys...the glamor...Rodeo Drive...up-scale restos...youth. This season he has added his children, Ivanka and Donald Jr. to the scenario forsaking the seasoned-but-older helpers, Caroline and George. To her credit Ivanka is definitely more animated and opinionated but Donald Jr. has yet to make an appearance, so we'll see which off-spring will become the shining media darling. There was an interesting twist this season in that the losing team was/is forced to sleep in tents outside while the winners get to sleep in relative splendor in the Trump mansion and be treated complete with champagne. The losers obviously not used to 'roughing it' grumbled and bickered with each other. In other words - same old, same old. The other twist is that the winning project manager for the teams get to sit by Trump's side at the end of the show and assist "the Donald" and Ivanka as to who will be shown the door followed by the infamous taxi/limo ride to anonymity.

After the recent events and spat with Rosie O'Donnell it will be interesting to see how or if it will be interpreted in the ratings. As the expression goes, 'I don't care what they say about me as long as they spell my name correctly.' We'll see.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Yesterday after picking up a few items in the supermarket and in an attempt to bypass the lengthy lineups, I used the self-bag system. This is the same supermarket that also features bag boys/girls who bag groceries for shoppers. No discount on groceries by the way but that as they say, is a whole other rant. Having never used the automated self-bagging system or service (I use this term very loosely), I looked on a screen for assistance to lead me through it step-by-step.

"Press the start button" a message says. No problem-o there.

"Place an item in the bag" the automated but friendly simulated human voice instructs. Obeying the message a container of orange juice is placed inside while shuffling the bag around to make space in anticipation of packing further items. The "place an item in the bag" message is repeated verbally accompanied by a written message presumably for people who are hard of hearing.

In response the machine is informed of the fact that the item is indeed already in the bag but "the voice" insists otherwise. Meanwhile, there's an ever lengthening line-up waiting impatiently to check out their food items. Embarrasssed, I turned to them while smiling sheepishly, shrugging my shoulders, pointing to the machine and back to me in the way of an explanation. They are not amused.Take out the orange juice to re-start the whole process and there's an audible groan from the line-up.

"Press the start button" the machine repeats. Four simple words but words that have become imprinted on my brain, along with the accompanying six word command, "place an item in the bag." This time the action includes the rapid removal of hands to ensure there is no discernable movement.

One bag is filled but there are still more items to be packed and I remove the now over-flowing bag and move around the carousel with new bags ready to go.

This is a no-no. You cannot and must not remove the bags during the processbecause - well - you just don't! There is no way to fool the machine because IT knows - oh how it knows!

The now dreaded "press the start button" flashes on to the screen accompanied by the ever-present automated monotonal but ever cheerful voice. Shut up, shut up, shut up, I want to scream out but don't want to incur further wrath from the people in the line.

Once again the bag is emptied to re-start the whole process. After several further attempts a cashier whose main function is to help customers especially first-time rookie customers, comes over and does the job, her adept hands moving quickly to fill the waiting plastic bags while twirling them deftly around the carousel. She then smiles and leaves as the customers in line clap.

The "how do you wish to pay?" question replaces the "press the start button" instruction. This required further thought but rather than face the rage of the people behind me, I decided to pay cash and pressed the "cash" button.

"Place the dollar bills here" a new message flashes on the screen, right next to a "place the coins here" image illustrating pennies, dimes, etc. Bills are slipped in a slot followed by sixty-one cents in the coin thingie. The coins clink as the machine is fed however instead of a "thank you very much" message as anticipated, the image of the coin slot and a flashing sixty-one cents flashed on to the screen indicating missing change. Given the state of tension I was experiencing the chance of error was a distinct possibility so I added a cent...and another cent...and still another cent.

At the end I had fed the machine three extra cents. Needless to say I was incensed but had to recourse but to obey the machine's instructions if I wanted to get out of the supermarket and live to relate the story, given the growing state of agitation of the people waiting to use the automated-self-packing-machine-from-hell. In the grand scheme of things three cents isn't a lot but if every customer was charged an extra three cents - you get where I'm going with this.

Walking away with my plastic bags in hand I couldn't help but rant to the people in the line up about how people are being replaced by machines. For some reason or the other, they totally ignored me.

Monday, January 01, 2007


If there's one profession I dislike after gynecology, it's dentistry. Actually that's not quite accurate: it's the person who proclaims to have the best interests of our teeth in mind while poking around in the netherworld of cavities, caps, crowns - the big "C's".

It's nothing personal and actually my dentist is a really nice guy - away from the drill. He's got a great sense of humor and loves trying out the latest jokes while drilling away at the bad cavaties. To his credit he's very fussy about cleanliness when dealing with mouths and even dispenses plastic goggles for patients to wear to prevent splashing.

It's my belief that dentists as a whole have a special feel for languages having an ear for the well known dialect known commonly as "spit-ish" spoken by patients with wads of cotton in their cheeks, instruments of torture attached to their teeth and a tube sucking up saliva on the sides of their mouths.

The very first visit to my dentist was to have root canal work on a lower tooth that was giving me a lot of pain."

Is it gonna hurt?" I recall asking him, looking straight into his eyes to gauge the level of pain involved.

"It won't hurt me," he responded with a chuckle. Such senses of humor those dentists!

My dentist for one reason or another, enjoys the give and take of conversation while performing a cleaning but especially during a filling.

"So, you see that blankety-blank TV show last night?" he will ask, as the nurse smiles sweetly while holding the suction thingie with one hand and prying my jaw open with the other.

I try and keep up the conversation my tongue darting out like a snake beneath the torture instrument attached to my teeth. There are a lot of "tth"-ing and "wa-ing" responses and that he always understands every word I say is truly amazing. Perhaps dentists are required to take a special class in dentistry school that teaches them to understand "patient freeze" talk.

Background music is always played to distract patients from what he's doing but we know. Oh do we know! There is also a mobile hanging from the ceiling in front of my eyes that goes round and round inducing nausea and I want to scream, "will somebody stop that damned mobile from spinning!"

I always make a point of going straight home after dental work since half my mouth is usually frozen. The last time I decided to go grocery shopping after a dental appointment, I met up with an acquaintance and waved from afar and attempted a smile. However only half my mouth worked and a stream of saliva slowly dripped down the corner of my mouth.

This leads me to ask as to why dentists - not all of course but some - tell their patients that there's no pain involved in certain proceedures when there is? The mere act of injecting a gum with novacaine or whatever else they use these days causes pain and then there's the sudden onset of numbness that flows through the gum...and the cheek...and one side of the nose...and eyebrow... Notice how dentists advise patients: "eat on the other side of the mouth until the freezing wears off." Can't speak for others but trying to keep food limited to one side of a frozen mouth is pure hell. Somehow and no matter how much I try and aided by excess saliva, food kind-of slips to the other side and trying to extricate the food with a still-frozen tongue is an exercise in futility and frustration. Soup is the worst, though, because one side of the lip refuses to cooperate. Hot soup is a 'no-no' since there is no way to blow on it to cool it down. A one-sided blow just doesn't do the job. Next week I'm going for my 6-month cleaning. Chances are we'll once again have a discussion regarding the necessity to crown a tooth. I in turn will tell him that I'm not a Queen and I can live without one. That and braces.