Monday, February 28, 2011

The Academy Awards, same-old, same-old with new hosts

I saw, I yawned and then I gave up. That about sums up the experience last night. For the record, I'm all in favor of changing hosts but not for the sake of changing hosts. They have to have some talent at hosting and propelling a show along. Unfortunately, Anne Hathaway and James Franco, IMHO, did not do it, at least for me. Actually, Hathaway did a decent job and put in a valiant effort but unfortunately was held back by a very stiff and bored-looking, Franco, who seemed as if he wanted to be anywhere but at the Oscars. However, maybe that's his personna. I dunno but he's good on General Hospital, where he makes guest appearances from time-to-time. Then again, on a soap opera they can do re-takes until an actor gets it right. Too bad they couldn't do the same for him hosting the award show. Even when he came out dressed in drag and instead of using the opportunity to ham it up, he was merely...James Franco along with a painful expression on his face that said: "okay - I did what they wanted. Now can I leave?" Perhaps somebody should have granted his request. I read that they wanted young co-hosts that could attract a new and young audience, which is all well and good and understandable. Seems that Franco fit the bill in one way at least, providing tweet updates and photos as the show dragged - and that it did - via Twitter. However, one - me - must ask if that's enough to carry an awards show. Not IMHO. The powers-that-be obviously believe that, though.

In any case the best part at least for me, is the pre-show or red carpet, when the actors are interviewed. Love the fashion parade which has turned into an opportunity for designers to display their work, which in turn is worth big $$$$. Strapless is still the way to go this year. This year on the whole, the fashions were stunning. Can't really pick one designer above all the rest but I do love Valentino and his vintage dress worn by Hathaway. Mind you, Hally Berry in Marchesa was breath taking as was Gwynth Paltrow dressed by Calvin Klein, Mila Kunis in Elie Saab, Celine Dion looking trim-and-slim in a Giorgio Armana frock. One of my favorites was Mandy Moore in Monique Lhuiller - wow!

Once the show began, it was a steady downhill slip until Billy Crystal showed up, greeted with a standing ovation no less, displaying the showmanship and finesse from honing his craft over the years and what an Oscar host is supposed to be like. Bring back Billy! Or if he doesn't want to do it, Ricky Gervais. Actually found the entire show borrrrrrring - and quit half-way through. What happened to musical numbers that included dancing and singing back in the days of yore? While we're on the subject of music, I never heard of any of the nominated songs from the films. Did you?

Why-oh-why do the winners have to go on-and-on-and on...thanking everybody that they ever met during their entire life time? We viewers really don't care! Thank a few key people and then good-bye. It will cut the actual time the show finishes by half.

All that being written, will I watch it next year? You bet. What and miss the opportunity to critique the fashion statements and the endless speeches?

Friday, February 25, 2011

I was right - mobile (phone) etiquette deteriorating

Aha! I'm not the only one to complain about bad manners when using cell phones and other devices!

Recently, I shared my irritation - okay...ranted - about people using their cell phones and/or other communication devices where they shouldn't be, like movie theatres or bathrooms while urinating (absolutely true, by the way).

According to a new poll by computer innovation company Intel, 91% of U.S. adults questioned expressed the view that they have witnessed bad manners when and where using their communication devices. What's more, three quarters think mobile manners in general have decreased in the past year.


Of the 2,000 adults polled, most U.S. adults wishes people would practice better mobile etiquette and the lack of cellphone manners annoying. Me too. Twenty percent admitted to poor cell phone etiquette themselves.

Furthermore, almost 75% opined that the lack of mobile manners has created a new form of public rage and 65 percent admitted they became angry around people who misused mobile devices. Like when you're in a movie theatre trying to focus on the plot and story line and being subjected to the ringing of a cell phone. As an aside, this week a person carried on a minute (at least) conversation in a movie theatre before turning it off. I mean - c'mon - surely people can live without their damn cell phone for a couple of hours, or responding to a text message.

Using a phone while driving, talking on a cell phone loudly in a public place like a coffee shop where people really aren't interested in strangers social plans for the evening, and walking down the street while texting or talking on the phone were seen as most annoying. Uh-huh. Speaking of bad etiquette, a personal irritant is people who text during a one-on-one conversation or in a small group social occasion. The eyes of the person doing the texting are glued to the small hand-hand device screen. It's enough to give a person a complex. i.e. is the coversation boring. But I digress.

People reported seeing, on average five mobile offenses every day, according to the poll. Nearly a quarter said they had even seen someone using a laptop while driving, and one in five said they checked their mobile devices before getting out of bed in the morning. Checking devices while still in bed? Get a life people!

Next thing we'll hear about is an option for pet owners to communicate with their non-human friends, or maybe it's already on the market?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Breast milk ice cream, anyone

This is one of those short pieces that is somewhat gag-inducing, at least for me.

A London, England restaurant, "Icecreamists" - catchy name - is planning to serve a special and definitely unique ice cream. You've got your run-of-the-mill, average choices like Cherry Garcia, chocolate brownie, rocky road - the common and enjoyable flavors for your average ice cream enthusiast. This particular restaurant will be introducing - wait for it - breast milk ice cream. You read it right, peeplz! Breast milk ice cream!

The flavor is called, "Baby Gaga", presumably after the way babies go "ga-ga" and not after the singer but then again, go know, given this weird concept and premise.

The owner, Matt O'Connor, is confident in his words, "the miracle of motherhood" will be enough to entice ice cream enthusiasts and others (let's leave it at that) to slurp up $23 a serving. I dunno Matt...that's a lot of cold cash.

Ice cream is provided by moms who answered an on-line advertisement in a mothers' forum called, "Mumsnet." One of the mothers who donated her milk is reported to have commented that if adults realized the tastiness of breast milk, new moms would be more than willing to breast-feed newborns. This leaves one - me - to wonder what do these breast feeding mothers give to their babies, if they donate their milk for icecream purposes?

The flavor is a blend of breast milk and Madagascan vanilla pods with lemon zest, turned into ice cream. Still not enough to entice me to even try. Would you?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Supermarkets - of water sprays in produce department and bad shopping etiquette

Yesterday I did a quick run-in to our local supermarket for a few items. As is my habit, visited the vegetable produce section for the makings of a salad and was in the process of picking out a lettuce towards the back of the display when a spray -actually more like a deluge - of water descended from the automated spray system above. My whole arm was wet- more than wet - and heaven forbid the supermarket(s) should provide paper towels or something for customers to dry themselves. This leads me to question the sanity altogether of installing water sprays for vegetables. Presumably, the idea behind it is to keep the vegetables fresh and visually appealing. The sprays are obviously on a timer system and unfortunately customers aren't aware of when their arms will be drenched. Actually, more than arms get wet including the face, depending on the re-bound of water on the product.

Perhaps a sign should be posted, something to the effect:

"Attention shoppers! Our system is timed to spray water every 10 minutes. The next spray will occur in blank minutes. Please stand back to avoid getting wet."

There's nothing like picking up a soaked veggie, shaking it in an attempt to rid it of excess liquid, which is an exercise in futility anyway, and transferring it into a cloth bag.

Another thing that bothers me are shoppers who for whatever reason, taste the fruit and then some, during the selection process. I've seen people standing in front of the cherry or grape or any pick-your-own display and stuffing their mouths while choosing the best fruit. These same shoppers do not inform the check-out cashiers that they have consumed fruit without paying for it. Who pays for this? You and I of course!

I've also seen shoppers actually open sealed boxes, take out an item, examine it and replace it back in the box. The absolute worst, though, was the person who opened a sour cream container, stuck in a pinky finger to taste it and replace the container back on the shelf.

Speaking of check-out cashiers, one of my biggest beefs are people who try to use the 8-items-or-less check out line when they have a shopping cart full of groceries. Yesterday for example, while waiting to pay for my few groceries, a woman with a cart filled to capacity was told by the cashier to go to the regular cash.

"The lines are sooo long," the woman responded and pointed to the long line-ups of shoppers, in the way of attempting to get the cashier to relent. After an unsuccessful period of whining that went on for a minute or so and highly indignant, the shopper whipped her shopping cart out of 8-items line up and joined the rest at the end of an even longer line up in the time she was pleading her case. No sooner had she disappeared than another customer tried the same plea without success.

Recently, somebody ran over my foot with a shopping cart while looking over a shelf, without even so much as an apology.

"You ran over my foot," I informed her lifting my leg in pain, expecting her to be contrite and appologetic. Looking down at my leg, she uttered "oh" and blamed it on a faulty shopping cart. Shopping at the supermarket just ain't what it used to be, then again, what is?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Missing Wookie the cat, remains a popular story

Just goes to show the power of the written word.

At the beginning of the year, I shared a piece about a British cat named, Wookie. Normally, a story about a cat wouldn't rate high but what made this story interesting - at least to some people reading this blog - is that Wookie is a missing kitty. As any missing cat owner would do, owner Mike Harding posted posters of Wookie along with a photo in his neighborhood and little did he know it at the time, but afixing posters on trees is a no-no and punishable by a fine. We're talking here about 8 lousy posters. In any case, given the nature of the story and the fact that Mike had to remove his posters by Christmas Eve or pay up, people were upset. Eventually, the powers-that-be most like due to adverse publicity, dropped the charges. For the record, Wookie has been missing since November and still has not been seen or shown up.

As a regular blogger, I've posted a number of stories since then ranging from the deep issue of whether Barbie and Ken, the plastic couple, should re-unite, the horror of seeing Katie Perry without makeup and whether American Idol is a shadow of its former self (I think it is), however... The Wookie piece is by far and still retains more interest in as far as page views are concerned than my other pieces. I mean, we're talking 105 page views as of today and although that may not seem a lot to many bloggers, given that the story goes back to the beginning of the year, it says something about the level of interest people have in animal-related stories especially if people perceive the animal and/or its owner to be a victim of society. It also says something about the power and draw of Blogger and blogs in general.

I've been checking the various news-related sites to see if there are any new updates on Wookie - none to the best of my knowledge - and am hoping that he i.e. Wookie, will make himself seen to someone. Meanwhile, if anybody has any Wookie updates... Obviously, inquiring minds want to know!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Memories of love and stuff

It's the evening of Valentine's Day and in spite of making promises to myself ("I promise to listen to myself") today not to comment or focus on romance/love/chocolates/greetings - all things Valentines - I've got fingers on the keyboard and sharing.

One of my earliest brushes with romance was at the age of eight...maybe younger. Although he lived on my street, he attended another elementary school but always dropped by on his bike every day to visit after school was out. Together we sat on the front steps and discussed life as viewed through the eyes of youngsters while watching the world go by. Although I liked him as a friend, romance was the furthest thing on my mind and I had no inkling that he had feelings for me. As was our usual daily habit we were sitting on a stair and suddenly, without any warning, he bent over and kissed me on the cheek. Horrified, instinctively I pulled back, whipped my hand behind me and as if in slow motion, brought it forward and slapped him smack accross the face. His expression of shock is as vivid now as it was back then. He grabbed his bike, got on and peddled away and out of my life, forever. Every day I sat on the steps waiting for him to appear but he never did, neither did he ever respond to numerous phone calls. Hurt feelings especially when we're young, aren't easily patched up.

As is the case with many teens, I had a crush on an "older" guy who was in his senior year, a.k.a. Mr. Popularity. From my perspective, he paraded his latest female conquests in front of my eyes since our lockers were accross from each other. Visually, he was good looking with dark eyes, thick black hair and a broad, warm smile. In retrospect and me being a mere 13 years of age, he didn't know I existed. After school and at home, I phoned his house to hear him say, "hello" and then hung up. In my eyes and head, we were destined to be together. This illusion ended when he focused his attention on one girl and the word was out that they were seeing each other.

Since he graduated before me, the romance was forgotten until a chance "meeting" at the airport years later, at the arrival gate. Waiting at the gate was a vaguely familiar face and my memory was suddenly jolted back to high school. The eyes were the same but that was the extent of the familiarity. His thick, wavy hair had all but disappeared, replaced by a bald, shiny scalp with some bits of grey hair at the back of his head. The lack of hair emphasized a long nose that I hadn't noticed when my love for him blurred any physical imperfections. For the first time our eyes met one-on-one and I remember smiling at him. He returned the gesture, assuming perhaps that we knew each other, but my smile was one of smug satisfaction.

Sometimes we have to wait until we're adults to fully savor the fruits of childhood romance - and clear vision.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

American Idol - not exactly the most exciting stuff

I dunno - is it me or is American Idol kind'a - dare I say it - borrring this season. According to the ratings, it's still 'way up there' but from my perspective, I find it yawn-able on occasion.

First of all and again IMHO - the show is missing Simon Cowell or at least somebody who has the same external personna as Cowell. He was the judge we loved to hate or at least dislike, which made the show fun. Also and even writing this seems strange, Paula Abdul with all her 'shtick' and flaky-ness had entertainment value that the show now lacks.

Upon analysis, new judge Steven Tyler looks sort-of - at least visually - like a regurgitated mummy with his thin, somewhat taut skin and definitely showing his age. It's obvious he's attempting to be very cool and hip. He is somewhat entertaining for a short period of time and he does respect young talent...

Jennifer Lopez may be a talented singer but she ain't no Paula Abdul in as far as entertainment value is concerned. She strikes me as a spokesperson for all the major fashion houses who have given her extensive and very tasteful wardrobe. It's as if she's saying: 'look at me - don't I look good in these clothes?' I'm not particularly taken with her - perhaps IMHO, it's that diva personna.

Randy is...Randy is...Randy. The one left-over from the originals. I like the guy but somebody in the powers-that-be decided that he should turn nasty to differentiate his comments from the other two. Go back to being the other Randy, Randy! We (I) miss 'ya!

I've more or less watched the show regularly and on occasion found myself doing the clicker thing, seeing if something more interesting was on. Tonight starts Hollywood week. I'm asking myself do I care. Honestly? Not really.

It will be interesting to see how AI will fare in the ratings dept. against Simon Cowell's "X Factor." Is there room for both?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Will Barbie take Ken back? Time to vote, peeplz!

At one time Barbie, the famous vinyl fashionista was dating Ken Carson, a vinyl surfer dude with a (very) limited wardrobe. They were considered the perfect couple, she with the immaculately coiffed long blond hair, perfectly chiselled features, who forever walked and will always walk on tip-toes. Ken was the perfect escort in spite of his limited wardrobe dressed in - well - surfing trunks. Together they led the ideal life - at least it seemed perfect to outsiders.

On Valentine's Day in 2004 after 43 years of being together and much to the surprise of everyone, they split up. Rumors were rife (say those words fast after a few drinks) that there were other dolls in Barbie's life but nothing was substantiated. However, shortly after they both went their own way, the plastic blond bomb shell started dating Australian surfer dude, Blaine. Initially heart broken, Ken re-started his life and with the help of an agent, he received critical acclaim for his role in "Toy Story 3", in addition to an appearance in Fashion Week in New York. Slowly and meticulously, he acquired a new wardrobe and a new image.

Although he enjoyed his new-found fame and according to sources close to Ken, he missed Barbie, the love of his life.

"If she called me right now - I would be back by her side - no questions asked," Ken frequently told mutual friends.

"Like - the guy was really becoming a drag!" said a friend who wanted to remain anonymous. "It was always 'Barbie this' and 'Barbie that.'

Obviously, many Barbie and Ken aficionados want to see the popular couple together again and to this end, a poll has been established, "Should Barbie Take Ken Back?" for the couple's fans to cast their vote on Facebook or at

When asked her opinion regarding the possible reunion, Barbie responded, "whatever..."

Friday, February 04, 2011

Super Bowl is the Stupor Bowl as far as I'm concerned

This is another of my short and maybe not-so-sweet commentaries or rants, depending on whether or not the person reading this is a Super Bowl fan. For the record - I'm not. To clarify - I don't like football, period.

Every year at this time, football fans (and there are a lot of them) get all psyched up and excited in anticipation of a foot ball game. Not just any football game mind you, but the Super Bowl. To be perfectly candid, I wasn't aware of the teams involved and had to look up this information. For the record, it's the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. Right? See? I know now!

Seems that part of the Super Bowl rite is for fans to get together at a friend's house to watch the game as a group, followed by an eating binge including favorites like pizza, chile, cold cuts, beer and a whole lot of other un-healthy but good-tasting stuff. Guessing because I've never attended one of these parties and most likely will never be asked, since my knowledge in football is minimal-to-nothing at best. Also, since I'm a relatively healthy eater and watch my weight, I would have to bring along my own food like a healthy salad or something similar. I mean, how would that go over with football fanatics?

'Oh look - that Eleanor who knows zip about football, brought along her own salad to make us look bad! Who invited her, anyway?'

People don't want people who aren't Super Bowl savvy around, especially if they ask questions like, what is a first down? Or why are the players so vicious towards each other? How else can we learn and now what all the excitement is about?

In any case, I'm hoping to watch those amazing and inventive and very entertaining half-time ads and entertainment that we Canadians don't get to see, because Canadians who are Super Bowl fans are only allowed to see boring and staid Canadian ads. After all - it's the Canadian way.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Winter will last until Spring: my prediction

For those people not inclined to believe omens, the issue of whether Puxsutawny Phil of Pennsylvania will see his shadow will be of no importance. Tomorrow, February 2, 2011, is Groundhog Day, an opportunity for believers who adhere to the supposition that your ordinary, run-of-the-mill groundhog has the power to predict whether there will be a quick end to winter.

According to Wikipedia, "The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck, or in some areas as a land-beaver, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. Other marmots, such as the yellow-bellied and hoary marmots, live in rocky and mountainous areas, but the woodchuck is a lowland creature. It is widely distributed in North America and common in the northeastern and central United States. Groundhogs are found as far north as Alaska, with their habitat extending southeast to Alabama."

In the end, your cute groundhog is related to and somewhat similar in appearance to your common rat, but with a cuter tail. Nice tails can make the difference between socially unacceptable wildlife and visually appealing pests like squirrels. Squirrels get away with murder even though they dig up flower bulbs, take bites out of hanging fruit and other stuff. But I digress. Again.

According to the official site (the hog has his own site!) the average groundhog is 20 inches long and normally weighs from 12 to 15 pounds. Punxsutawney Phil weighs about 20 pounds and is 22 inches long. Obviously he is well fed.

A groundhog's life span is normally 6 to 8 years. Phil receives a drink of a magical punch every summer during the annual Groundhog Picnic, which gives him 7 more years of life.

So tomorrow at sunrise, Phil will emerge with some help from his human friends, from his burrow at Gobbler's Knob, and his handlers will announce whether or not Phil has seen his shadow. If Phil sees his shadow, legend has it that we can expect six more weeks of winter weather. No shadow indicates an early spring.

Thing is...and one (me) wonders if it has occurred to anyone that perhaps - just perhaps - Phil doesn't really want to come out of his cozy burrow or man-made... whatever. Maybe he would rather sleep through winter like his friends and relatives instead of being wrenched from his sleep and thrust into the limelight and media melee.

Another perplexing question - at least worthy of consideration - is whether Phil's prediction is applicable for the Pennsylvania area or the entire North American continent?

I'll go out on a limb here and predict that there will be more cold weather, snow storms and freezing temps until Spring. Hey - I'm not even related to a groundhog!