Week 2 of “Top Chef New York” was all about teamwork as the chefs were put together a “New American” menu and they would be judged by some pretty cranky and knowledgeable people –that is, apart from Tom, Gail and Padma: a group of chefs who were not chosen to be on TCNY. Now that’s a bitchy bunch, and some of these people did not disappoint with their probably scripted hissy-fits or snap dismissals of some of the food they were eating. More about that later. However, as Tom said to the judges at the end, this wasn’t, collectively speaking, a wondrous event for the ages since the chefs’ creations probably “set American cuisine back about 20 years”. Ouch. Read the rest of this entry »
So there I was –so there we were, all 50 million of us, according to the ratings—sitting down on Thanksgiving Day to watch the 82nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s an institution and each year the “Today” show hosts try to uncomfortably sit through all the corny floats and engage in mawkish conversations with Al Roker and other C-list NBC actors (yesterday’s were Oscar and Meredith from “The Office”). What would this most precious of holidays be without firing up the TV and watching high school band after high school band, dopey float (with a special nod to Disney) after float.
Yesterday seemed to be going as planned, and in fact everything did work out pretty smoothly during the 3-hour telecast. Hey! There’s slutty teen phenom Miley Cyrus! She’s singing that song “Bolt”! And there’s the asexual American Idol runner-up, little David Archuleta! What the heck is the Varsity Fanclub and why do they look like they’re in their 30s? It’s the Broadway production of “Into the Heights”! Can’t wait to get tickets to that! And how do they lay down that green pavement stage area in front of Macy’s on Herald Square. Read the rest of this entry »
What was on NBC’s mind last week? Ratings for the “Today” show must be down. It’s November sweeps time and I guess it was time for the obligatory, flashy gimmick destined to generate ad dollars and publicity. Let’s see. We send balding, prickly Matt Lauer around to some exotic locations and call it “Where in the World is Matt Lauer” while the equally queasy hosts back in Studio 1A try to mockingly guess where he is, whether it’s on a plaza dancing a tango in Buenos Aires, or the kingdom of Bhutan. Never one to be tired, Matt and NBC News crew go to five different places during that week. And for what? Read the rest of this entry »
Someone definitely has it out for Sarah Palin. Come on. First, the nasty backbiting while she was John McCain’s running mate, about how she was going “rogue” and acting like a “diva”. Then, the leak about how she and her family ran up a $150,000 tab at Needless Markup and Saks, all the while acting, according to how it was printed, like “redneck hillbillies”. Then, just days after Election Day, Fox News (Fox News!) reported that McCain staffers were dumping on her about what a rotten candidate she was –not knowing that Africa was a continent, how she refused any prep before the trainwreck Katie Couric interview, etc., all of which made her mad, calling the press “stinkers” and “cowards” for having all this stuff come out the way it did. Read the rest of this entry »
27 days in captivity with the contestants and this is what we have learned about the Survivor: Gabon this season thus far:
• This has been a season of blindsides. And not just this, but, in true safari style, some of the victims have been big lions. Ace the mastermind, the sometime British-accented guru: gone. Marcus, the ringmaster doctor who felt he could sway anyone with a wave of a hand: gone. And last week, it was Charlie, the lawyer from New York, who was also as self confident as Marcus, and was possibly in a bro-mance with him, and was trying to call the shots on Fang with evil Corinne: gone. Not that the remaining players are all weaklings, because they’re not. But there is some kind of triumphalism in that comparative weaklings like Susie and Ken, and especially Crystal are moving past the established players. Read the rest of this entry »
Tim Goodman of the SF Chronicle wrote an insightful post this week about what makes a good reality show. For all the “dreck” in current so-called reality shows like “The Hills” and “Real Housewives of Atlanta”, there is also a slew of decent reality shows that are in fact competition shows that, as Goodman states, are “acceptable” non-scripted programs. A show like “Project Runway” inspires awe because the contestants/designers literally have to produce each week, creating, fussing, crying, screaming, and then one of them is deemed “Out” by the Teutonically blunt Heidi Klum, who usually shows up wearing something pretty amazing. Read the rest of this entry »
There have been a lot of post-mortems in the wake of the disturbing passage of Proposition 8 in California, which would have upheld the state Supreme Court’s decision in May to allow same-sex marriages. Protesters have taken to the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco voicing their dissent. Some have marched on the steps of the Mormon temples, especially since it’s been revealed that LDS money from Utah helped fund the Yes on 8 campaign throughout the state. Tens of thousands have also taken to signing petitions that seek to overturn the vote. Other petitions charge that because of its overt involvement in the campaign, the Mormon Church should lose its precious tax exemption status. Read the rest of this entry »
How the mighty have fallen! Wow! Score one for the underdogs! After last week’s searing blindside of Ace from Fang, at the hands of his supposed kewpie doll/sorta love interest, Sugar, this week’s ouster was just as stunning. Marcus, the mighty doctor, leader, motivator, who liked to hear his own voice, was knocked to his knees at exactly the moment when he thought he was controlling his entire tribe. Uh uh. Here on “Survivor”, people’s fates can change in an instant and this was a classic, if not entirely unsurprising, moment. Here’s how this all went down: Read the rest of this entry »
Governments sign agreements or treaties, even arms control deals every day. Armed conflicts find resolutions or ceasefires. Mergers between companies that run into the billions happen all the time. Tribes sit down and settle centuries-old differences every so often. Marriages end in divorce, sure, but every once in a while there are reconciliations. People do find a way to patch things up. Sometimes it takes some special intervention to make things a little more peaceful. Read the rest of this entry »
The utterly transformative and historic moment in Chicago’s Grant Park last Tuesday night held millions around the world spellbound. The image of the newly-elected 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and two young daughters waving to the crowds was something many people genuinely thought they’d never see. An African-American first family. A Black man who finally and most decisively achieved whatever this mythical “American dream” represented. A 20-month-old campaign was finally over, and Barack Hussein Obama triumphed, winning not only the popular vote on Tuesday but also the electoral vote by a margin of more than 2 to 1. Obama won in states that had not voted for a Democrat since 1964. The Commonwealth of Virginia, where the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War stood, went for Obama, as did North Carolina. As did Iowa. As did many states. They voted –Americans voted in large numbers for a Black man. Even in a country where racial attitudes still exist, one of the remarkable facts about Tuesday’s election was that Americans put aside those differences and took a proud and measured chance on a new leader and a new hope. Read the rest of this entry »
Where do I vote in California?
It can be tricky - voting stations move and don’t always send location-change information. Below is a list of California polling places (addresses, phone numbers, and a relevant website if available) so you can find your designated voting location and get out there and make things happen.
Currently, Calvoter.org is jam-packed with visitors and the site is teetering due to the large (and very refreshing) demand for info on where to cast your ballot.
You can also call the Voter Assistance Hotline 1-800-345-VOTE for additional information, should the list below not have what you’re looking for.
OR Give Google’s new 2008 US Voter Info a shot and enter the home address where you are registered to vote:
1225 Fallon Street, Room G-1
Oakland, CA 94612
PO Box 158
Markleeville, CA 96120
No Polling Place Look-Up Available Read the rest of this entry »
So you’ve got free donuts and a free scoop of ice cream. Now on November 4, Starbucks wants to reward you voters with a free cup of coffee. Launched last night on “Saturday Night Live”, the commercial, part of the “Shared Planet” campaign, states that everyone who votes will get a cup of Starbucks coffee. Sounds like a deal. Now would you believe there are people who actually have a problem with this? KCBS-TV in Los Angeles apparently has questioned the legality of providing what could be seen as bribes to voters.
There is a California Elections Code, section 18521 (b), which prohibits rewarding people for voting or not voting. Another California companion statute contains similar language, saying the law is meant to prevent people from being bribed with money, food or alcohol. Technically speaking, any violation of the law could get you a prison sentence of 16 months to 3 years. Read the rest of this entry »
From the Huffington Post this afternoon, a deliriously rich and successful prank on Sarah Palin. Montreal’s own Masked Avengers somehow got on CKOI radio and managed to snag Palin’s people on the phone with the tasty bait that President Nicolas Sarkozy of France wanted to say hello. How on earth would this possibly happen? Aren’t Palin’s people a little suspicious of a head of state using a Quebec radio station to spread a little last-minute campaign cheer? This is a radio station! Idiot DJs, only in this case the Masked Avengers have been successful before in hoodwinking celebrities like Queen Elizabeth, Jacques Chirac, Bono and Donald Trump before. With folksy Sarah Palin, they have landed on a goldmine because in the following five minutes, not only does the interviewer or the pretend-President Sarkozy not lose his composure, but Palin just keeps up that fawning, down-home charm and spunk that she’s famous for—and is essentially clueless. Read the rest of this entry »
Time to get caught up with the goings-on in Gabon. Week Five did not generate much drama, actually. As we know, Sugar has the hidden immunity idol, which she found weeks ago on Exile Island. Everyone on Fang knows this, including the Mephistophelian Ace with the maybe-phony British accent who seems to have taken a liking to the former pin-up model. In fact, on last week’s episode he told her that it seems that everyone knows she has the idol. To which she smiled gamely and said it didn’t matter much to her.
Also, Ace managed to pad his alliance with Sugar a little more with Matty, who seemed to be the most physically imposing of any of the other players. Matty gladly agreed, since no one else seemed to approach him about anything. Matty is a strong player, and he really stepped it up on a competitive level last week when lesser players like Kelly and Crystal could not. In fact, Crystal, Kelly and Ken attempted to sway Matty away from the clutches of Ace, i.e., how to tell him that Ace is a menace to everyone and that he is some kind of evil guru. Well, Matty for one isn’t seeing it. And given the fact that this lot is meager, starving and quite lacking in performing in any of the challenges, the choice for Matty was fairly clear. Read the rest of this entry »