Category Archives: Television

Reading Rediscovered

In my pre-parenting days I was an avid reader. Mostly popular fiction, but I liked to think I was more literary than say,  my mother, who seems to read a lot of what I call romance novels. My favorite authors include Jodi Picoult, Wally Lamb, Pat Conroy, Elizabeth Berg, Barbara Kingsolver, John Irving, John Grisham, Nelson DeMille and many more I’m not going to hunt down right now. I visited my local library frequently, putting books on hold, picking up new ones, returning read ones, and the librarians knew me by name and sight. I didn’t have much of a social life, but I could always entertain myself.

Now that I’m a parent I read to my kids constantly, of course. As they get older we get to explore chapter books that I actually take some enjoyment from as well. We’ve read Charlotte’s Web, Black Beauty and Misty of Chincoteague, which I read as a child. But we’ve also read books written since that I’ve enjoyed as much or more than they have such as Frindle and Holes. Right now we’re reading Three Cups of Tea, based on a true story.

Since becoming a mom, my own entertainment has drifted towards television. What with investing in Tivo, and later transferrring to Comcast’s DVR service, I’ve become even more TV obsessed. Last year’s writers’ strike had me joining Netflix, and I got to see a lot of series I’d missed the first time around (Six Feet Under and Arrested Development being highlights).

When my favorite shows had their season finale’s in May, I had nothing to watch. A lot of nights I’ll put NESN on and catch the Red Sox game while I sit with my laptop on my, well, lap, but even that gets old.

Then I learned that one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Berg, had a new book out. I requested it from the library. It came in, and I read it. A friend on Facebook posted about looking for book recommendations, and I wrote down all the books people suggested and looked them up. A lot of them sounded good to me (and some were by authors I love that since I haven’t read for pleasure in so long I hadn’t known about!). When I returned the first book I took out a few more. I am now 2/3 through The Hour I First Believed, by Wally Lamb and am really enjoying it. I missed reading. I’m glad to be doing it again.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even cancel the DVR service?

Nah, let’s not get drastic.

AI on AI

That would be – (My) Artificial Intelligence on American Idol. I love reading what other people have to say, and I’m feeling more opinionated than usual tonight, so you get my take too.

We’re down to 7, only because the judges used the “historic” judges’ save last week to keep Matt around, but that just means we’ll see two leave us this week. The theme was “Disco “. OK, here we go, in order of appearance:

Lil: She sang Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman”, which I must confess I thought was Oprah’s personal song. I thought she did an acceptable job, and showed a lot of energy. This seems to be her type of music. I just don’t know what the poor woman has to do to please those judges though. They were brutal. Simon is probably right that this was her last performance.

Kris: This kid is adorable, but I didn’t care for his super slow version of Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money”. I got bored and fast forwarded through it. The judges loved it. Can’t say I agree.

Danny: I have loved Danny from the beginning – I love the raspiness to his voice and I think he’s adorable. He sang Earth Wind and Fire’s “September”. It was a straight version, done technically well. I did get some Taylor Hicks flashbacks in the performance (full disclosure – I loved Taylor in his season), and the judges ate it up. I can’t help feeling that if Lil had done it the same way they’d have called her “karaoke”.

Allison: Every week I say I can’t believe she’s 16. Honestly, the pipes on this kid are super human. She sang Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff”. She put a slightly different spin on it, which I don’t think she needed to do. I’d have loved to hear her do it straight up since she has great energy, but I enjoyed it.

Adam: He sang “If I Can’t Have You” by the Bee Gee’s, from the Saturday Night Fever sound track. He slowed it way down and poured emotion into it. I thought Paula was going to cry right there on the judge’s stand. I have not always liked his versions (“Ring of Fire” was a train wreck), but he’s always unique, and I really liked this. I also liked his “Clark Kent” look tonight.

Matt: Oh boy. This was pretty bad. He sang “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gee’s. Herky jerky motions and poor vocals. The save last week was not worth the effort. The hat was ridiculous. Sorry Matt.

Anoop: He sang “Dim All the Lights”, originally done by Donna Summer. I’ve been an Anoop fan from the beginning too, but this rendition was average. I’m sure he’ll be bottom 3, but I don’t think he’ll go home. But I agree that real men do wear pink!

My predictions: Bottom 3: Lil, Matt and Anoop, with the bottom 2 of Matt and Lil going home. We’ll see!

(Final) My thoughts on the judges: Randy is not saying anything worthwhile this season. He’s either wishy washy or generically enthusiastic, but either way adds nothing. Kara, the new judge, is stunningly gorgeous (I can’t take my eyes off her when she is on screen, there I said it), but there is a cockiness to her attitude that bugs me. I’m not sure she has “shown us who she is” (to quote an oft-heard judge’s comment). I find it odd and irritating that Paula is often seen dancing during performances, and I already commented on her being near tears during Adam’s performance. She is overly emotional most of the time. I do like that she nearly always has something positive to say. I think the performers deserve to have someone say something nice, even if it’s just that they look gorgeous. Simon was wearing a T-shirt I swear I could see through. But I watch because he calls it like he sees it, and I agree with him more than half the time. It wouldn’t be AI without Simon.

Well, this was fun. Now I should probably go vote for Danny, Allison and Anoop.