Monday, April 30, 2007

Vegas Weekend

We checked into the Excalibur late Thurdsay night after a full day covering the WPT Championships at Bellagio. For some reason, the IP was booked solid for this weekend, necessitating our move to The Castle for the rest of our stay in Vegas. We're not so much staying in The Castle as we're staying in it's dungeon, as our room is on the first floor. It sucks to have no view, but it's surprisingly convenient. No waiting for elevators that stop on every floor to pick up tourist after tourist.

During a five minute span at Bellagio I had three interesting sightings. The first was a pair of 6'3" transvestites in black cocktail dresses and blonde wigs strolling fearlessly across the casino floor. They walked a lot better in high heels than I do. The second was a dejected Scott Fischman walking alone to his car in the self parking garage, sighing and twirling his keys around his finger. Moments before, he had busted out of the tournament in 8th place, narrowly missing the TV final table. He's the most miserable-looking man who just won over a quarter of a million dollars that I've ever seen.

After passing Fischman I noticed a twenty-something guy in a baseball hat rushing what most certainly a hooker into his tan Honda Accord. She had platinum hair and wore a red floral micro-mini dress and teetered on black patent leather platform heels.

Saturday night, we grabbed some sushi at Green Valley Ranch with the Poker Prof and Flipchip. Though Grubby has been known to attack this particular sushi restaurant's Sunday-through-Thursday early evening all-you-can-eat offerings with gastronomic gusto, we settled for an a la carte meal which, for me included some dreamy tuna tataki sashimi and the "deja-vu roll"-- shrimp tempura and avocado topped with tuna. Delish! Afterwards, Pauly and I adjoined to the poker room, where we both sat in the $4-8 with half kill. Though I worked up a $200 profit at one point, I lost all of it back on a series of gutshots that were filled on the river for the cranky Vietnam Vet on my left and ended up leaving down about $30.

Sunday afternoon we played poker at perhaps my favorite casino in Vegas-- the Red Rock. I sat $4-8 again since there was no $6-12 running and made about $50 in the 2.5 hours I played, driving my poker winnings for the trip over the $500 mark. Later on, we had dinner with our favorite Vegas supercouple, Schecky and Jen at Chicago, a Windy-City style pizzeria and microbrew. I split a meat lovers' thin crust with Schecky and Jen while Pauly opted for roasted garlic chicken. After dinner we checked out Sedona, a very chic bar/eatery on the Northwest side of town, where we had their famous chocolate fondue for dessert and played "team" Chinese Poker. Each of us played our own hands, but each couple's score combined together when it came to the points payoff at the end. Pauly and I finished up a whole $4-- boooya!!!

Today I'm off to Caesar's Palace to cover the WSOP Circuit Event for PokerNews. It's only a three day event, but those days will be long unlike the structure we enjoyed last week over at Bellagio. There should be a good amount of name pros in the tourney, seeing as it's sandwiched right in between two Vegas WPT events. My work schedule MAY require me missing American Idol this week, tragic as that is. Keep your fingers crossed for a short night Tuesday.

My most heartfelt congratulations go out to C.J. who just announced his engagement to his very own Lady Luck. Check out the ring. Nice hand, Luckbox!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

American Idol Wednesdays: Is It Jordin's to Lose?

Last night's episode of American Idol marked our first Sanjaya-less week of the season. So, as Simon said after Chris Richardson opened the show, now the competition can really begin. We all have our personal favorites and those we'd rather see doomed to careers on Disney Cruise Lines, but I don't think there's anyone in the top 6 that doesn't deserve to be there. Each has a style, each a musical niche they could occupy as a recording artist. Pop balladeer Jordin. Country Phil. Beat-Box Blake. R&B Soulstresses Melinda and LaKisha. And, of course Timber-lite.

But before the performances got underway, we were treated to another video montage from the hit series "Simon and Seacrest go to Africa" where they play with little black babies and gasp at all the poverty. Seacrest's trucker hats look ridiculous enough within L.A. city limits, so imagine what the background of a third-world shanty-town does for his headwear. The same goes for Simon's $200 man-boob hugging T-shirts. Later on in the show, we learn via another video montage that Simon recently made the *shocking* discovery that there are poor starving people in Los Angeles! And these poor starving people live only 20 minutes from his Beverly Hills home! There's this whole WORLD south of the 10 freeway that he had had yet to discover.

(All kidding and snarkiness aside, what they're doing here by using the American Idol name to help people who desperately need it is a wonderful thing...even though Seacrest's spray-on tan did seem to frighten a few of the malaria babies).

This week's theme was "songs that inspire." I guess they all took it to mean a good sort of inspiration. Not like, songs that inspire rage. Or lust. Or destruction. These were more of the sunny, hopeful, everything's-gonna-be-alright-kum-by-yah variety. Booooo. I guess it can't be up-tempo fun week with all the photo montages of starving children, riiiight?

Chris Richardson: "Change the World"

Chris is the weakest remaining male vocalist. That said, this performance didn't offend me nearly as much as his past efforts. Wanna know why? For once, he didn't sing the entire song through his fucking nose! I thought the outfit worked both for him and the theme-- a hip, relaxed take on the traditional suit-and-tie. But let's keep it real here, dawg. Could I listen to an entire pop album from this guy? Only on a prop bet. But could millions of Middle American mall-loving text-messaging Contempo Casuals-wearing teenage girls? Yeah, I guess. Sort of par for the course when it comes to America's deteriorating taste in pop culture.

Melinda Doolittle: "There Will Come a Day"

This performance had power, control and emotion. Can't ask for more than that. I didn't even like the song that much (ewwww Faith Hill) but to hear her sing it STILL gave me chills. She took a cheesy country recording and put the indelible Melinda stamp on it. And though I never thought Melinda was faking it with her "surprised" look when praise was heaped upon her, I'm glad it has been replaced with a healthy dose of quiet confidence.

Blake Lewis: "Imagine"

SNOOZE-FEST! This performance was stuck in third gear the whole way. No dynamics. No colors. He didn't put his "stamp" on it at all... that's what I was really expecting from him after playing it safe for a few weeks. Seriously, at this stage of the competition, why NOT beat-box "Imagine?" At least people would remember it the next day. I can appreciate what Simon referred to as "sincerity" but yeah... it just wasn't that special. That, and I wanted to turn down the collar on his blazer the entire time.

LaKisha Jones: "I Believe"

OK...LaKisha covers an Idol's signature song for the second week in a row? WTF? This was a terrible choice, and it could spell the end for her since both Timber-lite and Phil Stacey both had a good week. Seriously, does this girl listen to any other music besides shitty Top 40 from the last five years? The depth of song choices that are out there for a voice like hers is sick and she decides to try and sing Fantasia on the same stage where Fantasia herself sung this song only three years ago? Not to mention that the song itself sucks ass and it does nothing for her voice. Let this be a lesson to future contestants-- stay away from the Idol covers! They're incredibly difficult to separate from their original artists' televised births as pop stars. Paula was absolutely right for once. I fear the bottom two for LaKisha this week.

Phil Stacey: "The Change"

This was the best pure vocal we've ever heard from him start to finish. Phil needed to knock it out of the park this week to stay alive and I think he just might have done it. Phil knows he needs the votes, he's not stupid. And now, he has the support of Vote for the Worst, since their boy Sanjaya has moved off American Idol and onto the morning talk-show circuit. I hope that's enough to give our favorite bald tenor one more week in primetime.

Jordin Sparks: "You'll Never Walk Alone"

Jordin just threw it down and said-- "fuck Melinda, I'm winning this thing." Jordin's stock soared in the competition tonight with this showstopper. She emotionally connected with the music from start to finish, the vocal was impeccable and those high notes were simply chilling. Do you know how hard it is to belt to an F? Simon said it all with this remark-- "that song is about 60 years old. You could have a hit record with that." It's ON America, it's ON!! Jordin just may have won herself the competition with that performance. It reminded me of when Kelly Clarkson did "Natural Woman" and really separated herself from the rest of the pack. Give it up for the Rogers & Hammerstein, America!!

When it comes down to it, I think we're going to see a Melinda-Jordin finale. Both are knockout performers and both could make great records. But who is more marketable? Who is going to feel more at home on TRL and making music videos for a teenage audience? Who is going to sell more copies of Cosmo and Allure with their face on the cover? And who is going to sell concert tickets to white suburban teenagers? I think Jordin wins the marketability competition in a landslide. An attractive, relatable 17-year old girl with a Mariah Carey-esque voice is going to appeal to the Idol record-buying audience more than a 29-year old throwback to Gladys Knight, no matter how phenomenally talented she is.

On tomorrow night's 2-hour results show, get ready for "one of the biggest shocks we've ever had on American Idol." I think that can mean only one thing... Michael Jackson! Heeeeeeheeee heeee! How on EARTH did they convince him to leave the comforts of Bahrain? Will his children be in the audience, wearing shrouds?

And holy motherfucking shit... next week is BONO week?!

Here's where I'm at with our remaining Idol hopefuls:

This week's Performance Rankings (week of 4/24):

1. Jordin Sparks
2. Melinda Doolittle
3. Phil Stacey
4. Timber-lite
5. Beat-Box Blake
6. LaKisha Jones

Overall Rankings:

1. Jordin Sparks
2. Melinda Doolittle
3. LaKisha Jones
4. Phil Stacey
5. Beat-Box Blake
6. Timber-lite

In trouble: Phil Stacey, LaKisha Jones

Safe: Melinda Doolittle, Jordin Sparks

Will be voted off: I'm going LaKisha again. I think I marked her death a week too early.

Current Bodog odds on the remaining contestants:

Jordin Sparks: 1-1
Melinda Doolittle: 6-5
Blake Lewis: 9-2
LaKisha Jones: 9-1
Chris Richardson: 32-1
Phil Stacey: 45-1


(Potential Idol spoilers below. If you want to stay completely in the dark until tonight's results show, stop reading now!)

9:05 AM- Ooooh it's gonna be a squeaker! Dial Idol is predicting this morning that only Jordin is 100% safe, and the five remaining contestants are in a statistical tie, with Timber-lite bringing up the rear. Phil Stacey placed second in their tally, less than 1.5 percentage points over LaKisha, Beat-Box Blake, and Melinda. So tonight, we have over half the field vulnerable. These Dial Idol predictions sure aren't what they used to be...

7:53 PM- Usually, I hate that I'm on West Coast time and have to wait the extra three hours for Idol. It's why I haven't live-blogged the show all season, opting instead for recaps (because you'd all be asleep before we even got rolling here). But tonight, I'm so glad I spoiled myself and checked the results because after a 2-hour show that includes a celebrity rendition of "Stayin' Alive" NO ONE GOES HOME! Booooo! What a gyp! Two will be eliminated next week instead. Now I can save these two hours of my life and go play Pai Gow or something and just watch it back on TiVo when I get back to L.A.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Vegas By the Numbers

# of hours it took us to drive from Los Angeles to Victorville: 3

# of hours it took us to drive from Victorville to Las Vegas: 3

# of miles from Los Angeles to Victorville: 92

# of miles from Victorville to Las Vegas: 208

# of ounces of steak I consumed at the Palm on Friday night: 14

# of dollars I won at $6-$12 limit hold'em at the Mirage this weekend: 202

# of minutes it takes to walk from our hotel room to the Mirage poker room: 12

# of dollars wagered at Pai Gow since arriving in Las Vegas: 0

# of meals eaten inside the Imperial Palace: 4

# of meals eaten at the Mirage Cafe: 2

# of months pregnant J.J. Liu appears to be: 6

# of ABBA references in the PokerNews WPT Championships coverage: 1

# of porn slappers inhabiting the slice of sidewalk in front of Harrah's: 4-6

# of pairs of shoes I tried on in the Forum Shops at Caesar's : 5

# of pairs of shoes I purchased in the Forum Shops at Caesar's : 0

# of times Pauly has been recognized by a fan since arriving in Las Vegas: 6

# of times Showcase called to let me know he saw Ryan Seacrest hiking in Runyon Canyon Sunday morning: 2

# of purses Liz Lieu owns: over 100

# of pairs of Jimmy Choos Kristy Gazes owns: over 300

# of pairs of shoes I brought with me to Las Vegas: 6

# of hours before I have to get up and look at a sublet for the WSOP: 8

For more stories (of the non-numerical variety) from Vegas, check out Taking a Cue from Anna Wroblewski over on my PokerWorks blog.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Take a Hit and Pass it On...

I would like to wish everyone out there a very happy and healthy 4/20. After blazing a little Chem Dawg for wake & bake, everyone's favorite internet doctor and I are about to pack up the car and head up I-15 to Las Vegas, where we'll be hunkered down for 2+ weeks covering the WPT Championships at Bellagio and the WSOP Circuit Event at Caesar's Palace for along with Schecky, Amy, the Poker Shrink, Shronk, Tiffany, and BJ Nemeth.

Aside from the Chem Dawg, we have a number of fine strains with which to celebrate the holiday, including Af Goo, Sour Diesel, Silver Kush, and Granddaddy Purple. In the words of Rachael Ray, "Yum-O!"

Catch you all later from Vegas and have a groovy day!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The End of Sanjaya and the Banana Republic Ass-Grab

Ryan Seacrest's announcement of which American Idol contestant has been voted off is usually met with at least a few "awwws" and "booooos" from the audience. Last night, as Sanjaya Malakar got the long-awaited boot, the audience erupted into squeals and cheers. Maybe that's what made the 17-year old hairdo wizard start to cry as his name was read and fellow contestant LaKisha Jones embraced him with a heavenward look as if to say "thank you, Jesus... I'll make a better song choice next week Jesus, I promise."

Though the Vote for the Worst folks must be in collective mourning today, their mission still lives on, as it is their policy to choose a new "worst" contestant when their "favorite" is voted off. Here are the current results of their poll to decide who should take Sanjaya's place:

1. Phil Stacey 48%
2. Chris Richardson 29%
3. LaKisha Jones 12%
4. Blake Lewis 9%

As long as Phil keeps performing like he did on Tuesday night, I say bring it!

* * * * *

Now, lest you think this is becoming purely an American Idol blog, let's talk about how Pauly got his ass grabbed by a homosexual retail salesperson yesterday afternoon.

In advance of his trip out here, Pauly let me know that he would need to spend a day shopping for some new clothes to take out to the WSOP this summer. This, of course thrilled me to no end, since I love shopping and am always there to lend a hand to guys who show a willingness toward fashion self-improvement. We struck out at Macy's in Century City and decided to hit the Grove, which boasts a Nordstrom's, an Abercrombie & Fitch, and large J.Crew and Banana Republic stores with plentiful selections.

First, we hit up J.Crew, where he found a graphic T-shirt and a polo that we could both agree on. The next stop was Banana Republic, where he wanted to check out their sportcoat selection. Though I have become at peace with the fact that Pauly does wear a certain blazer purchased at a certain discount superstore with a red and white logo, he decided all on his own, that it was time for an upgrade.

We were immediately met by Billy, a rotund, dark-haired salesperson who was so flaming we needed heat shields. Pauly shook his hand and he started us on a tour of every blazer sold in the Banana Republic men's department. The first one Pauly tried on was a no-go. "Too Norman Chad" he proclaimed. The second was a gray number that I could definitely live with. And the third was a lightweight black one with subtle stitching on the lapel that gave it a hip vibe. Billy held out the garment and Pauly slipped his arms into the sleeves.

"Ohhh. I like this on you. And if you wanted to take it in, we could do a little tuck here." Standing behind him, Billy ran both his hands down Pauly's sides. Pauly's jaw dropped and his eyes bugged out at me as I stood in front of both of them, cackling on the inside.

"OK, now button it. Yeah, that looks like it fits. Let me check the vent back here." The vent, as I was about to learn, was the flap thing on the bottom of the back of the jacket. As Billy "checked the vent" his hand grazed Pauly's ass.

Billy left us at the three-way mirror to give Pauly a moment to choose.

"Oh my God! That dude grabbed my ass!" he squealed.

We put the hip black jacket on hold in order to peruse the rest of our options before making a purchasing decision. Nothing at Nordstrom appealed to him, so we headed into our final stop, Abercrombie & Fitch. Recently remodeled and expanded to two floors, the store's interior was nearly pitch black save the floor to ceiling walls of back-lit shirts arranged in rainbow order. Club music thundered out of the speakers. It felt like Friday night on Santa Monica Blvd. Walking back outside, we squinted at the daylight, like two Vegas clubbers emerging into the 7 AM sun.

Pauly decided the hip black Banana blazer was the one, so we went back and got it. Though he spent twice as much as he had intended, he was as happy over an item of clothing as I've ever seen him. I think it's dead sexy. And totally worth the money.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

American Idol Wednesdays: Now We Know Phil Stacey!

So... I don't really like country music. Can't handle the twang factor. Sure I've delved into plenty of southern rock and rootsy sounds, even a little alt-country here and there, but the mainstream country radio sound is something that has never appealed to this Hollyweird blonde. Martina McBride, an artist that wholly exemplifies this genre I so loathe, mentored our Idols this week. As the show started I feared a total train wreck, as there isn't a single country singer in the bunch. That, and I had to weather the twang alone for 60 straight minutes while Pauly hid in my room writing.

If there's a headline for this week's episode, we should remember it as the one where we finally figured out what kind of singer the golden-voiced but "personality"-challenged Phil Stacey wants to be. Here's how our top 7 fared:

Phil Stacey: "Where the Black Top Ends"

Phil engaged the audience better than he ever has with this number originally performed by Nicole Kidman's just-out-of-rehab husband Keith Urban. It certainly showed off his voice well and Phil finally seemed to connect with the material he was performing. "Now I know Phil Stacey!" exclaimed Randy. Tell me something... where was Country Phil 8 weeks ago? If this is his genre, couldn't he have put a stylistic twist on some of his earlier song choices? Who knows. I loved what he did tonight, but I wish I wasn't so distracted by those bloody awful silver stripes on his black shirt. Uber-ghey.

Jordin Sparks: "Broken Wing"

Jordin has returned to the ballads after two weeks of tepidly received uptempos. This is clearly where she's the most skilled and comfortable. She has no problem showing off her voice and this song did it well. Jordin is blessed with presence enough to just stand there, sing, and command attention. Can the rest of the lot, excluding Melinda say the same? Someone must have bound and gagged whomever was putting her in those old lady outfits, because she showed much better styling choices this week. Loved the sari print dress and the hoop earrings. Simon told Jordin that he believes she can win. And so do I, if she keeps making solid choices like she did this week.

Sanjaya Malakar: "Something to Talk About"

OMG I totally didn't realize it was also gang bandana week!! Does red mean he's a Blood or a Crip? Let's set aside for a moment the fact that Sanjaya showed up at Country Week dressed like a member of Color Me Badd. This was perhaps the most hideous vocal he has turned out thus far. He had horrible phrasing and an even worse tone. Simon went to town on the curry-flavored crooner declaring the performance "as bad as anything we see at the beginning of American Idol.... a ridiculous choice of song." Seriously... what possessed this poor boy of questionable sexuailty and weak voice to cover perhaps the most overdone female pop-country tune out there? I have a feeling about this week for Sanjaya. Something tells me we might finally be rid of him and he'll be free to embark on the William Hung "15-minutes of fame over 5 years" tour.

LaKisha Jones: "Jesus Take the Wheel"

Interesting... is this the first time an Idol contestant has covered an Idol winner's song? Did some chick cover Kelly Clarkson last year? I don't remember. You're gonna have to help me out with that one. LaKisha started out well with her interpretation of the verse, but badly oversung the chorus. The high notes were just outside of where she's comfortable and came out juuuust a bit sharp. And what's with the nightmare prom dress they put her in? I think my mom bought that dress for me at South Coast Plaza before my 9th grade Christmas dance. LaKisha is fading here and it's a shame because she certainly has the voice to win it. If Sanjaya doesn't go, this could very well be her swan song.

Chris Richardson: "Mayberry"

Ughh. I'm never gonna like his voice, especially on a Rascal Flats song. So thin. So nasal. So whiny. I tuned most of it out AGAIN. Chris just can't hold my attention. Randy thought it was emotionless. That's right judges. You can't heap the "oh-my-God its so contemporary and fabulous praise" on this performance. He'll skate by again this week. Teenage girls love him. But tell me this, with rehearsals and shooting Ford commercials and learning choreography, where the hell does he find the time to date that girl from The Hills?

Melinda Doolittle: "Trouble is a Woman"

I forgot that Melinda was from Nashville. She can bring the country sound in a blues voice. Does it matter that I didn't like the song? That it was a twangy piece of shit? Melinda could sing a fucking polka at this point and I'd listen. For her, I thought it was solid but not standout. But for the competition, she's undeniably the one the rest are chasing. Only Jordin is nipping at her heels vocally, but doesn't share the momentum and popularity Melinda is enjoying at this stage of the competition. She'll continue to cruise to the finals.

Blake Lewis: "When the Stars Go Blue"

I guess it was an OK song for him. I've heard the Ryan Adams version of it before. It's nothing challenging or vocally thrilling. But the kid has this cool vibe everyone's digging. Everyone but me I suppose. I will say this for him. At least he carried off the argyle vest without looking like a total douchebag.

Here's where I'm at with our remaining Idol hopefuls:

This week's Performance Rankings (week of 4/17):

1. Jordin Sparks
2. Melinda Doolittle
3. Phil Stacey
4. LaKisha Jones
5. Beat-Box Blake
6. Timber-lite
7. Sanjaya Malakar

Overall Rankings:

1. Melinda Doolittle
2. Jordin Sparks
3. LaKisha Jones
4. Phil Stacey
5. Beat-Box Blake
6. Timber-lite
7. Sanjaya Malakar

In trouble: Sanjaya Malakar, LaKisha Jones

Safe: Melinda Doolittle, Beat-Box Blake, Timber-lite.

I really hope he gets votes because this was by far his best week: Phil Stacey

Will be voted off: God I hope it's Sanjaya but my gut's saying LaKisha!


2:38 PM - According to the Dial Idol-ers, it's gonna be a squeaker!! Could be LaKisha, could be Sanjaya (pleeeeeease!) could be Beat-Box Blake? Interestingly, their numbers show a surge for Phil Stacey, who is the only contestant they're proclaiming to be "safe" this week as well as for Jordin Sparks (weeee!). We'll know for sure in only a few hours... Pauly and I were just driving back from the Grove and saw the audience lining up for the results show.

7:18 PM - America won't have Sanjaya Malakar to kick around anymore!! Pauly gave me 2-1 that Sanjaya would bite it this week and I foolishly took the bet. Now I owe him $40! Boooooo! I can't pick for shit when it come to who gets kicked off (am I 2-4 now?). But at least our long national nightmare is finally over and the competition can really begin.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Lease

Of all the things to break on my car, it was the driver's side window that put me over the edge. One morning, toward the end of Pauly's last L.A. visit, I tried to roll it down and it just wouldn't budge. Thankfully, the A/C still works, so there weren't any heat issues, but do you know how utterly embarrassing it is to roll into the drive-thru at In-N-Out Burger or whatever and have to open the door to order and then open it again to pay and collect the food?

My green 1993 Saturn wasn't going to make it through another summer hauling through the desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Getting a rental just for the WSOP would be senselessly expensive, so I decided to make the leap and get a two-year lease on a new car. Getting almost 8 years of heavy-traffic use out of the green machine was no less than miraculous, not to mention the three accidents and half a dozen breakdowns it had survived including the infamous "fire on the freeway" incident of 2005 and the "smoking, exploding radiator" ballet in the parking lot of the Rio last July.

I would be getting a new car. The first new car of my life. And I'd get to shop for it. I love shopping.

The good thing about driving a lot of rental cars over the last year is that I'd already significantly narrowed my list of vehicles. No Corollas. They felt so flimsy on the freeway. No Accords. The one Pauly rented last summer was sleek and powerful, but there was no way I needed that much car. And they get stolen a lot in L.A. County. Nothing resembling an SUV. I just watched An Inconvenient Truth. The new Saturn Ions were cute and had good lease terms, but did I really want to go Saturn again when I had so many other choices? After much research and a couple of test drives, I decided that the Honda Civic was the one Cute, nimble, a no-brainer to drive and fantastic gas mileage.

I did the whole "quote over the internet" thing and headed over to a Honda dealership on Washington Blvd. armed with my research.

I guess the first bad sign was when the woman I'd been communicating with over e-mail elected to finish her lunch instead of try to sell me a car. She handed me off to a guy who had only been working there for 2 weeks. He was Jamaican and his name was Hope. He loved to play the slots at Pechanga and once won a $30,000 jackpot. I took another test drive and afterwards we talked over terms. I told him what I was looking to put down and what I wanted to pay per month and that I wanted a 24 month lease. He said they could easily accomodate my price range. I said I wasn't going to sign anything today, but that I'd think about it and call him in a couple of days.

CUT TO: Two days later.

I was ready to sign the papers when I noticed that the lease that was outlined for me was for 36 months.

"This says 36 months. I want 24."

"You want 24?"

"At what point in any of our conversations did I ever mention anything other than a 24 month lease?"


"At what point in any of our e-mails did I ever mention anything other than a 24 month lease?"


"'Never' would be the answer you're struggling for. Yet, this lease says 36 months."

"OK let me see that..."

"What, did you think I wasn't going to read it?"

"Ma'am, I apologize... but this is the lease special we're offering."

"I'm aware of the special. I specifically mentioned the first time you offered me the special that I liked the terms of the special, but wanted a shorter lease term."

"Well, we can't do 24 months. That's a terrible lease."

"I don't care if you think it's a terrible lease. It's the lease I want. And it's the lease you told me I could have. And now you're trying to trick me into something I didn't agree to."

"No one is trying to trick you."

"Well I beg to differ."

He started scribbling frantically and jabbing the buttons on an oversized calculator. "At 24 months your payment is going to be more like 299."

"OK, let's rewind here for a moment just to be clear. I walked onto the lot, shook your hand and asked to test drive a Civic. We tooled around Culver City for a few minutes and you gave me the spiel. I told you I was looking for a 24 month lease, putting $x,xxx down and wanting payments to shake out to around 200 a month. You said 'we can do that.' I said, 'OK, cool. Let's run the numbers. We ran them. It looked like what I was shooting for. I said 'OK let me think about it and come back tomorrow or Saturday.' And now I'm back. And this doesn't resemble anything we talked about."

"Now, if you wanted to go for the Accord SE-V6, I could give you a 24 month lease with $x,xxx down and it would be $210 a month. Now, isn't that exactly what you're looking for? And you get a much better car. How does that sound?"

"How is it that you can give me a better deal on a $25,000 car than a $17,000 car?"

"Well, that's the special we're running..."

"The special, the special...what good does the special do me when I'm going to have to pay over 50% more to insure that car? And what the hell do I need a V-6 for? Sitting on the 405?"

"It's not going to be 50% more to insure an Accord I guarantee you."

"6-month premium on a Civic. $877. 6-month premium on an Accord SE-V6. $1,486. It's actually 59%. I did my homework. I know you have a harder time moving the Accords than the Civics. Everyone wants a freakin' Civic. I wanted one too. But you don't seem to want to work with me here, so I think it's time for me to shake your hand and go."

"Look, don't leave angry. Let me get my manager and we'll all sit down and work this out."

"Your manager was more interested in eating a sandwich last time instead of meeting me. I think I'm done being 'sold.'"

I got back into my dusty green machine and sat there for a minute before driving off the lot. Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck fuck. I was back to square one. Goddamn lying scumbag car salesman putting me on tilt.

I called my sister Mandy when I got home and told her what happened.

"Dude... car salesman are always sketchy with women. They think we don't get it."

"Well Honda's off the table now and that was my first choice car. "

"Honda's not off the table. Just try another dealer. And you should try Mazda too. We're driving them on the show and they're pretty nice." (Mandy, all 5'3 of her, is a camera operator on a reality TV show)

I took Mandy's advice and went to another Honda dealer down by LAX the next day. Went through the motions again, got to the negotiating stage. First they gave me shit about wanting a 24 month lease. Then they gave me shit about the payments. Then they gave me shit about my credit and claimed I wouldn't even qualify to lease, but that I could still buy.

As Showcase would say, what a goddamn joke.

I pulled up the Mazda website when I got home. There was a lease special going that almost exactly fit what I was looking for. They were offering a Mazda3 "iSport" for a 24 month lease at $x,xxx down and payments of $189/mo. It must be too good to be true. Then I scrolled through the options on the car and discovered that the "iSport" did not come with air conditioning.

It's always something, isn't it? Never, ever trust the "specials."

The slightly more expensive "iTouring" model came with A/C along with power windows and locks and remote keyless entry and a CD player. I used their little online lease calculator to see if that package fit my price range. According to the computer's math, it did.

The closest Mazda dealer wasn't really all that close-- an 18 mile haul up the 405 to Panorama City in the north end of the San Fernando Valley. I was met by a rotund Latino gentleman in the parking lot. His name was Derek. After proclaiming that his dealership was the largest in the western United States, he gave me the grand tour of the Mazda3 and asked me what color I was looking for.


"What's your second choice color?"

"I don't have a second choice color. The largest dealership in the western United States has to have at least one black one, right?" I smiled sweetly.

We took a quick test drive including a few miles on the freeway. I loved the feel of the car and it was even more comfortable than the Civic. And it had the all-important auxillary jack where you can plug in an iPod.

Back in Derek's office, we ran the numbers. And once again, the payment (307) came out to nowhere NEAR where the handy-dandy internet lease calculator had estimated it to be (209!!) Once again, I was totally ready to die. But without question, this was the car for me and I was determined to work this out.

To make what's becoming a very long story short, I sat in there with him for the next 90 minutes and negotiated that number from 307 down to 235. I found a whole lot of bells and whistles he was trying to include in the price (do I need alloy wheels?) and I stripped them away, still emerging with power windows, power locks and side curtain airbags. I even got him to track down a black one at another dealership in Santa Clarita. He was probably ready to string me up by the time we arrived at a deal, but I got exactly what I wanted.

Annnnnnd.... here she is! Isn't she purty? She's mine for the next 2 years. And all the windows open and close... at the touch of a button.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

American Idol Wednesdays: J.Lo Week!

OMG it's J.Lo week! What do you think is the over-under on her appearance fee?

As this week's Idol drew to a close, Showcase offered a great theory about why this was such a weak episode. "Latin songs not sung by actual Latinos are always going to sound like karaoke. I mean, I heard shit like this on the Spirit of New York."

I have to concur, especially having worked on said cruise ship back when I was a 20-year old music theatre student. Tonight, I was having flashbacks every other song to being on that boat, lapping around Manhattan, keeping large parties of corporate douchebags waist deep in Corona and chardonnay and pounding a glass or two myself before having to get onstage and try to
remember all the choreography to various Gloria Estefan tunes.

But I digress... how did our Idols fare?

Melinda Doolittle: "Sway"

J.Lo wanted Melinda to bring sexy back. And she decides to rock the little black dress and pearls topped off with a curly wig? On Latin night? "She looks like a GRANDMOTHER" spat Showcase.

This was the first performance where I was a little bored by Melinda. It was very cruise ship. Very open mic night at Don't Tell Mama's. Even Simon, who last week wondered if he would ever have any critisicm for the until-now flawless Melinda, had harsh words to offer.

"Well it had to happen, Melinda. I didn't like it. You appeared much much older than you are, it was very lounge/cabaret."

I have to agree with Cowell, but give the girl a break. This performance was her one misstep thus far in the competition.

LaKisha Jones: "Conga"

Showcase thought "This girl BROUGHT it tonight!" I loved the outfit for the occasion. The long halter-dress silhouette works very well for her body. Though the performance had some personality and more or less entertained me for its duration, I was still left wanting more from her. Where's the girl that blew us away with "I am Telling You" and "Midnight Train to Georgia" and made it look like she wasn't even trying that hard? Those early performances of hers gave me chills. Though Showcase was shocked the judges declared it to be a "safe" choice, I agreed with them in the sense that she picked a fun, popular song without a terribly rangy vocal that was sure to engage an audience. It was a performance that had all the potential to be great, but fell just short.

Chris Richardson: "Smooth"

I don't know what it is about this guy, but hate his voice more and more every time I hear him. I just don't dig it. I hate this song too. It seems like every week I take bong hits and gab with Showcase during Chris' performances. He just doesn't engage me. And this word "contemporary" that is continually bandied about around him? What is so fucking original about a Timber-clone? Open your eyes, people and gawk at the resemblance like everyone else has been doing for the last three months.

Haley Scarnato: "Turn the Beat Around"

This is a very difficult song across the board-- tempo, rhythm, syncopation, lyrics, and a relentless melody that can sit in a tricky spot in a woman's chest voice. I'm VERY surprised Haley went for it because it's so easy to screw this one up. But who was listening to her sing anyway? The shorts are BACK, they are BLACK and paired with a see-through zebra print halter and black stilettos (naturally).

Elevating this song above cheeseball karaoke crap would require a vocal Haley isn't capable of and an utter FORCE of personality to sell it in an original way. Not exaclty the best choice for a milquetoast wedding singer with a mediocre voice. I'm with Randy-- it was something you might find at any bar in America. But she'll get through to next week since she dressed like a hooker again. Props to Simon for addressing the slutty slutty outfits head-on and alerting America that, hello! She doesn't have the voice to compete at this stage of the competition and is completely relying on her looks for votes. I think I want her gone more than Sanjaya.

Phil Stacey: "Maria Maria"

Phil went with the newsboy hat again. I like it. I think it's cute. And I certainly prefer the hat to the glare of 50,000 watts reflecting off his head. This was another great vocal from Phil with absolutely no spark. Yet again, he made another borrrrrring song choice. He got "lifeless" and "flat" again from Simon. No goot. I think Phil will be paying a visit to the bottom three again.

Jordin Sparks: "The Rhythm is Gonna Get You"

OK..of all the tops in the world she picks some bizzare beige wrap blouse-slash-cropped trench coat thing? For the love of all that is holy, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE fire whomever is dressing this beautiful girl in such hideous outfits! Why isn't she in some fabulous print dress and strappy heels for Latin Night? She should start stealing LaKisha's clothes.

As for her performance, Showcase quipped "It's the SNOOZE CRUISE. This is what I'd hear before dinner on the Lido Deck." I'm with him on this one. She might have the best voice in the competition, but she hasn't hit the bar she set for herself three weeks ago with that stunning performance of "I Who Have Nothing."

Blake Lewis: "I Need to Know"

Randy thought it was the best song choice by a performer that night and it was definitely one of Blake's stronger efforts. I never thought I'd miss the beat-boxing but I do. Still, I don't know why the judges are so in love with this one. He's all right, but never makes me sit up and really watch him. Have they just decided that he's the non-diva they're all getting behind this season? The Melinda/LaKisha/Jordin alternative?

Sanjaya Malakar: "Besame Mucho"

J.Lo liked his song choice and... WAIT A MINUTE, IS THAT A FAKE 'STACHE?! IS THAT MELINDA'S WIG? DOES THAT T-SHIRT HAVE UNICORNS ON IT?!? This was actually one of Sanjaya's better vocals. Which is not saying much. It's probably because the song was in a foreign language. Everything sounds better in a foreign language.

Simon had this to offer: "I couldn't understand a word of it, you sang like a 14-year old, and, I'm going to hate myself for this, it wasn't horrible." I unfortunately have to agree given the bad karaoke turned out by most of the other contestants. At least for this week, Viva la Sanjaya!

All right let's rank 'em up. Here's where I'm at with our eight remaining contestants:

This week's Performance Rankings (week of 4/10):

1. LaKisha Jones
2. Beat-Box Blake
3. Jordin Sparks
4. Melinda Doolittle
5. Phil Stacey
6. Timber-lite
7. Sanjaya Malakar
8. Haley Scarnato

Overall Rankings:

1. Melinda Doolittle
2. LaKisha Jones
3. Jordin Sparks
4. Beat-Box Blake
5. Phil Stacey
6. Timber-lite
7. Sanjaya Malakar
8. Haley Scarnato

In trouble: Phil Stacey, Haley Scarnato, Jordin Sparks

Safe: Melinda Doolittle, LaKisha Jones, Beat-Box Blake, Timber-lite.

Fuck if I know: Sanjaya Malakar

Will be voted off: Betting with Haley's legs has worked for the last few weeks, so let's press it one more and go with Phil Stacey again.


(Potential Idol spoilers below... if you want to stay completely in the dark until tonight's results show, stop reading!)

9:30 AM: Uh-oh. The Dial Idol predictions do NOT look good. LaKisha and Jordin are tied at the bottom, and the only contestant they declare to be safe is Beat-Box Blake. It could be a seriously ugly night. I knew the old lady trench coat wrap shirt thing wasn't gonna do Jordin any favors.

7:48 PM: For once, America got it right. Haley and her lovely legs were sent packing. Over under on number of months before her inevitable Stuff and Maxim spreads?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Falsettoland Freeroll and April Truckin'

I had no idea so many of you were closet theatre fags. I was expecting one reply to my little trivia question, perhaps from Grubby since he knows more than a little about musicals, but three? Thanks for getting your responses in however you could, even though I accidentally bumped into the "disallow new comments" button yesterday in a fit of Blogger-tilt. Bravo to all of you.

randomshow got it almost right, but confessed that he used Google to jog his memory. Tsk tsk! He also used the words "non-gay high school drama geek" in his email (yeah, that's what Showcase tells himself too). bayne_s gave that same answer, proclaiming his heterosexuality along the way as well. But pokertart gets the extra-special geek points for identifying Falsettoland as the original source of the quote. The 1981 off-Broadway musical Falsettoland, a sequel to 1979's March of the Falsettos is where we first met Dr. Charlotte and Cordelia, the "lesbians from next door." The two pieces were eventually combined for a 1992 Broadway run under the title Falsettos.

Since Falsettoland was the answer I was looking for here, pokertart is the winner! Shoot me an email at and we'll set up a time for our heads-up match. I didn't specify a game so you can choose, but if you pick razz I will find a way to hurt you.

Everyone's favorite internet doctor just put out one of the strongest issues of Truckin' I've read in some time. Do yourself a favor, check it out, and whip your way around the globe from Australia to Darfur to Oslo. If you read something you like, take 30 seconds and drop these writers a comment. Guarantee it'll make their day.

Truckin' - April 2007, Vol. 6, Issue 4

1. Flight of the Stripper by Paul McGuire
Just before the flight attendants closed the airplane doors, two extremely loud women with Fendi purses rushed in and sauntered down the aisles. One was a skinny black woman wearing oversized Chanel shades carrying a pink jacket. The buxom blonde wore a pink Juicy track suit and had the biggest and worst fake boob job I had seen since the days when I lived at the Redneck Riviera... More

2. Some Times by Sean Lovelace
My friend S____ is a huffer. Gasoline, Freon, silver spray paint, etc. If you were to believe what you read, what the medical professionals say, my friend will eventually suffer marked atrophy of the brain, and has about a three in five chance of living to age twenty-five... More

3. Earning Hazzard Pay by Matt Siller
I spent the night in a restless sleep, every noise sounding like the pop pop AK47 gunfire, loud then faint. My guess is that's probably what it was. As long as there were no explosions, I'm okay with distant gunfire - that's nothing new to this area. Most of it is liquored or 'gack'ed up troops firing into the air in the wee hours of the morning... More

4. Petite by Sigge S. Amdal
These girls, they were nice and all, but they couldn't have been more than seventeen. They have this puppy quality to their skin, and their eyes reflect the streetlights. Looking seventeen, they were probably around fifteen, sixteen maybe, making it a no-no for me. Too much emotion... More

5. The Night 911 Failed to Ring by May B. Yesno
The logical individual to approach would be the Sheriff. This individual, however, is a first water Bigot and an out right Chauvinist who has been in a position of some little authority far too long... More

6. Sure, My Name is Dave by Paul D. Lane
Oh well, I thought to myself, I made it through the Gulf war; I can make it through this crap. The Marines go on these deployments for six months at a time. The mission was we go around on ship for six months and hope we don't see much action... More

7. Flush by Mike Wenner
Somewhere in the middle of dinner, John's queasy feeling subsided when he let out a huge fart. He felt it coming and tried to contain himself as best he could so not to embarrass himself since a loud fart at the wrong time isn't always funny. But as you know, a loud fart in certain circumstances can be downright hysterical... More

And how excited is everyone for American Idol tonight?!


Friday, April 06, 2007

Aaron Sorkin to Write Flaming Lips Musical, Hollywood Stoners and Reality TV Prop Bets: The Friday Media Roundup

Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Aaron Sorkin will pen an adaptation of the Flaming Lips' 2002 album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots for the Broadway stage. Des McAnuff, who recently directed the new Sorkin play The Farnsworth Invention at the LaJolla Playhouse will helm the production. A premiere is likely years off.

This is not some headline I dreamed up in a drug-induced haze. Really.

According to Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, Sorkin got hooked on the idea just recently, when he listened to the Yoshimi album while driving from San Diego to Los Angeles. He signed onto the project the next day.

No plot details are available yet, but Coyne had this to say about the album's story:

'There's the real world and then there's this fantastical world,'' explains Coyne. ''This girl, the Yoshimi character, is dying of something. And these two guys are battling to come visit her in the hospital. And as one of the boyfriends envisions trying to save the girl, he enters this other dimension where Yoshimi is this Japanese warrior and the pink robots are an incarnation of her disease. It's almost like the disease has to win in order for her soul to survive. Or something like that.''
Little Japanese girls fighting robots that exist in her suboncious as a metaphoric manifestation of her disease? Pass the 'shrooms, Aaron...

Speaking of Hollywood potheads, check out this photographic tribute to A-list tokers including Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and the original Idol, Kelly Clarkson. And this story claims that Luke Perry has turned to dealing weed since his post-90210 career has dried up. I thought I had bought drugs from every C-list wannabe from La Cienega to Highland. Guess I missed one!

We all know by now that Keith Richards may or may not have snorted his dad's ashes with a little blow. But did you know how big a brick Disney's spin-masters are shitting over it since Richards was supposed to be trotted out to junkets and premieres only a few weeks from now to promote Pirates of the Carribean 3?

I love surfing through Bodog's TV and Film Props. Back at my old job, I used to occasionally book action from my interns on these wagers. This week, I'm liking these three lines:

Ian Ziering to win "Dancing With the Stars": He has a real shot at it and I think the line is a bargain at 5-1.

American Idol 6 winner to be UNDER 24: If you're a Jordin Sparks fan and see her pulling through to the finals, I'd think about this one at +375.

Rosie O'Donnell WILL NOT leave "The View" in 2007: I think she'll last at least the rest of the year the way that show's ratings are climbing. A no-brainer at +150.

The line on "Sanjaya to finish in the American Idol top 5" looked better a few days ago, now it's essentially a pick'em.

In other Sanjaya-related news, he was offered a lifetime supply of KFC to sport a bowl cut on an episode of American Idol and that idiot on MySpace finally stopped starving herself. And Showcase's whole theory about all the outsourced Indian call-center employees robo-voting for Sanjaya has now been officially debunked.

Finally there's some quality scripted television to be found this weekend with the return of The Sopranos and Entourage! Though I vividly remember where we left off with Vince and the boys (they fired Ari) I can't for the life of me remember what was going on last season on The Sopranos (except for gay Vito and Johnnycakes. I love you Johnnycakes!). Thank God for HBO On Demand.

Enjoy your weekends, people. And for those who believe in the whole Jesus thing, Happy Easter. I'll probably be spending Sunday at my parents' house eating Honeybaked Ham and avoiding church attendance as my father sighs at my lapsed Catholicism.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

American Idol Wednesdays: Tony Bennett Hearts Sanjaya and Week 3 of Haley Leg-Watch

It's Tony Bennett week, Idol fans! With only 9 pop star wannabes remaining, the show has shrunk back down to one hour from the 120-minute marathons we've had for the last couple of weeks. Tony Bennett's guest appearance meant that the Idols would have free reign of the "Great American Songbook" of jazz, swing, and standards. In terms of vulnerable contestants, hot pants fan Haley Scarnato and bald wonder Phil Stacey needed to pull out all the stops in their performances last night, and Gina Glocksen had to turn out another consistent effort in order to maintain her momentum from last week.

So, how did they do?

Blake Lewis: "Mack the Knife"

Can one beat-box to Mack the Knife? Thankfully we'll never find out, as Blake left the sound effects at home for his second consecutive performance. I think this was one of Blake's better vocals. I dug the cool jazzy vibe but still felt a disconnect between him and the song he was singing. He had all the little quirky choreographed moments and winks and little dance steps down, but there was very little storytelling. A good effort from him I guess, but he's still nowhere near the top of my list. Next!

Phil Stacey: "Night and Day"

Phil is the best male vocalist left and I desperately want him to pick a good song for once. Well, it didn't happen again this week. Though it showed off his range and gave us a few good high notes, "Night and Day" has SUCH a plodding melody and tempo both of which were exacerbated thanks to his delivery. This wasn't a fun performance and Phil really needs to let out more of his personality... if he lasts another week. I just don't get who this guy is or what kind of singer he wants to be. Though he does have a helluva vocal instrument to work with. I think he's this week's most vulnerable contestant.

Melinda Doolittle: "I Got Rhythm"

"You like me, you really like me!" I love this girl. Like the judges, I can't find anything wrong with her because she just keeps knocking it out week after week. Her performance had life and spark and pizzaz. Kind of the anti-Phil. She has lapped the competition and can cruise to the finals. And that ending? Chills. Who could ask for anything more?

Chris Richardson: "Don't Get Around Much Anymore"

Ohhhhh I'm so scared... Timber-lite's voice couldn't be worse suited to this genre. And I'm so sick of those Ashton Kutcher hipster fedoras. Look, it wasn't his worst vocal but I found myself listening to the band's horn section over his nasaly belt. The judges are on crack when it comes to Timber-lite. "True artistic integrity?" "Too hip and cool?" Tell me, what part of suspenders hanging around someone's ass is hip and cool? I just don't get it. AND HE SINGS THROUGH HIS NOSE! GET A VOCAL COACH!

Jordin Sparks: "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever"

Jordin takes on Barbra! You knew that was inevitable. But really, couldn't she have found better song in this genre? Something with a stronger melodic line? I hated Jordin's styling choices again as well. Seriously, someone please shit-can whomever is dressing this girl. I mean, the second I saw the outfit, I knew Simon was going to say "cabaret." Well, he didn't say end up saying "cabaret," going instead for the dreaded "old fashioned." I bet that comment could have been prevented with a different outfit because again, poor styling and song choices overshadowed a nearly flawless vocal! She was in the league of a young Streisand when she hit those money notes at the end, I just wish I wasn't focused on that horrid halter vest over the white shirt. Put her in a cute dress and boots and you have a whole different vibe.

Gina Glocksen: "Smile"

I think Gina made a big mistake this week in going with another ballad. The Pretenders song worked last week because it was a different direction for her while remaining true to her rocker roots. Coming out with "Smile" the very next week and sitting on a stool and singing a sweet little standard isn't a move that's going to win her any new votes. She has that big voice, why not put her stamp on something brassy and up-tempo? Remember what Kelly Clarkson did with "Stuff Like That There?" This was a big missed opportunity for Gina. And I was completely distracted by the silver eyeshadow. I like Gina's voice, I like her style (most of the time) but it's obvious the clock is ticking for her. She's got maybe 2-3 weeks more to make a star turn or she's just going to disappear next to Jordin , LaKisha and Melinda's big voices.

Sanjaya Malakar: "Dancing Cheek to Cheek"

Tony Bennett hearts Sanjaya. Yeah, the boy wonder is safe for another week. Actually, I thought this was a personal best for our little friend. He may have been on pitch a whole 20% of the time. I so love how everyone talks about his "charm" and how he's an "entertainer" since they can't find anything else nice to say about his singing anymore. And after his "welcome to the universe of SANJAYA!" comment to Simon, it's possible that Sanjaya may be in on his own joke at this point. And a joke it is.

Haley Scarnato: "Ain't Misbehavin'"

Haley's legs were out in full force again, this time lovingly exposed courtesy of a (hideous) green sequin minidress. The leg thing is so ridiculous and blatant at this point that even Simon weighed in. This performance was pure Vegas. It was totally something you'd find in one of those lounges you pass in the Excalibur at 3 AM after losing $400 playing Pai Gow and some generic balladeer is singing a Madonna song while you slide your last $20 into the video poker machine at the bar in order to get that last free drink. Haley used to work as a wedding singer in her native San Antonio and you know what? That's exactly what she sounds like. A wedding singer. And there's nothing wrong with that. The world needs wedding singers. Sorry Haley, not everyone is meant to be a pop star. The other girls sing rings around you and your days are numbered. But you have a very pretty face and nice legs! Yeah, I'm sorry sweetie. I know that's not what you wanted to hear.

LaKisha Jones: "Stormy Weather"

What a perfect choice. This is what I talk about when I say "star-making performance." That's what makes people vote. LaKisha tore it up and looked fabulous in the process. Loved the lace halter dress. Loved the passionate delivery. Loved the way she phrased the ending. Can't wait to see what she pulls out next week.

Here's where I'm at with our remaining Idol hopefuls:

This week's Performance Rankings (week of 4/3):

1. Melinda Doolittle
2. LaKisha Jones
3. Jordin Sparks
4. Beat-Box Blake
5. Gina Glocksen
6. Phil Stacey
7. Timber-lite
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Sanjaya Malakar

Overall Rankings:

1. Melinda Doolittle
2. LaKisha Jones
Jordin Sparks
4. Gina Glocksen
5. Phil Stacey
6. Beat-Box Blake
7. Timber-lite
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Sanjaya Malakar

In trouble: Phil Stacey, Haley Scarnato, Gina Glocksen

Safe: Melinda Doolittle, LaKisha Jones, Jordin Sparks, Timber-lite, Beat-Box Blake (there's your top 5, America. I guarantee ya.)

Who the fuck knows anymore: Sanjaya Malakar

Will be voted off: Phil Stacey


(Potential Idol spoilers below... if you want to stay completely in the dark until tonight's results show, stop reading!)

8:38 AM: Dial Idol doesn't give too clear a picture this morning of who will be voted out tonight. It's all too close to call. However, and this is a big shocker, they have 4 of the 5 remaining girls in a statistical tie at the bottom! If their stats are to be believed, Haley Scarnato, Gina Glocksen, LaKisha Jones, and Jordin Sparks are all vulnerable tonight. Melinda Doolittle sits predictably at the stop while a voting surge for Phil Stacey vaulted him into the #2 spot. Sanjaya, Beat-Box Blake and Timber-lite appear to be safe in the middle of the pack.

6:38 PM: The show just aired on the East Coast, I checked the results, and I'm not a happy camper. Gina Glocksen goes home tonight-- before Haley, before Timber-lite, and before SANJAYA. Sweet Jesus. I knew the ballad was a bad move. I'm down to 2-2 in top 12 predictions and seriously thinking beting Bodog's line on Sanjaya finishing in the Top 5. (Yes +110, No -150). More after I've actually seen the show. Tony Bennett was supposed to perform, StB but I'm hearing Michael Buble stepped in as a replacement.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ship It!

There's a new lucksack in town...

Special congrats to Gracie who rode her hometown Gators all the way to the end and finished 4th. Two ladies in the whoooole pool and we both cash! Hugs to Pauly as well on his runner-up finish (I can hear you all saying "rigged!") He was watching the game in a half-coma at 5 A.M. on his last night in Monte Carlo after live-blogging the final table of the EPT Grand Final all day.

After all this testosterone, I really need to watch Steve Sanders dance or something. (Showcase: "'Dancing with the Stars' is everything that's wrong about America!") Did you know that BoDog has a line on whether or not Heather Mills' fake leg will fall off during the course of the competition?

Good thing betting is closed, otherwise I might have had to let those NCAA winnings ride...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Is it Luck or is it Skill?

Until this year, I had never participated in a March Madness pool in my life.

And tonight, I might win one.

Win. As in first place. Out of 40 people, all of whom know infinitely more about basketball than I do.

I'm not a dumb blonde. Except in this case.

I read on Joe Speaker's blog that he took like, 2 hours to do his picks. Pauly worked on his all night in a fit of insomnia and number-crunching before turning them in. He factors in all sorts of crap like 3-point shooting and free throw percentages. Even if I had those sort of stats, I wouldn't know what to do with them.

I took about 10 minutes fill out my brackets. Mostly I picked the higher seeds over the lower ones, and threw in a few upsets by schools with funky names like "Oral Roberts." I also favored Big Ten schools since I went to one, and Pac-10 schools like my hometown favorite, UCLA.

Those upsets didn't work out so well for me. But the higher seed over the lower seed thing was pure genius!

Also, if I had known that teams wearing white jerseys would triumph over the teams wearing darker jerseys to the tune of 12-1 from the regional semi-finals onward, then I'd really have been in business. There's always next year...

So, bottom line. If Florida wins tonight, I will win the Pauly's Pub March Madness pool, besting the Dr. by only 10 measly points. If Ohio State wins, I will finish fourth and still cash, pushing Pauly into the bubble-boy spot and tilting him into oblivion.

After lucksacking my way to the top of the pack, I have to wonder.

Sports betting. Is it luck? Or is it skill?

I'll be sweating the game hard tonight, as it represents a monetary swing greater than every sports wager I've ever made (I've only made like 4 bets in my life so don't get too excited).

And, just as I was during the Florida-UCLA Final Four meeting, I'll be hearing Miami Don's voice in the back of my head screaming "call a foul on that homo!" every time Joakim Noah moves in to block a shot.

Wow. I actually know the name of one player!

To relive my March Madness trip to Las Vegas with Pauly, Derek, and Senor, check out these posts from my PokerWorks blog:

Live from Red Rock it's March Madness!
March Madness: Day 2
March Madness: Days 3-4