Wednesday, February 28, 2007

American Idol, Week 2: The Top 10 Girls

Okay, it’s the Top 10 girls this time, offering up dedications to the ones they love. Will they be as dominant and powerful as they were last week?

Gina Glocksen: She kicked off the evening with a Heart song dedicated to her longtime boyfriend (“my rock”). Blech. Her unfortunate red dress looked disturbingly like a full-body legwarmer. I thought she was sharp and nasal throughout the song, and I agree with Simon that her whole image is a bit confusing. I think she’s a rocker wannabe—a poser. A telling moment: when they showed a clip of her audition tape, she was wearing a flesh-colored shirt that made it appear as though she had some serious ink, but it was all smoke and mirrors. Sorry, but one frilly tattoo on her ankle does not make her “edgy.” She’s got more ego than talent, and that’s a problem.

Alaina Alexander: She’s certainly pretty and has nice Mariah Carey-esque hair, but let’s face it, her voice is as light and flyaway as an Olsen twin in a windstorm. Randy’s assessment that her song was “a mess” was 100% correct. I don’t think she’ll last another week.

LaKisha Jones: Dedicated her performance of Gladys Knight’s Midnight Train to Georgia to her grandma, a sweet old lady with a walker. I thought LaKisha looked great (if not a teensy bit trashy) in her denim mini skirt and leopard-print Candies, but she lacked the “I’m Not Goin’” confidence of last week’s showstopper. It wasn’t her best effort, but a solid performance nonetheless.

Melinda Dolittle: Hmmm....there’s no denying the girl can sing, but something about her didn’t ring true for me this week. She dedicated her performance to her “Gayles” (as in Oprah’s bff), aka, her stylist and her voice coach. It’s odd how she tries to come across as so humble and meek, and yet, she already has “people.” Her unfortunate blue pantsuit made her look older than she is, but she redeemed herself by singing the heck out of “Funny Valentine” and hitting some killer notes that I wished LaKisha had brought tonight. Still, I think the “aw shucks, you really like me?” modesty routine is put on.

Antonella Barba: Was I the only one who got a creepy, Angelina Jolie “I am SO in love with my brother right now” flashback when Antonella talked about how much she adores her brother Vincenzo? She said she picked a song this week that was more “her,” and proceeded to massacre Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me.” I know they only have about 90 seconds to show their stuff, but the truncated version of the song was too rushed and shaky, not to mention pitchy. When the judges called her out on it, she started rolling her eyes and mugging for the cameras, and even took a weak jab at Simon re: his being wrong about Jennifer Hudson. Talk about ego. Listen, Jersey Girl: I know Jen Hudson, Jen Hudson is a friend of mine, and you, my That’s-Totally-Not-Me-In-Those-Internet-Porn-Pics hoochie, are no Jen Hudson.

Jordin Sparks: I like this girl, and with a voice as strong as hers, it’s easy to forget she’s only 17 years old. She dedicated Christina Aguilera’s Reflection to her baby brother, and was barely able to contain her emotions as she sang. It was a tear jerker moment, for sure, but not a strong showing vocally. She had trouble with her lower register, but her big notes towards the end were spot on. She has an America Ferrara vibe about her that’s very endearing.

Stephanie Edwards: She chose a tough song (Dangerously in Love) and didn’t do a very good job of it. The beginning was all over the place, and even though she hit some big notes at the end, I think it was too little too late. The rifs and runs were too breathy and chaotic. As Randy put it, “You sang your face off, but it was just Aw-ight. It was like Beyonce Lite.” Strangely, Simon agreed with Paula (wtf?) and said it was terrific.

Leslie Hunt: She dedicated a smoky rendition of “It’s a New Day” to her grandpa, complete with a scat ending that seemed awkward and out of place on such a wholesome-looking gal. It wasn’t a bad performance, just unmemorable. Simon’s critique that Leslie’s nonsensical runs were reminiscent of Paula’s unintelligible comments at the judge’s table were as mean as they were incisive. Ouch!

Haley Scarnato: She gets the award for the most unintentionally funny commentary of the evening. When she dedicated her performance to her fiancĂ© Bobby, she sadly revealed that he’s “not good with her being away.” I instantly pictured poor, dejected Bobby, sitting at home forlorn and confused, surrounded by stacks of dirty dishes and grungy laundry. Her rendition of “Queen of the Night”—by far the worst song to come out of Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard soundtrack—was overzealous and, as Simon pointed out, “a little manic.”

Sabrina Sloan: Yet another Whitney Houston song, “He’s All the Man I Need,” dedicated to her glamorous 86-year-old Grammy. Great song choice, with lots of attention-getting big notes peppered throughout. Her final note was a bit off-key and pitchy, but it was drowned out by the premature applause, so I think she’ll sail through to the next round. If she’s smart, she’ll take Simon’s advice to heart: “Don’t confuse power with shouting.”

Tomorrow is the big results show. Who will go home? I’m betting Poser Gina and Painful Alaina will be packing their bags tomorrow night, with Annoying Antonella living to see another day.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

American Idol, Week 2: The Top 10 Guys

10 guys left, and this week, the contestants were asked to dedicate their performances to someone that inspires them. This opened the door for a series of sappy video clips from our contestants. So, how'd they do?

Phil Stacey: Sang a serviceable version of “Missing You” I have to agree with Simon, it was just a “good karaoke version” of the song. Nothing unique about it, but it wasn’t bad. He’s a likeable guy, a Navy vet...if only his hairdo didn’t remind me so much of Britney Spears.

Jared Cotter: Started out by promising his performance would be akin to “channeling Marvin Gaye.” In his video clip, he thanked his parents for inspiring him and encouraging him to pursue music. Aww, such a sweet boy...which made it all the more disconcerting when he proceeded to launch into “Let’s Get it On.” As for the judges’ feedback: oooh baby, drunk Paula is definitely back. Hooyah!

A.J. Tabaldo: Another one who dedicated his performance to his parents. Started out boring, but kicked it up a few notches at the end. Tepid praise from the judges might hurt him, though. (Randy: That was nice dude. Paula: Nice. You have a real real real real real good voice. Nice. Simon: You looked strangely comfortable.)

Sanjaya Malakar: Ugh, that ugly fedora makes him look like he’s channeling Mario Vazquez from last season. He looks like he’s having fun singing “Steppin’ Out,” but he’s singing it so softly I can barely hear him. Dude, you make Perry Como seem hyper. Not good. The judges agreed, using words like “weird” and “ghastly.” The eerie resemblance to Michael Jackson (messy pony tail, slight frame, unbuttoned shirt revealing ZERO chest hair) is SO not helping.

Chris Sligh: Wow, Chris is married to a hot blonde! Woulda guessed? Odd song choice. What possessed him to sing Trouble? It’s like you’re asking for it, dawg. He’s got a fine voice, and the song was definitely heartfelt, but I just don’t enjoy hearing romantic ballads from Jack Osborne 2.0.

Nick Pedro: Sang a version of Fever that was so mellow and middle-of-the-road, even his girlfriend in the audience looked unimpressed. Is it my imagination, or is the drummer getting more closeups than Nick? Ugh, and he just fizzled out on the ending instead of trying to save himself with a big finish.

Blake Lewis: Hate the hat sitting askew on his head. How adorable is his dad, though? Great song choice: Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity.” Hit some good notes, and added just a touch of the beat box, and ended by showcasing his great falsetto. Awesome! I totally disagree with Simon and (horrors!) find myself agreeing with tipsy Ms. Paula...he proved himself unique and original, and stood out from the crowd.

Brandon Rogers: Dedicated Cindy Lauper’s classic hit, “Time After Time”, to his dead grandmother. It’s a great song, but not the way he sang it. His voice was too insubstantial to pull it off. It had none of the grittiness and heart that made Lauper’s original so moving. I think he’s in serious danger of going home.

Chris Richardson: Oy, another one dedicating their performance to sweet old Gramma. Interesting how the entire audience (including Paula) knew to stand up from the very first strains of “Geek in the Pink”...there’s gotta be some serious audience coaching going on. I found his performance strained and sharp throughout, which made the high praise from Randy (“I’m loving you was better than the original”) totally inexplicable, and the raves from Simon (“Best tonight by a mile”) unexplainable. I watched it again just to be sure, and while it was an energetic performance, I still wasn't blown away.

Sundance Head: I love babies as much as the next person, but it was totally transparent the way he sought the sympathy vote by choking up with tears while talking about his 2 ½ month old son’s first smiles. His version of “Mustang Sally” was certainly fun and entertaining, but didn’t knock my socks off. Again, Randy and Paula gushed, but at least Simon offered him a bit of a reality check by saying, “You can do better.” I’m not so sure about that, but I suspect he’ll survive to see another week.

Hmm...well the guys did better than last week, but I still don't see nearly the same talent pool that we have in the Top 10 Girls. Be back tomorrow with a review of their performances, and again on Thursday with the results!

Oscars 2007

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Well, I'm finally recovered from yet another successful Oscar Bash! Each year I throw a big shindig for my closest buddies. We sit around in our PJs, drink Cosmos, and snack on an assortment of unhealthy foods, while watching the Red Carpet coverage and making snarky comments. Female bonding!


This year's party was the best yet. The swag bags were fabulous, and a great time was had by all. Maria won the Oscar Ballot contest with 14 correct predictions, so she took home the coveted Giant Chocolate Bunny prize. Ellen and Karin tied for second place with 12 correct predictions, and Vickie & I tied for last place with only 11 correct. Oh well, there's always next year.

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I was especially happy to see Al Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, take home a well-deserved Oscar. I was disappointed that Peter O'Toole didn't win (good Lord, he looked awful) but wasn't too broken up about Eddie Murphy's loss to Alan Arkin (my second choice).

I thought Ellen DeGeneres did a fine job as host, but they should fire the idiot in charge of pacing the show. Whose bright idea was it to hold all the big awards until the end? What a Snoozefest! At 11:42pm, they'd still only given out ONE acting award. Ridiculous!!

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As for Oscar Fashions, my pick for Best Dressed was Jada Pinkett Smith in a golden Carolina Herrera number. There were many well-dressed ladies there that night (Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet were two standouts), but I loved Jada's explanation that, one way or the other, she was making sure her husband Will would be going home with a "gold statuette."


Unfortunately, there were several stars who got it all wrong when it came to wardrobe. My pick for Worst dressed: a tie between the legendary Meryl Streep (adore her as an actress, but ick ick ick, she looked so frumpy) and her Devil Wears Prada co-star Anne Hathaway (ugh, ditch that big black butterfly bow that pointed directly to your rounded was like a neon sign saying, "Look everyone! It's that time of the month!") Other dishonorable mentions: Kelly Preston in a skanky leopard print dress (looked like it was straight off the discount rack from Mandees) and Nicole Kidman's high-necked red sheath with an enormous bow that looked like it could double as a cupholder.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

American Idol Results: Week 1

The votes are in, and it appears those folks at have influenced the results once again. How else to explain that Sundance and Antonella are both safe?

On tonight's show, we bid farewell to:

Rudy Cardenas: I totally called this one. What did I tell you about wearing a target on your shirt, dude!

Paul Kim: Yup, the barefoot thing was stupid. Buh-bye!

Amy Krebs: Nice girl, but totally forgettable. Blame the Antonella factor.

Nicole Trenquillo: A shame. Bad song choice + odd performance = early departure.

Anna Nicole Smith Hearing: What a Circus!

I just finished watching Judge Larry Siedlin award custody of Anna Nicole Smith's body to the attorney representing her infant daughter, Dannielynn.

I have NEVER seen anything like this. He broke down several times while reading his disposition paper, sobbing openly at one point. He could barely get the words out. Throughout the day, he often rambled and regaled the courtroom with pointless anecdotes, capping the day off by surprising everyone with the sudden announcement that he would be rendering a verdict by the end of today. I can only hope the judge in charge of getting the DNA samples to establish paternity is more focused and coherent. Sheesh. Poor Anna Nicole. Even in death, the events surrounding her are a circus.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

American Idol: Top 12 Girls, Week 1 Recap

Stephanie Edwards: The first one this season to win Paula’s coveted, “You’re a Star!” moniker. Reminds me of LaToya London a little.

Amy Krebs: Is this the 37th rendition we’ve heard of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” on this show? Her voice was all over the place, and the song was too big for her.

Leslie Hunt: Way too many cutesy Rachel Ray type facial expressions. A totally forgettable performance. Randy was right...too much song for her voice.

Sabrina Sloan: I’m going to have rewind and watch this one again, because I thought she was sharp throughout the whole performance. And yet, Randy inexplicably called her “the one to beat” and she got a standing ovation from Paula. What the heck?

Antonella Barba: Uh, yeah, let’s blame it on being nervous, and not on all of those skanky pictures of her floating around on the internet today. She reminded me another American Idol alum, Carmen Rasmussen, the “goat yodeling” girl from a few seasons ago. She was shaky and stiff throughout the performance, and looked a lot like Ugly Betty’s trashy older sister.

Jordin Sparks: Finally, someone makes a good song choice. The performance started out smoky and sultry, and then she kicked it up a notch and really knocked it out of the park. Best performance of the night so far, and yet the judges gave her only mediocre praise. WTF?

Nicole Trenquillo: What an odd performance. She made strange, angry faces, and oversold the entire song. She came off as shrill and sharp throughout. Paula loved her, even though the song choice was all wrong and she sounded awful. M’kay.

Haley Scarnato: What do they put in the Kool-Aid they’re giving these girls that makes them think they can sing Celine Dion songs, or Aretha songs, or Stevie Wonder? And what’s with the satellite dish around her neck? Bland and boring.

Melinda Dolittle: Another one trying to sing Aretha tonight, but at least this girl can actually hit the notes. Melinda has a very good voice, and I’m glad she doesn’t have the arrogant attitude some of the others have shown, but if she doesn’t get past this annoying “aw shucks” confidence problem, she’ll never build a fan base. She deserves to continue in the competition, she ought to start acting like it.

Alaina Alexander: Ugh...must we listen to another AI version of Brass in Pocket? She keeps singing about how special she is. I’m still not convinced. When even Paula agrees it sucked, you know you’re in danger of going home.

Gina Glocksen: Started out sounding like she was swallowing/slurring her words, but pulled it out when it got to the big notes. She sang the song “smart”....the big finish at the end is what everyone remembers. Now if only she’d ditch that bigtime attitude. Ick.

LaKisha Jones: WOW. She was awesome...BEST performance of the Top 24 so far. Loved the little shimmy she did while singing “you’re gonna love me” during the chorus. Also loved the camera pan up to the rest of the girls, half-heartedly applauding while throwing daggers with their eyes.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

American Idol: Top 12 Guys, Week 1 Recap

Here's my critique of the Top 12 Guys tonight, in the order they appeared on the show:

Rudy Cardenas: Eh, not bad, but not good, either. And, wearing a shirt with a target on the front is kinda asking for it, dude.

Brandon Rogers: I thought he did a good job performing the song, and he's cute. I did spy a teensy bit of the Constantine Maroulis smolder-at-the-camera towards the end. Ick!

Sundance Head: Sounded sharp the whole way through. This guy hasn't given a good performance since his first audition. Why is he still here? Buh-bye!

Paul Kim: The barefoot thing is so exceedingly stupid. THAT's your "hook"? Ugh. It would have helped if you hadn't sung the first and last 30 seconds of your song in a voice that only dogs can hear. And yet, Randy still sees "a lot promise" in him? WTF?? Even Paula could tell he was pitchy.

Chris Richardson: One of the best so far. Loved seeing his dad do the "white guy rhythm" dance in the audience. Wish he'd grow his hair out a bit more...if he wants to be the next Justin, he's gotta ditch the shaved-Britney look.

Nick Pedro: I fell asleep twice during his performance. Not a good sign.

Blake Lewis: Beat box guy. Wow, he can actually sing! Now if only he'd ditch the "Something About Mary" bangs, this kid could go places. Nice job.

Sanjaya Malakar: Started out a little boring, but I thought it got better as the song went on. I hope he gets through to the top 6 guys, if for no other reason than we can see what they do with his hair during Clairol Makeover Week.

Chris Sligh: I love this guy. Not only can he sing the heck out of any song, but so far, he's shown more personality in his pinky finger than the other 11 guys put together. If only he didn't look so much like Jack Osborne's before picture. It freaks me out a little.

ooh boy, and did he get in a really good jab at Simon re: Teletubbies and Il Divo. Excellent! Just for that, I'm actually going to pick up the phone tonight and vote.

Jared Cotter: A little bland. Was it me, or was all that finger counting reminiscent of Justin Timberlake's "D*** in a Box" SNL number? (Step 1: Cut a hole in a box....)

A.J. Tabaldo: He was energetic and sounded okay, but--like most of the guys this season--he does absolutely nothing for me. None of these guys seem to have an edge that sets them apart. They're interchangeable at this point.

Phil Stacey: The bald guy with the big ears who missed his daughter's birth. Started out a little flat and shaky, but kicked it up for the bridge and finished strong. His wife in the audience was rocking some new highlights, and looked darn good (and well rested) for a new mom! Smarmy Ryan stole my line about the "Britney look." Ugh.

Note to the American Idol "Powers That Be": The whole Ryan/Simon petty feud thing is getting old. They really need to come up with some other form of drama to punch up the show. Suggestion: start by not keeping such a close eye on what's in Paula's little red Coke was more fun when she made no sense.

Looking forward to critiquing the girls tomorrow!

Coming soon: Blades of Glory

Just caught the trailer for Will Ferrell's new movie, Blades of Glory, and I can't wait to see this one! It's about couple of male figure skaters with completely opposite personalities who tie for the gold medal. At the winner's podium, they get into an ugly brawl, are stripped of their medals, and banned from ever competing again in mens' figure skating. But then, they discover a loophole: the two can team up and compete as a pairs' figure skating team. Talk about an Odd Couple!

Have a look at the trailer and see for yourself:

Farewell Studio 60?

Last night's episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip may well be the last one for the troubled series. Aaron Sorkin's latest offering hasn't gotten stellar ratings, and is being put on hiatus indefinitely.

As a fan of Studio 60, I'm none too pleased about this latest development. The show that replaces it, The Black Donnelley's, looks like it's going to be The Sopranos meets The O.C. interest in watching it.

If NBC was smart, they'd switch Studio 60 to Sunday nights, and try filling the void left behind on that evening when Grey's Anatomy (on ABC drama) moved to Thursdays. Grey's used to a be a great, guilty pleasure on Sunday nights, and I've yet to find anything to replace it. Studio 60 would certainly fit the bill.

Rehab (Again) for Britney

Good luck to Britney Spears, who has reportedly entered rehab once again. I hope her kids are being well taken care of while she gets the help she needs.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Behind the Scenes at THE VIEW

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to be a member of the studio audience at The View. This was the second time I’d been there in that capacity. Both of my visits were an eye-opening experience, and not exactly what I’d expected they would be.

The first time was about 8 years ago, not long after Debbie Matenopolous (or, as my sister calls her, Debbie Snuffleupagus) got the boot. They were in the process of conducting on-air tryouts for various candidates, and the day I was there, Lisa Ling—the gal who ultimately got the job—was in the guest host seat. The big teaser that day was whether or not Lisa would get her bellybutton pierced LIVE on the air. Can’t say the girl wasn’t committed to getting the job.

We arrived early in the morning, at around 9:30am, and were herded up like cattle in the lobby of the studio building. This was pre-9/11, so there wasn’t much in the way of security checks or I.D. confirmation. We flashed our tickets, and got right in. Just as they were about to bring us upstairs to the studio, there was suddenly a bit of commotion. The security guards ordered the audience members to back up and stand against the wall, clearing the way for people to pass us and exit the lobby. When we asked why, we were told matter-of-factly, “There’s a fire in the building. It might be a false alarm, but just in case, we need to evacuate.” Great...but instead of getting us all out of harm’s way, they had us move all the way over so that they could evacuate the “talent” first. Within seconds, the door to the emergency stairway opened, and out flooded a bunch of soap stars from ABC’s All My Children. People were clicking away with their cameras, totally putting aside the fact that we were potentially about to meet a fiery end. Who cares...look, there’s Tyler Matheson!

The ladies from The View also filed past, and the only one who bothered to stop was Meredith Viera. Fresh from the makeup chair, her hair still in rollers, napkins inserted around her collar to protect her clothing from the powder and foundation, she was quite the sight. And yet, ever the journalist, she stopped short and said, “Hey! You guys! Didn’t you hear, there might be a fire in the building. You need to get out of here!” We told her that they said they’d move us out soon, and she reluctantly went on her way. She was never my favorite on that show, until that moment. The other hosts hurried by us with nary a word. At least Meredith showed some compassion and caring.

Fortunately, it was a false alarm, and before long we were ushered upstairs to the studio. After a brief “audience warm-up” session with a female comedian (she was pretty good), the show began. Lisa Ling did well, and when the results of the internet poll revealed that the majority of viewers DID want to see her get her bellybutton pierced, they laid her out on a stretcher and went to it. Her mother was there, holding her hand for support, and she made it through like a trooper.

At the end of the show, they announced that everyone in the audience would be getting a free gift: a jar of Patsy’s Marinara Sauce, from the famous Patsy’s restaurant in NYC. It was purported to be Frank Sinatra’s favorite pasta place, and we were just excited to be getting some sort of “parting gift” after the debacle in the lobby. They started giving out the jars, and ordered us to “keep passing them down the row” because there was plenty to go around. Stupidly, we obeyed their instructions. Sure enough, they ran out when it got to us, so we walked away empty-handed. My friends that were there with me that day still haven’t quite gotten over the injustice of it all.

So, this most recent trip to The View was eagerly anticipated, especially now that Rosie O’Donnell, the Queen of Audience Giveaways, was in the house. It was a freezing cold, blustery winter’s day in NYC, but they kept us all waiting outside for more than 45 minutes. When they finally did let us enter the lobby, they did it in small groups so as not to overwhelm the security checkpoint. Our pocketbooks were searched, and we had to walk through metal detectors, just like at the airport. We were given little index cards with numbers on them, but there didn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to the order. We were one of the first to get in line, yet had some of the highest numbers. Weird.

Once inside, we stood around in a cramped hallway, while harried interns skittered around with clipboards, trying to look busy. Then, the warm-up comedian (a guy this time) came down and started yelling at us to listen up. He warned that he had a sore throat, and that he didn’t want to have to raise his voice, and then he proceeded to yell some more. He said that if we had any gifts for the co-hosts, or any items we wanted signed, he would be around to collect them. He stressed that the ONLY items that would be signed were books written by the co-hosts, and anything purchased from one of Rosie’s charities.

I was excited, because I had brought along a book with me that was very special. It was a first-edition of Barbara Walters’ book, How to Talk to Practically Anyone About Practically Anything. I’d read it in high school, and it changed my life. It encouraged me to pursue a career in journalism, which I did, and I still use many of the interview tips that I learned from that book. It’s no longer in print, but I was able to find it several years ago on eBay, and was very happy to think that I would finally have a chance to have Barbara autograph it.

Alas, when the guy finally got to me, he took one look at the book and said, “Oh, no, I can only take Rosie’s book or Joy’s children’s book.” I couldn’t believe I’d come this far, only to be rejected. I said, “But, but, I wrote her a letter and everything,” and he got really nasty with me and said, “Oh yeah, that’s a nice attitude. That really makes me want to help you out.” He proceeded to tell us that Rosie’s the only one who looks at the stuff that gets sent backstage, and that’s just how it is. (He sure did snap up all the gifts people had, though.) One woman standing next to me brought handmade jewelry for each of the co-hosts, and he gathered them up without a second thought. Hmm.

Fortunately, enough people around me spoke up and objected, and guilted the guy into at least taking my letter with him. I figured it would probably end up in the trash, but prayed that somehow Rosie would see it and pass it on to Barbara.

After a short elevator ride up to the studio (they called us up by number), we were seated. We ended up in the very last row at the top of the center section. Holy Nosebleed Seats, Batman. On each of our chairs was a red messenger bag that said “The View” on it. They also handed us each a bottle of fruit punch and a snack-sized bag of Keebler cookies on the way in, so already, I’d made out better than my first visit 8 years ago.

It was just a few minutes to air time, when out of nowhere, Mr. Personality (the warmup guy) came up behind me, talking really fast. His demeanor this time was totally different. “Okay, here’s the deal. You still have that book?” I nodded and started taking it out of my bag. “No!” he admonished, “Hide it!! Don’t take it out until I say!!” He proceeded to tell me that Rosie had read my letter, and was so touched by it, she’d come up with a plan to get my book signed. I wasn’t quite sure why I needed a “plan”, but at that point, I was all ears. He said that during the first commercial break, Rosie would approach the audience and ask if anyone had any questions, and that was my cue to raise my hand. She’d call on me, and I was to tell her that I had a book that needed signing, and mention some of the stuff I said in my letter (about how the book inspired me, etc.) Okay, got it. “Cool,” said Mr. Personality as he turned to leave, “and just so you know...this is a first. This doesn’t happen!” I started to get the feeling that no one dares ask Barbara for anything...EVER. Apparently--with some help from Rosie--that was about to change.

The show began, and during the first commercial break, I raised my hand. As planned, Rosie looked right up in my direction and called on me first. I told her I had a great book with me that I’d love to have signed, and she said, “Oh, a book did you say? Hmm, I wonder what book it could be?” An intern materialized to my right, snatched the book away, and ran down to the stage with it. I said, “It’s the best book I ever read, and it changed my life,” and Rosie said, “Oh, really? My, that must be some book! Let’s see, and the name of it is...” and she read it out loud. Barbara barely looked up. She was busy getting her hair and makeup tended to during the break. The book was placed in front of her and she signed it without looking in my direction. Rosie asked me for my name, so that Barbara could personalize it, and after a brief round of applause, my book was returned to me by the intern. And that was that.

The autograph says, “To Lisa, Here’s to better conversations. Love, Barbara Walters.” I don’t care if she signed it under duress, and if she barely knows I was a still a thrill.

A lot has been said about Rosie O’Donnell of late, and many people have criticized her for being so outspoken and critical of various public figures. All I can tell you about her is what I observed that day. She was, by far, the nicest and friendliest of all the co-hosts at The View. At every commercial break, she got up out of her seat and interacted with the audience, fielding questions and making jokes. She seemed totally at ease, and acted exactly the same on-camera as she did when the cameras weren’t rolling. Elizabeth and Joy talked to one another during the breaks, and Barbara was busy reviewing her notes (ever the professional), but Rosie acknowledged the audience and made everyone feel welcome. Even though she’s the newest member of The View, she certainly seemed to be the one in charge.

There were no big giveaways that day. We ended up with $50 in gift cards to Walgreen’s. Not mind-blowing, but not too shabby either.

In the beginning...

Every blog has to start somewhere, so here it is: my very first post.

Welcome, dear reader, to Yak Talk.