Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rosie's Variety Show: Disappointing

I've really missed seeing Rosie O'Donnell on television, and had high hopes for her live variety show last night.

Unfortunately, I found "Rosie LIVE" to be almost totally unwatchable. The opening monologue was peppered with recycled jokes that she'd already told when she appeared on the Conan O'Brien show. Liza Minnelli did a fantastic job with her splashy musical number, but Rosie's voice is no match for Liza's, and her sour (although enthusiastic) backup notes really dragged down the song.

Alec Baldwin's lascivious joke about speaking directly into the microphone affixed to Rosie's cleavage was inappropriate for a "family" show, and just not funny. Kathy Griffin, another talented comedian that I usually love, missed the mark with her stilted and pointless Nancy Grace impersonation.

It was so weird...the show had so many elements that SHOULD have worked well, but didn't.

Yes, there was an amazing tap dance performance, songs by Alanis Morrisette, Harry Connick Jr. and Ne-Yo, but nothing seemed to flow well with anything else. Instead of showcasing a variety of talent, it was a hodge-podge of thrown-together acts with no rhyme or reason to them. And, while Gloria Estefan is a gifted singer/songwriter, she proved herself sadly incapable of telling a simple turkey joke.

This was so disappointing. I truly wanted Rosie to succeed at this new venture, and I hope she gives it another try. Next time, though, she needs to cut the useless cameos (Conan O'Brien's pie in the face gag, Clay Aiken's "elephant in the room" gay references, Jane Krakowski's strip tease) and try to make the show more cohesive and entertaining. More substance, less schtick.

When Rosie paints, she throws a bunch of colors onto the canvas and just lets it flow as the inspiration moves her. Sometimes, the final result is striking and thought-provoking, but other times, it's just a big ole mess.

Creating a work of art should be something one does purely for oneself. To quote Ricky Nelson's Garden Party, "I learned my lesson well. You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself."

Trouble is, if you're hired to put on a prime-time variety show, you're going to have to think about your audience a bit more, and try a little harder to create something that will appeal to others.

Better luck next time, Rosie.

Turkey Day 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

20 years and counting...

Today is a very special day in my life: the 20th anniversary of the day I met my husband.

Our celebration was very low key, but perfect. He came home from work and we ate a candelit dinner for two. I ordered sushi from our favorite place, and they made a special roll--not found on the menu--that is crafted into the shape of a heart.

Great food, good wine, and a helluva guy. Who could ask for anything more?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Two years gone

Not much to say today...or maybe, too much to say, just not up to saying it.

It helps to look at old photos and remember the good times.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Izzie & Denny: An interesting theory

I've been a fan of the show Grey's Anatomy since Season 1. One of the most poignant, romantic love stories depicted on the show was of Izzie & Denny. Their relationship was doomed from the start: Denny was dying of an ailment that required a heart transplant, and he wasn't high enough on the list to receive one before time ran out. So, Izzie devised a desperate plan to save him: she cut his LVAD wire to make his situation so dire, he HAD to bumped up on the list.

And he was. He received his transplant, but the writers of the top-rated drama pulled the rug out from under the viewers and killed him off anyway. We were left to endure several seasons of Izzie pining away for Denny, crippled by her grief and saddled with the consequences of her actions.

Finally, it looked as though they were going to let her move on this season. She is once again in a relationship with Alex, and things appeared to headed in a good direction for them. Then, comes this latest storyline for Izzie, where Denny has come back from the dead. He's been following her around the hospital, hanging out in her bedroom, and yes, even having sex with her while her confused roommates stand outside the door listening to Izzie's moans of rapture.

Grey's creator Shonda Rimes is really stretching the believability on this one.

One theory that has been suggested is that Izzie is suffering from a brain tumor, and that her visions of Denny are all an elaborate hallucination. But, Shonda Rimes recently shot that one down in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

I've giving this one a lot of thought, and there are aspects of this storyline that remind me of my own novel. (Not TOO similar, thank goodness.) I think I may have a viable theory about what's REALLY going on with Izzie Stevens.

I think she sees dead people.

The biggest hurdle that Izzie has had to overcome throughout the show is that she gets way too emotionally involved with her patients. She empathizes with them so much, that she often crosses the line and gets caught up in their personal problems, inserting herself into the situation with their families in a way that borders on unprofessionalism. I've often wondered why they make her character so prone to this type of behavior.

Then it hit me: maybe she's got some sort of psychic ability. Maybe Izzie has a gift for relating to people because she can pick up on their emotions and feel what they're feeling--so acutely, that it influences her own behavior.

So....what if Denny really is dead, and HE is the one that is having trouble moving on? Now that she's in a clearer state of mind for herself, she can see his suffering for the first time. Perhaps her mission is to try and help him move on, and getting overly involved in that process (to the point of being able to see, hear, and touch him) is just par for the course with her.

All things supernatural are very popular right now: Harry Potter, Twilight, Medium, The Ghost Whisperer, Heroes, LOST, etc. It looks to me like Shonda Rimes has decided to take that leap of faith and put Grey's Anatomy on the mystical bandwagon.

Just think of the plot possibilities: Meredith's mother can come back and communicate to Meredith thru Izzie. Patients who have died can come back with messages that will help the doctors save other patients who are still alive.

Could be very interesting, if handled well.

That's my theory. I'm curious to see how it plays out!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A day to give Thanks

No, I'm not referring to Thankgiving, but to that other November holiday: Veteran's Day.

It's today, by the way. Not that you would notice.

School is still session, and no one I know has off from work, other than the mailman.

I remember Veteran's Day being a much bigger deal when I was a kid. There were parades and memorials and ceremonies. And now, in 2008, with U.S. troops fighting overseas in two wars, it's being treated as just another day.

I wonder, is it because no one has time to reflect on the sacrifices of our armed services anymore? Or, is it because we've been so inundated with news of death and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, we've reached a saturation point?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

UPDATE: MileyWorld refund SUCCESS!!


Props and a big THANK YOU to commenter Peg, who suggested I contact the Better Business Bureau to get my refund from


I reported them to the BBB this afternoon, and sent a follow-up email to, informing them of my case number with the BBB. I also mentioned all of the comments I got on my blog from others who found themselves in the same predictament, as well as the guy who emailed me about getting everyone together to file a class action lawsuit.

I'm not sure which of those statements had the greatest effect, but within 4 hours, I received this email:

Dear Lisa,

All members whose accounts were set to renew were e-mailed 30 days prior to the billing date. That e-mail contained detailed instructions on how to cancel. Our terms and conditions as well as the FAQs on our Help Desk are clear that memberships renew each year until canceled. Seniority is traditionally a benefit of music fan club memberships, and most of our fan club members do in fact elect to renew.

Nevertheless, despite our user terms, your membership has been cancelled and your card credited as a gesture of goodwill.

We hope you've enjoyed your membership.

MileyWorld Customer Service

There you have it, folks.

I also received ANOTHER email from a customer service rep at MileyWorld, telling me that they "confirmed" that they sent 2 email notices to my email address on file, but acknowledging that those do sometimes get deleted as spam. Nevertheless, "as a courtesy, we are deleting your membership and issuing a refund."

I cannot tell you how happy I am that they FINALLY decided to do the right thing. To all of you who are in this same predicament, I hope that you keep on pursuing it, and that you also have a successful outcome.

I listed this contact info on the earlier MileyWorld post, but I'll put it here as well:

BBB of Middle Tennessee
(Nashville, TN)
201 Fourth Ave. North, Ste. 100
Nashville, TN 37203-3984
Phone: (615)242-4222
Fax: (615)250-4245


Wednesday, November 5, 2008


And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright, tonight we proved once more, that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

--Barack Obama

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Congratulations Barack Obama!!!

It's official.....Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States.

I'm absolutely thrilled, not to mention incredibly proud.

Congratulations, President-Elect Obama!


No matter which candidate you choose, this is going to be a historic election. We'll either have our first African-American President, or our first woman Vice-President.

It's been a rough road, and now that Election Day is finally here, I hope that the bickering that has plagued this election cycle will come to an end. Our country needs to move forward, united, if we are ever to fix all of the problems that face this nation.

Now, make sure your voice is heard--get out there and Vote!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Just one more day

Barack Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, died this afternoon, the day before Election Day.

My heart goes out to him. I know, she was 86 years old, and in poor health, but even so, one is never quite prepared for this kind of thing when it happens.

I understand that God has a plan for all of us, but couldn't He have waited just one more day to take her home? I know that wherever she is right now, she is certainly watching over her grandson, and she sees what is happening in his life. If he wins tomorrow, I'm sure she will be celebrating with her daughter at his victory. Still, how wonderful it would have been for him to see his grandmother's joy for himself. Now, he will never get that chance.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

HSM 3: a quick review

Took the girls to see High School Musical 3 this afternoon. My teenager went last night with her best friend, and they thought it was kinda lame, but my younger daughters loved it. I thought the movie was less of an ensemble piece, and focused much more heavily on Zac Efron this time around. Disney is definitely grooming him for bigger and better things.

Ashley Tilsdale's Sharpay character was like an afterthought in this sequel, and Gabriela was used purely as Troy's arm candy.

Nevertheless, it was a family-friendly film and the music was quite catchy. So, overall, a thumbs-up from me!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Farewell, Studs Terkel

Sad news this morning: Pulitzer Prize winning author Studs Terkel has died, at the age of 96.

In my college days, my journalism teacher held him up as an example of a great journalist. I read this book, "Working," and was blown away. Terkel was a master an interviewing "the common man", and understood that EVERYONE has a unique perspective and story to tell. All one has to do is ask a few questions, and then, really LISTEN to what people have to say. Sounds like a simple formula, but I was surprised at how few journalists are actually capable of doing it well.

Here, an excerpt from his AP obituary:

The tougher the subject, the harder Terkel took it on. He put out an oral history collection on race relations in 1992 called "Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About The American Obsession," and, in 1995, "Coming of Age," recollections of men and women 70 and older.

He cared about what divided us, and what united us: death — in his 2001 "Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith," and hope, in his 2003 "Hope Dies Last."

Terkel won a 1985 Pulitzer Prize for "The Good War," remembrances of World War II; contrasted rich and poor along the same Chicago street in "Division Street: America," 1966; limned the Depression in "Hard Times," 1970; and chronicled how people feel about their jobs in "Working," 1974.

"When the Chinese Wall was built, where did the masons go for lunch? When Caesar conquered Gall, was there not even a cook in the army? And here's the big one, when the Armada sank, you read that King Philip wept. Were there no other tears?" Terkel said upon receiving an honorary National Book Award medal in 1997. "And that's what I believe oral history is about. It's about those who shed those other tears, who on rare occasions of triumph laugh that other laugh."