Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Decline of the WASP

[Courtesy of iamigor on YouTube]

To many, William F. Buckley, Jr. may have represented modern conservatism. To others, an impressive – if not downright unusual – command of the English language. To me, the American WASP.

He is often cited for his “idiosyncratic” accent, having learned Spanish first in Mexico, French second in Paris, and English third, in London at the age of seven. In linguistic terms, he had a cross between the Mid-Atlantic accent and British Received Pronunciation, and was often referred to as an example of the Boston Brahmin accent.

The accents of the upper crust have changed dramatically in the past 50 years as immigration patterns have changed and the lines between social classes (and races) have begun to blur. But on the flipside, so have the accents of the lower classes, at least in New York.

New York City’s amNY recently did a study of the trajectory of the New York accent. While not exactly pleasant to the ear (though more so than the Boston accent), it is a trademark of the city that never sleeps. According to famed linguist William Labov, the New York accent is still “hanging on”, though far less so than other regional accents.

Daniel Brook, the author of a 2003 article in “The Next American City”, claims that the New York accent left when Giuliani came in and “cleaned” the city and drove rent prices so high that many natives fled, with their accents in tow.

Education too, is to blame. So is the influx of fresh-faced college graduates to Manhattan for work, which has not only encouraged the gentrification of the city, but has also altered the accent. In Queens, home of much of the 7-train line (jokingly called the “International Express”), the exodus of Asian immigrants is speculated to eventually change the way New Yorkers speak.

Let’s look at some examples of the transgression of the American accent in pop culture: Paris Hilton has a nondescript American accent, while her mother Kathy lets slip her 20th century-possibly-mid-Atlantic accent every once so often. The one that is so very common in actors from the early 20th century through the early 80s. (“Pair-us”, she called after her eldest trainwreck, and not “Pa-ris” or “Pair-is”.) Even Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, if you’ll believe it, once had some of that charmingly lethargic mid-20th century accent in him, despite being born into no money (negative money, even). Of course, he lost it in the early nineties and adopted a displaceable wigga accent, something I will not get into here.

So is this transgression good or bad news? The concession of legacy (or heritage, depending on where you’re standing) towards the democratization of America? Sounds like our big ole melting pot, all right.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

“Quarterlife”’s halflife is .0146 seconds

[Photo courtesy of]

If the creators of the new NBC drama Quarterlife were aiming for a sense of the quarter-life crisis that often plagues 21 through 29 year-olds, they should have highlighted the crisis part of it, because most people don’t live till the age of 100 and the angsty characters introduced to us last night seemed more like 19 year-olds than 25 year-olds.

As someone only a little over two years younger than the presumed age of the characters and is going through her own quarter-life crisis right now, I found the execution of the idea to be appalling. It’s pretty clear that creators Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, who are the geniuses behind My So-Called Life, Once and Again and thirtysomething have lost or never were in touch with Generation Y. (Or Millennials, MTV generation and iGen, as it were.)

The 26 year-old protagonist Dylan, played by 27-year-old Harvard University graduate Bitsie (nee Elizabeth) Tulloch, is nothing short of gratingly aloof and self-indulgent. Which is fair – Millennials are known to be self-indulgent, and the typical blogger probably even more so. But they are also – I say this with the understanding that I am speaking of Millennials as a whole – extremely self-aware. For starters, what sort of blogger:
a) blogs thinking that no one will read/watch their material? There’s a difference between an online journal and a blog, which is a nuance I’m not sure either creator understands. Blogis gratia blogetus. Or something like that.
b) has live-in friends who don’t know about her blog or are completely unaware that they’re featured on said blog?
c) will risk their friendships and jobs to blog? Anyone under the age of 28 can understand that anything revealed online can and will be discovered by the very parties who said revelations were not meant for.
d) is naïve enough, at 26, to be that candid and unedited in front of an internet audience?

Okay, maybe I just can’t wrap my head around the complete indiscretion and self-centered obliviousness of Dylan. But other quirks of the show that are less quirky than irksome:
- Do they live in Chicago? According to the show’s official site they do. Shouldn’t they live in Los Angeles? Half or more of them are budding filmmakers and/or actors. No wonder they’re so hopelessly angsty.
- Aren’t twenty-something guys typically smoother and cynical than Jed? Even if they are sensitive and wounded?
- I don’t know any twenty-somethings who grab and hug each other every time they enter their shared living quarters. In reality, coming home would involve a lot of passive-aggressiveness and some measure of door-slamming.
- Is the ADD-styled editing of the show supposed to reflect Generation Y’s impulsiveness? It’s as if the editors were on crack. I’d probably have to be too, to scour through the rambling footage.
- Who in their right mind thought an entire social network could be created out of this show? None of the characters are sympathetic enough for me to want to watch a second episode, let alone enter their poorly represented blogosphere? “Lonelygirl15” did a better job in its pilot episodes, on all counts.

There’s probably more, but I lost interest. And my dad interrupted (perhaps I don’t have complete authority on what it is like to live with peers post-college). But if this show is meant to appear as if twenty-somethings have written, filmed, edited and broadcasted it, it fails miserably. No twenty-something would allow their peers to see them as whiny, angsty teenagers.

And if my disdain for the show is shaped at all by the two-year age difference, then I’m not sure I want to see my 25th year.

Imagine all the people sharing DArchuleta

It has come to my notice that David Archuleta is not only a Simon Cowell favorite, but an American Idol favorite. This worries me, as I would like to consider myself out of the show’s target audience (not in age, but in spirit). Does this mean that I am as average as the next person? This is not what I (or my parents, who have tirelessly seen me through a number of elite – or elitist – institutions) want to hear!

However, it does make me feel better that the fourteen-year-old platinum blonde with braces in the audience cheered for one of the many (older) Jasons and not for little DArchuleta.

My loyalties are contemplating a shift a little amongst the men of the Top 20, as Jason Castro gave a weak rendition of Andy Gibb’s “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” and another David -- Hernandez put himself on the map with The Temptations’ “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”. Danny Noriega was reliably first-rate with The Carpenters’ “Superstar”, and DArchuleta gave a solid performance of John Lennon’s “Imagine” that brought the soft Paula Abdul to tears, claiming that it was “one of the most moving performances I have ever heard”, with Randy Jackson labeling it one of the best performances in Idol history.


[Courtesy of RadioKalin at YouTube]

I am Team Archuleta all the way (or as far as this road leads before it reaches trainwreck territory), but I didn’t feel his performance was as heartfelt and moving as McDrunky Abdul (what is up with her inability to enunciate?!) did. He could have sung it more tenderly in parts, though he was pitch-perfect last night. His “one to beat” performance seemed to have boosted his self-confidence considerably, though his laugh is still as endearingly donkey-like as ever.

Fortunately for him, America is far more prepared for a Mormon Idol than they are for a Mormon president.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bitch may be the new black, but Chelsea is the new bitch

As the presidential race tightens its grip around Hillary Clinton’s neck, former first daughter Chelsea has been stepping up to the podium to do some damage-control. She was very purposefully kept out of the spotlight during the White House years when she entered as a frizzy-haired 12-year-old and surfaced a well-adjusted Stanford University junior. Now nearing 28 years old (her birthday is tomorrow), Chelsea is ostensibly doing this on her own terms.

Which means, for the most part, no interviews.

So what we can gather about this budding politician (don’t pretend you weren’t waiting for it) comes mostly secondhand and through her political presence at her mother’s rallies. To many college students, even those who consider themselves well-versed in politics and Hillary Clinton, she comes across as an encyclopedia of policies and comebacks. The New York Times quoted the founder of the University of Wisconsin at Madison “Students for Hillary” chapter as saying that Chelsea’s knowledge of nuclear base loads was “a little over my head”. Another student entered the room an Obama fan and left questioning his loyalties after feeling that Chelsea “came off as more of a regular person answering questions, but with an incredible amount of knowledge.”

Which is exactly what Chelsea was positioned to do. Except, when it comes to it, Chelsea’s wealth of knowledge would not or should not affect her mother’s presidency.

Chelsea has done a phenomenal job of staying out of the spotlight in her time at Stanford and the years following it. She had a short fling with fame and the spotlight while at Oxford as an early 20-something, but quickly renounced the Lindsay Lohan brand of glamour for a well-paying consulting job at McKinsey & Company in New York City. She left McKinsey in 2006 for a yet more rewarding position at Avenue Capital Group, a hedge fund. Currently on leave for her mother’s campaign, she is attracting attention from the media for her sudden emergence as a graceful amalgam of her parents: what she did not select from the gene pool in looks, she selected in personality traits.

New York magazine says her voice is “calm, conversational – none of Hillary’s proclivity to hector” and she is capable of “poking fun at herself in ways her parents seem utterly incapable of.” And surprise, surprise: when all of America was laughing or snickering, at best, at her frizzy strawberry mess and uneven complexion, she was perfecting her mojo. NY Mag dares to label Chelsea a flirt, a quality likely derived from her father. And the unreasonable intelligence, from her mother.

But Chelsea seems, above all, to have developed a mischievous assertiveness through it all, one that could serve her mother as much as it will serve her:
“The press is still all over me in London, but on the Continent, I can do what I want,” Chelsea told Women’s Wear Daily during the fashion shows, breaking her no-interview rule. When Harry Benson showed up unannounced at Oxford to shoot her portrait for a Vanity Fair profile, Chelsea agreed to pose for him without consulting her mother. “I’m a big girl now”
- New York Magazine.
For now, she is just a mother’s daughter, doing all she knows to do in support of a loved one who has exhibited her, hid her, betrayed her, and is now profiting off of her. Chelsea has done well for a child of two politicians of notoriety, and has inevitably picked up a trick or two. In time, she will rise as the bitchiest Clinton of all, thickly veiled with her polished turns of phrase, cool composure, and refined shows of tenacity. It will be her choice to enter into the game that made her family famous, but she will indubitably be the most emotionally poised Clinton to continue the dynasty. If America will have Hillary.

[Photo courtesy of Getty Images]

Monday, February 25, 2008

You're So Money

So, this thing called The Academy Awards. No huge surprises there, except Marion Cotillard’s win for Leading Actress. Her speech was endearingly incoherent and involved the words "Thank you life, thank you love” and a somewhat naïve exclamation of love for the city of Los Angeles, sort of.

But the best speech of the night goes to Le Mozart des Pickpockets director Philippe Pollet-Villard, who is French: “Thank you, thank you very much. I don't really speak English. I'm very bad student. I can say I'm very happy and I want to thank my producer Fabrice Goldstein and Antoine Rein and my wife Gaby and my son Sebastien. And merci beaucoups et puis a bientot pour un film plus grand. Merci. Au revoir.”

Of note, the JCPenney American Living commercials premiered during the Oscars, possibly being one of the few retailers to treat the broadcast as a refined Super Bowl. The commercials feature gorgeously idyllic scenes of family and love in New England autumn landscapes. What you don’t know, as Alison Krauss and Robert Plant sing a serene Americana song about leaves in red and gold, is that this is a JCPenney ad. It appears to be a Ralph Lauren commercial, and you expect to see teenagers dressed in outlandishly preppy pink polos and rugby shirts, sharing a first kiss on a swing facing a lake over which the sun is setting. It’s money, in its truest American form – a haughty turn of the nose to the nouveau riche and a tip of the hat to those whose descendants came with the Mayflower and settled in beachfront villages around Massachusetts and Cape Cod.

And it is. Money. And a Ralph Lauren creation.

Well, somehow the commercials seem to have made a large enough splash to those who are struggling to become the next nouveau riche. Moments after the Academy Awards went off-air and winners rushed into the press room to give more eloquent acceptance speeches, bloggers the country over were asking, “What’s the name of the song in that JCPenney American Living commercial?” (It’s “Killing The Blues” by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant.) “Where can I find the commercial?” (Here. There is, too, a third version of the commercial, featuring "Let's Dance" by Chris Montez, and a more youthful and less reverent look at the founding families of America.)

Just over six hours after the 80th Annual Academy Awards rolled up its red carpet, YouTube user “matousek1024” uploaded low-quality versions of the commercial for all of America – rich and poor – to enjoy. Several YouTube users were so desperate to spread the hope that they captured the commercial on video and posted their less-than-true-color versions. JCPenney may not make a buck off of the rich or the poor, but it has caught our attention, even if for a little while.

Close your eyes, and imagine that it’s not slushy February outside your window, that you are strangely European looking, though still blonde and still beautiful, that your last name is Endicott (see: Boston Brahmin), and you own an expansive plantation-like mansion in Hyannisport and think the scum of the earth gather in Provincetown. Yay for bringing back the good times and charging more for it than Abercrombie and Fitch does. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


The March issue of Domino magazine is green-themed. Which is all well and good, except for the fact that it’s done in a stiff, patronizing manner. Case in point: model-“activist” Lauren Bush’s mini-guide to traveling green.

[Photo courtesy of]

9:00 a.m. Wake up. Start the coffeemaker with some fair-trade organic Cafe Femenino Peru, which is produced by Peruvian and Mexican women's cooperatives ( I'm catching a noon flight from New York to Houston, where I grew up. Time to pack. Fast.

First sign that she thinks she’s holier than thou – her flight, which is revealed a little later, is at noon. What ever happened to being there two hours beforehand?

9:05 a.m. Drag out vintage duffel bag from the thrift shop at Housing Works, a nonprofit that helps low-income and homeless people with HIV/ AIDS (

Here “vintage” is an expensive euphemism for “used” in every sense of the word.

9:10 a.m. Lay out the basics— socks, undies and supersoft organic Loomstate T-shirts ( Move on to the toiletries. I always bring my chemicalfree Dr. Hauschka tinted day cream for a little post-travel color boost (

9:27 a.m. Take a break from packing to enjoy coffee and make myself two cage-free eggs over easy, with a little cheddar cheese on top.

9:51 a.m. Search for my iPod and petroleum-free lip balm ( to throw in my carry-on FEED bag (see caption, below image). Time is running out, so I stop planning what to take and stuff the duffel with casual favorites, including a denim baby-doll dress from Linda Loudermilk ( and Maasai bracelets from a trip to Africa.

10:00 a.m. Phone rings—Ozocar is here. This genius car service uses exclusively hybrid vehicles. ( Grab an organic apple for a plane snack and hurry downstairs to the cobblestone streets of the West Village, where my apartment is. Although there's little green to be seen in NYC, urban living is inherently eco-friendly.

Yes – that is if you take public transportation or walk everywhere.

10:39 a.m. At the airport, breeze through check-in and hustle to security. Reluctantly send my Toms slip-ons down the belt (I forgot to wear socks—yuck) and walk barefoot through the metal detector. I'm a big fan of the Toms business model: For every pair you buy, the company gives another to a needy child (

10:41 a.m. Stopped by a security guard who discovers my biodynamic calendula moisturizer ( and wants to toss it. Argue with her not to—I had clearly used more than half of the four-ounce tube! She won't budge so I relent, knowing my tiny jar of Tammy Fender Antioxidant Creme got through.

Aw, poor little rich girl. Just because you’re the President’s niece does not give you special rights to send a $67 tube of moisturizer through just because you were too lazy to pack in advance and think about security regulations.

11:41 a.m. Finally on board. Take out a used copy of The Kite Runner I bought at the Strand (

There’s also something called the library. Or, you pretentious biatch.

12:00 p.m. Up we go. Put on some of the Tammy Fender ( and then doze off.

12:44 p.m. Wake in a panic. I neglected to offset my carbon emissions for the flight! Make mental note to do this later ( and drift back to sleep.

Hmm, maybe we should offset all the wrong we have ever done by dropping a wad of cash, too? Some activism!

2:24 p.m. Reach into my bag for that apple. Aware of someone coughing a few rows back, I slip a vitamin-packed Airborne tablet into my water. Pull out journal (made of postconsumer paper, naturally) and sketch out clothing concepts. I studied fashion and I love to play around with eco fabrics like bamboo and hemp-silk. I designed my outfit (above) for an Earth Pledge benefit (

2:56 p.m. Pilot announces descent. Apply lip balm.

What, no unabashed plug for Lizard Lips or Kiss My Face? Guess a fledging eco-friendly brand couldn’t afford you, Miss Laura Bush, or Domino magazine.

3:23 p.m. Land. My dad picks me up in his Toyota Camry Hybrid, which gets a solid 30 mpg (

6:42 p.m. Dinner with family and friends at our favorite Mexican joint, Molina's. Being one of the rare Texan vegetarians, I opt for veggie tacos. At age 4, I realized that meat came from animals and have not been able to eat it since.

So pretentious I’m not even sure what to say.

8:30 p.m. Return home in a food coma and veg (ha-ha).

10:57 p.m. Crawl in bed, review the day ahead and plan tomorrow's outfit. Decide on my super-easy-to-wear John Patrick Organic cashmere slip dress ( Night-night.

Because, clearly, in a world where children are dying of HIV/AIDS and rainforests are being deforested, her outfit is of the utmost importance.

I’m no tree-hugger, but could Lauren Bush be any more self-righteous? How much is Domino paying her for all this? Or maybe they’re giving her these “eco-friendly” beauty products in exchange for her services. Also, a shoe that benefits needy children does not a green shoe make. Get it straight, bitches!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Next Zac Efron

My usual routine with American Idol is to watch the auditions for gems like Ian Benardo, followed by a couple of episodes along the way, just to have something to talk about if dinner conversation ever deteriorated to American Idol. I’d never before seen a top 24, nevertheless a top 12, episode. This season, I have been following the show from its first audition and am going to test myself to see how long I can last.

Remember when American Idol was only on once, twice a week? My, my, how far it has come. The top 12 guys performed in front of a live audience last night, and it became really apparent who is mere amateur material and who has what it takes. I’m no Simon Cowell, but my favorite guys thus far are David Archuleta, Danny Noriega and Jason Castro.

[Photo courtesy of]

Let’s talk David Archuleta for a moment: he is not, by way of personality, someone you would expect to have gotten this far. He is a pubescent Zac Efron: young -- seventeen, and self-deprecatingly charming. But he can sing. He is, as the abominable Ryan Seacrest said, extremely likable. Even Simon likes him. But does that automatically qualify him to be among the top runners for the title of American Idol?

I’m torn on this one. American Idol could be a horrible curse for Archuleta, exploiting him at a young eighteen and spitting him out before he’s twenty-one, leaving him debilitated and dependent, (at worst) a male Britney Spears. Or it could thrust him into a very dim limelight for a longer period of time, allowing him to pursue his dreams at his own accord, struggling in a way that would never allow for the birth of a diva.

At worst, he would return to Murray High School in Utah, finish off his final year, and jump on the road as a stand-in for ZEfron on the High School Musical tour. If (high school) musicals are still hot in a few years, Archuleta will have gained some confidence and groomed his charm enough to surpass Zac Efron at his own game … and in youthfulness, vocal ability, and looks.

Ya dig?

Now, let’s take bets on who DArchuleta will choose as his beard, and whether he will be desperate enough to stand by her side when her cell phone sex “tape” surfaces. Except his Mormonism (Utah brand, no less) might stand in his way.

[Photo courtesy of]

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cory Kennedy is Dead

[Photo courtesy of]

I don't think even Cory Kennedy-Levin believes in her one-time internet It status anymore. The Cobrasnake, which put her on the It list register, probably realizes this too, and is selling "premium" Cory Kennedy t-shirts while her star is still bright enough to see with the naked eye -- for a mere $109, you too can prance around where no one knows or cares about Cory with Cory Kennedy-Levin's face splattered over your chest.

She has put on a couple of pounds over what feels like the five years since she became a fashion icon for people mostly in countries where cannabis is legalized and lost that gaunt, wholesome lost soul look she once possessed. Instead, she looks like a greasy, homeless heroin addict. And somehow, she's been seventeen for twelve years now. (Okay, to be fair, she turned eighteen just last week.) New York magazine, however, seems not to have caught on. It featured Cory a couple of weeks ago in a Fashion Week feature, in which they published a chain of text message conversations between The Cobrasnake's Mark Hunter and Ms. Kennedy-Levin:

COBRASNAKE NETFLIX NEW YORK: How’s the gucci thing
CORY NYC: So freaking weird
CORY NYC: I mean
CORY NYC: I’m just staring at tome cruise and katie holmes
CORY NYC: At least devons here
CORY NYC: Its a celeb party
CORY NYC: Everyones here
CORY NYC: I don’t even want to
CORY NYC: There’s just too many
COBRASNAKE NETFLIX NEW YORK: To bad I’m not thereeee
CORY NYC: I know you would ddddiiiie
CORY NYC: Like donald trumps here
CORY NYC: Its redic
CORY NYC: I’m so tired
COBRASNAKE NETFLIX NEW YORK: I bet. I took a disco napp

Ah, so young and so jaded. Blasé. Such a teenager, but so aged it's no longer a perverse fascination. Don't cry too hard -- Mark Hunter has more where Cory came from, svelter than death itself, and with a wider variety of substance abuse problems to boot.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

There Are Too Many Fish In the Sea

I suppose I should say something about Valentine’s Day. I’m not a huge fan of the holiday, and I’ve moved past the stage of being anti-Valentine’s Day. I’m not one of those people who thinks it’s just another excuse for chocolate and card companies to make a quick buck (although this is, like many holidays, true), and I don’t preach the notion that everyday should be Valentine’s Day. My favorite thing about it, at this stage in my life, is the huge sale on chocolates that comes immediately afterwards.

That said, I have some particularly well-written and enjoyable literature for those who share what I believe to be a realistic view of love and loss:

- Atlantic Monthly: Marry Him! looks at the notion of “settling” from the perspective of someone who hasn’t settled.
- New York Times: Another Cup is a romantic’s lamentations, over coffee.
- NY Mag: The Ivy League Co-ed Who Has Orgasms In Her Sleep follows a Columbia student along on a week of romantic travails.
- The Huffington Post: e-Vsdropping: Bill’s Valentine to Hillary takes a peek behind closed doors.

Maybe next year, I’ll try to gather up enough oomph to write something touchingly real. Until then, Happy Fishing!

[Photo courtesy of Film Magic]

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hark back to the olden days ...

... when the kids and hanger-ons of Laguna Beach were on fire.

I trust you've seen or at least heard about the joke that was the Spencer Pratt directed Heidi Montag music video for her single "Higher". Well if you haven't, it was nothing less (or more) than a home video of her romping around on the beach, flinging her arms aimlessly around like a Backstreet Boy. The video is so ridiculous, in fact, that it has flung her up onto iTunes' top 10 list for pop songs. In an interview with Us Weekly, she admitted that "I cried myself to sleep that first night after my video came out ... I just couldn't understand why people I didn't even know felt the need to be so cruel and hurtful toward me." She didn't make it any better when she added that "We were at the beach and, literally, Spencer had his camera and a boom box in the trunk ... We did it in one take, maybe two, and it took us 20 minutes to film and cost us zero dollars ... We had other ideas but we couldn't afford them."

Spencer, being the best Spencer he could be, took full advantage of the situation -- which, we all know, he himself created: "I just held her and told her it was going to be OK."

Stephen Colletti, in a strange turn of events, has found himself in the middle of an online presidential debate of sorts. Here are some juicier bits, if you think statistical knowledge is sexy:
Dana: pay attention to all the fine print. cnn along with any other "statistical" information is assumed and based on "sources." hence, lack of reliability. and if you're referring to "exit polls" and "surveys," do you realize how illegitimate those are?

Stephen: kinda like [Hillary] losing by a 2 to 1 margin in every state this weekend, and losing 3 more tomorrow? and [Obama] having more of national popular vote, and him being up 21 state to 10 after tomorrow. lol ... and he will win by healthy margins in the 3 primaries tomorrow.
Not too bad for someone who probably got too much sun growing up. Maybe he should think about quitting One Tree Hill (is he even still on that?) and think about becoming a political prophet.

[Photo courtesy of]

Lastly, this is actually somewhat related to Laguna Beach though probably more people will care: Stacey Farber of Degrassi fame is now interning at Teen Vogue in New York City. Looks like Teen Vogue loves its young celebs and the attention they garner.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The 50th Annual Grammy Awards

[Photo courtesy of Getty Images]

I remember when going to school the day after the Grammys meant lengthy discussions (sometimes in class, if you were taking Music as an elective) about whether Christina Aguilera really deserved Best New Artist, and what-in-the-hell was Britney wearing – again!? So the validity of the Best New Artist award is still constantly in flux and we’re still questioning what goes on in that little mind of Britney Spears, but it seems everything else has changed.

For a 50th annual awards show, the Grammy Awards were surprisingly low-key. Everyone (and by this, I mostly mean Kanye West) was well-behaved and cordial, the performances predictably boring (re: Alicia Keys and Frank Sinatra’s “duet”). What was surprising was the seeming throwback to rewarding artists based on their actual talent and not how many records they’ve sold. Probably because no one is selling any records these days. The New York Times said that Alicia Keys’ number one album “As I Am” came in at a near record-low for a number one album, at 61,000 records sold.

While the Recording Academy still gave the necessary awards to the Justin Timberlakes and Rihannas, it also awarded Album of the Year to Herbie Hancock! There was almost a snobbery behind it, a la the Academy Awards: Kanye and Amy, you’re still babies, you’ve still got your chance. Well, maybe not for Amy Winehouse, if rehab doesn’t go well for her.

But after all of the bizarre fascination with Amy Winehouse’s drug problems and difficulties with obtaining a visa for the Grammys, last night’s performance had a childlike wonder to it. I don’t know if it was the fact that it was nearly 4am in London, the rehab (and the presumed weight gain), or the mere surreality of winning a Grammy via satellite that did it, but it was kind of touching. And it made me like her a little more for it.

But back to the questions that really matter: what the hell was Beyonce wearing on the red carpet!?

Thursday, February 07, 2008


[Photo courtesy of]

Two days after Super Duper Tuesday, two days after Romney said, "People thought it would be all done tonight … it's not all done. We're going to win this thing”, he has dropped out. I’m actually mourning this loss in my little ways. He was fun to pretend to cheer for, mostly because he is just so gosh-darned good looking … and it was fun to poke fun at his mysterious undergarments and the notion that he didn’t drink coffee, tea or alcohol. But having lived in Massachusetts for much of his reign as governor, I kind of liked him. He did well in Massachusetts, at least on the matters I cared about – human rights, mostly. Oh well. I’ll buy a t-shirt or something to commemorate what could’ve (never) been.

That said, let’s turn our attention to Heath Ledger. Yesterday it was made official that he died accidentally, having taken a deadly combination of prescription drugs. Now that that’s been cleared, something else has popped up: his rental (whose address has been ingrained into many a memory: 421 Broome Street) is up for grabs! Won’t this guy ever get a break!? Not only did Corcoran jack up the monthly rental to $25,000, $3000 more than the great late paid, but they added this fine gem to the listing: "You don't wait around in a hot rental market like this." Of course not … the first one to make the winning bid can catch his dead skin particles, still settling.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Duper Tuesday

It's Super Tuesday in three super-de-duper ways:
1. 24 states get to vote for who they want to represent their party (and in select states, you don't even have to be affiliated!) in November's presidential elections.
2. The Giants came home to New York (and New Jersey) to celebrate with the fans who didn't feel like shelling out thousands of dollars to celebrate with them in Arizona.
3. It's Fat Tuesday, Carnivale, whatever! It all means “Big Party”.

By now, if you intended on voting for your candidate of choice, you have probably already done so, so let's just talk gossip until the results are released.

Some of the lesser but still interesting news that's collected over the past few days:
- Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port of The Hills and formerly of Teen Vogue, are confirmed to be working for a fashion PR firm called “People's Revolution”
- Conrad came out top on Radar magazine's Fashion Influence List, 16 spots above American Vogue editor Anna Wintour! This is actually kind of appalling.
- Katharine McPhee married 42-year-old Nick Cokas on Saturday. And no one cares, apparently, except me. How sad.
- Apparently Aaron Carter has crawled out of the woodworks with a plea on his MySpace, supposedly in response to a YouTube video a fan made of Aaron and Hilary Duff in their days together: “EVERYBODY MAKES MISTAKES, BUT YOU LIVE AND YOU LEARN. HILARY WHEN YOUR READY. IM HERE. I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU FOR WHOMEVER PUT THIS TOGETHER. IT MEANS A LOT TO ME." Maybe when he learns how to differentiate “your” and “you're” she'll be ready. He's come a long way, though. He knows “a lot” is two words and not one.

Okay, Target must think its clientele are a bunch of idiots, because it's now February 5th, less than a month before the “arrival” of the “mystery” designer duo, and details have yet to be released! Except, oh wait, NOT. Any fashion forward teen or slightly stunted adult will have already seen the pieces in magazines as Teen Vogue or, stupider yet, the ADVERTISING SPREADS. Target, you are my heart and soul and I would never betray you, but this is a load of crap.

Anyway, those who have tried hard enough have found the press site for the newest Go International collection. Most items seem awkwardly frumpy or paired with mismatched patterns. The sleeveless version of the likable Chiffon Crosshatch Print Apron Dress, also priced at $39.99, is the collection's worst offender thus far. It's shapeless, overly lace-trimmed, and fit for a girl. It looks like something you could pick up at Wal-mart for $7. In the 4-6X section.

I'm not impressed.

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