August 22, 2011

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"The Addams Family" Musical: A Ghoulish Hoot

Courtesy Addams Family Musical

I won’t lie to you, the Broadway musical The Addams Family wasn’t at the top of my list of shows to see.

I was a Munsters fan.

But after seeing the show last week, with its first rate cast and “let’s not take ourselves too seriously” attitude, I have to say, I had a ghoulishly good time.

The show, based on the Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons about a “creepy, kooky; mysterious and spooky” family, stars Broadway, film and TV vet Roger Rees as Gomez Addams and Brooke Shields as his ghostly wife, Morticia.

The show kicks off with the opening number, “When You’re an Addams,” and it’s a toe tapping hoot.  It takes place in the Addams’ family cemetery and is the family’s yearly celebration of life and death. 

Especially death.

Continue reading ""The Addams Family" Musical: A Ghoulish Hoot" »

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August 10, 2011

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BlogHers Flashmob to Lady Gaga

Had to miss BlogHer '11 in San Diego this year but got a kick out of watching an official BlogHer flashmob to the dulcet tones of Lady Gaga!

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August 08, 2011

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"Desperate Housewives" Ending? It's Time

Desperate housewivesI'm sure y'all have heard by now that after eight seasons, "Desperate Housewives" will come to an end in May 2012.

As a fan of the show from the beginning, I freely admit, it's about time.  Let's face it, the show has pretty much been coasting for the last couple of years.

Except for a few random laughs courtesy of Eva Longoria and Teri Hatcher, and some warm and fuzzy moments courtesy of Marcia Cross and Doug Savant, the show was just barely entertaining and I would watch primarily out of habit.

Creator Marc Cherry had it right when it was announced the show was coming to an end:

One of the things you see in television is shows that overstay their welcome. People just forget about them and they're unceremoniously booted off. I wanted to go off while we were still doing well.

Let's hope he uses the final season to let the cast shine, and to tell some compelling and of course, funny final tales from Wisteria Lane.

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July 31, 2011

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"The Beach Trees" by Karen White, A Mystery and a Love Story

Beach trees cover"The Beach Trees" by bestselling author Karen White is a mystery and a love story all rolled into one.

Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, the book transports the reader with lyrical language and unforgettable characters.

The book is one of the latest selections from the BlogHer Book Club and you can read my review here.



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July 23, 2011

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"True Blood's" Eric, Sookie and Bill Triangle Heats Up

True blood
For all y'all "True Blood" fans, I wanted to let you know that the triangle between Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Bill (Stephen Moyer) really starts to heat up tomorrow night. 

And I guarantee that the last few minutes of this week's episode will leave you breathlessly waiting for the first few minutes of next week's.

Meanwhile poor Pam (Kristen Bauer van Straten) is trying to keep her face from falling off while still helping Eric, Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) and Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) head to Mexico and get into even deeper mystical trouble and Terry (Todd Lowe) and Arlene (Carrie Preston) try to reverse the effects of their devil baby.


Here's a preview clip where Eric gets a visit from a dear old, dead friend.  Enjoy.

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July 16, 2011

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Some Career Advice for Rupert Grint aka "Harry Potter's" Ron Weasley

Rupert grint Now that the Harry Potter films have come to an end with the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:  Part II,"--and no, I haven't seen it yet, waiting for the crowds to die down--I have some career advice for Rupert Grint who played the adorable, red-haired, Ron Weasley in the films.

Because Rupert has a unique challenge, post-Potter if he wants to continue acting. 

Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry will do very nicely for himself.  He's already been critically acclaimed in a Broadway production of "Equus," and he's currently showing off his inner hoofer in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

Emma Watson, will also do well because she's already taken steps forward by chopping off Hermione's long curly locks, and showing off a chic, youthful, sophisticated, non-Hermione-like Emma on red carpets around the world.

Those images of the new Emma are helping distance her from her Potter-Hermione image.  She's also going to college and seems to be testing the acting waters slowly.  Smart girl

But Rupert's the one who's going to have it tough, because while Daniel can play off his star status and Emma can use smarts, sex appeal and a makeover to have casting directors give her a fresh look, Rupert wasn't the start and still looks very similar to the way he did 10 years ago when the films started: floppy red-hair, crooked, mischievous grin, but now without the cuteness of a child.

That's often deadly in Hollywood.

So if he wants to continue with an acting career, and I'm assuming he does, here's what I'm advising him to do:

  1. Hire the best stylist he can afford and come up with a look that's manly and attractive but has a roguish quality.  Think an adult Leonardo DiCaprio.
  2. Look for films with ensemble casts and begin building up an adult resume of roles that are strong supporting ones, in which he can steal a scene or two.
  3. Look into new plays being developed for the West End.  I don't know that he can sell as many tickets as Daniel can when it comes to theatre, but if he picks the right play, he could impress the critics.
  4. DO NOT take any starring roles in blockbuster films about wizards, sci-fi monsters, time travel or aliens.  If they flop, he'll get blamed and be branded as someone who can't carry any kind of movie.
  5. Think about taking a break.  Once again, I'll use Leonardo DiCaprio as an example.  Post-"Titanic," Leo had a terrible time because of the massive success of the movie and because he was so identified with the role of Jack Dawson.  It wasn't until a few years later, when he lost that cute, older adolescent face, and re-emerged as a man that he was able to match his considerable acting skills to some excellent, quality roles.

Rupert's already completed a war movie, "Comrade," and he's scheduled to play Eddie the Eagle, England's first Olympic ski jumper, in an upcoming film.  If those films are good and well received that will help.  But if they're not, Rupert will have to work even harder to break free of post-Potter expectations. 

I like Rupert Grint and I think he can grow into a reliable, capable actor.  But what I would hate would be five years from now, some casting director seeing his head shot and saying, "Oh yeah, Rupert Grint--he was the kid in the Harry Potter movies.  Outgrew the cuteness.  What's he done lately?"

Image Courtesy Warner Bros

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July 14, 2011

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Big Emmy Nominees: "Mildred Pierce," "Game of Thrones" and "Mad Men"

Game of Thrones Courtesy HBO

Mildred Pierce, Boardwalk Empire and my personal favorite, Game of Thrones, did very well when the primetime Emmy nominations were announced this morning. So did Mad Men, The Good Wife, Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory.

Mildred Pierce Courtesy of HBO

I'm thrilled with the nominations for Game of Thones and especially Peter Dinklage for Best Supporting Actor in the series.  In fact the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama category is a strong one.  Joining Dinklage are Josh Charles and Alan Cumming for The Good Wife, John Slattery for Mad Men and Andre Braugher for Men of A Certain Age.

Some wonderful surprises: Johnny Galecki getting his first nomination for The Big Bang Theory; likewise, Melissa McCarthy, who was announcing the nominations with Fringe's Joshua Jackson, and gasped in delight as Jackson read out her name. 

The Big Bang Theory Courtesy CBS

McCarthy's always done great work--remember her from Gilmore Girls as Sookie St James?--and this year she's gotten extra buzz because of her comic turn in the movie Bridesmaids.

Continue reading "Big Emmy Nominees: "Mildred Pierce," "Game of Thrones" and "Mad Men"" »

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July 10, 2011

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Where the Heck is Casey Affleck?

Gone-Baby-Gone-movie-04 I watched the movie "Gone Baby Gone" starring Casey Affleck last week.

I'd seen it before, but not for a couple of years and it got me to thinking, where the heck is Casey Affleck!?

"Gone Baby Gone" is an excellent thriller about the hunt for a kidnapped girl, but what really hits it out of the park is Affleck's performance.  He delivers a lot of his lines in a low-key, Boston accented mumble, but he carries the movie from beginning to end.

Despite Affleck's slightly build, he brings a toughness and sensitivity to the role that more well known actors might have overplayed.

Affleck's other notable role was in "The Assassination of Jesse James," which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination in 2008, but since then--nothing.

Yeah, he directed that mockumentary about brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix's weird patch a couple of years ago, "I'm Still Here," and he's in the midst of a couple of sexual harassment cases, but as far as another big screen hit, nothing.

Affleck's next big movie is scheduled to be released next year, a Ridley Scott period piece, "The Kind One."  I guess 'til then I'll have to hunt down "The Assassination of Jesse James" and wait patiently.

 Image Copyright Miramax

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June 24, 2011

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"True Blood's" New Season Doesn't Suck


Alexander Skarsgard, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer

Image: Art Streiber/HBO

Well actually “True Blood’s” new season does suck, but only in the best sense of the word.  Season 4 of “True Blood” premieres this Sunday on HBO at 9pm, and with "Game of Thrones" gone, it's just in time. 

I’ve seen the first three new episodes of "True Blood" and it’s a mixed bag of supernatural shenanigans, over the top pathos and tongue-in-cheek humor.

If you remember, the last time we left Sookie (Anna Paquin), she’d found out Bill (Stephen Moyer) orchestrated their original meeting at the request of Queen.  Heartbroken, Sookie kicked him out of her life and went off with the fairies to Fairy World.

Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) was buried alive in cement by Bill and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), Jason (Ryan Kwanten) inherited a backwoods group of shape-shifting panthers, Tara (Rutina Wesley) left town, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) was still having visions, Sam (Sam Trammell) shot his brother for stealing from him, Arlene feared she was carrying a devil baby and Bill and the Queen were about to fight to the true death

A Big Jump Forward

This season kicks off with Sookie in the Fairy World, a place that looks like an updated version of one of those pleasure planets from the original “Star Trek.”  But just like those pleasure planets, there’s a hidden dark side.

Continue reading ""True Blood's" New Season Doesn't Suck" »

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June 21, 2011

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"Game of Thrones" Finale: Dragons!!??? **Spoilers**

GOT Finale - Dragon-1

My absolute favorite quote about the finale of HBO's "Game of Thrones" comes at the beginning of a review by Matt Zoller Seitz for, "'Game of Thrones' Takes Wing."

"One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it," Anton Chekhov wrote in 1889.  The same is true of dragon's eggs.

I'm not even going to add much to that intro. 

The excellent finale speaks for itself:  the heartbreaking aftermath of Ned's death, Tyrion's unexpected promotion, a newly ballsy Sansa, the death of Drogo and his flaming funeral, and last but certainly not least, Daenerys walking through the flames to what seemed a certain death, but instead rising from the ashes the next morning with newly hatched...dragons!!

They fired that rifle.

All I know is it's a good thing I've got this week's premiere of "True Blood" to look forward to, 'cause I'm gonna be missing "Game of Thrones" somethin' fierce!

Image Credit:  HBO

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June 20, 2011

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Auditions for Oprah's "Don't Tell The Bride"

OWN Oprah Winfrey If you're engaged and looking for a way to create a memorable wedding, you might want to audition for Oprah's new show on OWN, "Don't Tell the Bride."

The premise of the show?  Eight couples are given $25,000 to create the wedding of their dreams but almost all the planning must be done Don't tell the bride
by the groom and his best man in secret. 

The bride won't know anything about the dress, the reception or the decor until the big day itself.

The show is based on a U.K. program and will begin airing on OWN this fall.

OWN is also auditioning for a bunch of other shows, so if you fancy yourself a budding reality TV star, take a look at what OWN has to offer.

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June 18, 2011

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"Super 8:" A Fun Movie Throwback

Super 8

J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg's summer collaboration, "Super 8," is a throwback to the days of "E.T." and "Jaws."

It's kinda quaint, kinda sweet and has plenty of action and suspense.

"Super 8" is about a group of boys who set out to make a zombie movie and become involved in a real life monster drama.

Set in the 80s when kid movie making meant a super 8 film camera and days of waiting for the film to be developed and returned, the movie primarily works because the kids are believable.

Joel Courtney plays Joe Lamb, a kid who's struggling to deal with the loss of his mother and also trying to connect with his Dad, the town deputy, played by Kyle Chandler.

Though he and his friends fit the usual movie kid stereotypes:  the wimpy kid, the chubby kid, the handsome lead, the psycho kid, and the girl they all find fascinating, the beauty of this being a J.J. Abrams script is that those stereotypes are adjusted just enough to make the kids fresh and fun.

For example, I love that for once the chubby kid, Charles (Riley Griffiths) isn't the butt of everyone's jokes, but is in fact the director of the film and likes to lecture about how important story is, and when seeing a great shot, grabs his camera and yells, "production values!"

The wimpy kid is tall and thin and actually looks like he'd be the courageous one.  The psycho kid has braces and is just this side of a pyromaniac, but you just know he's going to grow up to be the best demolition expert ever born.

Elle Fanning, plays Alice, the girl in question, but even she has an unexpected subplot that goes beyond just being the object of the boys' fantasies.

These are also kids who aren't written as small, smart alecky adults and I love that too.  So go see "Super 8" for some summer fun and when you do, be sure to stay through the credits.

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June 14, 2011

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"Game of Thrones" Plays for Keeps (**Major Spoilers**)

After last night's episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Twitter and Facebook lit up with the outrage of faithful viewers because the main character, Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean, pictured below), a man of truth and honor, was summarily beheaded at the whim of a petulant and illegitimate, teen king, Joffrey Lannister.

I was watching the Tony Awards and didn't get to see "Game of Thrones" until a repeat showing later in the evening and luckily didn't read any spoilers.

Good thing too, because I loved it!

Not poor Ned getting it in the neck, of course. The last time I was that upset by a TV beheading was when Anne Boleyn lost hers in "The Tudors."  But at least with her I knew it was coming. 

With Ned, I was stunned and truly saddened.  I've never read the books by George R.R. Martin the series is based on so I had no idea and watched in total disbelief.

But the reason I loved it was because it was fearless. 

Continue reading ""Game of Thrones" Plays for Keeps (**Major Spoilers**)" »

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June 09, 2011

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Serious business at 'Big Bang' table read - Entertainment News, Emmy News, Media - Variety

Jim parsons

If you're a fan of CBS's "The Big Bang Theory," here's a behind the scenes article that shows how those funny lines don't just come out of thin air.

Serious business at 'Big Bang' table read - Entertainment News, Emmy News, Media - Variety.

Photo Courtesy/Copyright CBS

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June 08, 2011

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"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" - A Review

To get all prepared for the upcoming release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," I finally got around to seeing "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1."

I gotta tell ya', I was disappointed.

For a movie about people on the run--which is basically what this was--it was like riding in a car with somebody who keeps hitting the brakes for no reason.

It was interesting to see the characters outside their usual haunts at Hogwarts, but they ended up boring me because there were so many times that they weren't actually doing anything.

We do learn what, or rather who, the Deathly Hallows are, but that wasn't enough to keep me excited.

I have higher hopes for "Deathly Hallows, Part 2" which opens July 15.


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June 01, 2011

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"The Good Wife" Reruns: Catch Those Supporting Characters


If for some reason you haven't been watching "The Good Wife," now's the time to catch up.  It's summer and that means it's time for some good old fashioned reruns.

If you've read my previous posts about the show, you know I love Julianna Margulies and how her character, wronged wife Alicia Florrick has developed into a fascinating, well-rounded, likeable woman that I can't wait to spend an hour with each week.

Add to that, the show is smart, funny and never, ever sells the viewer short.  In fact, even if you've watched the show before, watch the reruns and pay close attention to the supporting players and guest stars.

Though, "The Good Wife" is set in Chicago, a lot of it is shot in New York, so many of the scene stealing supporting actors and guest stars are New York acting vets.

Of course, we already know about the wonderful Christine Baranski as legal head honcho Diane Lockhart, Archie Panjabi as the sassy private eye with a past, Kalinda Sharma, and Josh Charles as Will Gardner, Alicia's man-in-waiting.  But here are some others to keep your eye on:

  • Matt Czuchry as Cary Agos, an ambitious young lawyer who finds himself on the outs when Alicia's connections give her the job that he and she were competing for.  Now he's working at the prosecutor's office and not above trying to take Alicia down a peg or two.  For those of you who may not remember, Matt used to play Rory's beautiful, blond boyfriend Logan Huntzberger on "Gilmore Girls."  Turns out he was also a college tennis star, so you know I love me some Matt.
  • Alan Cumming as political king-maker Eli Gold.  Broadway and film vet Alan Cumming does a great job of hiding his Scottish accent, playing this political shark that takes no prisoners.  Watch, learn and laugh as he maneuvers his clients like chess pieces.
  • Mary Beth Peil as Jackie Florrick, Alicia's mild-mannered, meddling mother-in-law who believes her beloved son Peter would never have screwed around with so many prostitutes if Alicia had just been a better wife.
  • Speaking of good old, straying Peter, Chris Noth as Peter Florrick is everything he's supposed to be:  charismatic, powerful, and just a little bit underhanded. 
  • Dallas Roberts as Owen Cavanaugh, Alicia's new to town, gay brother.  Owen and the uptight Jackie Florrick have had some delicious scenes together.
  • Anika Noni Rose as Wendy Scott-Carr, the spoiler in the race between Peter Florrick and the incumbent state's attorney.  Wendy is a black woman with ambition and not above pulling out the stops if it will get her what she wants.
  • Michael Ealy as Derrick Bond, a new partner at the firm who has his own, secret agenda.
  • Mamie Gummer, aka Meryl Streep's oldest daughter, as Nancy Crozier, a lawyer who plays the dumb blond for all it's worth, but is usually smarter than anyone in the courtroom.  It's obvious Mama Streep didn't raise no bad actresses.
  • Zach Grenier as David Lee, a partner in Alicia's firm who knows how to protect his turf.  Grenier is a hoot and a half, especially when a power struggle at the firm forces his character to take sides.
  • Tim Guinee as Andrew Wiley, a stay-at-home Dad who's also a private detective.  Wiley may always be on the case, but he's also never far from a stroller or a diaper bag.
  • Gary Cole as Kurt McVeigh, a Sarah Palin-lovin', ballistics expert who had a fling with the very liberal Diane Lockhart.  Let's just say, neither of them let their opposing politics get in the way of a good time.
  • Michael J. Fox as Louis Canning, a top flight, veteran attorney who's not above using his own disability to sway jurors.

There are even more I could mention, but you'll just have to watch "The Good Wife" and discover the rest for yourself.

Photo Copyright/Courtesy CBS

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May 31, 2011

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Idol Chit Chat: 5 Things "American Idol" Must Do Next Season

Scotty mccreery Quick, name this year's winner of  "American Idol." How about last year's?  The year before?

Okay, Scotty McCreery was pretty easy because he won just last week.

Last year?  A little tougher...oh yeah, Lee DeWyze.

But tell me, what does good old Lee look like?  Can't remember?  I wouldn't be surprised. 

First a little congrats to Scotty McCreery.  He seems like a nice kid and he'll sell a whole bunch of country records, so I wish him well.

I'll never listen to another thing he sings because that style of pure country just ain't my thing, but the kid's talented and good on him for winning.

Having said that, from this viewer's standpoint, this year's "Idol" was a big disappointment.  After starting out promising enough and coming up with a talented group of contenders, for some reason the show squeezed all that talent right out of them as soon as they became finalists.

During the auditions and Hollywood week, they took chances and they created memorable performances.  Once they hit the big stage, almost all of them became cookie cutter, ballad singing, nervous wrecks. 

Naima Adedapo took the most risks and was an excellent performer but her fusion of Elton John and reggae did her in.  Jacob Lusk had a fabulous, pure gospel voice, but his overtly gay mannerisms probably did him in.  James Durbin and Casey Abrams were the most entertaining performers, but Casey's evil beard and James' mix of metal and tears weren't what this year's voting public wanted.

Then there was the judging.  Or lack thereof.  Steven Tyler was a waste of time with his effusive compliments no matter how mediocre a performer was and though Randy tried to bring some honest critique to the table, too often he also got caught up in the lovefest.

Jennifer Lopez

The highlight of the season?  Jennifer Lopez.  She did herself and her career a whole lot of good by getting this gig, and with just a bit more honesty, will turn into a terrific judge.  Being treated to hubby Marc Anthony performing on the show was an added bonus.

But back to business.  Here are five things Nigel Lythgoe and his producing cohorts need to consider for next year to make this viewer happier:

  1. Give the judges a good talking to.  Remind them that if they're going to say that everyone is wonderful, there's no reason for them to exist after the auditions and they'll be fired as soon as the final twelve are picked.
  2. Limit the number of ballads.  I don't care if they have to have up-tempo nights or something, but they gotta get these kids off that ballad bandwagon and make them perform.  You listening Pia Toscano?
  3. In the same vein, have a couple of "judges choice" nights where the judges choose songs for the performers. The only limitation being that the songs have to be of similar tempo or style.
  4. Bring back more guest mentors.  Yeah, that producer guy who was mentor all season was supposed to be the "music industry expert," but viewers didn't care who he was and he added nothing to the proceedings.  On the other hand, Lady Gaga showing James Durbin how to shake his hips?  That stuff was priceless, and we need more of it.
  5. Limit text voting.  Yeah, I know I'm spitting into the wind on this one, but the bobbysoxer vote has run amok and it's time to balance the voting so that the few remaining adults viewers feel their votes will count as much as the fourteen year old Bieber-babies.

I've said my peace.  Nigel, ya' listening?

Images Courtesy FOX

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May 25, 2011

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Why I'll Miss "The Oprah Winfrey Show"

OPRAH Image copyright/courtesy Harpo Productions

The Oprah Winfrey Show is over and I've used up the last of the Kleenex.

Before watching the show, I had all kinds of things I planned to say about why I’ll miss Oprah’s daily hour of love, laughter, pathos, confession, inspiration and enlightenment.

But what I wanted to write changed after watching the show.

You see, today's Oprah show finale talked to me like so many other Oprah shows have talked to me in the past, and at a time when I needed it most.

Right now my life is in upheaval: I’m going to graduate school to figure out what the next phase of my work life will be, and that’s frightening as hell; I’m dealing with my difficult mother who’s alone since my stepfather passed away last year; I’m still looking for that lifetime partner that I often despair of finding; And hardest of all, my usual safety net of friends has, for a variety of reasons, not been available for the support I desperately need.

But today, Oprah did for me what she always does:  she inspired me, she gave me hope, she reminded me that I have the power to change my life, and she reminded me I’m worthwhile.

Because as she said during the show, she too was “a lonely little girl who felt not a lot of love.”

Continue reading "Why I'll Miss "The Oprah Winfrey Show"" »

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May 24, 2011

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A Review of "Girl in Translation" by Jean Kwok

Girl_in_translation_0 I'm a member of BlogHer's new book club and I've posted my first review this week.  It's a review of the novel "Girl in Translation" by Jean Kwok.

The story is about a girl, Kimberly Chang, and her widowed mother who come to the United States from Hong Kong seeking a better life. Unfortunately, they find their dreams more difficult to realize than they ever thought possible.

You can check out my review on the BlogHer book club web page. 


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May 22, 2011

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After the "Apocalypse" Smell the Roses

RoseIf you're reading this, odds are you're not in heaven.  Odd are you're also not in hell.

No, there was no Judgement Day, Rapture or apocalypse. 

Just some guys selling doomsday t-shirts in Times Square and a whole bunch of non-raptured citizens whooping it up on a Saturday night as usual.

But that doesn't mean a lesson shouldn't be learned out of all the false predictions of apocalyptic doom and gloom.

Yeah, all those people who sold their homes, packed up their cars and decided to see the world one last time, are gonna go home to some harsh realities, but they also did something maybe the rest of us should learn from. 

They took a little time to smell the roses.

Now I know they did that because of the false claims of a cult-like figure with delusions of grandeur, but in a small way, maybe the rest of us should be doing the same.

Just a little lesson from the day the Rapture died.

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