Almost as unpredictable as the Super Bowl

Today's list of Oscar nominations had its share of gimmes as well as a number of "what the..." moments, not unlike the road to Super Bowl XL. You have the old-school favorites, the Steelers, manifested in Frances McDormand or Judy Dench, and the newbies who've come from behind, the Seahawks -- think Reese Witherspoon or Jake Gyllenhaal.

Then there's the decisions that inspire nothing but dropped jaws because they're so unexpected: Keira Knightley's best actress nod is as surprising as Seattle's upset over the Panthers -- were both perhaps not given enough credit at the beginning of the season? I say yes for Seattle, but Knightley's recognition seems to defy explanation.

"Crash's" appearance in the picture category is a nice surprise (now departing from the football metaphor); "Capote's" slot surprised me even more. It's too early for predictions ... I must ponder. But the nominations from the Golden Globes, SAGs and Oscars, if nothing else, should teach us that guessing is futile 50% of the time. Just ask the NFL analysts.

Kanye West Poses as Jesus, Says He's Addicted to Porn

That's the headline of this story. Just when you think Kanye couldn't get cockier, he's posing as the scourged Christ just before crucifixion on the cover of one of America's most popular magazines.

Congratulations, Kanye. You've just solidified my vow never to buy your music. It's not that you don't have talent; you do. It's not that you aren't having a positive influence on rap's tarnished image; you are. But you can't tell me white people introduced crack into black communities to kill them off, or that white people introduced AIDS into Africa to kill them off, or that you know George Bush doesn't care about black people and expect me to keep a straight face. (Click here and scroll down to "political views.") Do I respect your gifts? Yes. But many times, you are sublimely ridiculous.

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times

Yesterday's NFL football was full of mixed emotions -- from watching in disbelief as the Steelers dug Denver into a hole they could not get out of to seeing the underrated Seahawks deal the Panthers a crushing blow. The first game made me sad, the second one made me smile.

Seattle is in the Super Bowl! Sounds like a made-up headline. It's been a long time coming, and no team is more deserving. It turned out the Broncos were too good to be true, at least past the division championship. They're down, but not out; next year will be their year of reckoning, and Jake Plummer's numerous critics will at long last eat their words.

And now we all get to watch a Super Bowl match-up we never expected: Steelers vs. Seahawks. No matter the outcome, it will be one fun game to see. Go Seattle!

Could it be? They were only on a break!

Ihearttexas sent me this link today, and boy do I hope it's true. "Friends" will be back! I realize in the grand scheme of life and the universe, this really isn't news. But you know what? I like the show. It makes me feel good. There ... I said it. I'm not ashamed. Of course other things make me feel much better than "Friends," but it's a bit of nostalgia for me with great humor mixed in. And I'm glad the six pals will live on, if only for four more hours.

Maybe he's born with it ... maybe it's Maybelline

Being a woman is exhausting enough without trying every trick in the book to lengthen, thicken and darken one's eyelashes, only to look over at your male co-worker and see he has about 3 yards of lash to spare. This seems to happen quite a lot. Perhaps my eyelashes are just very short? Or perhaps we've had it wrong all along, and boys should be accentuating their own optical dust shields? Maybe this is why Brandon Flowers and Billy Joe look better in eye liner than I do...

I'm game

In a show of solidarity with my sister-types, I too shall throw in some predictions for tonight's Golden Globe Awards. Anything in it for the most accurate, girlies?

* Best Motion Picture - Drama
"Brokeback Mountain" ... This seems like a no-brainer, which is why I feel a little uneasy picking it; there's always the chance of a major upset (It would be "Good night, and Good Luck" by the way).

* Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Felicity Huffman - "Transamerica" ... Another no-brainer; she's got all the buzz she needs to take home the trophy.

* Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Heath Ledger - "Brokeback Mountain" ... Philip Seymour Hoffman has a good shot and probably should win, but I still think the hype about Ledger's performance will pay off.

* Best Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy
"Walk The Line" ... Duh (tell me again how "Pride and Prejudice" is a musical or comedy?).

* Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Reese Witherspoon - "Walk The Line" ... See above.

* Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy
Joaquin Phoenix - "Walk The Line" ... This movie is the "Brokeback Mountain" of its category (Johnny Depp would be the upset).

* Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Rachel Weisz - "The Constant Gardener" ... Call me crazy; it's just a hunch.

* Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Paul Giamatti - "Cinderella Man" ... He'll inch out my second pick, Matt Dillon (can't believe David Strathairn wasn't nominated!).

* Best Foreign Language Film
"Kung Fu Hustle" ... it's the only one I know anything about :)

* Best Director - Motion Picture
Ang Lee - "Brokeback Mountain" ... "Match Point" doesn't have enough "it," "Munich" is too controversial, "King Kong" won't win anything, "Constant Gardener" director doesn't yet have the reputation and George Clooney will have to wait for his day in the sun.

* Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
"Crash" ... OK, this is partially my "good vibes" as ihearttexas would say; it's the film's best shot at an award and I hope it gets some props.

* Best Original Score - Motion Picture
"The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe" ... Another hunch (and another good vibe).

* Best Original Song - Motion Picture
"There's Nothing Like a Show on Broadway" - "The Producers" ... Why not?

* Best Television Series - Drama
"Grey's Anatomy" ... I just don't think "Commander in Chief" will be able to back it up, and "Grey's" has oodles of support from viewers and critics.

* Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Drama
Kyra Sedgwick - "The Closer" ... She'll edge out Geena; people will riot, but Sedgwick has been getting consist rave reviews for quite awhile.

* Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Drama
Hugh Laurie - "House" ... Another hunch; he's a proven, experienced actor and people love to hate him on that show.

* Best Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
"My Name Is Earl" ... This show gets more buzz than a bumble bee, and this is where it will pay off.

* Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Mary-Louise Parker - "Weeds" ... Felicity won't win two tonight, and though Marcia Cross SHOULD take the Globe home, Parker will benefit from the "Desparate" split vote.

* Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Steve Carell - "The Office" ... I almost went with Jason Lee, but for some reason I think Carell is more likeable to the voters.

* Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television
"Lackawanna Blues" ... Everyone seemed to like it.

* Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
S. Epatha Merkerson - "Lackawanna Blues" ... See above.

* Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Ed Harris - "Empire Falls" ... Just a guess, but I think it's a probable.

* Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Candice Bergen - "Boston Legal" ... She's good on the show, plus people have a soft spot for her.

* Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Paul Newman - "Empire Falls" ... Oldie but a goodie.


If nothing else, Hollywood helps magnify some of the patterns of us common folk. I don't spend a lot of of time reading the gossip columns, but I'm into pop culture so I know what's going on. I don't know if people like Harrison Ford and Collista Flockhart or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie or Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner will last. But at least one half of each couple has something in common: They divorced and hooked up with their current squeezes in a short amount of time.

I wouldn't be surprised if some of these folks do make it. Afterall, everyone knows the first marriage is a practice run! Is it any great surprise that these people can make it work on their second or third try? Practice does make perfect. Seriously, though, all joking aside -- this sequence of events is hardly a great feat. You marry someone you're in love with, things get hard, you're not getting everything you want, you decide to separate, you meet another person with even more desirable qualities and (wonder of wonders) it's somehow easier. Duh! You've already been put through the wringer that marriage sometimes is, learning the value of patience and defined expectations. And voila! A brand-new person to try it with all over again -- a re-do.

I'm not naive (how could anyone be who's been married more than a year?). I know as well as the next guy how challenging things can get. But what takes real strength is accepting your mate as your soulmate from the get-go, evolving together and growing in that reality. I certainly can't stand in judgment of those who end their marriages. And I'm happy when people find happiness after divorce; good for them. But I'm even happier at the prospect that a few decades down the road, I'll be with the same man I vowed to spend my life with as a young bride. Will I have more gray hairs as a result? Probably. Wrinkles? Definitely. It's not the easier route by a long shot. There are plenty of men in the world I could be happy with after matrimony's tough tutelage. But I choose Superman ... and no re-dos.


The number 1 movie in America over the weekend was the grizzly (understatement of the year) "Hostel." Yuck. I felt almost physically ill when I heard yesterday that people spent about $20 million to see this film in a matter of a few days. I cringed again as I read " 'The track record of horror films tells you maybe Hollywood should just release horror movies to be successful. I can't think of a more consistently performing genre at the box office,' " said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Contrast this movie with the one it edged for the top spot, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum. Of course, "Hostel" will never measure up to Narnia's overall numbers (nearly $250 million domestically), but I can't help feeling disheartened that this kind of violence is such a sensation.

What is this obsession with gore so many people have? And that's what this movie is, by all accounts. On some level I can understand (though not relate to) the thrill of a scary movie -- suspense, adrenaline, etc. But this is not a scary movie. It's a horrifically violent movie, the mere commercials for which make me uneasy.

OK, some people will argue that violence is violence. "Why do you like 'Glory' or 'Braveheart' so much?" There is a big difference in my mind between "fighting" violence and "victim" violence. Images of two people going one on one with swords, guns or even fists don't stay in my mind long. Images of one person mercilessly torturing a helpless/weaker individual? Those stick around a lot longer. The concept of pummeling is quite different from fighting. Fighting is often necessary; pummeling isn't. And it's people's obsession with this gore that takes their minds to dark places where it's hard to find peace.

I don't want to discuss the aforementioned movie any more, that's how much I detest it. However inarticulate it sounds, I think I really just don't like that people go through the trouble of making films like this ... and that people reward them for it. Call me a child, call me old-fashioned: My only reaction will always be "ick!"

The other "A" word

You know, it's funny. I could have sworn I've met and befriended a number of people who were adopted by their parents. But I must be wrong, because according to what's on TV, children from unplanned pregnancies are either aborted or raised by their biological mothers. Strange, don't you think?

The dilemma of extremes reared its ugly head yet again on "ER" last Thursday. A 15-year-old is in trouble (the child of deeply religious parents, as usual) because she made a bad decision at a drinking party and was raped. The doctors assume her parents will support the pregnancy's termination. When they don't, the medical staff is incredulous because the mom and dad are insisting she keep the baby. Obviously, neither scenario is very desirable. If only there was some other option ...

The portrayal of the parents wasn't bad, actually; they weren't forceful or too obnoxious. But this is what happens in nearly every TV show when a woman unintentionally becomes pregnant. It happened in "Sex and the City," for instance. There are plenty of plot lines about people finding their biological parents after years of searching. But when it comes down to "the decision," adoption is almost always left out of the equation.

This is sad to me, especially since there are so many happy families with adopted children. Also because as a Christian, adoption should look like the most desirable outcome -- no human life is lost, a young person's future isn't put in jeopardy, and a grateful family receives the best gift of all.

I guess that's just not dramatic enough for TV.

Inspired (sort of) by girlfriday's post...

Here is something fun to do whenever you walk into a bathroom stall -- even to blow your nose -- or any place that has partitions to ensure your neighbors are heard but not seen: Start lip-synching like a mad person. There is this great sense of satisfaction and amusement you get from knowing you're having a blast and the people only feet away have no idea. Trust me, it's awesome. (If you're looking for song ideas, a Wilson-Phillips standard or Aerosmith will work well.)