Wednesday, February 29, 2012

AI Season 11- Top 24 Girls Performance, 02-29-2012

Ryan is wearing a tie with his suit tonight, and the girls are glammed up.

Steven is wearing Aunt Mabel's harlequin housecoat. JLo is once again in formal shorts (which fit oddly in the crotch) and a frothy, tulle shoulder fungus. Randy is dressed normally in a leather jacket. Good thing- I think my brain would have exploded if he'd worn another shirt like last night's.

The girls come out, mostly dressed in neutrals, though there are a few splashes of color, and more than a few boobs on display. As the camera pans the lineup, I realize that I barely remember any of these girls. Like the guys, the girls (and I use that word because that's the word that the show uses) went home and filmed their lives for our entertainment.

#1. Chelsea. Chelsea is country. She enjoys target shooting, and her town has one stop light. She's singing Carrie Underwood's Cowboy Cassanova in a tight, black, fringed top, from which the girls are trying to escape. She's also wearing a red leather jacket, and maybe black leather tights. I am not familiar with the recent Underwood Oeuvre, but Chelsea seems  to be going okay with this lyrically complicated ditty (and by *lyrically complicated*, I mean: using lots of words and multiple syllables). Since I think she's giving a passable performance, it makes sense that the judges pick it apart. Randy complains in general. JLo calls her nasal, and Steven tells her to work on her phrasing. Where were these "judges" last night?

Ryan discovers that he cannot see well with Deandre's prescription glasses. Whoda thunk?

#2. Erika. Erika is from Rhode Island. Her mom looks young, and her sister seems nice. She rides a mini-bike and was not always blonde. Erika is wearing a really unflattering long, black jacket with sheer sleeves. It's unfortunately buttoned right under the bustline. That's right, Erika was the DJ. You can tell that she's not used to moving around on the stage. She's singing What About Love, and I think she's doing a great job. Steven agrees with me.JLo wants her to push it more. Randy babbles, making no sense whatsoever.

#3. Jen. Jen lives in Agoura Hills, CA (I was there last month. Not at Jen's house, just in the city). She has a cute doggie, and a boyfriend. Her big family has a vineyard, and they probably appreciate the prime time commercial they just got. Jen is singing Adele's One and Only. Adele is the new Whitney, and I suspect that Jen will get dinged for even attempting this. And certainly, I've heard her sing better. The judges compliment, but it feels like faint praise.

Side Note: After the last few seasons packed with mostly tall, leggy beauties, it's refreshing to see some ordinary bodies on stage. Maybe Adele is reminding everyone that it's the voice that matters.

Randy acknowledges that in the excitement of the first live show, the judges sort of forgot to, you know, judge. They plan to make up for it tonight.

#4. Brielle. Brielle is a New Jersey girl. And a cheerleader. Color me surprised. Her awful mom (though she hasn't done anything particularly awful tonight- I'm still holding a grudge from a few weeks ago) is clutching Ryan's hand for dear life. Brielle is singing Dock of the Bay, starting out sitting with some of the guys. She clumsily stands up and I see that her dress fades hippie-style from blue, to brown, to cream, to purple. Oh my, Brielle is crooning DotB like it's a stripper anthem. Wow, this is so completely horrible that I'm embarrassed for Brielle personally. So of course, the judges fall all over themselves praising her. I don't get it. I honestly don't get it.

#5. Hallie. Not to be confused with Hollie or Haley, Hallie is from Baltimore. Oh, that's right- she's the one whose large husband saved her sanity and her life. She's wearing jeans, a spangly top, and a tight blazer. Her hair is in nice curls. She's singing You Know How I feel. Aha, I just realized who Hallie looks like: Kim Basinger.  She starts low, with a beautiful sultry tone, but there are a few thin notes in the middle. Still, this is miles better than nearly all of the guys last night. JLo gives Hallie an accurate critique. Randy asks her what kind of artist she wants to be, and when Hallie says she wants to be exactly this kind of artist (sultry/bluesy), Randy explains his question again. Several times. Maybe hoping that Hallie will change her mind. He wastes a lot of time explaining a question that Hallie understood perfectly, and answered, the first time he asked it. So, for the first time this season, I say: Shut up, Randy!

#6. Skylar. Skylar is a Mississippi homegirl. She goes mud boggin'. She likes drivin' around. She works at her family store. She's wearing a rather confusing dress- it's black but there are irridescent spangles all over the bodice, and shiny fringes. It sort of makes me think of a Vegas Wilma Flintstone. She's singing Stay With Me. I'm not sure how she's doing with the song because I am totally unfamiliar with it, but she certainly has a lot of energy. It's not my style, but the audience seems to be with her, and she genuinely appears to be having fun. Randy is incoherent, though not so incoherent that he can't drop a few names. JLo gushes. Steven loves everyone and everything tonight. I have to say that I find Skylar rather goofily endearing.

#7. Baylee. Baylee is from Texas. She has sheep, horses and cats. She cheerleads and runs track. She does not play softball, having been smacked in the mouth with a ball as a wee lass. She has a really sweet Grandpa, who fixes her breakfast and who wants to fatten her up. She's wearing a red formal with a mullet skirt, and a bandage-y top. There's an awful lot of cleavage going on here. My notes say "Amazed", which I think is the title of the song, and not my astonishment that she does not fall out of her dress. I'm hearing wonky notes. Lots and lots of them. The judges heard them too. They all lead their critiques with how pretty Baylee is, which is the go-to opener when you can't say anything nice about the singing.

#8. Hollie. Not to be confused with Hallie or Haley, Hollie is also from Texas, though her accent sounds Maine to me. She has a half-grown golden retriever puppy. I love goldens. She also has a very supportive family. Hollie is wearing a short, gold sparkly dress with those plain side panels that are supposed to be very slimming, not that Hollie needs any help in that department. She's wee.  She starts to sing, and... WOW! That is not at all the voice I expected from her. Her voice is rich and textured, with a great tone. She took on Aguilera and won. The judges loved it. JLo babbles a bit, talking about what Hollie can "do do", and both Randy and I laugh. I am so ashamed.

#9. Haley. Not to be confused with Hollie or Hallie, Haley is a former barista from Portland. She shows us the rain and her cute boots. She's another blonde, with long hair and heavy bangs. Her dress is all Stevie Nicks on top, and batshit crazy on the bottom (short tight skirt with a long, fishnet overskirt). She's singing Sweet Dreams, if singing is what you want to call it. It's pretty awful. I hope Annie Lennox never hears this. JLO tries to convince everyone that Haley can sing, despite recent evidence to the contrary. Even Steven praises faintly. Randy ums and ahs, and finally comes out with a really mean joke, and the most blunt assessment so far. Unfortunately, he's right.

#10. Shannon. Ryan starts with Shannon's large, ball playing father, and they remind us, for the bazillionth time, that Steven was creepy. You know, when you get to the point where Daddy is joking about wrestling with the guy who made sexually inappropriate comments to the underage daughter, just to get laughs from the audience, it might just be time to let it go already. Shannon's home movies mostly remind us that she comes from tall stock. She's wearing a floaty white pageant dress. I don't know this song, but it's certainly churchy. And pageanty. Shannon is clipping her words weirdly, and though she seems to be in tune, the whole performance feels robotic. JLo gets goosies. Her goosies are deaf. Steven critiques Shannon very very carefully.

#11. Jessica. Jessica is from San Diego. She has an adorable younger cousin, who looks up to her. Jessica has had voice issues this week. She's worried about performing, and is very very nervous. She's wearing a black and silver sort of halter dress over black tights.  She's singing Love You, I Do. She starts out so quietly that I think her mike is malfunctioning. But no, she's just singing very very softly. But she gains a little confidence and suddenly, this huge voice bursts from her. The audience and the judges go wild and give her a Standing O. Where are your goosies now, JLo? Jessica is overwhelmed by the reaction, and she giggles adorably.

#12. Elise. Elise lives in Charlston, SC, but she's from New Jersey. She says that she needs to be exposed, but what she means is that she welcomes the exposure that will come from being on this show. Elise is also singing Adele's One and Only. It's maybe not such a good idea to sing the same song that Jen performed. Elise begins at the piano. She has lots of flowers and foofery in her hair, and her voice is nasaly. When she stands up and leaves the piano, I see that she's also wearing a mullet skirt, this one asymetrical and made from netting. This performance did not do it for me, and the judges are tiptoeing around it as well.

Hmmm. There are almost eight minutes left- that's a lot of time on a live show notorious for overruns. I briefly wonder if they're going to surprise us and bring back Lauren Gray. But no, they just finished early. Go figure.

Tonight's Best: Hollie, Skylar, Erika
My Favorite: Hollie
Worst: Brielle, Shannon, Baylie, Haley

Who goes home? We'll find out tomorrow night. Please let it be a one hour show.

Dehydrator Wednesday- Goin' Crackers!

I found a recipe for Flax Crackers in Mary Bell's Food Drying With an Attitude, that intrigued me. I rooted around in the cupboards and freezer, and gathered all of the ingredients (freshly dried jalapenos, frozen bell peppers from last summer, store bought minced garlic, and canned tomatoes. Oh yeah, and sea salt, of which I have a surplus).
 Everything assembled.
 Everything but the flax chopped and blended.
 Flax ready to be stirred in. Be not alarmed by the heirloom Tupperware bowl- it's stained, not dirty (and nearly 50 years old).
 The cracker mixture spread on oiled parchment paper on the dryer tray (there was enough in one recipe to cover two dryer trays). Looks like pureed weenies, doesn't it?
 After an hour, it's looking less weinerlicious.
 After 4 hours at 110 degrees, the cracker sheets were firm enough to peel from the paper and cut into squares (roughly).
 This is an Ulu, or as my younger son called it when he was little- That Alaskan Blubber Cutter. You did know that my maternal grandmother was an Inupiat Eskimo, right? I've had this knife for 30 years or more. I can't say as I've cut any blubber with it, but it surely has worked its way through many a pizza and pan of brownies. And now crackers.
After about 10 hours of drying at 125 degrees, the crackers are done. They don't have the flaky texture that I associate with crackers, they're more dense and a bit chewy, like flatbread. But they're definitely yummy, and they'll be great with meat and cheese, or with dips.

Today's dehydrator adventure? Jerky!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

AI Season 11- Top 24 Guys Performance, 02-28-12

For the first time this season, Ryan, dapper in a tweed suit, polka dot pocket square, and pompadour, runs the gauntlet. He starts with the girls, who are not performing tonight, and ends with Heejun, who either copies or mocks Ryan's trademarked This Is American Idol.

Steven is wearing a gray and black zebra striped jacket over a black satin shirt. JLo is in some sort of below-the-knee, slinky white, tight, two-piece outfit that looks like it's made from sparkly latex. And Randy... Randy is wearing the most infuriatingly stupid shirt that I've ever seen. The huge collar stands so high that it hits him at mid-ear, like he's the Mad Hatter or a younger Cratchit. Or a turtle. One point of the huge collar is red and white polka dot, the other point is white polka dot (evidently seamed in the back), the front button band is black polka dot, and the shirt itself is blue. There must be some sort of subliminal message woven into this shirt, because its very existence is pissing me off.

Ryan explains that on Thursday, 5 guys and 5 Gals will remain, oh but the Judges each get a Wild Card pick, so that 10 is really 13. And of course the Top 12 guys (from whom the Top 5 will be chosen) is really the Top 13 because a surprise guy will be added.

This show is so exhausting.

#1 Reed. All of the guys made new home movies, which we will see. Reed is from a small town in Wisconsin. Reed likes cheese curds (it's in the Wisconsin Charter, y'all). Reed has a couple of cute nieces. Tonight, he's wearing a gray shirt and skinny gray slacks. He's singing Moves Like Jagger, a song whose title I recognize, but whose melody I know not, so I have no idea if he's doing it justice. That said, he sounds fine, singing, moving, and playing the drums a bit. The judges all approve. Oh Reed, do not lick your nose. Please.

#2. Adam. Adam is from Pennsylvania. He has a baby, a wife, a dog, and a house. He is a Cordon Bleu chef. He says that there is a large black woman trapped inside of him. To prove the point, he's singing Think tonight, channeling the largest black woman I can name (in all senses). He's wearing a black leather jacket, a purple tee, and there's a Terrible Towel hanging from his back pocket. This performance is unremarkable, though the final note is good. The judges love it.

#3. Deandre. We see some old home movies, plus new footage of Deandre's adorable sister. Deandre and his curls are singing something by Earth Wind and Fire. He starts too high, which only emphasizes how weak his voice is. Yikes, this is awful. However, the judges once again love it. Steven loves it enough that he interrupts JLo's critique (which wasn't much of a critique anyway).

#4. Colton. If anything, Colton's hair is even more ridiculous than before. We catch a glimpse of Colton's upper middle class childhood home. He says that people ask him how he gets his hair to do that, and he seems to think that they're complimenting him rather than taking notes on what not to do with their own locks. I don't know the song he is singing, but I am so distracted by how much I hate his hair that I probably wouldn't have heard it anyway. I do notice that he dances around on top of the grand piano, and that JLo looks like she's in pain. Evidently, JLo's Pain Face means that she's pleased, because all three, once again, love the performance.

#5. Jeremy. Jeremy (who?) works in some kind of clinic, and he seems to have decorated his tee shirt with strips of electrical tape. He's a big guy with a soft speaking voice. He begins his song (the title of which I did not catch) on The Stairs of Seriousness. For such a large fellow, he has a very small, boy-band voice. I'll be dipped if I can hear what the Judges are hearing, because as far as I can tell, that was barely mediocre.

Oho- Steven blatantly references JLo's supposed Oscar Night nip slip. She acts amused, but if I was ol' Stevie, I'd watch out.

#6. Aaron. Aaron is a voice teacher and a dance student. He's singing Never Can Say Goodbye. I would like, just once, to get through a season without someone feeling the need to wear a fedora. I am totally over the fedora. Aaron subscribes to the Crouch School of Stage Presence. His voice sounds weak to me, but he gets a Standing O from the Trio of Deafness. I don't get it.

#7. Chase. Chase is a college student from West Virginia. He's a musical theater major, and he can whistle. He's singing a song called Storm Warning, which appears to be the country version of Rap. He strides. He struts. He squats. He makes creepy faces. What he doesn't do is sing. But the judges are happy. Again. Some more.

#8. Creighton. Ryan calls Creighton a *free spirit*, which is probably code for *flake*. How the hell did I not know that Creighton is from South Dakota? I know I missed most of the audition shows, but you'd think that our local news would have thought that one of our own on the nation's top rated show was worth a mention. Creighton says he's from Brandon, but his home footage was obviously shot in Sioux Falls. (Edited to add: maybe the home footage was shot in New York, and the fact that I can't tell the difference between NYC and Soo Foo is going to annoy them). He's singing Cyndi Lauper's True Colors. Seriously.  And he's nailing it, in a fringed vest, no less. Go Creighton.

#9. Phil Phillips (or as he's known elsewhere on The Interwebz- P2). Phil works in a pawn shop, and he has very supportive sisters, and an excitable father. He's singing In the Air Tonight, and I'm not really getting the Phil Collins vibe from him (or from the hairy chest peeking out of the open collar). It does amuse me to hear him say "drownding" though. This is angsty and growly, and I am underwhelmed. One hour and fifteen minutes, and nine singers into the show, and Randy finally offers the first hint of constructive criticism- about song choice, though he dials it back severely when the audience boos.

#10 Eben. Eben is a nice young man, with a nice family. Eben is singing Adele in a higher key than Adele herself sings. His burgundy jacket seems ill fitting (with a too-fitted waist, as though it was made for a girl. There are some bad notes in there, and JLo is shaking her head, not in a good way either. Randy actually  points out the bad notes, but JLo hastens to reassure Eben that wonky singing doesn't really matter in this here singing competition.

#11.Heejun. I don't know how much of Heejun is real, and how much is Performance Art, and I don't really care. He may be the most original contestant this show has ever had, and I'm going to enjoy him for as long as he lasts. He's singing Angel, but not the Sarah Maclachlan song. He starts out very quietly, but he warms into it. Heejun has a lovely tone, but his enunciation still needs work. Heejun gets more of an actual critique from the judges than anyone else has gotten tonight, but I don't think it matters. He's this year's Sanjaya, except that he has actual talent. I think he's a lock for Top 12.

#12. Joshua. Ryan says that Joshua is being called Mantasia, as though that's a good thing. I didn't like the original version, and I am sure to dislike this new iteration. He's singing one of Jennifer Hudson's songs, and I think he's oversinging every single note (just like Fantasia),which means that the judges are going to eat this up with a spoon. Yep- Standing O. I give up.

Okay, now we get the surprise guy. I'm not happy about this development- the judges were supposed to winnow the kids down to the best of the lot, and if they screwed up and didn't do their jobs, dock their pay. This revamping of the rules is annoying. The only way I will be able to accept this wrinkle is if Jermaine is the one brought back. And since I want Jermaine, I steel myself for David Leathers. Or worse yet, Richie Law.

Well, whaddaya know- it is Jermaine. My lordy, he's tall. The top of Ryan's pompadour barely reaches Jermaine's purple shirted shoulder.

Nooooooooooo! Not Dance With My Father! I hate this song. I hate it so much that I try just to listen to Jermaine's lovely baritone and tune out the insufferably manipulative lyrics. I'm not having much success in that. Afterwards, Ryan brings Jermaine's mama out. She looks younger than her son.

So, the phone lines are open now. I'm not voting, but I'm sure someone is.
My Best tonight: Reed and Jermaine
My Favorite: Heejun
My Worst tonight: Eben, Deandre, and Colton
Who's going home? Hell if I know. We'll find out Thursday.

Dehydrator Tuesday

Remember that we bought this?

And I probably didn't mention that I also ordered this:

Well, I'd spent a couple of evenings studying the minimal manual that came with the dehydrator, and the excellent (and highly conversational) instructions and guidelines in this book, so yesterday, I finally felt ready to give the machine a test run.

I cleaned out the refrigerator veggie drawer.
We have here: two kinds of cherry tomatoes (most halved, but some whole, with the skins pierced, just to see what would happen)(the book recommends experimentation, and I fully intend to comply), old carrots, a whole bag of radishes sliced, Roma tomatoes sliced, some small sweet peppers (the pretty ones- yellow and orange), a heaping tablespoon of pickled jalapeno slices (again, for experimentation purposes), and two medium sized fresh jalapenos, sliced.

The sheets for fruit leather making haven't arrived yet, so I put the pickled pepper slices on a little hunk of plastic wrap, but everything else went right on the plastic dehydrator trays. I turned the machine on, set the temp (125 degs F) and the time (4 hours) (setting took less time than typing the words) and left it to its own devices.

Well, no, I checked frequently (opening the drawers lowers the temp, of course). I realized after the first 4 hour period, that 125 degs isn't warm enough. Next time, I'll set it at 135 or 140 (the internet has conflicting info on that, but since I'm not a *raw* person, the higher temp is fine with me).

The book says if you're going to dry peppers, that it's best to do it outdoors, or in a very well-ventilated room. I figured two fresh peppers wouldn't stink up the joint.

I was wrong- not that it was a *stink* exactly, but we were very aware that someone had committed jalapeno in the house. If I become tempted to dry an entire batch of them, I will definitely haul the unit outside. Ditto with onions. Or garlic.

 Anyway, an hour or so into the second 4-hour period, the radishes had shrunk enough that they were starting to fall through the holes in the trays. They'd lost easily 2/3 of their volume. I started removing individual slices as they fell.
Also the smallest of the carrots, the pickled peppers, and a few of the more thinly sliced tomatoes.

I know now why there are no recipes for dehydrated radishes. Eating one is like chewing vaguely radish-flavored cardboard.
So I decided to rehydrate a slice, just to see what would happen.
What happens is you get a soggy, vaguely radish-flavored piece of cardboard floating in pinkish, radish-scented water. Ah well, experimentation, right?

But the sweet peppers turned out beautifully (and even more sweet), the fresh jalapenos are maybe a bit crisper than I intended, but definitely usable. And the tomatoes... ah the tomatoes... we ate many of them right out of the dehydrator, and tonight we're having dried tomato and sausage pizza.

Right now? I have crackers in the dehydrator, and tonight, I think we're going to tackle jerky. Never a dull moment around here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Knitting, and a plea to passers by

... as in, you know, the whole two sticks and a string thing.

No, I have not forgotten how. I've just been busy, and with American Idol going to three nights a week for awhile, it's going to be some time before my output increases.

But in the meantime:
I'm making progress on the Not From Hell Doll Sweater (which goes with the Definitely From Hell Pleated Skirt). It's going to be lovely, if I ever get it done.

A dear friend requested purple socks, so purple it is. This isn't leftover yarn (though it will be when I finish this last foot), but it was in my stash. This is my plain vanilla pattern (60 sts, 15 rows K2P2, 6" to heel, short row heel, 6" to toe, star toe), livened a bit with alternating P and *K 2, YO, K2tog* rnds, every 7th rnd- just enough to add a little texture and interest without making them anything but mindless knitting.

Okay, so I live at the end of a 1/2 mile township road. It's a dead end, and there are no other houses, so I tend to think of it as my driveway. Unfortunately, a percentage of passing motorists think of it as a bathroom.

I swear, someday, I'm going to put up this sign.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Click away, my little darlings.

You will never hear this song the same again.

Amazing color pictures of Americans from 1940-1944, taken by the Farm Security Agency and stored at the Library of Congress.

What people think, Wookie division.

The Bloggess recommended these guys and The Bloggess is never wrong.

Have a favorite Simpson's Line? (I hope I didn't dain my bramage)... Lots of us do.

Squee!!!! Downton Abbey Paper Dolls!

My latest treadmill video obsession.

My latest Kindle game obsession

My new booze crush.

If this doesn't make you laugh... well, then... I just don't know...

And finally, our new toy. Expect many updates.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

AI Season 11- Vegas Eliminations Part 2, 02-23-12

Aha- no one found out whether or not Adam Brock made it through last night. The show pulled a nasty on all of us, so my DVR actually saved me from screaming at the TV (rather than just screaming at the electronic equipment). At any rate, we take up exactly where we left off last night, with Adam weeping copiously. JLo's spangly dress reflects on her chin like a green flashlight during Ghost Story Time around the campfire. Randy tortures Adam, and Steven drinks man tears for breakfast. After all that, it's obvious that Adam Brock is going through. If anything, he cries even harder at the news.

I don't remember Jeremy Resado, and I don't remember his Sarah Maclachlan solo, or his leather vest, or his lovely tenor. but he's in.

Adam, you can stop crying now. M'kay?

Shannan Magrane fluffed it during the group sings, oversang Wonderful World for her solo, and did much better on her final solo. Once again, she's wearing formal shorts, with a black jacket and a fuchsia blouse. We're reminded that Steven can't keep from making inappropriate comments about underage girls even when their very large, pro-ball playing fathers are standing by. Oh yeah, Shannan is in too.

Scott Dangerfield (who?) is up next. I have not heard him sing, and I really don't want to see him now. Or listen to him mangle Folsom Prison Blues. Odds say that he's going home, given that the previous 3 kids made it. And yep.

More people I've never seen before, including a large girl with orange hair, get the boot.

The Other Skylar, Skylar Laine, is one of the collapsees from Hollywood. Omigod, she's growling Fancy. When she sings, she reminds me a bit of Reba. When she talks, my ears bleed. She wears a rather pretty white petal dress that even Steven likes. She's in.

In short succession, and with no singing clips at all, blonde Hallie Day, generic Chase Likens, and unknown Aaron Marcellus are in.

What the hell is going on? It's an hour show tonight and 27 minutes into it, there are only 3 slots left (1 Girl and 2 Guys) in the Top 24. But never fear, Ryan promises a Shocking Twist. Shocking I tell you. A Twist. A Shocking one.

This year's Jason Castro look-alike, Deandre Brackensack is up now. Evidently, he tried out last year, though I don't remember him. He's singing in a really lovely falsetto for his solo. JLo gets Goosies. Deandre and his pretty eyes, and his massive amount of curls, are in.

Sheer odds say that Barry White-ian Jermaine Jones is on his way home, despite the fact that he sings a lovely solo in an argyle sweater vest with no shirt underneath. Jermaine can count, and he begins crying even before he goes in front of the judges. Oh the red eyes and snotty nose. He deserves a place just for surviving a duet with Cowboy Richie. The Hub thinks that the Shocking Twist is that Jermaine is in and that there'll be a Top 26. I'd be fine with that, but I don't think so. Unfortunately, I'm right.

Sad, sad, sad Jermaine is comforted by his nice mama. JLo cries, and even Steven sniffs a bit. What's that? A bit of moisture in my eyes? No, no, I do not cry because of this stupid show.

The last 3 girls vie for the final spot. Ariel Sprague is wearing a yellow leather jacket (I think I see some Native American in her). Shelby Tweeten is tall (or at least the tallest of these 3) and is wearing a cute pink dress. Holly Cavenaugh has a thin voice. It's big but not particularly pleasant. Holly is the only one we see singing, and she's the one who gets the nod.

The last two are 17 year old David Leathers (the leering kid with the Michael Jackson voice), and squeaky clean Eben Frankowitz, the 15 year old Bieber-alike. They're friends and they walk in together. I'd trade both of them for Jermaine. In their final solos, David is still channeling MJ, and Eben digs deep and finds his inner Joe Cocker. The round goes to Eben, who can't quite keep from celebrating in front of (or rather, directly behind) his friend. I'm happy enough about the selection, though I'm not sure that Eben's voice has changed yet.

Okay, Season 11's Top 24 has been named: Jen Hirsch, Hailey Johnson, Elise Testone, Erica Van Pelt, Chelsea Sorrell, Baylee Brown, Jessica Sanchez, Brielle Van Heugl, Shannan Magrane, Skylar Laine, Hallie Day, Hollie Cavenaugh, Creighton Fraker, Joshua Ledet, Reed Grimm, Heejun Han, Phil Phillips, Colton Dixon, Adam Brock, Jeremy Resado, Chase Likens, Aaron Marcellus, Deandre Brackensack, and Eben Frankowitz.

There are only 3 minutes left- where is our Shocking Twist? Is it that Steven Tyler strips down and dives in the water, and that his old man ass is too gross for words? Nah, nothing shocking there.

Oh, here it is. Ryan says that the judges want to add another guy to the mix  (so it'll be a Top 25, I guess). Next Tuesday (not Wednesday), either Jermaine Jones, Richie Law, David Leathers, or Johnny Keyser will be back. Please, let it not be Richie.

Thursday Tab- Merrill 1938- Paper Doll Family and Their Trailer, Part 2

This is one helluva palatial travel trailer...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

AI Season 11, Vegas Eliminations Part 1, 02-22-12

This episode is labeled Part 1, so I highly doubt that they're going to winnow the 42 survivors down to 24 tonight, no matter what Ryan says. He keeps talking about *tonight*, and *yesterday* as though we saw something last night, and I start to worry that I missed an episode. But nope, Ryan is just funnin' us.

For the eliminations tonight, JLo is wearing emerald green spangles, and her hair is up, and held back with a cute headband. Randy is in a gray Beatles Jacket with white piping on the lapels. Steven is in purple and his pants are on acid.

Jen Hirsch is in black sparkles. We see clips of her original audition, which I missed, and frankly, I think is pretty awful (all screechy and such). We also see a bit of her final solo, on a dais surrounded by a moat filled with water (they're in some Cirque du Soleil-style theater), and it also sounds far too breath-y and wail-y, but I know this girl has the pipes and I will be very surprised if she does not go through. I am not surprised.

Commercial Note: So AT&T 4G customers automatically turn into jerks, eh? Duly noted.

Creighton Fraker desperately needs a shave. He's the Bunny Ear Street Performer Guy. He explains that he was adopted into a preacher's family, and was grown before he learned that his birth father was a rock guy from an 80's hair band. His quirkiness is wearying, and his final solo seems to end with a burp (and he looks a bit like Constantine Maroulis, only without the sleaze). He makes it through. As he tells his family the good news, we see that he looks very much like his birth father (who still has the hair, though he has cleaned up considerably).

Lauren Gray is wearing a leather jacket over a print dress, and booties. She has a bluesy voice, and she may or may not have a Stage Dad (given that she makes a point to say that he's a failed musician and is living through her at the moment). We see clips of her final solo, and.... MY EYES!!!!... she's wearing a belted, strapless, capri-length jumpsuit. I have no idea how her voice sounds because I cannot hear it over the ugly. Doesn't matter- Lauren is going home.

Joshua Ledet is also a preacher's son, and you can hear the Gospel in his voice, which he cranks up to 11 at all times. On the few moments when he dials it back, you can tell that he has a nice voice in there, but I fear that Dialing It Back is something that Joshua seldom does. Randy jerks him around for awhile, but he's in.

We catch a glimpse of a few pretty unknowns getting the ax, but since we've never seen them (or at least, I've never seen them), I don't care.

Hailey Johnson has blunt bangs and stringy blonde hair. She's wearing a weirdly textured orange top, and a short, striped black skirt, and boots. She has a huge voice and a teeny weeny nose stud. She's in.

Okay, so 40 minutes have passed and only 4 people have gone through so far. I guess they won't have any trouble filling up 3 hours with 24 (not that I doubted AI's ability to drag things out).

Neko Starr has an excess of self-confidence, though I actually like his voice better than some of the other guys. But he's an arrogant doofus in a leather jacket and red/white/blue jeans. And... he's out...

We see Clayton Someone and River St. James get the boot, and in both cases I say: Who? Also Caleb Johnson who dressed like a lounge lizard for his final solo, and forgot his lyrics.

Elise Testone is in full control of her big, blues voice. She sang her final solo in a chartreuse satin dress, and gets word that she's in the Top 24 while wearing leather and a short skirt. Presumably, she'll learn some makeup tips from the stylists.

Ah, here's Reed Grimm, he of the ADHD and last minute drum solo. He drum solos again for his final performance, singing If It Ain't Got That Swing at warp speed. He's in, of course- the cameras have spent far too much time with him to go home now.

Erica VanPelt is the Mobile DJ, and she has a lot of visible gumline. Her solos are not impressing me, and I'm even less impressed with the print strapless mistake that she wears over leggings and boots. We have to wait for a commercial to know the verdict, but she's in.

Chelsea Sorrell forgot her words totally in one performance. She's currently dressed like a secretary in a green long-sleeved blouse and dark skirt. The judges torture her a bit, but she's in.

Bailee Brown auditioned for this show first at age 16, and again this year at age 21. She's no Carrie Underwood, but she has a nice enough country voice. She's wearing a blue bandage dress when she gets the news that she made it.

1 hr and 15 mins, and the total is 6 "girls" and 3 "boys"... out of an eventual 24... sigh...

Now we get a rehash of the whole Heejun/Richie and Richie/Other Big Dude flap (condensed version: Heejun and Big Dude are cool, Richie is an ass).

Richie Law is called in first. We hear him zip soullessly through Ring of Fire, and it will not surprise me if he is passed through just for the drama of it all (Haters love to Hate, and they'll watch just to Hate, and AI doesn't care why we watch, just so long as we do). But... YAY! He's out. There are a few carefully suppressed smiles from the rest of the auditioners when they get that news.

Heejun Han goes in next. While Heejun is usually laid-back to the point of immobility, he's a bit more agitated tonight. And clips from his work with disabled kids show him more animated than we've seen on the show so far. His final solo was lovely, though he really does need to work on his enunciation. After he gets the nod, Steven says that Heejun is a better star than he is a singer, which... huh? Heejun is so happy that he falls apart just a bit. And unlike the reception that Richie got, everyone is happy for Heejun.

16 year old Jessica Sanchez was a pageant kid. Tonight, she's wearing a one-sleeved top made from floaty, pink ruffles, and black spangly pants. I don't love her voice, and I don't love the way she oversings every single note. I wish she'd give herself a couple more years before jumping into the fire (there is talent in there, it just needs some maturity), but the judges don't see it that way. She's in.

Phil Phillips is an odd duck- he's had a lyrical flub or two, and he's nasal up in his nasal (tm Paula), but he's good with the guitar. He explains that he really wants to go through, but it's okay if they send him home. JLo sorrowfully interrupts to say that he's staying.

Colton Dixon was shoehorned back into the competition when he accompanied his sister Skylar to her audition. Skylar got cut the day before, and Colton takes it badly, singing at the piano in his generic broadway voice (I don't remember the song- his stupid striped Mohawk irritated me so much that I forgot to take notes). Anyway, this year, Colton makes it through.

Brielle Von Heugl, who has the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Stage Mom, enters wearing leather shorts and a cafe curtain. For her final solo, she jazzes up Killing Me Softly, which is wrong on every level (not the least as a minor singing that song). Dammit, she's in. As they leave, her mother tells the rest of the kids that she loves "alla yaz".

It's getting late (with 8 *girls* and 6 *boys* selected so far), so I assume that Adam Brock is the last one for tonight. Adam is AI's Josh Krajcic, without the extra grease. His final solo is You Don't Know Me, and I do like his voice. A lot. Adam is excessively emotional and weepy as he talks about his infant daughter, and how much this chance means to him. He honks his schnozz on the sacred kercheif, and wipes his reddened eyes.


So I don't know if Adam made it or not. Damn you, Joel McHale and your snotty humor that I love so. I'm sure the Interwebz will tell me if Adam is in, and I'll get back to you on that tomorrow night.

Drum Roll Please...

My Son, The Brilliant Artist, has done it again! Here's the cover for the eBook version of Mourning Shift, the 4th Tory Bauer Mystery, which will be available later this spring. I think it's the best one yet!

Check out the evolution of all of the eBook covers here!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Books- Part 2, Grownup Stuff

I don't  know how I managed to get to  the ripe old age of umpty-umph without having read Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm, and I don't know what brought it to my attention at this stage of the game, but I'm glad. The story of young Flora Poste, orphaned and  in possession of only a subsistence inheritance but no desire to earn a living, had me chortling from beginning to end. Flora descends, with her patronizing, no-nonsense ways, on her rural, distant relatives, The Starkadders, who have always lived at Cold Comfort Farm, explaining to her horrified friend :"Well, when I am fifty-three or so I would like to write a novel as good as "Persuasion", but with a modern setting, of course. For the next thirty years or so I shall be collecting material for it. If anyone asks me what I work at, I shall say "Collecting material." No one can object to that. "

If the tireless Flora resembles any Austen heroine, it's Emma, bossing and rearranging the Starkadders as she pleases, plunging into messy personal situations with aplomb ("That would be delightful," agreed Flora, thinking how nasty and boring it would be. ), and meeting her match in Aunt Ada Doom, who once saw something nasty in the woodshed.

The uphill battle ( It was curious that persons who lived what the novelists called a rich emotional life always seemed to be a bit slow on the uptake. ) is all of the fun. I will say that the book feels, at times, to be all teeth and no bite, with the resolution coming on suddenly and almost too neatly. But the ride is such fun.

I've been on the Christopher Moore train for awhile now, and this is my 5th or 6th Moore in the last few months, so I know what to expect. But even so, Fluke, the story of whale researchers, and what they find,  is out there. Even for Christopher Moore- he of ancient creatures who wreak horniness on small California towns, and creator of Jesus's childhood friend Biff- it's out there. Hilarious, and as always, great fun to read, but man... it's out there...

Why would an ex-mob hit man hire someone to rob his own casino? Steve Brewer tells us in Lost Vegas, his expertly crafted and written heist novel. I have never understood why Brewer isn't more well known- he certainly deserves to be. This novel is only available as an eBook- go buy it. You won't be sorry.

I honestly don't know what to say about Wool, Hugh Howey's novellette (novella? long short story? fairly short book?). The post-apocalyptic characters live underground, and have lived underground for so long that the reasons why have been lost to history, or maybe to revisionists. Either way, questioning the arrangement can get you sent Above, to die. The Sheriff's wife was one of those sent Above, and now he wants to go, to find out for himself, if the surface of the earth is really a vast and deadly wasteland. It's a glum and depressing tale that ended in a way that I really didn't expect. I didn't love it, and I didn't hate it, but I wasn't tempted to move on with the next books in the series (as far as I can tell, the books are set in the same universe, but all have different characters). But now, after some time has passed, I find myself still thinking about the book, and I'm curious to see what happens next. So I think I'll buy an omnibus with books 1-4 and see. I am totally confused about the titles. #1 is Wool, #2 Proper Gauge, #3 is Casting Off,  #4 is The Unraveling, and #5 is The Stranded, but so far as I can tell, the stories (which are longer in later volumes) have nothing whatsoever to do with knitting (and I'm not hallucinating- those ARE knitting words, right?). So strange.

P.D. James, noted British mystery writer, has written a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, which is also a murder mystery. It's also deadly dull, with absolutely none of the joy and humor of the original. I didn't finish it.

I not only finished Patrick deWitt's The Sisters Brothers, I devoured it. The story of a pair of Old West brothers, one of whom is having second thoughts about being a hired killer, is extremely True Gritish, except that I liked this book a lot more than True Grit. I laughed out loud a couple of times (once in ATL- people looked at me funny). I also cried. I thought it was marvelous. I am not the only person to think so- it was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize. I eagerly await the inevitable movie. (Side Note: there is a whole category of Sisters/Brothers books that I discovered while looking for links to this one. I now need to go and bleach my brain).

I suppose The Night Circus will be nominated for all sorts of awards too- much of the world is falling all over itself with praise for this fantasy about a selfish bet between two magicians, and the circus where the much of the action plays out. I didn't hate the book, but neither did I love it. Or even like it very much. It felt far too convoluted, far too purposely dense, far too... I don't know... much effort... for me. I wanted to love it. I expected to love it. I hoped to love it. But I didn't, in part, I think, because it doesn't play by proper fantasy rules. I don't care if the magic isn't explained, but the rules of the magic have to be set and followed in order for me to willingly suspend my disbelief. In this book, there seemed to be no rules at all- need a clock maker who can fashion amazing time pieces from almost thin air? You got him. Need someone who can stop time? Yep. Need someone who can build structures from paper, that can hold humans? Indeed. Is there any sense or logic to these powers? Nope.

But, I'm definitely a really tiny minority- the praise for this book is almost universal (on Amazon, less than 100 of 800 reviews are 1 or 2 star, and over 400 have 5 stars). So don't take my word for it. Go read this one, and tell me what you think. I'd love to hear.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Books- Part 1

I haven't talked about books in ages. I read a ton in Asheville, not a lot in SoCal, and a few once I got home again. The total surprised even me (and I was there, the whole time I was reading). All in all, there are too many books to do in one post, so I'll start today with the YA and Mid-Grade bunch.
Last time I talked about books, I mentioned that I'd started Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. I was immediately hooked by the story of young Katsa, whose Grace (special power) was killing people. Katsa's universe is exceptionally well drawn, and the story kept me entranced throughout. The story is intense, and I'm not sure I'd recommend it for Voracious Reader for another couple of years, but it's excellent. My only complaint, and it's an odd one, is that none of the character names felt *right* to me. I don't know what was wrong with them, exactly, but I never once felt like those names were the character's actual names.
I segued immediately from Graceling, to Fire, which is another story set in the same universe but with almost entirely different characters. It's a prequel, of sorts. I found it equally fascinating, though again, not suitable for Voracious Reader. Yet. (There's S-E-X in it).

I've pre-ordered Bitterblue, which is the next book in the *series* (is it a series when the stories flit around in the timeline?). This one is set in Katsa's time again, or at least Bitterblue is a character from Graceling. And once again, the name bothers me- even in this universe, I can't believe anyone would name a princess Bitterblue. But that won't keep me from starting the book the moment it downloads to my Kindle.

My Great-Niece Malerie recommended Neal Schusterman's Unwind, to me. Here's another YA that I won't be passing on to Voracious Reader for awhile. This may be the most unsettling book I've read in a very long time. It's set in our future, after a war (a real war, not just a war of words) between Pro-Choice and Pro-Life people. The result of the war is that all life is considered sacred, but between the ages of 13-17, teenagers can be Unwound-completely and totally dismantled for their parts (transplant science having progressed enough that every cell can be reused). Parents can, and do, *unwind* their troublesome children, society can *unwind* the surplus population (and since all births are sacred, there's plenty of surplus), and religious folks can dedicate a child as a Tithe, raised specifically to be unwound. It's a fascinating and disturbing story. Warning- you won't get it out of your head for a long time.

Dust is set in drought stricken Sasketchewan, in the years between the two world wars. Young Robert Steelgate's brother goes missing, and a mysterious rainmaker comes to town. This fantasy-real world is exceptionally well drawn, the writing is lovely, and the characters pop right off the page. This book was nominated for an Edgar award (from the Mystery Writers of America), though I don't know which year (and I assume it didn't win, since it's still listed as a nominee). I thought the book was excellent right up until the ending, where it all fell apart for me. But the writing is so beautiful, and the setting so *real*,  that I recommend it anyway.
Matthew J. Kirby's Icefall is nominated for an Edgar award this year (that's how I found it, from the MWA announcement list). Solveig is a middle child, with a beautiful older sister, and a younger brother who is the heir to their father's throne. They've been sent to a far-off ice-bound place for their own safety, but danger has followed them. I thought this book was wonderful, and though it's melancholy, I think Voracious Reader will love it. I sincerely hope that Solveig has more adventures.

I worship the fingers that Dave Barry types with, so when he recommended Jack Gantos' Dead End in Norvelt, this year's Newberry Award Winner, I bought it immediately. Unfortunately, the story didn't resonate with me- it's just too.... too quirky... too many weird and annoying characters (especially Jack's parents)(oh yeah, and Jack Gantos is the main character). Sometimes a book will hit me like that, and I change my mind later. So I set it aside for now.

More reviewlets tomorrow- in which I don't love a book that everyone else in the world seems to adore

Sunday, February 19, 2012

41 years and counting

Feb. 18, 1971
A couple of 18 year olds and a Justice of the Peace in a double-wide trailer. Within a year, the Vette had been traded for a Rambler. A Rambler station wagon.
I'm hoping for 41 more. Minimum.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Jo

I looked through the blog archives and could only find one picture of Jo, despite the fact that we've spent at least one afternoon a month together for the past 11 years. The picture is fuzzy, and it's not a very good one, not proper at all for a tribute. So we'll have to make do with what I can tell you about her. Jo was always sweet. Always kind. Always generous. Always dryly humorous. And she was nearly always working. I would never, ever, have thought that she was turning 80. I would have put her in her late 60's, if I had thought to tag her with an age, which I never did. It wasn't until I read her obituary that I found out that she'd been a Physician's Assistant. I knew that she spent much of what could have been her retirement years working as an on-call nurse. I knew that her energy and good will seemed boundless. I know that her family and her church were very important to her. She had no children of her own, but she doted on her nieces and nephews, knitting scarves and hats and mittens for all of them. And she put us to shame with her charity knitting- always knitting dish cloths and towels and scarves.

I missed the last two knitting group meetings because I was on the road (first in Asheville, and then in SoCal), so I do not know if Jo had been ailing during my absence. I hope not. I hope she was busy and happy and knitting and working right until the end.

This morning, Knitters, Etc. will say goodbye to Jo. We're going to miss her terribly.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

AI Season 11- Las Vegas Groups, 02-16-12

Heejun Han is so laid back, he almost moves in reverse. American Idol wants us to note that well. Okay. Noted.

Ryan asks what better place to do this next round of auditions than Las Vegas. I counter with: Anywhere. The kids ride a bus from LA to LV (which is not all that far, actually), during which Cowboy Richie perfects his asshole routine.I have a feeling that some of these people may have never seen a bed before. Or a shower. They seem inordinately excited by both, once they get to their hotel.

The groups are all going to sing 50's and 60's tunes, which means that I will know most of them, and the kids won't recognize any. After a couple of clips, that becomes painfully obvious as the Mean Mean Meany Coaches expect the auditioners to buckle down and learn actual music.

JLo is wearing tassel-y, tight, short, pink spangles. Steven has on a black and white bow tie. Randy is in pastel argyle.

The first group is Cari, Chase, Country Skylar, and Colton. They're all in coordinating black and white (Side Note: there must have been some *styling* going on- unless the kids were given plenty of time to decide, choose, coordinate and purchase costumes for this portion of the festivities). As a group, they sound okay, but Skylar is weak in her solo. The judges don't agree- Cari is cut, but the rest go through.

Young Ariel, David, Jeremy, and Gabi (all in Red and Black) attempt Rockin' Robin. They discover that Music is Hard, but they're all good, and all have a strong stage presence, and all make it. Ryan is wee, but next to him, Ariel looks microscopic. That girl is seriously teeny.

Angie, she of the glittery makeup and facial studs (this year's Alternative Girl), Shelby, Adam, and Erika (the Mobile DJ, I believe), sing Great Balls 'O Fire (also all in Red and Black). These kids are good, and though the judges drag it out, all 4 make it through.

Next up are Schyler Dixon (sister of Colton, the Accidental Auditioner), Brielle the Awful, and someone named Molly. The girls, mistaking the 40's for the 50's, dress like they're Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy-ing. They sound good together. Schyler and Brielle make it through. Molly takes the cut well.

A bunch of kids get cut, and several Mamas are not happy about it.

Eben (with perfectly applied lipstick smooches on his baby-smooth cheeks), Reed, Haley, and Elise sing The Night Has 1,000 Eyes. Let me say that, in person, Reed would exhaust me in about 10 minutes. But he can sing (and Eben can't dance). I like Elise best, but all four make it through.

Before they head to Vegas, the kids are instructed to form groups of 3-5 people. Owing to the fact that Richie is absolutely unbearable, he can't find any group that will take him (his previous friends having set him free). Unfortunately, poor Jermaine is in the same boat (though not, as far as I can tell, for the same reason). They become a duo, and Richie very rapidly exceeds Jermaine's limit for bullshit. And horseplay. Okay, I take it back about Reed. I could not only live with Reed, I could cherish him, as long as it meant that I never had to spend time with Richie. Richie has very certain ideas on how he intends to sing Burt Bacharach's Make it Easy On Yourself (a difficult melody- and not, ahem Randy Jackson, sung by The Righteous Brothers). Jermaine starts out beautifully. So beautifully that I get Goosies (TM JLo). Richie sings like he has a bubble in his throat, but Jermaine... oh my Jermaine has that Barry White thing going for him. Both go through, and in the short distance from the stage to Ryan's interview area, Richie manages to manhandle Jermaine several times. If they are forced to sing together again, I am very much afraid that Jermaine will dismantle Richie piece by piece.

Another girl group-  Halie, Baylie, and Chelsea. Only Halie impresses me, but all go through.

Jessica, Candice and D'Andre (this year's Jason Castro) have Peisha McPhee for a coach. Peisha McPhee just happens to be Katharine McPhee's mother. When did the mother of the Season 5 Runner Up become a vocal coach for AI? They're singing Buddy Holly's I Guess It Doesn't Matter Any More. There's something wrong with the mikes, I can barely hear any of them. But they seem to be doing well, and all three go through.

The judges gather the Day 1 Survivors and announce that they're not automatically safe, that they can be bumped for Day 2 people. This news does not cheer them up even one tiny bit.

At least at first, Day 2 is All Elvis, All The Time.

Clayton, Scott, Different Adam (not the one I like), and Curtis are dressed in cuffed jeans, black jackets and striped shirts. Obviously, they're doing Jailhouse Rock. I am underwhelmed, and so are the judges, though all but Curtis go through.

Caleb and Joshua sing Burning Love well enough to get the nod. And another Curtis makes it with Blue Suede Shoes.

Side Note: Many of the girls are having trouble figuring out what makes a hairstyle 50's or 60's. Hint: If women were wearing their hair that way during WWII, you've missed the mark.

Courtney (who looks 40), Britney, and Jessica are all in pink spangles. They don't sing Elvis, but they're still not exciting. Jessica gets cut. She whines and rolls her eyes, and declares her own artistry. Good thing that she doesn't need this damn show anyway, since she's no longer going to be on it.

Lauren and Wendy are Big Girls (I love me some Big Girls) in sparkly, too-tight dresses, and Mathene is this year's Jacob Lusk. They sing Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, and I don't know what to think (except for a silent plea to Mathene to dial it back a bit). The judges agree with me, and relieve all of us of Mathene's presence.

Next up are Jairon, Neco, Phil Phillips, and Heejun. Neco took Richie's place, I guess. Heejun is scared of Peggy, and rightfully so. They sing I Only Have Eyes For You (a song that The Hub and The Sons ruined for me by substituting *washyourbutt* for *sh-bop sh-bop*). Their harmonies are spot-on and they sound absolutely great, and surprise surprise, Heejun aces the choreography. All 4 make it through, after which, Heejun has a minor breakdown of thankfulness.

The final group is Jen, Creighton, Nick, and Aaron- last night's Groove Sauce, minus Reed, who probably just forgot they existed and wandered off to join another group. They sing Sealed With a Kiss, and technically, it's perfect. But they're just singing the words and notes, there's no soul or heart in this. It's dry, and for the amount of talent on the stage, disappointing. Nick is sent home.

Okay, so now the Judges gather everyone to cut the remaining however many kids down to 40 for next week.
Gabi goes home. Also Schuyler Dixon (again). Dammit- Richie made it. But Angie (of the sparkly eye makeup), Candice, Johnny Keyser, and Jairon are cut. Also Britney, who cries and says that she was perfect.

Ryan says that these 42 kids are moving on. Hmmm- what happened to whittling the number to 40?
Anyway, next week they're trimmed even further, to the Top 24, and after that, The Real Competition begins.

Oh, and Show? I beg of you, do not make me think about Steven Tyler's bony old-man ass again. Ever.

Thursday Tab- Merrill 1938- Paper Doll Family and Their Trailer, Part 1

These scans were shared by a paper doll friend (Note: I have posted nearly all of my own collection of paper dolls and scans. If you have some scans of vintage paper dolls that you would like to share, e-mail me. Don't send scans until we talk).

Anyway, Merrill, 1938... Paper Doll Family And Their Trailer. This week- covers, dolls, clothes and a couple of the *rooms*. Next week, the rest of this palatial motor home.

In any decade, five kids, a cat and a dog, in a trailer... I don't even want to think about it.