Monday, February 27, 2006

The Cutting Edge

The Cutting Edge, that fab film about a spoiled prima donna and a washed-up hockey player who team up to attempt to get pairs figure skating gold, is being re-released on DVD tomorrow. But unlike the original DVD, the new Gold Medal Edition actually includes a bonus feature: a documentary called "The Cutting Edge Reflections."

I love this movie. Sure, there's some cringe-worthy dialogue, and the ending is so full of cheese, I can barely stand it. (And I'm from Wisconsin, so that's some serious cheese.) But for every bad line ("I'm saying I love you. And I'm saying it out loud."), there are at least two clever ones (Kate: "Just who the hell do you think you are?" Doug: "I know exactly who I am, sweetheart, I'm a guy who came a long way for lunch." Kate: "Oh, well, please don't let me keep you from the trough."). And the actors--DB Sweeney and Moira Kelly, especially--somehow manage to elevate this film from mediocre to a charming, fun favorite, in spite of an awful, awful soundtrack. (That woman who sang "Turning Circles" should never, ever be permitted to cut another single. Ever.)

Not being a artsy film school kind of moviegoer, I love The Cutting Edge, cheese and all, and I only have two real complaints about this film: 1) The ice skating sequences were blurry and hard to comprehend. I mean, I understand that you can't really show the Pamchenko, because a skating pair probably couldn't go from a bounce spin to a throw without someone ending up with a skate embedded in his/her skull. But honestly, couldn't they have gotten a decent pair of stunt skaters so we could have seen parts of a real routine rather than a drunken disco on ice guaranteed to trigger an epileptic fit in vulnerable viewers faster than a room full of strobe lights? And 2) maybe on someone else's planet it's cool to end a film before the final resolution (i.e. telling us whether Kate and Doug or "The Russians" won Olympic gold), but on mine, it sucks. Sure, I can infer that Kate and Doug won after the judges mouths dropped open as they witnessed the blurry and mysterious Pamchenko. But I don't want to work that hard. Not to mention that I am a master at coming up with alternate, worst-case scenarios and am therefore mentally incapable of inferring an ending that I haven't been shown. What if the Russians' program was technically more difficult than Kate and Doug's, despite the Pamchenko, giving them the gold? What if Kate and Doug blew it so badly in the short program, the Russians would have had to do the entire program sliding on their behinds to lose the gold? What if the panel of nine judges (this was 1992, after all) were weighted in favor of Eastern Bloc countries, which traditionally favor the more balletic style of skaters from former Soviet countries over the rock-and-roll edge of skaters like Kate and Doug? What if Kate and Doug's horrible music turned off the judges so much that they scored them below the Russians just so no pair would ever, ever choose to skate to a song containing motorcycle revving noises again?

Director Paul Michael Glaser, listen up: It isn't clever or literary to cut off a story like this, and I shake my fist in the direction of Hollywood every time I re-watch this movie (which is at least once per skating season). I can only hope you've made reparation to your fans by providing it now, one way or another. The way I see it, you have two chances.

The new Gold Medal Edition DVD of The Cutting Edge is not advertised as having a director's commentary or alternate ending that would have allowed you to neatly provide a final resolution to the film. But perhaps you've chosen to reveal all in the new documentary attached to the GME.

And if not, there's always the upcoming Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold, in which Kate and Doug's daughter teams up with a surfer (Ay.) to ... wait for it ... go for Olympic pairs gold. The film, written by the same screenwriter who wrote the original, is coming out on cable this month and will be released on DVD on March 28. Early reviews promise that this one is going to be a dud of the lowest order, faling somewhere between Dirty Dancing Havana Nights and Bride of Chucky. But I'll watch it anyway--that's why God gave us NetFlix. Maybe, just maybe, your directorial successor will show some old footage of Kate and Doug getting their gold, and the void that the original Cutting Edge's ending left in our lives will be filled once and for all.

Either that, Paul Michael Glaser, or it'll take them months to count the blade marks up your back.*

* That's a reference to a line in the film, not an actual threat. I'm actually a nonviolent person in real life.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Figure Skating (Because I Can't Resist)

Being a figure skating nut, I was glued to the TV watching the women's Olympic long program in Torino this past week, hoping for a victory for American Sasha Cohen, who seems to have matured both in terms of manners and skating confidence since the last time I saw her skate. (Which was before we spent the last three skating seasons in Korea, where the skating shows were impossible to find on television AND, when I did get lucky, broadcast in Korean. I've always loved Dick Button's skating commentary, but I didn't realize how very much I missed him until I tried to make sense of Korean skating broadcasts with my tragically bad Korean comprehension skills). But after hearing about Russia's effervescent Irina Slutskaya, who'd overcome some weird and awful disease I'd never heard of--vasculitis--and the tragedy of her mother's serious kidney failure to skate in one more Olympics, I couldn't help but also want the gold to be hers. Either way would be fine, and I was just looking forward to a close competition.

Both, as everyone now knows, fell, allowing Japan's exquisite Shizuka Arikawa to skate away with the gold. (Not to mention the loveliest complexion I've ever seen. Life can be so unfair sometimes.)

So I was reading a recap of the women's skate by USA Today's Christine Brennan, and now I'm annoyed. According to Brennan and most of the US media, Cohen lost the gold; she didn't win the silver.

Writes Brennan: "[Cohen] knew that even though she was given the silver, she will be remembered for another squandered chance, for that terrible start much more than that fine finish. It's a shame, really. All that talent, all that grace — and it ends up as just another missed opportunity on Cohen's résumé."

Lovely. You're a world-class skater, an Olympian. That one in a million person who has enough talent (and probably money) to get to that much-hyped and much-celebrated two weeks of competition. You win the silver--you're the second best in the world that night at what you do. And it isn't enough. You aren't second best. You blew your chance to be the best, and for that, America spits on you. Or, at least, Christine Brennan does. I don't get it.

Sasha Cohen is one of the most graceful and complete skaters I've ever seen--her Achilles heel is that she's known for being overcome by nerves at crucial moments. And with one fall and one major stumble, it's obvious that Cohen's nerves got the best of her for the first minute of her program. But then she rallied, and the rest of her program was stunningly gorgeous. And yes, some reporters are mentioning the mental fortitude it took for her not to give up. But many are simply stressing what she lost, not what she won.

What kinds of lessons are we teaching our kids with that all-or-nothing mentality? Freaking second best in the world isn't good enough? This is why people maime each other over Little League games, and big-haired Texas moms try to poison head cheerleaders to get their daughters a coveted spot on the school squad. We're creating a bunch of Tanya Hardings, and we have only ourselves (and maybe Christine Brennan) to blame.

If one of my girls just MADE the Olympic team, I'd be ... well, I'd probably be the brag monster from hell. Even if they did an entire ice skating routine sliding on their bottoms, if they missed all their targets in the biathlon, if they navigated the snowboard cross backwards and in slow motion, I'd be so proud. You're an Olympian! Dude! And if they brought home a silver or bronze, I'd most likely lose all of my friends, because I probably wouldn't be able to talk about anything else for the next decade. I so totally wouldn't be talking about how they "lost the gold." Even if they pulled a Lindsey Jacobellis and hot-dogged their way into a snowbank and truly did lose a gold medal, I'd still be proud. (I'd also be laughing at their goofball antics, hoping that eventually, they would laugh too and see that silver for what it was--a terrific accomplishment and a lesson learned.)

That said, if my girls inherit my spectacular spasticness at just about every team sport known to humankind, that's fine, too. They'll have other talents, and I'll be there to cheer them on when the junior high basketball coach forces them to granny shot a free throw in front of the cutest boy in the school (Don't ask. I'm still bitter.) or when they get put into right field playing softball because EVERYBODY hits into left (And yes, the left fielders did shift right whenever a left-handed hitter approached the plate. Don't ask about that either. Still bitter.) Whatever they want to do, I'm making a promise to myself right now that their best will ALWAYS be not only good enough for their father and me, but worth celebrating. Loudly.

I will remember Sasha Cohen for her incredible spirals, for that crazy spin where her knee touches her forehead (Ow.), for her strong comeback after disaster, for her perfect short program, and for her graceful refusal to make any excuses for "slamming" the two jumps at the beginning of her long program.

Likewise, I will remember my favorite skater, Michelle Kwan, for her beautiful artistry, and her grace and class on and off the ice. I'll remember her unprecedented eight World Championships and her dozens of other medals, including an Olympic silver and bronze.

Better Cohen and Kwan's Olympic results than they act like the ghoulish gold medal skating pair from Russia, Totmiyanina and Marinin, who told an Olympic Ice reporter that they were glad China's Zhang and Zhang had a bad fall during the long program because they had hogged the ice during the warm-up (an accusation that NBC announcers and Salt Lake pairs gold medalists Jamie Sale and David Peltier said was baseless). I won't remember their gold medal at all--I'm just going to remember that they're a pair of jerks whose karma is way better than they deserve.

So stuff it, Christine Brennan. If you can't say something nice about our silver medalists, go hang out with the creepy Russians.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Whole World is Not Waiting for Jessica Alba

My brother Troy, font of movie and pop culture wisdom, informed me awhile back that Joss Whedon is currently working on making a film version of Wonder Woman.

Now, to a woman who was five when Lynda Carter first donned her star-spangled bloomers on the original TV show, the sanctity of Wonder Woman is just a given. The 1970s were famous for "jiggle" TV, where it was all about how good an actress's pre-Wonder Bra push-up garments were, how pretty her feathered hair was, and how well she could widen her eyes and simper as the male actors around her spewed lines that today would be considered sexual harrassment. (Let's just take a moment to thank Anita Hill, shall we? Not only did she help put a label and a stop to this sort of skeezy behavior, but she saved us decades of Really Bad Television.)

Anyway, in the middle of all of this, here came Wonder Woman. Of course, Lynda Carter's costumes were skimpy and skintight, but she somehow managed to give Wonder Woman a gravitas that her contemporaries were sorely lacking, and she answered to no man (Take that, Charlie's Freaking Angels). Wonder Woman was smart, she was strong, she was independent, and she was all about peace and nonviolence--unless some stupid man decided to mess with her, her city, or Steve Trevor. And then it was all about giving someone a badly choreographed smackdown. Mess with me? I'll spin around in a circle, magically put on my big-girl panties, and open up a can of female whoop-ass! (And who cares if my stunt coordinator and fight choreographer aren't fit to coordinate Bea Arthur's stunts on Maude?)

At the time, feminists were being satirized and vilified and de-feminized, and the phrases "little lady" and "aw, honey, let a man do that for you" were as common as those busty, reclining chrome women still are on Florida mud flaps. But there, on my television, making me so proud to be a girl that my little five-year-old heart felt like it would burst, was Wonder Woman. (Not to mention that she wore thick black glasses and had a ponytail, just like I did. Unfortunately, I assumed with my five-year-old logic that all I had to do was whip off said glasses, let my hair down, and all would tremble in fear or fall over in shock at my heretofore disguised beauty. That theory was sadly proven wrong on several occasions, but it's always good for a five-year-old to dream.)

All that said, I can't imagine anyone more capable of doing justice to Wonder Woman than the talented creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But today, while I was checking out what's playing at a theater near me on, I noticed that the poll of the week is "Who should play Wonder Woman in Joss Whedon's upcoming film?"

And this is where things get crazy. In first place is ... God, I can barely bring myself to type this. ... Jessica Alba, who Troy tells me is actually in the running for the part. :::banging head on monitor:::: OK, Joss, I'm about ready to throw down over this news, and here's why: Jessica Alba's wooden performances made me--and many others like me--refuse to watch Dark Angel. Not to mention that Jessica Alba's entire body of major film work consists of playing the same sort of character--Nearly Naked Girl in Into the Blue. Nearly Naked and Totally Ho-ed Up Girl in Sin City. Not Naked But In Skintight Spandex Girl in Fantastic Four. And don't forget the insipid and fake-and-affected-street-talking Honey Daniels in Honey, which was just inane and something I never would have watched except that they caught me during a bought of insomnia on a trans-Pacific flight. I have seen not a shred of evidence that Jessica Alba can actually act, so why is she on the short-list to play a beloved childhood heroine?

I mean, what the heck? It's Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman is so much more than a Nearly Naked Girl! We need a real actress to play Wonder Woman. Someone likeable, who can act. Someone who can keep our focus on her words and actions, and not whether she's about to fall out of her strapless bustier. Someone who can fill the satin tights ("Fighting for your rights. And you're all red, white, and blluuuuuuueeeeeee!") of a character that was the first exposure to feminism for many of us on the far end of Generation X. Joss Whedon, don't do it, man. For the love of Buffy, back away from the tragically bad casting impulse.

Also included in Moviefone's poll are, in order of Moviefone pollster preference: Catherine Zeta-Jones, whom I could live with--the woman has an Oscar, after all. Then there's Kate Beckinsale, who would be fine--she's done Shakespeare. Lucy Lawless would be fantastic, if we can all get Xena out of our heads. Jessica Beal would be horrifying--I'm not sure which of the Jessicas would give me a bigger headache. Sarah Michelle Gellar is too cemented in my head as Buffy, but I wouldn't be upset if she were cast. Rachel Bilson would be charming, although I'm not sure if Wonder Woman is that sarcastic--or short. They'd probably have to cast little people in the rest of the parts to make tiny Rachel look like an Amazon. Charisma Carpenter would be grand--I'd love to see her break out on the big screen. I'm not sure who the last two in the poll--Lauren Graham and Morena Baccarin--are, but they've got to be better than the Jessicas.

Anyway, Troy bought me seasons 1 and 2 of Wonder Woman on DVD last year for my birthday and for Christmas, respectively. The years haven't been all that kind to the show as a whole--the scripts really, really suck, and the fight scenes are laughably awkward. But Lynda Carter still stands out as a woman who proves you can be strong and smart, and still look great in your swimsuit. There's a nostalgia I experience while watching the episodes that even an obviously high Cloris Leachman as Wonder Woman's Amazonian mother can't spoil. So if Jessica Alba is cast as Wonder Woman in the new film, it'll be Buffy the Vampire Slayer that I'll play for my little girls when they're old enough and need to see a woman kick some booty. And as for me, I'll just stay home with my DVDs and enjoy Wonder Woman, old school.

Because I have to say, the theme song still makes me want to get up and spin.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

My Boy Taylor Hicks

Yep, I've jumped on the Taylor Hicks train on American Idol (although I'm also dividing my time between the Chris Daughtry train, the Mandisa train, and the Paris Bennett train). And I just discovered on another blog that Hicks has a CD out--probably one he had made at one of those do-it-yourself-er operations, not necessarily one that resulted from a record deal. At least, I hope that's the case, or Taylor's going to find himself booted off of AI and on a slow boat to Frenchie Davis-ville.

Anyhoo, if you want to check out a pre-Idol interview a local NPR station did with the Convulsing One, as well as a link to said CD and three free tracks, visit here. I'm loving "Hell of a Day."

Monday, February 20, 2006


I've been reading romances outside of my comfort zone lately (i.e. no gory suspense mixed in), and I'm feeling the need to go off on a minor rant. I don't want to trash any writer in particular--one person's yuck is another person's keeper book, after all--so I'm going to make a generic statement here: What is UP with fake sexual tension fillers?

Rest assured, I am aware that my own writing is faaaaaar from perfect. But I'm going to take off my writer hat and just speak as a reader for a moment. I just finished a book that was basically a litany of body parts from page one to page three-hundred-and-one, and I'm bitter, people. I don't have as much time to read with two kids under two as I used to, and I resent having my time--even just a fraction--taken up by a lazy book made up primarily of forced sexual tension fillers. An hour of reading, an hour closer to death, and where did it get me? Nowhere, that's where.

I'm not talking about love scenes, but rather, about those sentences that have Heroine A appreciating pieces of Hero B in the middle of day-to-day activities, and vice versa. For example, in one of the books-that-shall-remain-anonymous, we start off on page one with the hero noticing the heroine's "shapely legs." (Do guys use the word "shapely" in real life? Bleh.) Shortly thereafter, the heroine notices how the hero "fills out his shirt." A few sentences later, the hero notices how the heroine's "lovely bottom" moves when she walks. And then, even though we still haven't turned the page, the heroine notices the hero's ... uh, never mind. I just don't want to go there. But rest assured, the basic anatomy lesson continues, page by ponderous page, sentence by painfully dull sentence, all the way to the bitter end. (Or, at least to page 100, which is where I officially declared the book a wall-thrower and proceeded to bash it against the nearest wall. This is rather minor for me; I once got so spun up about a book--by a beloved author who apparently went insane and spoiled an AWESOME series--that I dropped it in my driveway in the hopes that I'd get the pleasure of running over it a few times before it biodegraded.) I actually loved the premise and the scraps of a plot threaded in between the body parts. But there just wasn't enough to sustain my interest--or my readerly goodwill toward that particular author.

To me, this appreciation of the parts over the whole is not sexy. It does not tell me a lot about the characters. It does not advance the plot--in fact, it brings the pacing to a screeching halt. It does not make me wish these two people will get together and wonder how they will do so. Basically, it's like playing a bloody game of Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, adult-style. And really, I'd rather stick a pencil in my eye than read something like this, because at least that would be a little exciting.

This kind of lazy writing frustrates me to no end, because I spend a lot of time defending the romance genre (Yes, there are actual plots. No, it's not all sex scenes. Yes, there is actually some suspense in an Intrigue. No, I did not model the heroine after myself because I'm frustrated and bored with my life. Yes, I can string together a coherent sentence. No, there is not a formula that makes these things as easy as doing a paint-by-numbers. Yes, I do read the books and they are smart and interesting. Yes, I do have a master's in literature. No, I do not care that you are laughing at me.... ALL RIGHT, THAT'S IT. HAVE YOU EVER READ ONE? THEN BACK THE CRUNK OFF!), and books that are all body parts do not showcase the funny, suspenseful, well-written, intelligent books that are out there in the genre. They give weight to every smart-mouthed reporter or smug trade-paperback reader that says all romance novels are trashy or, at least, badly written.

As a reader, I don't care about the heroine's damn shapely legs (and I'll never use that word in conversation). I don't care about the veins in the hero's forearms. I don't care about the heroine's double-Ds. And I certainly don't care about how the hero fills out the front of his jeans. I just don't care. Sure, a little of that stuff is fine and perhaps necessary (I'm sure I've done some of it myself), but every page? Does it have to be on every page? Why are you doing this to me? Why? Why? (Maybe I know why.) I bought your book because I wanted an escape from work and diapers and my writer's block. Don't I deserve a little character development?

Here's what I want: I want three-dimensional characters that I care about, and a plot that keeps me turning pages. I want Grace Kelly climbing into a murder suspect's house while James Stewart sits immobilized in his apartment and realizes he loves her just as the killer catches her in the act. I want Sandra Bullock pretending to be a comatose guy's fiancee, only to find herself falling for his brother and trapped by her lies. I want Kelly McGillis chasing pre-mental-breakdown Tom Cruise down a busy highway and telling him he's the best damn pilot she's ever seen and she's falling for him. I want Moira Kelly telling D.B. Sweeney that they're doing the Pamchenko to win the figure skating pairs gold at the Olympics because he's just told her he loves her. (OK, that one is sappy, but I love it anyway.) And was there a dry eye in the house when Renee Zellweger told (pre-mental-breakdown) Tom Cruise he had her at hello? The best romance books in the genre have the same effect as these movies--it's about the people and their stories, not their heads, shoulders, knees, and toes.

Basically, every reader out there wants a story. We're all looking for that book that makes us forget the world and not want to sleep until we reach the end--that kind of book (Pride and Prejudice, The Eight, Ender's Game, O Pioneers) is rare and magical. And we're not going to give that to someone by churning out a saccharine and dull series of physical descriptions masquerading as character development. We're all better writers than that. Our work and our readers deserve more.

Just my opinion, of course. Done now.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Troy and Tracy Predict the Razzies

Troy and I had so much fun predicting the Oscars, we decided to do the Razzies, too. Here goes:

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, House of Wax, Dukes of Hazzard, Son of the Mask, Dirty Love

TRACY: Wow, I haven't even heard of Dirty Love. I heard there were a few amusing moments in both the Dukes of Hazzard and Bewitched, and House of Wax has Paris Hilton's gruesome screen death going for it. I liked Jamie Kennedy a lot in the Scream movies and in The Jamie Kennedy Experiment. So, based solely on my faith in Rob Schneider's acting abilities, I'll have to go with Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo here.

TROY: You didn’t miss much by not seeing Dirty Love. As much fun as a root canal. Um, I actually don't think House of Wax deserves to be here. It's not great, but it's a fun little horror movie with great gore and impressive melting wax. Plus Paris Hilton dies a gruesome, gruesome death. Can’t go wrong there. If they needed a horror movie for this category, The Fog was a much better choice--Worst Movie of the year. The Dukes of Hazzard was so unfunny, I contemplated gouging out my eye with my Twizzlers at the theater. However, some of the car scenes were fun. Son of the Mask is a kids movie, so whatever. I think Jenny McCarthy is really funny, but her movie was just terrible. However, I have to go with Deuce Bigalow: Electric Boogaloo or whatever. Is it possible for a movie to both suck and blow?

Tom Cruise (War of the Worlds), Will Ferrell (Kicking & Screaming), Jamie Kennedy (Son of the Mask), The Rock (Doom), Rob Schneider (Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo)

TRACY: See, I think Tom Cruise could have won Most Annoying Actor. Or Biggest Pompous Windbag of an Actor. But I wouldn't say he's the WORST actor. I liked him a lot in Jerry Maguire. Again, I'll go with Rob Schneider, based on his past body of work. At least the Rock and Jamie Kennedy are likeable, and Will Ferrell can be wicked funny when he wants to be.

TROY: Agreed. Also I didn’t think War of the Worlds was as bad as touted. Deuce Bigalow is the Freddy Got Fingered of 2005. Start working on the speech Rob!

Jessica Alba (Into the Blue and Fantastic Four), Hillary Duff (The Perfect Man and Cheaper By the Dozen 2), Jennifer Lopez (Monster-in-Law), Jenny McCarthy (Dirty Love), Tara Reid (Alone in the Dark)

TRACY: Wow, Jessica Alba almost clinched it for me for her performance as Nearly Naked Girl in Into the Blue, a film which I actually did see (and interestingly enough, almost enjoyed!). But because she was undoubtedly higher than a kite during filming, I'll have to say Tara Reid. Oh, Tara, how we miss the coked up train wreck that was Taradise. We were laughing at you, not with you.

TROY: Tara just likes to have a few cocktails! Honest! While I DESPISE Jessica Alba, I actually didn’t mind Into the Blue. Plus she had Sin City on her side. J.LO was horrifying in Monster-in-Law, with her squeeky high-pitched voice and faux girl next door act, but she’ll win next year for that debacle with Marc Anthony. I just can't find it in my heart to vote for Jenny, although she was awful. My vote also goes to Taradise, only because I hope she shows up to the awards, PLASTERED and coked out of her mind like normal.

Hayden Christensen (Star Wars 3: Revenge of the Sith), Alan Cumming (Son of the Mask), Bob Hoskins (Son of the Mask), Eugene Levy (The Man and Cheaper by the Dozen 2), Burt Reynolds (The Longest Yard and The Dukes of Hazzard)

TRACY: OK, putting my boy Hayden Christensen on here is just wrong. Yes, I do have a strange, Mrs Robinson-esque thing for him, but I thought he did a lot better in Sith than in Clones. Plus, after seeing his stellar performances in Shattered Glass and Life as a House, I honestly think his whiny turn in Clones was due to poor direction from George Lucas, who managed to make the talented Natalie Portman jack up Padme, too. I think I'll go with Alan Cumming here, because he's skeezy.

TROY: The Man was released? Ha. Who knew? However I have to disagree with you. Although I really like him, I vote Hayden. I think he's a good actor, but his performances in Star Wars Episodes 2 and 3 were disasters. There was a total lack of chemistry between him and Natalie Portman. The whining! That Darth Vader "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" (the worst line of the century). However, if either of the Son of the Mask actors wins, that's cool too. Remember when there use to be good kids movies?

TRACY: See, it's not HAYDEN'S fault that he had the worst line of the century at the end of Sith. That, dear brother, would be GEORGE, who WROTE that stupid, stupid line and didn't have the sense to cut it when he was working on the film's final edit. So. No more picking on Hayden. He's a good actor who was done in by poor direction. And he's hot.

Carmen Electra (Dirty Love), Paris Hilton (House of Wax), Katie Holmes (Batman Begins), Ashlee Simpson (Undiscovered), Jessica Simpson (The Dukes of Hazzard)

TRACY: See, Paris died in House of Wax, which I think redeems any flaws in her performance (NOT that I think she should die in real life. The girl just wants to have fun.) We EXPECT nothing but mediocrity from Carmen Electra and the Sisters Simpson. So my pick is Katie Holmes, who did a figurative face plant in Batman Begins, single-handedly almost ruining a kickass film with her insipid and unconvincing performance. And I don't say that lightly, because I adored her in Pieces of April and really thought she was going places. Katie, what the heck? Is someone brainwashing the talent right out of you, too?

TROY: There's something wrong when CARMEN ELECTRA is the best actress of the bunch. Paris was fine in House of Wax because she played herself and I actually thought Jessucka was the best part of the Dukes (a scary thought indeed). I have to give it to Katie Holmes for almost massacring one of my favorite movies of the year with her one-note, unconvincing performance. Upon discovering Batman’s identity? "Bruuuuuuuuuuce." I loved her in Pieces of April, The Ice Storm, and Go, but she was way out of her league here. Michelle Williams has her beat now. Who’d a thunk it?

Tom Cruise's Anti-Psychiatry Rant; Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Oprah's Couch, the Eiffel Tower, and "Tom's Baby"; Paris Hilton and ... WhoEVER!, Mr & Mrs. Britney, their Baby, and their Camcorder; The Simpsons: Ashllee, Jessica, & Nick

TRACY: Wow, that's a close one between Tom's rant and Tom, Etc. I think I'll have to go with Tom Etc., because witnessing the brainwashing of Katie Holmes on Oprah's couch, the Eiffel Tower, and throughout her alleged pregnancy has been sad and strange.

TROY: I'm actually enjoying the Tom Cruise meltdown. It gives good fodder for snark. Plus is this Katie “pregnancy” real? I am curious to see how it turns out. I am sick of Jessucka and Ashlee, but whatever. I think it was Brit and Popozao that have annoyed me the most. Whether they're discussing their sex lives ad nauseum, endangering their child by driving SPF on their laps, or going to parties stoned out of their mind, Brit and Popozao deserve an award for dirtbags of the year.

Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman (Bewitched), Jamie Kennedy and ANYBODY Stuck Sharing the Screen with Him (Son of the Mask), Jenny McCarthy and ANYONE Dumb Enough to Befriend or Date Her (Dirty Love), Rob Schneider and His Diapers (Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo), Jessica Simpson and Her Daisy Dukes (Dukes of Hazzard)

TRACY: Poor Jenny McCarthy--that's just mean. Because of my nostalgia over Daisy Dukes, I'll give Jessica a bye. Rob is definitely a contender, but I'll have to say Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman because ... yuck. Just yuck.

TROY: How the mighty have fallen Miss McCarthy. She used to be someone! Rob Schneider is just gross. I can’t stand Jessica and I think Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman are badly cast, but it’s the European Gigolo that needs to just go away.

Bewitched, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Dukes of Hazzard, House of Wax, Son of the Mask


TROY: I thought the premise to Bewitched was creative, but Nicole Kidman is AN ICE QUEEN, not the girl (witch) next door. I have to vote for Son of the Mask because I really liked the original. It was one of my favorite movies as a kid and they destroy it with a PG, watered down, BABY as the Mask plot.

John Asher (Dirty Love), Uwe Boll (Alone in the Dark), Jay Chandrasekhar (Dukes of Hazzard), Nora Ephron (Bewitched), and Lawrence Gutterman (Son of the Mask)

TRACY: Based solely on the fact that his very name is becoming a joke in pop culture circles, I'll go with Uwe Boll. I could never turn on Nora Ephron. She wrote the brilliant When Harry Met Sally! OK, that has nothing to do with how well she can direct a film, but I refuse to believe that she's as bad as Uwe Boll. Nora Ephron would never cast a washed-up coke whore in one of her films.

TROY: Uwe wins hands down. Bloodrayne and the past House of the Dead further cement his label as the "modern Ed Wood." Plus he has ubersuckfest Leelee Sobieski in his next movie. Anyone giving that girl work needs to be recognized as crap.

Bewitched, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Dirty Love, Dukes of Hazzard, Son of the Mask

TRACY: Based on its reputed amount of toilet humor, I'll go with Deuce.

TROY: Dirty Love was SO BAD, but I can’t pick Jenny. Again for ruining a potentially cool story opportunity, watering it down, and having an overall high suck quota, Son of the Mask is my pick.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Weighing in on American Idol

I think there's a law somewhere that if you have a blog and watch American Idol, you must blog about it. Anyway, I recently caught the first day of Hollywood week on Tivo, so here goes nothing....

Paris Bennett: Ann Nesby's granddaughter is still lovely, and I wasn't surprised to see her sail through the first day of Hollywood Week. The only shame here is that unless we experience a telephone voting injustice of Tamyra-like proportions, Paris has pretty much eliminated the element of surprise and has sewed up the competition this year. Then again, the voters did give Tamyra fourth place and supremely untalented hair-flipper Justin Guarini second, so I guess you never know. Coupled with the fact that my dad is still bitter over the untimely career demise of his all-time favorite, LaToya London ("I'm the queen of Alabama!"), and I'd say we shouldn't count our proverbial chickens. Still, with a voice like that, it's hard not to.

Kellie Pickler: She's still cute, and I still feel horrible that her mother left her when she was two. But did anyone else get the sense that Miss Pickler was milking her sad story to get further in the competition? "I'm the next American Idol, because I deserve it!" seemed a little manipulative. And her voice wasn't as clear as it was in her auditions and went a little off key in parts of "Hopelessly Devoted to You." That said, I'm still glad to see her advance, and I wish her well.

Chris Daughtry: The Bald One with the emotionally overwrought wife rocked the daylight out of "The First Cut is the Deepest." I loved this guy from his first audition, and I'm still surprised that Simon voted no to sending him to Hollywood. If he doesn't make the top 12, there is no justice in the world. (I almost typed that I would stop watching, but then I realized that that would be a lie. I'd be extremely disgruntled, though.)

Taylor Hicks: He's got a weird voice, he moves like he's being electro-shocked, and his prematurely gray hair makes him look older than the twenty-something he is. But I love this guy. I think his voice is unusual and pleasant to listen to. I love how he lets the music take him away, even if his movements are on the far side of elegant. And I love how gracious he is every time Simon takes a jab at him for his unconventional looks. You go, Taylor Hicks. I hope you make the top 12 and then some.

Brett Young: I don't remember what he sang or how he sounded, but I do remember that Paula looked like she wanted to leap over the judges table and start humping his leg. (I know this, because my dog gets that look sometimes.) Should make for some interesting if slightly uncomfortable TV if "Ace" Young advances to the top 12, regardless of whether Dr. Phil finds Paula a boyfriend or not.

The Fit Model: I don't know her name, I didn't see her in last night's episode, but I'm extremely bitter that she's there when Holly the Cutie Who Sings to the Elderly didn't make it. Holly the Cutie Who Sings to the Elderly had a clear, pure voice that would sound right at home fronting a band like the Pixies or Sixpence None the Richer. The Fit Model had a very average singing voice and was only let in because Simon and Randy liked how she filled out her tank top. Her golden ticket to Hollywood was the most in-your-face illustration of how much easier life is for super-pretty people since Tyra Banks donned a fat suit. Holly the Cutie Who Sings to the Elderly, my mom said to tell you that you probably didn't make it "because God decided that the old people need you."

Katharine McPhee: She's considered Paris Bennett's chief rival, but in the words of Randy Jackson, I'm just not feeling it. Dawg.

Joshua and Jarett Simmons: They kicked the felonious Brittenum twins in the booty with their audition, so if, as Paula says, the judges are allowing people to go on in the competition based on both their initial audition and their first Hollywood performance, then why are these two not still in it? I'm bitter, people, I'm really bitter.

And speaking of the Brittenum twins ... I'm not Carrie Underwood's biggest fan (having been solidly in Bo's camp since his original audition, even when my brothers laughed at me for it), but watching Terrell and Derrell unjustly trash her last night made me SO look forward to their imminent demise. I just wish they'd been booted for a lack of singing talent, rather than a lack of criminal talent, because that would have been fun to see. I'm really surprised with how quickly they went from charming and fun in their audition to catty and creepy in the first day of Hollywood week.

The Girl with Laryngitis: I might have rooted for her if it weren't for the whole "people who aren't even on my level are better than me today" schtick. Ay.

Garet Johnson, aka "The Crying Cowboy": I can't comment on his singing, because I spent the entire time he was on my television screen shrieking, "OMIGOD! HOW ADORABLE IS HE?" Tell me the truth: Don't you just want to squeeze him?

RJ Norman: Holy super-inflated ego, Batman! Mr. "I'm a bit of a ladies' man." and "I'm going to be the first guy to rock it!" was a producer's dream, setting himself up nicely for the big, well-deserved fall. I have to admit, though, I felt a little bit sorry for him when I saw him crying. People who mouth off that much about themselves are either suffering from a huge lack of self-esteem or are Kanye West. (But for some reason, I love Kanye. His mouthing off works for him--I have no idea why.)

Mandisa: Lovely, lovely voice. If Simon makes another crack about her weight, I'm going to fly to California and smack him, because I think she proves you don't have to be a size two to be beautiful.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tracy and Troy Predict the Oscars

I think it happened while I was living in Korea and suddenly became obsessed with all things pop culture as a way to keep connected with home. But somewhere in the past couple of years, I became a big Oscar junkie. I've always liked about looking at the dresses--the more horrific, the better--but now I actually care about who's hosting, who's nominated, who was snubbed, who's wearing what, who sported the most horrible and unconvincing frozen smile when s/he didn't win, and who acted like a flaming moron at the after-parties. I love the Oscars. It's almost as embarrassing as loving Band Aid.

Anyway, because of Marin's birth and my regrettable lack of local babysitters, I haven't seen many of the frontrunners in this year's nomination lineup as I usually like to. Does that stop me from having an opinion on who's going to win? Of course it does not. Because informed or not, I'm always happy to blather on about just about anything. Joining me will be my baby brother Troy, who was born to be a non-irritating Entertainment Tonight correspondent or US Weekly staff writer. Because the boy is a walking encyclopedia of pop culture knowledge, and he knows Oscar like nobody's business. So, here we go....

We have George Clooney (Syriana), Matt Dillon (Crash), Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man), Jake Gyllenhall (Brokeback Mountain), and William Hurt (A History of Violence).

TRACY: I think Paul Giamatti was robbed when he didn't win for Sideways, and I loved, loved, LOVED his performance in Cinderella Man. He was just so sweet and goofy and, and, and ... awesome. However, I think Clooney is going to win this one, so the Academy can suck up to him over the fact that Good Night and Good Luck is going to get its booty kicked by Brokeback Mountain.

TROY: Giamatii is running a good race, but I have to agree with the Clooney pick. The publicity he has been getting is wicked. He also has all of the Good Night and Good Luck hype and will get the award by default. Plus, everyone in Hollywood loves him. He DOES have the casts of Ocean’s 11 and 12 voting for him.

TRACY: And he's hot.

Amy Adams (Junebug), Catherine Keener (Capote), Frances McDormand(North Country), Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener), and Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain).

TRACY: I have seen none of these films, although The Constant Gardener is in my NetFlix queue. I'll pick Michelle Williams, because the clips I've seen of her have been amazing, and I refuse to believe that Rachel Weisz can actually act. (The Mummy Returns, anyone?) Frances won already, and I think Amy Adams is supposed to bask in the nomination instead of thinking she has the proverbial hellbound snowball's chance in winning. I'll pick Catherine Keener as my second choice, just because Harper Lee is cool.

TROY: Sandra Bullock is also playing Harper Lee in the upcoming movie Infamous. I bet she’ll play the part like Keener, only with more suck. Anyway, I am so sick of the frickin’ Rachel Weisz award train (SAG, Golden Globe). Michelle Williams was amazing and heartbreaking in Brokeback. Plus she had Dawson's Creek to overcome! Dawson's Creek (She’s fairing much better than Kate Cruise too - Congrats on that Razzie nominee, Kate!). I think Weisz has it, but if the Academy is smart, Michelle Williams will walk away with the gold. And to add, Amy Adams was great in the mediocre Junebug. She was funny, poignant, and adorable. I’ve loved her since Cruel Intentions 2….uh, I mean Catch Me If You Can.

TRACY: Hey, what is this world coming to if Sandra gets no love from Troy? This is the same guy who has a hugeass, life-size-times-two poster of her in his room at Mom and Dad's? Poor Sandra.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow), Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain), Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line), and David Straitharn (Good Night and Good Luck).

TRACY: I'm going to go with Heath Ledger, just because I love a good comeback story. And the clips I've seen of him have been so impressively different from the rest of Ledger's mediocre body of work (Anachronistic medieval teen movie with terrible soundtrack, anyone?). Good for him. I wouldn't be surprised if Hoffman upsets Ledger, given that he's taking all the other awards so far, and he's splendidly weird in anything he's in. I was impressed by Phoenix's singing and his performance in Walk the Line, but sometimes he looked like he was plagued by sudden growth spurts. I can't comment on Straithairn, though I'm dying to see GN&GL. And since Hustle & Flow is Howard's "breakout performance," I'm guessing that his reward is that he, uh, broke out. Plus, he creeped me out at last year's Grammy's because he seemed a little too excited by Beyonce dancing on him while Destiny's Child sang "Cater to You."

And speaking of, what's up with that horrible song? These are the same women who sang "How you feel about a girl like this / Try to control me, boy you'll get dismissed/ Do what I want, live how I wanna live / Buy my own diamonds, and I pay my own bills?!?!" And their swan song is all about how they're going to wash some damn guy's socks and run his bathwater and how their lives would be "purposeless" without him? Fine, I understand that in a symbiotic, committed relationship of equals, it's acceptable to pamper the other and such roles can alternate in a balanced manner, but dude. Just what kind of message is that song sending all those future independent women out there who are combatting society's tendency to force them into defining themselves in terms of having a man? It's sick and wrong, and I won't have it. Take THAT, Terrence Howard!

TROY: Isn’t it more about the obnoxious, overexposed, blank, Beyonce than Terrence Howard? She’s lost it. “Thanks ya’ll.” Gag. I threw up a little in my mouth when I heard that song.

TRACY: (Ewww. Gross.) And that line about "keeping my figure right?" I HATE that line. Because dude, if I'm going to hold down a job and run after two children and try to forge a writing career, not to mention hauling furniture and putting together an entire house all by myself while pregnant and my husband is off gallivanting with the military, and if I just happen to gain a little bit of weight while doing it, that boy had BETTER be loving it unless he wants to pay for liposuction. I'll keep my damn figure right when I'm a woman of leisure with a gym membership and a freaking nanny, that's what.

TROY: Just wow. Anyway, I’m really rooting for Heath Ledger. He played the part of Ennis DelMar with a combination of melancholy, longing, and joy. Just amazing. He has to carry much of the movie by himself and he does such a fantastic job. The comeback story is always good too (except when it applies to Lisa Kudrow-- or people that should NEVER come back--DEBBIE GIBSON?). Plus, Phillip Seymour Hoffman did the abysmal Along Came Polly with Frumpiston. Need I say more? Terrence Howard was good, but I preferred him in Crash.

TRACY: I wish you'd stop calling Jennifer Aniston "Frumpiston!" She's getting enough hate from Black Widow Jolie. And much as I hate to admit it, most of us are frumpy next to Jolie.

Judi Dench (Mrs. Henderson Presents), Felicity Huffman (Transamerica), Keira Knightley (Pride & Prejudice), Charlize Theron (North Country), and Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line).

TRACY: Keira Knightley was nominated? Keira Freakin' Knightley? Keira the snaggletoothed stick insect who badmouthed Colin Firth and talks through her nose? Best actress?! I think I need to go lie down.

TROY: I heard she was really cute and great as Elizabeth Bennett.

TRACY: Jennifer Ehle kicked her ass, man!

TROY: But Jennifer Ehle didn’t pose nude on the cover of Vanity Fair for more credibility.

TRACY: Right. Well, I'm going with Felicity Huffman, because my deepest respect goes out to any actress who is willing to shed her vanity and play a man becoming a not-so-good-looking woman. And I just like Felicity Huffman--she's a great actress and she seems like a nice, down-to-earth person. Not that I'd be disappointed if Reese Witherspoon won. Her June Carter was lovely.

TROY: It’s Reese VS Felicity. They’ve split the major awards almost down the middle. I want Reese to win because she can take a bad movie and make it tolerable/”cute” (Sweet Home Alabama, Legally Blonde 2). I love her. Plus her earlier work in Freeway and Election (not such a great movie, but she’s hilarious in it) speaks volumes. However, I think Felicity might take it because Hollywood loves the comeback stories. Before Desperate Housewives, she starred in a string of failed TV shows and has really become a major success, commercially and critically. She seems like a nice, intelligent person, and I’ll be happy for her if she wins.

TRACY: Keira Freakin' Knightley. Why didn't they just go ahead and nominate her for Domino while they were at it, and REALLY give the Academy some credibility?

TROY: At least it’s not Kiki Dunst. There was Oscar buzz for the fanged one in Elizabethtown. Thank God that crashed and burned.

TRACY: True. There's nothing award-worthy about the way she slouches and bares her teeth in every film she's in. Ugh.

George Clooney (Good Night & Good Luck), Paul Haggis (Crash), Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain), Bennett Miller (Capote), Steven Spielberg (Munich).

TRACY: I'm going with Ang Lee. I've loved him ever since he directed Sense & Sensibility with such sensitivity and faithfulness to Jane Austen's vision. He had me at "Is love a fancy or a feeling?" I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain yet, but it's Ang Lee. How can you not love it? His films are so beautifully emotional without being sentimental.

TROY: Ang Lee did an amazing job. It’s just a breathtaking film. With simple shots, he conveys such complex emotions. Plus he got a former DAWSON’S CREEKer to be the breakout of the film. He’s definitely rebounded from that Hulk disaster. He’s got it, hands down. If Clooney isn’t awarded Supporting, he may be a shot, but I really think Ang’s got it.

Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Good Night and Good Luck, Munich

TRACY: Still going with Brokeback here, although I would love to see Crash get some Oscar love. Sure, it had lessons to teach us, but it was also just a good movie, with three-dimensional characters. compelling stories, and stunning twists.

TROY: Brokeback all the way. Crash is the dark horse, but it doesn’t have the momentum that Brokeback has. The cast was brilliant though. They have the knowledge of a good job well done. Crash also has the Sandra Bullock curse (I love her, but everything she touches….). Brokeback is just a juggernaut and will be victorious.

TRACY: Still no unqualified love for Sandra from Troy. She's not the box office poison Sharon Stone is, by far. And really, I think her recent flops had more to do with bad writing than bad acting. I still love her.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Queen Nerd

A couple of friends of mine and I once held an informal contest to see which, among us, was the nerdiest. For the life of me, I can't remember why, but I ended up winning the title of Queen Nerd--though their attempts at dethroning me were formidable.

Anyway, in honor of that conversation--which just flashed into my head for some inexplicable reason--and my subsequent coronation, here's a list of the nerdiest things about me.

* I'm obsessed with figure skating, and I actually feel like doing violence over the cryptic new judging system.

* I own a Darth Tater. (*cough* It's Maggie's. * cough*) And I now want an Artoo Potatoo.

* I'm coveting the Jane Austen action figure that I saw in a catalog the other day. (Yes, I've read all of her books, including the unfinished ones. And her juvenalia. And her letters.)

* I have watched the entire five-hour BBC Pride & Prejudice miniseries on an annual basis for the last decade.

* I played the trombone in high school and actually won a first place medal with my trombone solo at a state competition. (Actually, I think that's what won me the Queen Nerd title.)

* I went to Girl Scout camp in junior high and performed a synchronized swim routine to the song "Greased Lightning." (And I'm pretty sure that cinched it.)

* I've seen the old school Star Wars trilogy way too many times.

* I dressed my husband and I as black and white film stars (with white body paint, black makeup, and black, white, and gray clothes) for Halloween a couple of years ago. Clever? Or nerdy? You decide.

* I like reading about politics.

* I know in gross detail why Jack Abramoff sucks and found it hilarious that his father took George Clooney to task for making fun of him at the Golden Globes.

* I own an ungodly amount of books. (Who doesn't?)

* I occasionally read feminist theory/literary criticism for fun.

* I hate it when I don't belong to a book club.

* I work for an environmental and social justice nonprofit.

* I once scared Clinton's Undersecretary of Commerce and Trade out of a press room by asking too many nerdy questions about the administration's free trade policy.

* I like karaoke.

* I still have a notebook full of deep and misunderstood poetry from college. (Kept as a reminder of why I should never, ever be a poet.)

* I do well enough on standardized tests that I could join MENSA--if I were willing to pay for it. (Note: I'm not bragging--I firmly believe that standardized tests are not an accurate measure of intelligence and have known plenty of incredibly smart people who either freeze or just bomb when they're tested.)

* I once took an adult education class in DC on FBI investigation techniques.

* I took flamenco lessons and would love to get back to it once I am able to sleep for a decent amount of time again. Although I still think flamenco is kinda cool and not nerdy....

And finally: I'm legally blind without my glasses/contacts, so I do the nerdy squint-and-crash-into-stuff thing really well.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Write It, Say It, Make It Happen

Call it superstition, call it reality. Whatever it is, I can't shake the notion that if I say something or write something down, I'm inviting it to happen. Therefore, I don't ever write or say things I don't want to come true, such as, "I wish that stupid goldfish would just die," because even though I'm probably just exaggerating my antipathy toward said goldfish, fate might take that as an invitation to off my poor, innocent pet.

(For the record, I don't have a goldfish.)

Words are powerful. I think that when we say stuff like, "I'm never going to sell my paintings," or "I'm a loser with no friends," we're inviting the universe to send us rejections or people who treat us like a loser. I had a major spaz attack on a friend of mine the other day who was upset that her excellent, award-winning manuscript hadn't sold to a publisher yet. So she tossed off a comment along the lines of, "This thing is never going to sell. Those other editors [currently looking at it] are just going to reject it."

So after I peeled myself off the ceiling and shrieked at her to never, ever say anything like that ever again (EVER!), I made her take it back OUT LOUD and nagged her into reciting a Stewart-Smalley-esque affirmation of her writing ("I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."). ARRRRRRRGH! Why would anyone SAY something like this? (See? I'm doing it again. Think calm, healing thoughts, Tracy. You're lying on a beach in Maui....) I said it to my friend and I'll say it to everyone else: Do not invite rejection into your life. Do not invite loser-dom into your life. Negative thoughts and words turn into self-fulfilling prophecies, more often than not, so don't give them a voice. For that matter, positive words and thoughts can also be self-fulfilling prophecies, so isn't that enough to turn the cynics among us (like, oh, ME?) just a little bit positive from time to time?

Case in point: A couple weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about some TV shows I watch, saying that I was looking forward to Debbie Gibson being kicked off Skating with the Stars and to Johnny on the OC leaving the show in a tragic manner. So what happened the following week? Debbie Gibson was kicked off the show, and tragedy came to the OC when Johnny fell off a cliff (Huzzah!).

Coincidence? I think not. :::Cue Twilight Zone music::::

P.S. There's an entire book about this phenomenon called Write It Down, Make It Happen. I've never read it, because, uh, the title seems to say it all. ; D

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

My Name is (Not) Earl

While I was listing my favorite TV shows, I totally forgot my all-time favorite sitcom EVAH, My Name is Earl. Not only does the show genuinely make me laugh, but the acting is fab, and the show even leaves you with a warm fuzzy at the end of each episode when Earl rights a wrong from his list. (Not to mention, who can resist lines like, "Ain't no use running, fool. I know where your mama parks your house?") And, God bless the producers, there's no horrible, canned laugh track.

I've always liked Jason Lee, who generally looks like he's about to crack himself up in every role he plays--and rightfully so. Funny guy. I can see why he slowed down a promising movie career to star in Earl. Plus, you have to respect a good-looking man who grows the ugliest facial hair imaginable and sports terrible hair, all to bring a character to life.

Not to mention, the show has reportedly gotten people to think about their own karma and ways to right past wrongs that they've committed. As for me, if I had any sort of memory whatsoever after having two kids, I might think about my own, as well. But seriously, I seem to have just FORGOTTEN any past wrongs that I haven't atoned for. Well, except for this guy that I broke up with years ago by ignoring him and hoping he'd go away. (After a few rebuffed attempts at communication, he did.) Even though it was YEARS ago, I've always felt bad about that--ignoring someone and hoping they'd go away is not nice, and I wish I'd taken the non-cowardly route. On the other hand, the reason I started ignoring him and hoping he'd go away is because he was controlling (or, rather, he tried to be. SO doesn't work with me.), and he was imperious with and mean to people in customer service positions. Does it excuse ignoring him and hoping he'd go away? Probably not. So Dude whom I ignored and hoped would go away, I know you're not reading this, but maybe on a subconscious level you'll know that somewhere out in the ether, there's an apology floating out there telling you I've always felt guilty about not dumping you properly and with good manners.

And that's all the atonement on that one I can manage. I bet Earl would have done better. : /

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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