Will Hillary and Barrack really unite for change? {The Today Show}

June 28, 2008

Saturday morning I watched a segment of the Today Show when Lestor Holt interviewed (via satellite) two campaign face-people who said each camp is putting on a united front against the common enemy, John McCain. Holt’s bottom line was that these two senators have been campaigning against each other for months now, so has either one altered his or her platform? Has Hillary Clinton publicly conceded yet? From the stage in New Hampshire, Senators Obama and Clinton looked like equals on the Democratic Presidential ticket, and honestly I couldn’t tell who was running for president and who would be the running mate. I felt Hillary showed more confidence in herself and her party than with Senator Obama. It was strange because I got the vibe that Hillary felt that she could still win, or that Barack Obama could win only with her support. I guess I was hoping for a show of humility and honesty from Hillary, but from my perspective it was another exercise in the Clinton family’s self-importance in American History. I don’t think Hillary will be satisfied as Vice President, even if she would be the first woman Vice President. She wants a larger role on Capitol Hill, and if Barack Obama doesn’t realize this, he’s in for a rude awakening. I don’t think he’s that naive: offering to help Clinton pay down her campaign debt was a brilliant political move; it highlighted her enormous debt and made him look sympathetic. (I’m sure his gesture drove Hillary crazy) Senator Obama declared, “She Rocks!” in New Hampshire, but I don’t think he’d say that if their positions were reversed. There is so much at stake for the Democrats in the upcoming election and so much opportunity to make history. I will miss Hillary and Barack campaigning against each other. I only wish Jon McCain could have had the opportunity to verbally spar with a strong Republican opponent.

PJ

The following video illustrates why I question if the new “Unite for Change” rhetoric is genuine.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BARACK


Hell’s Kitchen has become boring

June 25, 2008

Hell’s Kitchen has become boring as the season comes to a close. Ramsey’s rants, chefs preparing the same menu for dinner services, and the dwindlinging variety of personalities, are making the remaining episodes quite tedious and anti-climatic. Now that there are only three left (Jenn left last week because she was slow and whined too much), Ramsey has brought in his own sous chefs to perform a haphazard job in the kitchen on purpose. Corey was sent home in the end because she could not imitate Chef Ramsey’s method of telling the chef’s how they are f***ing up the meat orders. I’m looking forward to the finale next week because Ramsey is bringing back former crazy chefs to help (or hurt) Christina and Petrozza. I predict Petrozza will win the job as Executive Chef. I think Christina is too young and unseasoned (pun intended) to run a restaurant. It will be fun to see if she can win Ramsey over: she’s already been on several “reward” dates with him for winning individual challenges. I will say that this week’s epsode had a funny moment: A voiceover of Corey saying that had to prove that she wasn’t a dumb blond as we see her disrobing down to her bra and panties before trying to get Louross to get into the hot tub with her!

PJ


Who names their dog Booger? {Groomer Has It}

June 19, 2008

Mario DiFante is a “Mobile Grooming Consultant” who is also the executive director of “Pet Fashion Week.” It was Mario who judged the Quick Sniff Mobile Grooming Challenge. Jorge, who was last weeks winner, picked Jonathan to be his partner. Actually, It would have been more fun to see how they got these vans messy in the first place than to watch the contestants clean them. The interiors were so nasty that Jonathan scoffed, “I do not go around cleaning up after people. It’s not my job.”

Jorge (about Jonathan): “It’s hard to fit yourself, and him, and his ego in a small place. I thought I would have to hose him down at some point.”

When time was up, Mario inspected the trucks literally with a white glove. I think Mario would have been more disgusted with the condition with Hell’s Kitchen. Kathleen and Artist won the challenge and received a mobile GPS as a reward.

At dinner that night, Kathleen and Jonathan made fun of groomers who put plastic flowers in their vans and according to Kathleen, “happily wear polyester.” Artist said he never wore a uniform and Jonathan said that wearing a black tank top isn’t appropriate if your dealing with certain types of people. Jonathan’s dress for success attitude didn’t impress Artist who said he would work at a Humane Society for free.

Watching Jonathan and Jorge navigate the streets of Los Angeles in a mobile Grooming truck was like watching Dumb and Dumber. Apparently Jonathan will hire his own driver in the future because he doesn’t drive, he grooms. Jorge’s comment was hilarious: “We are from New York. We don’t use maps, we just tell the cab driver where to go.” Jonathan and Jorge made all of their appointments on time (barely), and managed to put a hole in the roof of their truck in the process. But they figured they would be OK because they would not be judged on the condition of their vehicle.

At judging, Jonathan said, “There was a low hanging branch that did hit the top of the van.” Apparently Jonathan thought he was in Narnia where the tree branches have minds of their own.

Jonathan also trimmed a dog’s ears wrong. Interestingly, this was the same mistake that sent Jasper home, but this week Jonathan won–go figure. However, the judges determined that Kathleen’s made two fatal mistakes when grooming Eloise, the Coton de Tulear 1) Forgetting the Kwik Stop and 2) not letting the client know that the dog’s nails could bleed afterwards.

Kathleen bowed out gracefully; she was smart enough to know not to say anything bad about Artist, who is quickly becoming the show’s unsung hero.

Honestly, I have to admit what bothered me the most about this episode was that General Hospital actress Kelly Monaco named her French Bulldog “Booger.” Who names a dog Booger? Kelly looks too young to remember Curtis Armstrong’s character of Booger from Revenge of the Nerds, so what’s up with that name? It was funny, however, to see Karen “Doc” Halligan ask with a straight face, “Was this Booger’s first grooming?” But it would have been even funnier if they groomed Pink’s dog whose name is “F**cker.”

I’m still rooting for Artist to take the title!

PJ

Photos: Narnia’s Creepy Trees, Coton de Tulear, French Bulldog, and Curtis Armstrong, the original “Booger” in Revenge of the Nerds (1984).


Chef Lisa squeaks by with garnishes and dipping sauce {Top Chef}

June 6, 2008

Richard made it clear from the onset that he didn’t think Lisa had the talent to be in the final four, and later referred to her as “a gray cloud in the kitchen.” However, Lisa arrived in Puerto Rico with a new haircut and ready for the challenges. For the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs had to cook with plantains for celebrity guest judge, Wilo Benet. There were a couple of amusing moments: when the timer went off, the chefs raised their hands without Padma yelling, “Knifes down! Hands Up!” Richard managed to singe his eyebrows and sound like a woodpecker when chopping. Stephanie won the Quickfire, and as a reward she got to pair-up chefs with sous chefs (season cast-offs). Stephanie picked Dale because she “has known him for about 10 years.” Richard was paired with Spike (who sported a new hat), and Nicki was assigned to Antonia. The paring of Andrew and Lisa could have produced a lot of drama, but Andrew announced, “Never have I thrown somebody under the bus. I play with honor!” He kept his cool throughout the preparations, despite Lisa acting more than a little bossy. Richard brought along a roll of bright green painters tape to make labels and this “ingredient” helped to keep him organized the small kitchen. Dale had a brain fart and left the pork belly out on top of the stove overnight, but with Dale’s help, Stephanie managed to improvise and wind up in the top two with Richard. Her food sounded delicious (especially the Pork Satay on a Sugar Cane skewer with miso almond sauce and cilantro vinaigrette) and for a fraction of a second, I forgot that the chefs spent 7 hours dismembering pigs. I was surprised at the decline in Antonia’s performance during this this episode. She had said that on the hiatus, she had been “working 100 hours a week” at her restaurant, so that may explain why she was not in her usual top form. Lisa had practiced cooking Puerto Rican food at home, and came to Puerto Rico familiar with the local ingredients. Antonia ended up leaving for her “unsophisticated dishes” and “undercooked pigeon peas.” I made the mistake of wasting a few minutes trying to figure out the judges’ decision: didn’t Lisa have several less than successful dishes? Lisa did make great garnishes and dipping sauces, but personally I would have passed on her Roasted Pork-butt. Baring any more undercooked lentils, Stephanie is a the strongest contender for the final two. Lisa will be a big surprise if she lasts another week. Richard’s past performances have been uneven, but he won the elimination challenge this week—and a car!

PJ


“You wanna see scary?” Matt leaves Hell’s Kitchen

June 4, 2008

As I expected, Matt left Hell’s Kitchen this week. Ramsey made it clear that Matty was just a “fraction” worse than Corey and Christina . Matt and Christina had traded “shut ups” the entire day after losing the individual challenge. It was a close call between Christina and Matt and for a minute it looked like Ramsey was leaning towards sending Christina home, telling her that she needs more experience. But Christina stood her ground, stating that she is only getting better each week of the competition. Matt’s exit was memorable; there were flashbacks of his victories (the best Risotto in Hell’s Kitchen) and defeats (making Ramsey throw-up during the first episode) and then Ramsey waxed poetic with the following limerick:

There once was a boy named Matt,

whose kitchen performance fell flat.

He was far from neat.

He was miserable on meat.

So I kicked him out

and that’s that.

The other chefs offered their opinions about Matt this as well :

Christina : Matty, you’re driving me f***ing up the wall, bro. You’ve got to close that mouth sometime.

Bobby: Matt is like Full Metal Jacket. I’m worried about Matt.

Petrozza: I am relieved Matt’s gone. You know what? I’ll be relieved when Matt’s in a different state. Make sure you lock the door behind that guy.

The chef’s became one team (Black) instead of two (just like Survivor when the tribes merge). Ramsey paraded out two big bald guys dressed in Blues Brothers get-ups and carrying a quarter of a million dollars in cash in tow suitcases to get the chefs motivated to win. Jen won the first individual challenge (a Top Chef Quickfire) with her thinly sliced rib-eye. However, this challenge proved that this group had culinary skills. Jen chose Corey to accompany her to Vegas to have dinner with Chef Rock, last season’s winner. The rest of the group had to bring in the restaurants deliveries. Christina took charge which annoyed Matt. By the time, Jen and Corey returned, Matt had a migraine. The chefs still couldn’t communicate, so it was business as usual during dinner service: Cory burned her hand, blew oil on his face, Chef Ramsey yelled,”Raw Meat!” and made everyone come over and feel the difference between raw and overcooked meat. Then Ramsey threw a steak across the kitchen (yummy). Jen made an excellent batch of Risotto and then over-salted the next batch. Christina and Bobby seemed to share a brain when each of them cooked a combination of meat, chicken, or fish in the same skillet. Petrozza reminds me of Pigpen of the Peanuts characters. Ramsey said, “You work like a pig, yet you produce such amazing food.” It looks like the chefs won’t get a chance to team, start uniting as a team,” according to Ramsey, because next week they will be running a “cooking school” for scantily dressed models.

PJ


Dick Cheney’s West Virginia remark: rude and revealing

June 3, 2008

Were you offended by Dick Cheney’s West Virginia remark? Here’s what scared me about it–that politicians, unscripted, are that insensitive. I probably wouldn’t have been offended if a comedian said this, especially in context: Larry the Cable Guy would have gotten away with it, and so would Carlos Mencia, who makes fun of everybody. But I do expect more from leaders who are supposed to care about all Americans. He apologized at least, but remarks like this won’t help him get future gigs as a key note speaker.

PJ


First family’s ranch could be Ellen and Portia’s wedding venue

May 28, 2008

On May 10th in Crawford, TX, the the first family let Jenna have her day away from the political climate in Washington, safely ensconced at the ranch surrounded by family, friends, and the Secret Service. I thought the first family’s first wedding would be a footnote in the mainstream press, but the May 26th edition of People Magazine featured the festivities on it’s cover. Jenna’s nuptials were given all the schmaltzy reporting schmooze of a celebrity wedding.

Although Jenna chose to have her wedding at the family ranch in Crawford, her plans to offer the ranch for weddings to her celebrity friends could generate the same excitement as White House weddings did in the past.

Check out ABC’s Jack Trapper’s blog post:

Political Punch

Power, pop, and probings from ABC News Senior National Correspondent Jake Tapper

Jake Tapper is ABC News’ Senior National Correspondent based in the network’s Washington bureau. He writes about politics and popular culture and covers a range of national stories.

Jenna Bush tells Ellen She Can Use the Ranch for Her Same-Sex Wedding

May 27, 2008 10:49 AM

–>People Magazine reports that in an appearance on Ellen to air this Wednesday, First Daughter Jenna Hager (nee Bush), sitting with her mother First Lady Laura Bush, tells Ellen DeGeneres that she can use the President’s ranch in Crawford for DeGeneres’ pending same-sex wedding with actress Portia de Rossi.

“So, the ranch was a great place to get married,” DeGeneres says, “it looked like nobody could fly over and get pictures or bother you, really.”

“Yeah,” says Hager, “that was really nice.”

“So, can we borrow it for our wedding,” DeGeneres asks. “Can we get the ranch?”

“Sure,” says Hager.

“Okay, great,” says DeGeneres.

– jpt

Jenna Bush is either a Republican Repel or an American Ambassador for Equal Rights. Hopefully, W will continue to support his daughter. Jenna’s post-wedding publicity tour for her charitable causes will most likely generate more press (both mainstream and tabloid) than her actual wedding.

It’s been 37 yeas since President Nixon’s youngest daughter, Trisha, had the first outdoor wedding at the White House.Trisha was featured on the cover of Life Magazine in 1971 as well in a multi-paged feature story showing off all her wedding gifts. In July of 1985, Life Magazine also featured Caroline Kennedy on the cover. She beat out Sarah, The Duchess York (aka Fergie) who wed Prince Andrew that month as well. There was synchronicity in both weddings in the same month: America had it’s royal family, too. Life reminisced about Caroline: how she rode her pony, Macaroni, on the White House lawn and how she posed for a wedding photo beside husband Ed Schlossberg on the beach where she “summered as a child.”

You can still get those happy feelings of yesteryear by reading blogs like dallasbrides.wordpress.com and weddingbee.com, whose writers have knit together past and present histories of family celebrations and American Presidents. I found the following links to be interesting:

1) The White House Weddings site

2) Family Life at the White House page at the official White House Website

3 ) NPR weighs in with their article White House Weddings: Fuel for Capitalism

4) Take a look at pictures of past white house wedding memorabilia (Circa. 1966 bag of rice, Circa. 1886 satin covered cake box) in the Life and Death at the White House page at The American Presidency website

PJ


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