Wednesday, March 9, 2005
American Idol Thoughts
Good morning to everyone and happy hump day! Today, will be another day where I will touch on a number of topics. We'll discuss last night's American Idol episode, where the women performed. There are plenty of Twins thoughts and the performances of former Twins players. I need to get you caught up on the movies I have watched the last couple of weeks. I even have some Vikings thoughts, which I hate to do during the offseason, but why not!? I don't want to write much about them, but the Timberwolves got a come-from-behind win against the expansion Charlotte Bobcats 102-97. KG scored 30 (15 boards and 4 blocks). Spree added 21 and Wally had 15.
CHRIS COSTE UPDATE - For those of you who are curious, Chris Coste signed a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Last year, he was with Indianapolis, the AAA team of the Brewers. The year before, he played for Pawtucket, the AAA club of the Red Sox. And before that, he spent three years with Buffalo, the AAA affiliate of the Indians. In that time, he has consistently hit for a high batting average. He has shown great versatility playing C, DH, 1B, 3B, LF and RF at various times. Primarily though, he was a catcher. This year with the Phillies, he is doing some catching in the spring, but with 3B David Bell injured, Placido Polanco is getting the starting gig there. But, Coste has been backing him up. In his first game, he went 0-0 with a walk. In his next game, he was 1-1 with a single. Yesterday, he got the start at 3B and was 0-3. Anyway, the 32 year old should have been called up to the big leagues in Cleveland three and four years ago. Anyone that knows him would really like to see him get just one chance with the Phillies this year. Maybe his versatility will help him get promoted.
And again, be sure to head over to Twins Territory. I am really excited about this site and see that a lot of you have already started your own entries there. You can write comments and so much more! It is likely to become the best place for Twins talk (well, except right here, of course! Ha!). So, check it out!
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Last night, the eight remaining women made their third performances in front of a live audience. Again, I will post some of the thoughts I had and notes I took during each performance. At the end, I have a few random thoughts about the show in the Summary, so be sure to check them out. Also, I don't know all of the titles, so I'm just guessing.
Here are my thoughts on last night's performances:
Amanda Avila - Do I Love You?
I thought it was a very inconsistent performance. At times she sounded weak, but at other times she was very good, very strong. May have been too many weak spots, but she is so pretty!
JaNay Castine - Dreaming
I heard this Selena song start, and I feared that JaNay had actually found a song that she could do well. Dreaming is one of the greatest songs of all time. But soon after hearing her voice, I didn't have to worry any more. She still looks so scared and unnatural on stage. And, well, she can't sing! She missed so many notes. To be fair, there were a couple of spots where she was good. But overall, she was just bad, again! She can't make it any further... can she?
Carrie Underwood - Because You Love Me
She went back to more of a country sound, and I just think that works so well for her voice. She wasn't perfect, she missed notes a couple of times, but she is a very good singer. I just thought it was a boring song. And, how cute is she? She fishes, and not with live bait, and she believes in the catch-and-release program!!
Vonzell Solomon - Respect
Vonzell has been impressive the last couple of weeks and I think last night was her best. Nice cowboy hat! I mean, when I think of Aretha Franklin, I think cowboy hat! Vocally, I thought she was incredible. Great strength on the R-E-S-P-E-C-T part. It was just a great performance, a great song choice. It showed a lot of energy, and she is a lock to advance.
Nadia Turner - Try A Little Tenderness
I thought at first that she picked a bad song. She was very good, just not a good song. However, it ended up being an incredible performance. She has so much power in her voice. She doesn't miss a note. She showed incredible range in the song. It started slow, but then she made it funky (I actually wrote that before Randy said it!). Great outfit!! We like Nadia! Honestly, I think that she is the one woman who can compete with the men.
Lindsay Cardinale - Don't Wanna Miss a Thing
The one good Aerosmith song. I thought it was a good song for Lindsay's really low voice. I thought that she started really slow, but definitely got better throughout. It was very good, but it didn't do anything to make me say Wow.
Mikalah Gordon - Some Barbara Streisand song
The judges raved her performance last week, and I thought it was horrible. This week, they weren't as positive, and I again thought that she was not good. The start was absolutely terrible. She sounded almost operatic, which isn't a good thing in this case. Bad song choice, it was just too low. Not fun to listen to. Yeah, she had a great last note, which I think sometimes gets votes. But I just don't like her voice.
Jessica Sierra - The Boys Are Back in Town
Sometimes Simon says some dumb things like last night with his comment on the song saying everything he needed to know. Granted, he was right, but still! Anyway, it was a great outfit! Vocally it actually wasn't even close to her best. The song just didn't allow for it. It did allow her to perform which is a good thing. It just wasn't a great overall performance. But she will be able to advance easily because it was a fun song, and the judges seemed to like it.
Yesterday, I commented that there were five men that I could honestly see having the ability to win the entire competition. There were just two performances from the women last night that I would classify as great, and those were from Vonzell Solomon and Nadia Turner. A couple other women are good, but they're not going to win it.
OK, it is time for my annual Paula Abdul rant. I thought she was getting better this year, being more honest, but it seems as though she is now back to just rambling incoherence! She is at her best now when she just talks for like a minute and essentially says nothing. And she starts one thought and then realizes she's going nowhere and starts another half sentence. It's like, "Your voice reminds me of a tree that... you have a quality about you that... it was good." And then she does that clap that you can't help but wonder 1.) how it is physically possible to do and 2.) does it actually make any noise? She's not even doing the sweet thing well any more. I really think that she shouldn't be on the next show.
So, here's how I saw the performances pan out, in my opinion:
1.) Nadia Turner
2.) Vonzell Solomon
3.) Jessica Sierra
4.) Carrie Underwood
5.) Amanda Avila
6.) Lindsay Cardinale
7.) Mikalah Gordon
8.) JaNay Castine
By those rankings, I would choose to see Mikalah Gordon and JaNay Castine as the two who leave the show on Wednesday. However, I've thought that JaNay should go each of the previous two weeks, and I don't think that Mikalah Gordon will be off the show either. So, I would not be at all surprised if Amanda Avila or Lindsay Cardinale are the two to go.
What do you think? Send me an e-mail.
The Twins split their squad and played games against the Red Sox and the Blue Jays.
In Fort Myers, the Twins lost 7-4 to the Red Sox. Luis Rivas hit a lead-off home run. Yeah, I had to mention that. It was his only hit of the day. Armando Rios and Lew Ford were each 2-5. Justin Morneau was 2-3 with a double. I have been hard on the defense of Juan Castro, pointing out all four of his errors so far this spring, but he has actually been hitting the ball well. Yesterday, he was 2-4 with a 2B, HR, and 3 RBI. I won't mention that his other two at bats were strikeouts. The highlight of this game was the performance of Scott Baker. For his second straight spring start, Baker was again great. This time, he went 3 innings and allowed just one hit and no walks. He struck out two. David Gassner went 2 1/3 innings. He gave up 5 hits and three runs. Boof Bonser went went 2 innings and gave up just one hit, but he did walk three leading to four runs (2 earned). He did strike out four though.
Against the Blue Jays, the team lost again, this time 2-1. Offensively, Jason Tyner was again the star. He went 3-4 with a double. Matthew LeCroy went 3-3. Unfortunately the rest of the team combined for just two more hits. On a positive note, Kyle Lohse also pitched well in his second outing. He went three innings and allowed just one hit and one walk. Jesse Crain came in and gave up two runs in 2 innings. Surprisingly, he gave up two hits, both homers. One was to Alexis Rios and the other was to Gabe Gross, who hit a homer last weekend against Crain.
Of course, the big news around the Twins yesterday was the knee of Joe Mauer. The Twins are saying all the right things. It is an expected result of two weeks of work following the surgery. He is just resting for a couple of days. He doesn't need to switch position. I have a tendency to believe the team at this point. I am actually surprised that he hasn't had to step back at all yet. He's been going every day for two weeks. A day off for a catcher is important, especially one coming off an injury. So I am choosing not to make too big a deal of this "setback."
This Tom Powers article puts the Magic Number for Justin Morneau at 30. 30 home runs that is. It would be the first time the Twins have had a hitter with 30 or more homers since three Twins did it in 1987 (Hrbek, Gaetti and Brunansky). John Sickels also allowed people to discuss what to expect from Morneau in 2005. From the comments, many people seem to think that he will do well, but will spend time on the Disabled List. It seems to be based on the fact that he is coming into training camp with issues. However, his "injuries" this offseason have been an appendix, pneumonia, pleuria, etc. These are illnesses but they are not anything that would make him an injury risk. So, to place my guess for what to expect from Morneau in 2005, I would guess he'll hit .285/.370/.550 with 32 homes and 108 RBI. What do you think?
OK, I apparently missed it the last couple of days, but a site you are going to want to frequent, especially in the next week or two, is Will Young's website. He and his girlfriend went to Ft. Myers for Spring Break and took in a lot of Twins action. He chronicles it all very well on his site. He has daily diaries that are not only interesting, but entertaining. The part about it that I found most exciting was that he was able to sit behind home plate with a bunch of scouts and saw the velocities of the Francisco Liriano's fastball! Not only do we find out what happens at camp and the attitudes of people there, but he was also able to spend some time with a couple of the Twins people who took the time to talk to him for awhile. He has interviews with Grant Balfour and Michael Cuddyer, with more to come. So, be sure to check his site out.
Speaking of great spring training coverage, you really should be checking out Batgirl's site. It is good as always, but there are some great, incredible pictures on her site (fun with Newmie pics) and fun comments under each!
Twins Chatter is starting his look at the Top Twins Prospects, starting with #s 6-10.
Stick and Ball Guy discusses Joe Mauer's knee, and today is Media Day!
Wow! There are a lot of great topics being discussed over at Twins Territory. I am still working on my first entry for the site, which should be appearing in the next few days. If you haven't stopped by, be sure to, and sign up and be sure to participate.
Any thoughts on the Twins? Please e-mail me.
Ah, another AJ Pierzynski story. This time, he paid Joe Borchard $100 for hitting a home run off of Giants starter Brett Tomko. Tomko was, of course, one of the Giants pitchers who called Pierzynski a 'cancer.' AJ is quite the guy! And there are still people who think he would have been worth keeping around!
Greg Colbrunn, TEX, 1B, 0-3
Chad Allen, TEX, PH, 1-1
AJ Pierzynski, CHW, 0-2, RBI, HBP (by Marcos Carvajal, maybe expecting a payment from Tomko)
David Ortiz, BOS, DH, 1-2, HR(2), R, RBI
David McCarty, BOS, PH/DH, 0-1, R, BB
Corey Koskie, TOR, 3B, 0-3
Greg Myers, TOR, C, 0-2, R, BB, 2 K
Jose Morban, CLE, 2B, 0-1, SF, RBI, K
Javier Valentin, CIN, PH, 0-1
Matt Lawton, PIT, RF, 1-3
Kevin Jarvis, STL, RP, 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Chris Gomez, BAL, 3B/SS, 0-4, K, E
Midre Cummings, BAL, LF, 0-1
Pat Borders, MIL, C, 1-1, 2B, R
Chad Moeller, MIL, C, 1-3
Damien Miller, MIL, C, 1-3, R
To me, there is not much more boring than the NFL's offseason. I pretty much get annoyed by how much football is talked about at this time. Unfortunately, being a Minnesotan and a Vikings fan, there really is a lot going on with the team.
Of course, the big story was the trade of Randy Moss to the Raiders. But the sale of the team is a pretty important thing too. Will Reggie Fowler become the team's new owner, and how many people will be helping him to achieve that?
It is interesting though because Red McCombs still owns the team and has determined that he didn't want to pay any signing bonuses. He wants the bonuses to be deferred until after the trade is announced. That does make sense. I mean, the price of the team has been set. At this point, McCombs will make $625 million. Why would he want to pay a bonus to someone who will play for a new owner?
However, now yesterday, the Vikings made a great signing when they picked up cornerback Fred Smoot and gave him a six year, $34 million deal with a $10.8 million signing bonus. Interesting. But I am a huge fan of the signing. Teaming him with Antoine Winfield gives the team two great corners and Brian Williams could move to the nickle back, and he is more than adequate there.
I am also hoping that the Jaguars and Vikings give safety Donovin Darius a chance to get to play where he wants, with the Vikings. The Jags have made Darius their franchise player each of the last three years, and he wants a long-term contract. He has asked for a trade, specifically one with the Vikings. He even wrote an e-mail to the Strib. If the Vikings could work out a deal to get him, their defensive backfield would suddenly become very good. Their linebackers will be improved and the defensive line will be better. The Vikings would still have at least one of their first round picks to take a receiver, an offensive lineman, or fill other needs that way.
There is talk that the Vikings are trying to trade for the Redskins WR Rod Gardner. The team may or may not trade one of their running backs, likely Michael Bennett. Who knows? There may be other deals in the works too.
In other words, the team seems to have a plan, and if they can follow it, they could take that next step next year. I may not care a whole lot about the Vikings during the offseason, but this offseason might be a little different. Things may be interesting. What do you think? E-mail me.
I am actually disappointed in my TV watching. Back when I lived in my apartment, I knew what I was watching each night and how I was going to tape shows when I needed to see that were on at the same time as others. Now, I don't know what happened, but I just don't watch as many shows consistently. Here is a quick look at what I do watch:
Joey - The Friends spin-off starring Matthew LeBlanc is still Must-See. I think that the entire cast is great and the writing is very good.
The Apprentice - I am not so much a fan of The Donald, but I do enjoy the competition and the business aspect of the show.
ER - I have again stayed into this show. Thursday night is really the only night that I actually know what is on when and don't miss the shows.
American Idol - You've read quite a few of my thoughts on this show!
Scrubs - I move right over to Scrubs on Tuesday nights after AI.
Committed - a new comedy that is rather edgy, it makes me laugh.
The Amazing Race - it is on at the same time as Scrubs and Committed on Tuesdays, fortunately living this far north, I get a Canadian station where the show airs the next hour, so I am able to watch both. The current Race cast includes Rob Mariano and Amber Brkish, the winner and runner up in Survivor All-Stars. Through two weeks, they are leading the pack.
That's it, and it is kind of disappointing. But, at the same time it isn't. I'm able to do more things, work on this site, go out, do whatever. Many times, instead of watching TV, I will throw in a movie or CD instead.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I bought on ebay the entire series of The Wonder Years, every episode. It appears that someone taped all the episodes off of ABC Family and dubbed them onto DVDs. I can't imagine how this is legal, but I am happy to have the show. I have just thrown the DVDs in while typing this and enjoy watching them. I have watched seven of the 15 DVDs so far.
think I have also mentioned before that The Wonder Years is literally one of three shows that I literally grew up with. When Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper were 13 years old, so was I. I remember watching the show with our family. The most embarrassing was the episode when 13 year old Kevin and Winnie first kissed. I can still hear the taunts of my family as that was happening.
The second show that I grew up, so to speak, with was Saved by the Bell. Zach Morris was preppy, but cool. AC Slater was a jock, but a sensitive one. Screech Powers was dorky, but still got to hang out with the cool kids. Jessy Spano was a little high strung, but things always turned out ok for her. Lisa Turtle was a little snobby but very cool. Are you kidding? Who didn't have a crush on Kelly Kapowski!? As they worked their way through high school, so did I. When they graduated from high school, so did I? And, although I didn't watch it as much as I wanted, the went to College as I did.
The other show that followed along my lifeline was Beverly Hills 90210. I actually didn't really watch the show while I was in high school. But once Tiffani-Amber Thiessen came onto the show, I thought I would give it a try. Turns out that I really liked that show. I ended up watching reruns to get caught up on what had happened in previous seasons. They graduated from college the same month as I did. When I graduated, I started a job, just as the gang was finding jobs and going through issues. Granted, I never dealt with a number of the other issues that they did, but I felt like I could understand. When that show was done, it was sad.
What is it about these shows? I was able to relate to them because of our same ages? I went through some of their situations? Ah, I never had that kind of drama, but because of them I knew that if such situations came up in my life, I would know how to handle them. I just needed a place like The Max or The Peach Pit.
Maybe it was some quality writing where you can't help but care about the characters. And not only the characters, but the actors. Yeah, I followed Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and watched everything she as in, but it wasn't just her. I watched one full episode of NYPD Blue just because Mark-Paul Gosselaar was on it. I've even watched Mario Lopez on dumb dog tricks or whatever that show is. Heck, I even forced myself to watch Showgirls... twice... just because Elizabeth Berkley was a Saved by the Bell alum! The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies because Fred Savage is in it. I actually liked his show Working which unfortunately didn't last too long. I bought the Jamie Walters' tape in college because he played Ray Pruitt on 90210 for a couple of years.
Do you remember when Hilary Swank and Kathleen Robertson were on 90210? How about Giovanni Ribisi and David Schwimmer's roles on The Wonder Years? And you'll remember that the Queen of Queens, Leah Remini was on Saved by the Bell.
So, what is it about these shows? Am I missing something? Let me know what you think. E-mail me.
Also, what were those shows for you? E-mail me the shows that you grew up with an felt a connection to?
OK, so I haven't done any movie reviews for awhile, so I am going to write up a few of them today in short form. These are movies that I have watched in recent weeks.
Mr. 3000 - I think I own all of the baseball movies, at least the good ones from recent years. So, while in Walmart one day, I decided to get Mr. 3000. Let me just say that it was good learning experience. It is usually a smart idea to watch a movie before purchasing the DVD. Now, I won't say that this is a bad movie by any means. Any baseball fan would probably enjoy it. Bernie Mac plays an arrogant ball player who collects his 3,000th hit and that day retires despite the fact that his team was in a pennant race. Basically, he is beloved by Brewers fans because he was a great hitter. He was not liked by his teammates. When the baseball people determined that three of his hits did not count, he made a comeback and struggled with hitting and his teammates and more. There is more baseball in the movie than a lot of baseball movies. There is a plot, just not a very good one. It is a comedy, but it only has a few funny parts and much drama. I would recommend renting it and enjoying it once. Just don't buy it!
Friday Night Lights - Another sports movie. I would compare this one to Varsity Blues, I guess. It is the story of an Odessa, Texas, high school football team. It is a town that where the high school football team is all that matters, and if the team isn't winning, people are upset. There is parental pressure on their kids, showing that it may have mattered more to them than the kids. And there were parents getting on coaches. And there were jerky coaches who took their job too seriously. This is technically a very good movie, and it does show a lot of football. If I am going to compare it to Varsity Blues though, I have to say that I much prefer Varsity Blues. It really isn't even close. That said, all of us can probably relate to this phenomenon, where a high school sport is as big as its community. Seeing these movies puts it all into perspective a little bit. To me, there is not much more annoying than high school activities in communities that take them way too seriously!
The Notebook - OK, from time to time, I go into a video store and pick out a movie that I haven't heard of. In this case, I had heard of The Notebook only in name. I knew nothing about it. It ends up being one of the best movies I have seen in the last year. I won't really discuss the details of it because it is really good and I don't want to ruin it in any way for you. If you're a guy and have a girlfriend or wife and you want to have a really good evening, rent this movie!! It will be helpful! That's ok, call me a softy, call me sentimental. But this is one of the most touching movies ever! James Garner and Gena Rowlands are both incredible in their small but vital roles. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are both great as the leads.
Maria Full of Grace - Like The Passion of the Christ, this a movie that you have to watch and read. I have to admit, I am starting to enjoy movies with subtitles. This is the story of a 17 year old girl who doesn't like her job, quits and ends up pregnant. So, she agrees to a disturbing job that requires her to carry items from Colombia to New York, in her stomach. The movie is 100% in Spanish, but the writing is great and so is the acting. Catalina Sandino Moreno plays Maria, and she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. It was the first (and so far only) movie for the 23 year old from Bogota, Columbia. I think the movie is great. I was a little bit disappointed late in the movie, but it is still so worth watching.
And after all that, thank you again very much for stopping by my site. I hope you enjoy what you read, but if you have any questions or comments on anything, please feel free to e-mail me.
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