Why American Idol Season 8 is already the worst

5 03 2009

NewsQuite simply, this is the worst American Idol thus far. I had expected so much, since this format had saved one of the best competitors ever, Clay Aiken, when they used it in Season 2. I have been let down, and not just by the judges, whose weird bias toward each contestant really had nothing to do with singing at all. I have been let down by the American people, who, more than any season ever before, have voted for inspirational stories over actual singing skills. This is not a choose-you-own-adventure TV drama. These are the people who will be selling CDs in your local Best Buy. No one ever buys music because the person was a stay-at-home mom or had a rough childhood.

american-idol-logo

My top three women of the entire competition – we’re talking I may have wanted them all in the final six – did not even make the Wild Card round. That means they didn’t make the Top 17 (Nine are already in the Top 12, plus eight made it to the Wild Card round). In other words, cutting the Top 36 in half, my top three, Mishavonna Henson, Felicia Barton, and Kristen McNamara, were dropped.

On the semi-bright side, most of my top picks after them are still in it or being considered: Allison Iraheta, Lil Rounds, Megan Corkrey, Jesse Langseth, and Tatiana Del Toro (No one actually hates her for her voice). This season has already been dubbed a men’s season, but it was a self-fulfilling prophesy with no basis in actual talent. Vote out great female singers in favor of mediocre male singers like Michael Sarver and Scott McIntyre and you have a mediocre male-dominated season. Congratulations.

:::EDIT:::  Six of the now Top Thirteen were in my dream Top Twelve. That’s less than 50%. Fantabulous.

:::EDIT::: Matt Giraud, Ricky Braddy, Jasmine Murray, and Tatiana Del Toro annihilated the other four in the wild card round. Apparently, this performance had absolutely no bearing on the selection of the four moving on. I suppose the problem was that they couldn’t pick three more guys (having already picked six), so they left the arguably superior Ricky Braddy out in the cold, in favor of the Coldplay-destroying Matt and producer-favorite Anoop. Of course, they wouldn’t have run into this problem if Michael Sarver hadn’t been voted through for no apparent reason, so the blame still lies with voters, not the judges. Fantabulous squared.





Presidential Campaigns… OVER

2 12 2008

In retrospect, it was probably a really smart decision not to touch the entire on the Presidential Race.  That probably would have just caused a colossal mess with lots of blood and tears.  Heck, I don’t want to be the one that has to clean up to the dead bodies and disconnected appendages that are always lying around in the wake of a political argument.

Suffice it to say that I was an Obama supporter, I had good opinions of both Biden and McCain, and everyone on McCain’s Campaign staff should quit politics because they made clear at every chance possible that they had no clue what they were doing.  Apparently they thought taking Bush’s strategy and going more conservative with a less conservative candidate in a leftward-shifting country was the right way to go.  No comment on Sarah Palin.





Oprah’s Big Give mocks Idol Gives Back

14 04 2008

NewsAnyone who watches American Idol regularly – I watch it irregularly, but in this case, that’s enough – knows that the Australian Michael Johns was voted off this week, to the shock and disappointment of many viewers. Even those who didn’t like him can’t act unsurprised. Simon Cowell had placed him in the likely top three with the only other two that hadn’t yet been in the bottom three: the Davids Cook and Archuleta.

People can talk conspiracy all they want, but clearly someone dropped the ball with this one. No indicator exists that predicted for him to go home. His songs, including the rendition of “Dream On” that subsequently sent him home were (and still are) selling well on iTunes.

More than likely, he just suffered from second-place-ism. In a season where there are three singers that lean toward rock (Michael, David Cook, and Carly), people couldn’t decide which to support. As a result, David Cook received nearly all of the votes for his renditions of songs like Billie Jean and Eleanor Rigby. Though Michael Johns probably places second or third on millions of people’s lists, second and third doesn’t keep them on the show. People have cried out for a correction of this flaw since the very first season when Tamyra Gray was booted before Nikki McKibbin.

In other news, Oprah’s Big Give did not get rid of a contestant this week. They had already slimmed down to three contestants, but apparently decided to let all three participate in the finale. (This was met with cries of “I love this show!” as if she had had no idea). The find their given reason a bit sketchy. The judges said simply, “We couldn’t decide who to send home.” Right…

Clearly, they are mocking Idol, whose host Ryan Seacrest all but said, “Michael Johns, you are going home. Just kidding, no one is going home. Haha, gotcha, you really are going home.” The show that had every reason in the world to keep someone around didn’t. The show that had absolutely no reason to keep someone around did. What is wrong with the people who run these shows?





It appears you are a virus

9 04 2008

News

We’re sorry…

… but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.

We’ll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon. In the meantime, if you suspect that your computer or network has been infected, you might want to run a virus checker or spyware remover to make sure that your systems are free of viruses and other spurious software.

If you’re continually receiving this error, you may be able to resolve the problem by deleting your Google cookie and revisiting Google. For browser-specific instructions, please consult your browser’s online support center.

If your entire network is affected, more information is available in the Google Web Search Help Center.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope we’ll see you again on Google. [End of Message]

Everyone who uses the internet is familiar with the famous “403 Forbidden” displayed across various unavailable web pages. The message above has been added to the long list by Google in an effort to reduce site traffic. Obviously, any computer that appears to have a virus that attempts to use the search engine, a red flag goes up and the site blocks the computer.

However, this all brings up one very big question: When did viruses learn to read?

And furthermore, how does the virus react to the horrible discovery that its only purpose has been thwarted? Someone obviously created the virus in the first place to fulfill a specific task on the internet, so now, upon reading this message, how can they carry on like normal individuals.  Personally, I would be hopping mad if I was a virus and came across this page.

Plus, the message instructs the virus to try either destroying itself or deleting Google cookies.  I think the first option is out of the question, and the second is just another task that the poor viruses are probably not capable of handling.  I mean, unless the virus was specifically programmed to do so, deleting cookies is probably about as hard as trying to eat one.

Maybe they have viruses that read now, but I think Google is still overestimating their problem-solving skills by a few decades.  Being such a huge source of money, it seems ridiculous that Google would make such a blunder by targeting unknowing viruses.

Unless, of course, Google’s intention was to direct this message at users and not the viruses, but no… that wouldn’t make sense.  I would like to think that the quality of my searches is at least a little above a virus’s, and Google would be foolish to incense it’s users with millions of 403 forbidden pages.

If you would like an example, type forum topic into Google and go to the 19th page.  For the record, I believe there are many people with a great interest in the 181st through 190th sites exemplifying what it means to have a true “forum topic.”

On a last note, I like the ending message, “Hope we’ll see you again on Google.”  It has a very smiley-McDonald’s-cashier tone to it, and could potentially prevent some viruses from committing suicide after finding out their lives are worthless.  After all, they are the victims here.





Never too late to change bad traditions

7 04 2008

NewsI don’t go to grocery stores regularly, so it was somewhat surprising when I approached the checkout line and saw television screens at every lane for people to watch. The only thing that surprised me more was that the lady in front of me was carrying totes to put her groceries in instead of disposable bags. It’s like the most obvious way to save resources that the U.S. hasn’t promoted for decades.

plastic bag

Finally, things are about to change. Countries across the world are banning or taxing the use of plastic bags, including Italy, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, and China beginning in June. Why customers have become so attached to their wasteful plastic bags, I’ll never know. Personally, I feel pretty bad any time I stuff a pile of them into a trash can. I think to myself, there has to be a way this could have been avoided. Finally, someone’s getting something right.





Portuguese authorities lengthen cruise

3 04 2008

NewsThe Portuguese government interfered with the vacations of many as it detained the cruise ship Van Gogh in the Madeira Islands. The cruise was meant to be 93 days long, but unfortunately no one knows how long dealing with the legal troubles will take. Passengers were allowed to leave if they wished, but the majority have decided to stay and wait for the dispute to resolve.

Van Gogh

Many of the passengers are now wondering how they got into this mess. After handing out tens of thousands of dollars, how can they be betrayed by the ship’s owners? The entire dispute, after all, is between the owners of a Dutch company called Club Cruise and another called Travelscope. Unfortunately, the passengers simply got caught in the middle. Why Travelscope decided to catch the cruise ship during mid-cruise instead of waiting until after is anybody’s guess. Perhaps they thought it would be amusing to ruin the vacations of hundreds of people.

It pains me to think of anyone who might have to give the bad news: “Honey, our vacation is going to last longer than we expected. Sorry.”





Green fuel hypocrisy

12 03 2008

NewsFor years biofuel has been praised as an alternative fuel source to fossil fuels that is more readily renewable. It has also been key in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas production and potentially reverse production. However, all is not as it seems.

The use of biofuels is becoming increasingly controversial as the many side effects begin to show themselves. A majority of biofuels produced in the U.S. use crops like corn and rapeseed, which are of course grown on farms. Multiple reports show that the energy and resources used to prepare the land, grow the crops, gather them, then refine them in to fuels actually creates more pollution than is reduced by the biofuels created from the crops. In fact, some findings hint that, though biofuels may not not produce as many carbon emissions as fossil fuels, they often create more nitrous oxides, which are equally responsible for greenhouse gases.

They are also not nearly as cost effective, although that should be pretty obvious. We have to produce these ourselves, whereas fossil fuels are just waiting there underground for us to take. Our economy is already suffering (according to those who decide if the economy is suffering or not), so it’s debatable whether we should be venturing into unknown territory without first researching the multitude of consequences.

biofuel

More recently, it has been discovered that refinery plants often release oil byproducts into nearby waterways. Though the oil (in the form of glycerin) is labeled as “non-toxic,” the way it interacts with rivers and streams depletes the oxygen available to water life and wrecks the entire environment as a result. At least one endangered species (pocketbook mussels) has become extinct due to glycerin dumping by biodiesel plants.

Last but certainly not least, farms provide food for us to eat. Increasing numbers of them are disappearing as America becomes more urbanized, and more food products are being imported from other countries. As a result, food prices are rising constantly, and American deficits are ever-increasing. Is it really worth it to start a project like this that probably can’t be sustained for decades to come.

It is often called green fuel, labeled with the hype of the go-green revolution and the environmental awareness that’s all the rage right now. Perhaps the enthusiasm to encourage change and making a difference is blinding those who should be looking deeper beneath the surface to truly understand the consequences of their actions.

I am not suggesting that other better biofuels could or should not be researched. There is currently interest in algaculture, the farming of algae for use as biofuel. Unlike present fuel sources, algae grows quickly, cheaply and with little human interference. The goal right now is to be able to grow it efficiently and to be able to tap into its energy reserves, which is much more difficult than with current fuel sources. Eleven U.S. companies currently use algae in the creation of biofuels.