Solid Gold from Elon Musk

After watching this, I sure want to come up with some stretch goals and to become a T-shaped person.

Adam Ruins Everything

I learned about this YouTube channel which led, evidently, to a TV show. Adam Ruins Everything is a must see program if you want to see what lies and myths we’re fed as consumers and citizens.

Guess, what? You don’t need to drink 8 glasses of water or liquid a day.

Adam loves research and he uses that to ruin everything so I’ve subscribed. I will still tip, but I’ll relax about drinking 8 glasses a day, a goal I’ve never attained.

simon and martina

If you can’t get yourself to Asia to live the fabulous life of, say an English teacher, just check out one of the over 1000 videos Simon and Martina have made in which they share their discoveries of their old home Korea and their new home Tokyo.

Warning! After watching this I wanted to buy a yukata.

After watching this you’ll want to eat Japanese ice cream. Hard to come by in most places, but a lot cheaper than a yukata.

Here’s some good advice on the protocol of Korean spas, which are worth a visit if you’re in Korea.

The Men Who Make Us Thin

This is a fascinating documentary on how Western culture got hooked on diets and the idea of being thin when we really didn’t need to in the 1950s. An insurance executive pretty much changed what “thin” means and convinced healthy people they were fat. The result is perpetual dieting for many that doesn’t work and can just make us gain weight.

Well worth watching.

Mr Selfridge Background:

Mabel Normand hat
Tomorrow’s Mr. Selfridge will feature a visit from silent film star Mabel Normand. She eventually directed her own films and opened her own film studio. Here’s more from The Encyclopedia of World Biography:

Actress and comedienne Mabel Normand’s most important role involved her contribution to the development of film comedy. Those who came after, such as Lucille Ball, owe her a large debt.

Normand proved far ahead of her time. She was an independent, successful woman in a male-dominated industry, and she exercised a great deal of control over her own career. She also developed gags, wrote scripts, and even directed some early silent films. But this comedy star’s life was filled with tragedy. She became enmeshed in scandal, indulged far too much than was good for her fragile health, and she died young.

Normand was one of the film world’s first celebrities. She had a rebellious nature, and this non-conformity made her a “star” before that term came into common use. Like modern celebrities, her involvement in career-destroying scandals unfairly amounted to little more than guilt by association.

Born in New York City

The screen’s first true female comedy star was born as Mabel Ethelried Normand on November 11, 1892, in Staten Island in New York City, New York. She was the youngest of four children born to Claude G. Normand and Mary Drury Normand. Her parents were French Canadians, and Claude Normand struggled to make a living to support his family. He worked as a carpenter but also played piano in clubs, small theaters, and movie houses.

As a young teenager, Normand toiled as a factory garment worker. In 1909, the seventeen-year-old Normand found work as a model. Painters and illustrators were attracted to her dark curled hair that framed her round face and large, expressive eyes. At the time, such attributes epitomized the current conception of beauty. Famous artists she posed for included Charles Dana Gibson, who created the “Gibson girl look,” and James Montgomery Flagg, the man who created the famous Uncle Sam “I Want You” military recruiting posters.

Moved from Modeling to Films

Normand was friends with Alice Joyce, a fellow model whose beauty led her into film work. Normand followed her into the burgeoning industry and worked as an extra in films produced by the Kalem Film Company, an early East Coast-based movie production studio. Soon, she made the acquaintance of Frank Lanning, an actor who worked at Biograph Studios. Lanning convinced her to change studios, which proved to be good advice, as Biograph boasted the talents of D.W. Griffith, the pioneering film director who would later produce the movie industry’s first feature films, (The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance). As such, the company attracted the best of the early film industry’s talent.

Continue reading “Mr Selfridge Background:”

Armed & Ready

A few years back I met Kevin Connolly when he stayed with my friend in Aspen during the X-Games. He’s smart, down to earth and adventurous. I bet this will be well worth watching.

The Glee Project: Tenacity

In the teaser, everyone who’s left talks about how intense the competition has gotten.

The homework assignment is Survivor by Destiny’s Child, which the judge Amber Riley will evaluate. She proved her tenacity by showing up despite having stress fractures in both legs. Amber wanted Abraham too be less of a diva and said that Lily didn’t show the feeling that she should. Amber loved Aylin’s voice and was struck by how much Ali went for it, so she was chosen as the winner.

There was no choreography this week was

The song for the video was “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor by Abraham struggled to get the notes, while Michael had problems, again, with lyrics. Nikki said ¬†Shanna was great as was Blake, while Lily was too loud in the group recording. Aylin seemed to savor pointing that out as their rivalry heated up.

When filming the video, they had to do an intricate obstacle course in one take. If a single person screwed up, they had to redo everything. Lily, Aylin, Michael and Abraham had to do double dutch jump roping and they kept screwing up requiring more takes. Abraham sprained his ankle, but kept plugging along showing his tenacity. At the end Ali had to shoot a basket with one hand. She kept missing, which is understandable since she’s shooting from a lower position. In the end, the director had the other contestants lift her chair up closer to the basket. The whole shoot took 34 takes and exhausted the whole crew.

The video was far better than last week’s.

Lily, Abraham and Michael were selected for the bottom 3. Lily still can’t sing well in a group and Michael keeps flubbing the lyrics.

Lily belted out a song from Funny Girl with excellence. Michael was good, but I don’t remember that performance all that well. Abraham sang Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and also did a good job. In the end Ryan and Co. decided Abraham should go. While he’s not the strongest contestant, I was surprised Michael’s still around since learning the lyrics is pretty basic.

N.B. In my opinion no one has more tenacity than Nellie who put up with a lot of pressure to adopt a fake pin up girl persona. I expected Shanna now to get this pressure, but she escaped that fate.

The Next Food Network Star

Martie, Yvan, Michele and Justin (clockwise)

Where has the summer gone? Already it’s time to choose the Next Food Network star. I haven’t watched from week one, but I have watched for a lot of the time. I like this “reality” show as the challenges are authentic, the show is testing the contestants ability to perform and cook.

Now we’re down to four contestants and I’ll share my preferences. We’ve got Michele¬†on Bobby Flay‘s team, Yvan on Giada’s team and Justin and Martie on Alton’s team. is too tattooed and her food is too concentrated on seafood for me. I do like Yvan and would be happy to watch him week after week. He’s sweet and I’d make the dish he did on his pilot. I know my nieces and nephews would enjoy the sweet corn macaroni and cheese he made. Justin is interesting and while I’d go to his New York restaurant Do or Dine if I lived in New York, I wouldn’t make his edgy, mad scientist food. Southerner Martie is so down to earth and real. I do think I’d make her dishes and I would watch her. Though the Food Network has Paula Deen and now her son with their shows, I’m tired of the Deen’s. I always thought a week of Paula’s food would make your cholesterol and blood pressure skyrocket, while your midsection exploded. So I’d say Martie offers something new. Yet I think she’s a dark horse.

To sum up, I’m rooting for Yvan and Martie, but my guess is Justin will win. I’ve seen the polls on the website and he ranks highest.

The Glee Project: Theatricality

This week begins with Michael saying something I’ve forgotten. Why is someone so forgettable still around? Then Aylin mentioned how it’s quiet without Charlie. She soon suggests that without Charlie on set, being around Lily would be more of a problem. I expected some sparks to fly between Lily and Aylin as the competition narrows. No big explosion this week, possibly next.

Robert introduced the week’s mentor with a promising, “This is someone I’m sure you all know . . . ” then in walks they guy who plays the Warbler who taunts Kurt and wants Blaine, a character who’s not worth learning his name.

In season one of The Glee Project they didn’t have to dig into the ranks of the characters that don’t matter, why do we get this guy?

The contestants sang “I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line and their performance was okay, much better than the number in the video. Ali won the homework competition and got some bland advice from an actor who isn’t featured that much in the series.

The video this week took place in a grocery store and the contestants played bored employees with overt disdain for their work. (I can think of a lot of jobs that are worse and around me few high school kids get or take those jobs so it was actually implausible.) Then they all start daydreaming about being an iconic rock star dancing around the grocery store. I really don’t imagine that Madonna’s stepped inside a grocery store in 25 – 30 years. She probably would be stunned to see how far they’ve come in the interim.

Anyway, everyone was assigned a different iconic rock star as follows:

Poor Nellie. Britney Spears? For real? Why should a beautiful, intelligent woman which a more interesting sexuality have to play the vapid Spears? Come on. Pick on Shanna or Ali for a while. Or try this – respect the performers and negotiate the sexuality issues more. I know that’s not common in Hollywood, but I know a lot of people don’t watch Glee because it goes too far with sexuality.

How I wish Nellie had just walked out after telling off the judges. Blow them away by showing how authentic and assertive you can be and direct it at them.

She did politely, almost humorously, protest asking “Why do you always do this to me?” She’s on the money. There’s a masochistic desire for the mentors to goad Nellie into getting “sexier.” I wish she had seen how they’re not going to rest till she’s off the show almost. It’s bizarre how they’ve focused on her in this respect. If she had walked off, she could have gotten more air time on her terms.

It could work for her as she’s got a beautiful voice. I think Cameron’s leaving last year was brilliant. People learned who he was and I bet he grew his following when he stood up for what he believed. People do respect that.

Nikki put Abraham on the spot by asking him if he thought he was androgynous. He got very emotional about this and I have no idea why she asked except whether it was to throw him off.

The video shoot went as these things tend to do. I missed Charlie’s antics which spiced things up by riling up the judges.

The video itself wasn’t great because the song wasn’t. These things are hit or miss.

Bottom Three:

  • Lily, didn’t get into the persona of Lauper as she so much prefers her own
  • Abraham, who just didn’t perform as well as the others
  • Nellie, whom the judges enjoy needlessly pushing in a direction that’s stupid.

Michael should have been there since he blows the lyrics in the studio, but he did well as Elvis.

K-Pop Group: Super Junior

Abraham got very weepy when Ryan asked him about the androgynous label and shared how he’d been bullied. Ryan and the others are quite impressed with Abraham as a shape shifter. In reality he looks like any K-pop star I’ve seen. He could fill in for any missing member of Super Junior. Crying works with the judges here. Sad to say.

The judges told Lily that she just didn’t pull off a character at all, while everyone else did. I think she got mad. She started by blaming Zach saying the direction was unclear, but that came to haunt her because he would have nothing of that. Lily’s shrewd enough to figure that crying is the way to go. Boy did she turn on the water works. She begged to stay on the show and claimed that she could act her way out of a paper bag. Hmm if I were a judge, I’d be skeptical since other than the week when she was a bully, which was not a stretch, she hasn’t shown any acting ability.

I watched this on Tuesday and am writing on Thursday and the only performance I remember, the one who’s voice still replays in my head is Nellie. She was sent home. Unbelievable. Then not really. I wish her well and would buy her music. Same with Dani.

Not sure who I want to win now.

I do think Abraham will stay in till the end as Alex did last year. I’d think Michael won’t and soon Blake may be in danger. He’s so bland. Aylin has a good chance to stay. I’m not sure about Lily or Shanna. Now that Nellie’s gone Shanna may be the one who’s pressured to strut her stuff.