Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ellen DeGeneres resigns from American Idol!

Ellen DeGeneres has tendered her resignation as a judge on American Idol after only one season, saying it just wasn't a good "fit" for her.

Click here for more.

Tip Over Granny: alternate fun for the whole family

The best diet I could ever go on is the harvest or kill your own food' diet.

Let's just say that - had a family relied on me for sustenance during pioneer days - my kids would have been mighty skinny and I could have rented out my ribcage as an abacus or xylophone to earn extra money.

With the harvest season upon us for many crops, I enjoy the fresh fruit and vegetables available in the farmers' markets and the grocery stores. I also have an immense amount of respect for those who harvest our food so that we can enjoy it. It's tough work.

My idea of tough agricultural work is picking very ripe raspberries off of high bushes. No bending. No effort. It's pretty much the easiest kind of harvest in which you can partake. String beans, too, are easy enough to pick.

For other foodstuffs, I'll leave those to other people to harvest and I'll gladly pay for them in the stores.

For instance, you've really got to love berry picking if you're going to spend several back-breaking hours bent over yanking blueberries off a plant one by one. I'd just as soon buy a box rather than end up having to go to a chiropractor because I was bent over like an upside down V' for two hours only to get half a teaspoon's worth picked.

When I was a tyke, my family went picking blueberries in a field near the city. My paternal grandmother came with us.

I got bored and hot pretty quickly and decided to play a little game called tip your poor ol' grandma over while she's picking blueberries.' The game never caught on with the other kids, much to my surprise. It wasn't exactly a hit with my parents, either, as I quickly discovered.

Shortly after playing my game,' I ended up with my father's beet-red face screaming bloody murder at me and my mother standing there shaking her head at where she went wrong having obviously raised a juvenile delinquent who reveled in elder abuse.

Perhaps I had overdosed on Mr. Dressup. Had I seen Casey and Finnegan push each other and thought it was funny? Did Jerome knock Rusty around in that potato sack he lived in on The Friendly Giant, causing me to think it was socially acceptable? Did Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie get into a shoving match over china patterns (not that there's anything wrong with that) that I thought was particularly hilarious?

I don't know, but whatever possessed me to play tip over grandma' will always remain a mystery.

So, let's just say that blueberries bring up melancholy family memories for me.

Apparently, they also make me violent. (That's a warning to any grocery clerks who see me checking out blueberries in your store. Don't sneak up and startle me by asking if I need help because you may find yourself in the emergency room having blueberries surgically removed from various nooks, crannies and crevices.)

Low-hanging apples . . . sure, I can pick those, but don't expect me to get on a ladder to pick them. I'm scared of heights. I get a nosebleed standing on my tiptoes. If memory serves correct, these little red delicacies are also available in something I like to call a grocery store,' so why would I bother risking falling off a ladder and snapping my neck in half?

When I was a kid, my father used to take me fishing quite often. Ah, the memories. We'd get up impossibly early on a Saturday morning. I'd invariably get car sick on the way there.

Many times, we wouldn't even catch anything. Because I've become such a pet person' as I age, I doubt I'd even be able to fish anymore. I'd feel too guilty. "Mom, why's Fluffy frying in the pan with butter and dill? I was gonna take him out for a walk."

I'm a meat eater, but I'd never be able to hunt. I went once as a kid - again with my father. We went out for partridge. Of course, you might as well eat the tail of an anorexic squirrel for all the meat there is on a partridge, so I'm not even sure why we bothered.

I think I went because I wanted to shoot a gun and he probably wanted to toughen me up (colossal failure, by the way.) I remember shooting the gun, but I missed the partridge. I was traumatized and never went again.

There's no way I could kill an animal like that.

My problem is that my imagination runs away with me. I personalize every animal in the forest. It's not just a deer walking through the woods ready to be shot and eaten, I see it as Bambi's mom out for a stroll while her fawn is asleep in a meadow. She gets shot and the baby deer then cries and cries forever because he misses his mother.

I never found that to be particularly good for the appetite unless I wanted to chow down on a big bowl of my own salty tears.

Yes, I'm very happy that grocery stores, butchers, farmers' markets and all these other purveyors of food exist for people like me who are too . . . uhm, busy' (translation: lazy') to grow and harvest my own.

Growing and harvesting your own food - or at least going to u-picks - would at least make you appreciate your food more, I'm sure. I know that I enjoy what little food I pick all the much more. It tastes better. You have more respect for it.

A final warning to elderly female blueberry pickers, though: if you hear nearby bushes rustling and a hidden voice giggling in anticipation, start running!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Léo Rispal -- L'École des Stars

Listen to little nine-year-old Léo Rispal knock the judges dead on France's L'École des Stars, a TV singing competition for children aged eight to 12. Here, Léo sings Le temps qui court, the French version of Barry Manilow's hit English song "Could It Be Magic".

His performance made two of the judges cry. Too cute!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Breakthrough starts tomorrow on NBC

Breakthrough, a new reality series starring self-help and motivational guru Tony Robbins, debuts on NBC on Tuesday, July 27. This will be an inspiring show for everyone. I know I'll be watching!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

5 months to go 'til Ho! Ho! Ho!

Happy Christmas in July!