DWTS 7: Some Thoughts

Another season of Dancing with the Starts (DWTS) is over. In no particular order, here are some random thoughts about this past season and a look ahead.

Brooke Burke was the front runner from the start and broke the streak of models and beauty queens that haven’t fared well. Congratulations Brooke!

Mario Lopez and Mel B, in my opinion the best two runner ups, could have won this season.

Cody grew up during his time on the show.

Lance was the most improved and peaked at the right time.

Football players continue to impress. Given his size, Warren Sapp was quick and agile.

As a whole, I didn’t think this group was one of the better ones. Stacey, Drew, Jerry, and Lisa in season 2 were collectively awesome. Season’s 3’s final four were very good: Emmitt, Mario, Joey, and Monique.

My biggest downer was Edyta leaving after the first week.

Every season seems to have someone whose presence seems to knockout someone who should have stayed longer. This time Cloris Leachman’s presence prevented Toni Braxton from potentially improving.

Thank you Julianne, and good luck on your singing journey.

The DWTS is popular because it’s a modern-day throwback to the variety shows of the past with a twist of reality show. Of course casting attractive people doesn’t hurt.

Tom Bergeron and his quick wit are one of the keys to the show.

With seven seasons in the book, I say invite all those week-1 departees for a competition. Then only one can claim to be twice booted during the opening week: thus tough call between Tucker Carlson and Jeffrey Ross. I’m sure Kenny Mayne would establish himself as the force to beat.

I’m sure many are already trying to determine the stars for the next season. No scoop here, here are a few names I would like to see.

  • Athletes: Paul O’Neill, David Justice, Craig Biggio, Deion Sanders, Sugar Ray Leonard, Anthony Munoz
  • Actors: Tim Allen, Henry Winkler, Kelsy Grammer, Kevin Costner, Ted Danson, Tom Selleck, Susan Sarandon, Melissa Gilbert, any Charlie’s Angels, Florence Henderson plus one Brady daughter and one Brady son at the same time
  • Entertainers: Shania Twain, Martina McBride, Reba, Amy Grant, Wayne Brady, Ellen DeGeneres, Queen Latifa, Seal, Carrot Top, Bill Engvall, Meatloaf
  • Others: Donald Trump, Dan Patrick, Anderson Cooper, Sarah Palin, Bill Clinton

Thanksgiving for Brendan

Earlier in the week I posted a short tribute to Brendan Foster, the 11-year-old boy from Seattle who a short time ago was taken from this world by leukemia. That post included a CNN video about his dying wish.

In memory, honor and respect to Brendan on this Thanksgiving Day, I provide this ABC video about the impact of his legacy. In his short life he accomplished much more than many (if not most) long-living adults do in their lifetime.

For this Thanksgiving Day, I give thanks to the Brendan Fosters of the world with hopes that their examples spills onto each of us not only during this holiday season, but in all the days ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 1

A few short opinions on a variety of topics:

As the Obama Cabinet is taking shape, I would like to see Richard Lugar (Agriculture), Colin Powell (Education), Robert Gates (Defense); plus Chuck Hagel as U.N. Ambassador, and an special economic advisory council including Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, and Jack Welch.

I would like to see John McCain finish his service to America not as a senator, but as the leader of the Veterans Administration.

The BCS is setting up as one of those seasons that’s not a good example justifying their existance.

Since fans are fickle, I wonder how many Michigan fans regret the way they treated Lloyd Carr.

I live in Cincinnati; and this Bengal fan says, “That’s one sorry football team.” Meanwhile, up on the hill in Clifton, the UC Bearcats have given us a bright light.

Outside of the news, Dancing with the Stars is the only show I regularly watch – and oh no, it ends tonight.

BCS season is in fully swing, and approaching the selection of another mythical national champion. I’d like to see Bud Selig run the BCS because they seem like a perfect match for each other.

Humor

If you didn’t see the Jimmy Kimmel clip on the secret presidential handshake, check this out. Start at the 2:40 mark.

Something to Ponder
Are the people who are against the auto industry and financial sector bailouts based on government intervention hypocrites if they say the money should instead go to people with foreclosures?

A Tribute to a Meaningful Life

The past election was consuming; let alone partisans of both sides have behaved ever since. The final weeks of the college football season is also consuming because it’s the time for many rivalry games and the race for the BCS rankings. This short post isn’t about neither politics or college football, but a story that places politics and college football into perspective about life.

Not that long ago I learned about Brendan Foster, a boy suffering from leukemia. The touching story delivered a powerful message to all of us and for all of us. This past Friday I learned of Brendan’s passing.

I thought about including this in a mish-mash of topics, but Brendan Foster deserves so much more. As we enter the holiday season, not only remember Brendan, honor him by doing something that fits his spirit.

A Reflection: November 22, 1963

November 22, 1963 is a day in a person’s life they always remember. Much like 9-11 to many, people recall where they were on the day President Kennedy was shot. I was in elementary school, and soon thereafter racing home on my bike to watch TV.

Those were the television days of no cable and no 24-hour news channels; just three major networks brought into our home by rooftop antennae. Actually, some historians say that this event and the days that followed was the one news item that ushered in the age of television news.

Our lives across this country stopped over those days. Everyone was shocked. Events of dismay and support came from all over the world, but we couldn’t see them live as today. The memory of watching Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald as it happened forever lives in my mind.

I visited downtown Dallas for the first time in the summer of 2007 as I had to visit Dealy Plaza. There they were: the plaza, the Texas Book Depository, the grassy knoll, and the railroad overpass the motorcade raced under. Together a must smaller place than I envisioned.

dealy-plaza

From jfk-archives.blogspot.com

For sure an eerie place; then I noticed the two painted Xs in the road marking the JFK’s location: shot 1 and then shot 2.

Today, the Texas Book Depository houses the wonder Sixth Floor Museum.  The many photos, films, and displays tell the story of President Kennedy’s life and presidency; as well as depicting the days prior coming to Dallas, the day of, and the days after. It also depicted the mood of the times. And yes, the conspiracy theory is included; and yes I left the building still wondering.

Many people were in the museum that afternoon, yet I was taken by the overall quietness of the low mummer. I recall a similar feeling twice in my life; when walking down the ramp at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington and when visiting Ground Zero – but different for me because I spend two hours within the museum itself.

Whether seeing the Zapruder film or the glassed-in corner with boxes and the window where Oswald stood, noticing the names that I recall as Officer Tippit, or seeing the many images that stimulated by memory, this museum stands as a memorial for that point in time we easily remember – a time when life seemed to stop.

My visit didn’t bring closure, but it actually deepened my understanding of the event and the circumstances surrounding it. After all, no longer being that young kid in elementary school allowed me to reflect back to that day and to those times through lens of all the history I’ve lived since that fatal day.

Shorts of All Sorts

Party Politics
Since I’ve been saying this for some time, I very much appreciate Kathleen Parker’s column about one aspect of Republican rebranding.

Despite my post, House Republican’s reanointed John Boehner (R-OH) as their leader. As Republicans say they are willing to work with the new administration, Representative Boehner provides his example of reaching across the aisle.

When he (President-Elect Obama) is offering solutions to the American people that we are in agreement with, we’ll be right there with him.

Auto Industry Situation
Auto executives went to Washington this week attempting to convince Congress to invest in a bailout/loan; and the more they talked, the more they turned the country against them.

It’s also tough to buy a car because tight credit. Meanwhile many new foreign cars sit in lots near U.S. ports because people aren’t buying.

Although Detroit has done well at accomplishing failure, I remain steadfast in believing that the auto industry issue is more complex than simply looking at the executives, and even the UAW. As usual, George Will had a good read.

In Wednesday’s edition, a Wall Street Journal editorial implied some Democrats are using green technology as leverage in the bailout talks.

Congress, with a public approval rating lower than President Bush, demonstrates it can solve the complex Detroit-based mess with grandstanding committee hearings and partisan ideology.

Sports
I’ll be part of the raucous environment at UC’s Nippert Stadium for Pitt’s Saturday night visit; a team the Bearcats are never beaten. In contrast and three time zones away, 0-10 Washington and 1-10 Washington State battle in the Apple Bowl.

As a MAC grad, I appreciate Ball State’s accomplishments. I saw BSU play in 2004, and they were horrible. A great job by the staff in Muncie!

A shout-out to Mike Mussina for a strong pitching career in spite of pitching during MLB’s steroid era.

Steelers Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau is in his 50th year as an NFL player and coach. Youngsters may him as a quality coach, but may not know that the man could play defensive back. More importantly, Dick LeBeau is a class act.

Something to Ponder
The public the two biggest things the public runs in our society are schools and government. Need I say more?

XM Lineup – I’m Sorry to See You Go

I get into my car and, as usual, turn on my XM radio. Whoa! The channel is different. Yes, that happened last week, November 12th; the day the Sirius-XM merger affected XM’s lineup.

I got XM with my new car, so I never “shopped” the competition. Once they announced the merger, I knew this day would come; but uncertain on what would actually happen. Now, I’m adjusting to what I lost while trying to determine what’s offered – much like I did when I bought the car.

My favorite is gone: Starbuck’s XM Café (Channel 45). The replacement (The Spectrum) isn’t close enough to the music I grew to appreciate. The closest thing I can find is The Coffeehouse (Channel 51). It’s not the café, but I’m giving it a chance.

Another favorite also gone is Audiovisions (Channel 72), which has been replaced by The Spa. Both feature new age music, but The Spa has an easy-listening edge. It’s close enough, but not close enough to stay tuned in for a period of time.

Flight 26 (Channel 26), another favorite, and yes, it’s gone. Being that it featured adult rock sounds, replacing it in the new lineup will be easy. The question is where; but I’ll find it.

XM-Sirius says the new lineup offers more music. Maybe so, but it depends how one defines music in terms of style and genre. So far, my eclectic, wide-ranging ears have detected channels that are more similarities, yet differentiated by small differences. Others can say the new lineup favors listeners 30 years old or younger. Even if so, management has reasons for their decisions.

Satellite radio is a good thing, especially for those with a wide range of music interests. My time with Starbuck’s XM Café was a pleasure and will be missed; but I’ll adjust. Time will tell what Sirius does with its new sibling, and time will tell not only how I adjust, but also what I discover.