Saturday, March 29, 2008

If you're a celebrity who doesn't have a NutriSystem deal, what do you do?

You get your own fashion line (Ashlee Simpson? Really?) or sell photos of your babies. These achievements seem to trump movie roles and music sales and I'm wondering why there are no big awards for them.

"Not that moveable hair is big in TX, right?"

Suniverse brings up a good question. There are certain popularly held beliefs about Texas hair and we like to make light-hearted fun of it all but do these stereotypes actually hold up to serious examination? Let's take a look:

Ginger Rogers (Fort Worth)

Candy Barr (Edna)

Ann Richards (Waco)

Barbara Jordan (Houston)

Anna Nicole (Mexia)

Lady Bird Johnson (Karnack)

Jason Castro (Rowlett)

No. Moveable hair seems to be unimportant to Texans. (Exception that proves the rule: Eva Longoria Parker.)

This is probably a necessity instead of an aesthetic choice. The weather here is always some combination of windy, humid and hot and you need a hairdo that's gonna stand up to that. Right, Governor?

"How do you go about getting a sponsor?"

Christian Siriano: "Um. I don't really know."
Craig Ferguson: "That's gonna work against ya."

I think Defamer is off the mark here. Those are two of the cutest cutie pies on TV and their exchange is quite charming.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hair today

Did P&G buy Frederic Fekkai's haircare brand to atone for their Vidal Sassoon sins?

"'Fekkai is...a demonstration of our desire to win with key brands in the prestige channel,' said Randall Chinchilla, a spokesman for P&G's beauty business....The French-born Fekkai will have an ongoing role, P&G said. 'He will continue to drive creative efforts, brand image and product developments,' Chinchilla said. Besides hair care products for women and men, Fekkai has salons in New York City, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Dallas and Palm Beach, Fla."

First, how wonderful is it that P&G's beauty spokesman is named Chinchilla? Well done!

Second, this whole thing sounds like what Procter tried to do with Vidal Sassoon. That ended in a lawsuit. Well, I guess it actually ended in a settlement but not before P&G turned the man's name into a meaningless bargain brand.

Now: let's talk stripper hair. Again. Remember, I am looking for a middle-agish woman with "big and bold colorful hair, lots of it" who somehow manages not to look totally ridiculous. Is it even possible? After seeing the new Diane von Furstenberg American Express spots, I say yes. That is stripper hair, isn't it? Or obscure European royalty hair? Or drag queen hair? Is there a difference? Please advise.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Is it an interview? Or a commercial? O, the confusion!

Over the last year or so, The Ticket--"North Texas' first and only 24-hour sports radio station"--has begun to feature sponsored interviews--spinterviews?--on their morning show. These are short, live, pleasant phone conversations with Bo Jackson, Lee Majors, and similarly faded-from-the-spotlight celebrities. You can tell it's sponsored because the exchange always begins with the host asking, "So we understand you have a message about life insurance/financial advice/dessert topping-floor cleaner." With the endorsement out of the way, everyone goes on to predictably re-live the glory days.

It's a little cheap. Not for the celebrity but I think for a radio station and especially for the irreverent Ticket. Mostly it adds nothing to the show.

Wish they'd stop.

TV notes from last night

Monica Seles was the first female contestant eliminated from this season's Dancing With The Stars. The parting song? "The First Cut Is The Deepest." Swear.

American Idol: except for Chikezie, too boring even for me.

I'm now all QVC all the time.

(ADDED: I know it's fun to ridicule Ryan Seacrest lately. Easy too! But even when the contestants are dull, I still get excited every time he says "Thissss. Is American Idol.")

Who will advertise during the Olympics?

Maybe there's not much support for an Olympics boycott but who wants to buy into the Beijing Opening Ceremonies telecast right now? Who wants to be associated with China at all? Yahoo urges you to think it through.

In the meantime, I think we can all feel good about Free Tibet clothing. And if this sounds vague--"Sale proceeds will help fund a series of creative, nonviolent campaigns to highlight the situation in Tibet, including protests against the Olympic torch being carried to the top of Mount Everest and a protest banner hung on the Great Wall of China"--don't worry about it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Anita's going to get her kicks tonight"

Arthur Laurents authored the book for the original West Side Story and now he's overseeing the revival: "'They're not adorable street kids....They're killers, each and every one of them. They're vicious and they have to be played that way.'" So he wants to convey a new sense of brutality without changing a word.

That would seem to be easy since Sondheim's lyrics hold up:

My father is a bastard,
My ma's an S.O.B.
My grandpa's always plastered,
My grandma pushes tea.
My sister wears a mustache,
My brother wears a dress.
Goodness gracious, that's why I'm a mess!

I think what he's reacting to is the movie, specifically the virginal Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer. Laurents envisions his new leads as "so sexually involved. They're all over each other." Well. OK. But doesn't there have to be some measure of innocence about those two characters? Isn't that an important contrast to all the senseless violence? Otherwise it's all young thugs and oversexed teenagers and that's something you can see on TV any old time. Although. If he casts an American Idol--or, somehow, Sean Combs--then maybe it will be genius.

Network evening news programs: they're vanity projects, aren't they?

Network TV news ratings: "In 1980, the three programs combined earned about 42 Nielsen ratings points. By 2007, that number was down to just 16.9 rating points."

In that same time, have any other network divisions performed so poorly? Is there any other 30 minutes of network programming that is so generally ignored?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Was the American Way magazine not appealing to you?

The Amazon Kindle and the end of bookstores: "In five or ten years, I convinced myself, this would all be wiped clean and replaced by an E-Reader only product-pushing pagoda. Or better yet, a monolithic vending machine, because in my 'not-so-distant-future' of a fantasy world I’m far too baked off legalized cannabis to coherently interact with other humans at a point of sale purchase."

But first: tragedy strikes. It's my favorite Kevin Pereira post ever and it ends with a user-generated 30-spot for Amazon. Heeeee!

UPDATE: Borders obliges with a 9% drop in profits. But this is interesting: "Last month, Borders opened the first of its new concept stores near its Ann Arbor headquarters. The store is designed to be a place where downloading e-books and burning CDs go hand in hand with browsing the shelves." Still awaiting word on the cannabis.

But shopping at Target can be fun

Is this the perfect description of this season's American Idol: "I’m sure they’re very nice people, and dedicated musicians, but watching them perform is a lot like shopping at Target: they’re cute knockoffs with no apparent substance or enduring appeal." Or is that too brutal a kick at the store? I mean, like everyone else in this country, I thoroughly understand the quick trip to Target that turns into an $87 spree but I'd never cough up that kind of money for an Idol.

Except for Melinda Doolittle. And maybe Chikezie.

On a just barely related note, why is it that you can smell the desperation when Sears runs a spot on Idol?

And oh yeah! One more thing. Does iPhone suffer just a little by being associated with the show? "Ryan...grabs an iPhone from a girl in the crowd and proceeds to shill for it in a manner than even he finds demeaning. Ryan Seacrest thinks this is crass. Wow."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You mean, our Liener Temerlin?

Dallas advertising legend Liener Temerlin is part of Target's super-secret, ear-to-the-ground, trend-spotting creative cabal?

I mean no disrespect when I say this, but isn't that a little stunning? It would seem to blow up the widely held belief that to appeal to young consumers, you have to be a young consumer.

He must have a lot of other stuff on his mind

Which is the more interesting point from this DMX interview -- that he thinks the whole music download thing will never catch on ("People want the actual CDs not no shit that’s disposable") or that even the most basic news isn't worth his attention ("What the fuck is a Barack?! Barack Obama. Where he from, Africa?")?

Either way, you have to love how the piece ends: "when you happy you get locked in sleep. You get sleepy happy. I always wanna be on point. I always wanna be aware."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A "nearly complete dinosaur, skin and all."

And the skin is key: "Stephen Begin, a Michigan consultant on the project, said this is the fifth dinosaur mummy ever found that is 'of any significance....It may turn out to be one of the best mummies, because of the quality of the skin that we're finding and the extent of the skin that's on the specimen.'"

The scales look a lot like the tiles on my bathroom floor.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

I personally believe that US Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have whores

Really: how is Eliot Spitzer's carefully prepared resignation speech any better than Miss South Carolina's infamous pageant rambling? See if you can tell which speaker concluded with which message:

"so we will be able to build up our future for our children."

"solutions which I believe can build a future of hope and opportunity for us and for our children."

From those to whom much money is given, much anonymity is expected

Before we start referring to Ms Dupre as the "woman for whom Gov. Spitzer tossed away his political career, " or discussing book and record deals, it might be good to remember that Spitzer himself couldn't even recall what she looked like.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I believe correctly, that people, regardless of their position or power, really fear baldness, saggy brows and other signs of aging

Nicole Kidman does not look like a bat. However, there is a definite resemblance to Bild Lilly. And possibly the #1 Barbie.

Also, just so you know, my midlife crisis continues apace.

As human beings our greatest glory consists in our ability to categorize each other into market segments

Tweens, yoga mamas, NASCAR dads, Wal-Mart women and now, brilliantly, the twolds.

I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt an opportunity to brag about my public achievements

Thought so! There's a reason that was the worst resignation speech ever. With no PR help—"at least one major firm turned him down on Tuesday as a client"—Spitzer wrote it himself.

I will always look at that last post with a sense of what might have been

Maybe this wasn't the right week to bring up the topic of stripper hair. Although, honestly, aren't you kind of surprised at how healthy and natural hooker hair is?

ADDED: Of everything written and said about the Spitzer situation, Bo Dietl's "I woulda asked for 15 minutes' worth" comment is the funniest. His claim that the mob turned in Spitzer is the most interesting.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gather ye extensions while ye may

Yesterday I confessed that I've decided to grow my hair long. Specifically, I want big, boldly colored stripper hair and while this is not an uncommon goal among Dallas women, in my case, sadly, it's kind of a midlife crisis thing. Only a few more years and some image consultant will quietly take me aside to discuss age-appropriate fashion choices. That is going to suck. This is my last shot.

Suniverse's reply cheered me up: "Awesome! I need photos of the stripper hair!"

You know: so do I! I'm realizing this is a subject I don't know much about. Where do I go to ask for such a style? And what role models are out there for me?

So far, I've only found this. And oh yeah this.

I'll keep looking.

I wish we could find another word for "McMansion"

Because, like its new sibling term "swankienda," it's 100% pejorative. But if these new large homes are so distasteful—so plainly tacky—why is the demand so high? People don't seem to be ashamed to buy them. In fact, they appear to be downright proud.

So it's commendable, I think, that the Morning News does not use the term—its only appearance is part of a direct quote—in their story about neighborhood overlays: "The fights, quite simply, boil down to what's more important, an individual's right to build as he pleases or a neighborhood's ability to preserve its character."

If you read it, you can't help wondering how otherwise smart adults are so totally bereft of the ability to persuade, negotiate or endure opposition of any kind.

But at a time when it looks like there's no end to the fallout from declining home prices, who would willingly and purposely limit their own property values? "Some overlays, such as the one for the Cedar Oaks neighborhood south of downtown, have passed without opposition. 'I think people were ready for it,' Cedar Oaks resident Angela Marshall said. 'A lot of people are on fixed incomes, so it's a tax thing. A lot of them just wanted to preserve the character of the neighborhood.'"

"'It's a tax thing'" explains so much. Re-sale activity would probably explain more.

The happiest new idea on earth?


blogs are buzzing with talk that [Disney] CEO Bob Iger and the rest of the Mouse House have plans to add a fifth theme park gate in Florida - a boutique park aimed squarely at adults. The on-the-drawing-board park is a $520 million after-dark experience in Orlando to be called "Night Kingdom" that will run from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Reminds me of this:

Bandleader: Welcome to T. G. I. McScratchy's where it's constantly New Year's Eve. Here we go again! Three, two, one!

Everyone: Happy new year! ["Auld Lang Syne" starts up...a waiter walks up with champagne glasses]

Marge: It must be wonderful to ring in the new year over and over and over.

Waiter: Please, kill me.

I love Disney parks but Itchy & Scratchy Land was hilariously accurate. And Pleasure Island always seemed just slightly creepy.

Other details about the new park: it may offer "adventure experiences like zip-lines, spelunking, rock-climbing, and night safari. A high-end meal will reportedly be part of the package, too." Throw in a gloomy French circus and this place will start to seem like Vegas without the gambling, free drinks or sex trade. And where's the fun in that?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

"Wal-Mart in Democrat drag"

Praise for IKEA.

At least, I think it's praise. After the controversy that erupted when Bravo TV toured Laura Bennett's house, I'm not sure. I don't understand IKEA hate!

Now, the actual IKEA shopping experience? With that location out by Stonebriar Mall? Yeah, that's the worst.

Which is more fondly remembered in Dallas—Bum Bright or Bum Bright's house?

After reading DallasDirt, I'm inclined to say it's the house. Although there are many kind words for Mr Bright's car too. So that's touching.

The tragic loss, it seems, is that Bright's Lakeside mansion was razed by the new owner, who happens to be a Centex executive. As you can imagine, this makes the indignation of the D Home magazine writers complete: an old Highland Park residence they love, torn down by a man who makes money by building comparatively affordable homes they all hate. Why, he might take all those earnings and build a "behemoth!" Insult and worse—an element of tackiness—added to injury. They are distraught.

This has me wondering. DallasDirt is a real estate blog. At least one of those expressing grief for the Bright house is "a prominent Dallas Realtor." But if the home truly was such an obvious architectural treasure, why couldn't a realtor sell it? If we can blame Mr Eller for a lack of good taste, can we blame realtors for a lack of selling skills?

I'm not belittling the cause of architectural preservation. It's an important debate. But it feels irrelevant and a little snotty to attack Mr Eller. If you feel like people just don't appreciate architecture or history in this city, then maybe as a writer for Dallas' leading magazine, you could find a way to remedy that. Without personal attacks. Without sentimentality. And, please God, without any more paragraphs like this:

"But 4500 Lakeside seems like it was loved. It had warm hands Windexing the fingerprints off the woodwork, gentle brushstrokes touching up the eaves and years of elbow grease shining the windows. Why, we wonder, couldn’t someone have just bought it and continued the cycle?"

"curly fries for all of America"

Tomorrow's Arby's promotion is fun but does it slightly underwhelm because it's Arby's? And NASCAR? I don't know! To me, the news that "Kenseth wins for America!" sounds upbeat, inclusive and filled with hope. I say: fun.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

"We take time to notice the minutiae that regular people, people without Tumblr pages, are too doltish to notice."

I continue to be amused by Nick Denton's Brain Droppings: "You see, we Tumblr people photograph mundane things, things that everyone else overlooks, things like crumbling structures made of brick, rusty metal signs, the elderly, our dogs, close-up shots of coins laying on the sidewalk next to dried pieces of chewing gum and fresh snot-rockets, and we post them on our Tumblr pages so that everyone can see how un-mainstream we are."

Friday, March 07, 2008

"Wise up! Not every woman can wear teal."

A very hilarious Christian Siriano comment, particularly since he was nearly eliminated for his Sarah Jessica Parker design—remember?

Seeing Christian's final runway show, and how he totally could not keep it together in front of the judges, made me sorry for ever saying mean things about him. Tim Gunn has called Christian a fashion prodigy but it's important to note that, of all the Season 4 designers (especially Victorya), only 21-year-old Christian truly understands reality TV as well: "Victorya is the sweetest person in the world.... Her thing is, she doesn't want to be a TV character. She wants to be a successful designer. And sometimes Runway is a show. And sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do. She didn't want to do those things....In a way they showed a lot of my diva commentary. But I said nothing the judges didn't say, and nothing I regret. Everything on that show is about being a diva."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

This is a joke, right?

An idea that sounds like a South Park episode but is, sadly, in earnest: "a roving event that will combine a green market and eco-technology with a Cirque du Soleil-like performance series."

Evidently no one is interested in a fully clothed Lindsay Lohan

Was Lindsay Lohan dropped from the Jill Stuart ad campaign and if so, why?

"Has Lohan hurt her ability to land high-profile endorsement deals with her tabloid antics...and her immodest New York pictorial? Not necessarily, but it hasn't helped either, says Trey Laird, whose creative firm, Laird + Partners, has cast numerous top stars in its campaigns. 'I think the thing that would really enhance her viability for campaigns is a great, well-received movie,' says Laird. 'At the end of the day, the special campaign option will go to people who project continued success, confidence and authenticity, and that is a lot she has been missing.'"

Success, confidence and authenticity. That's pretty interesting. I just want to do a quick inventory of beauty-category-endorsing famous women and see if they match up with that criteria.

Drew Barrymore (CoverGirl): OK, sure.
Beyonce (L'Oreal): Yes. Definitely. Gawd!
Queen Latifah (CoverGirl): Yes. Even though.
Kate Moss (Calvin Klein): Somehow yeah?
Sarah Jessica Parker (Garnier): I'd vote no because her husband creeps me out and because I hated 'Sex & The City.' I realize I'm alone in these opinions.
Paris Hilton (Parlux fragrance): [Shrug. Blank stare.]

OK. Now I'm just confused. Maybe, for whatever reasons, some people are scandal-proof. Maybe ex-Disney kid stars aren't. Something the Jonas Brothers might want to consider about now.

Imagine being that young

Aside from Danny wordlessly insinuating that Ryan Seacrest is totally gay [!!!!!], the most interesting moment from last night's Idol was this: David Archuleta [squeal] getting slammed by Simon [boo] for singing depressing songs two weeks in a row. David furrowed his beautiful, innocent, incredulous brow and blurted out: "Is 'Imagine' a depressing song?" Simon insisted that it is.

But when you're 17, isn't 'Imagine' a song of potential? It challenges you to overcome the worst of human nature and to make the world better. Right? It's only when you're older—on your second marriage, charging restylane treatments to your amex and resentful of the asshat who is now your boss—it's then that the song seems mournful and resigned.

Or is that just me?

Anyway, like Jordin from last year, I think home-schooled teenagers can sometimes get away with singing songs of great and even overwrought emotion exactly because their innocence takes that song in a new direction. But Simon will never think so because he never quite believes in innocence.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

"Good Boomer does everyone a solid"

I didn't think I'd like the 8-minute Battlestar Galactica recap but I did.

Norma Kamali at Wal-Mart

This news makes me giddy: "Kamali said she always wanted to do a line at the mass level because 'the balance is fantastic. There are always things you want to do at a great price and can't, because you don't have the volume....It was my idea because it's my name,' she said. 'I am doing this, and I feel that it's something people should know I am doing. I will also carry it in my store, because I am proud of it.'"

I think this might be an important moment for Wal-Mart. First because it's Norma Kamali! And because for the past few years, she's sort of redefined herself as a proponent of wellness and other issues people would never associate with Wal-Mart. A green, holistic Wal-Mart—could it ever come to pass?

So, yes: giddy. But a real opportunity will have been lost if the launch campaign doesn't feature a Twyla Tharp-choreographed 60-second spot. Agreed?