American Idol final two

Usually, my “American Idol” favorites never make it all that far.  This year, though, the two performers that I have been pulling for and voting for all along are the two finalists!   Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze.

Of the two, I’m not sure who I want, since I like them both a lot.  Lee is a kind of diffident, shy guy, the sort who doesn’t make eye-contact when he talks, but he is a really fine contemporary singer.  Crystal is an alternative, bluesey Bonnie-Rait-type singer with amazing chops.  She never watched the show before, and she considered pulling out several times earlier.  Neither come across as egotistic divas, nor as pop star stereotypes.  Both are down-to-earth, non-assuming, and genuine musical artists.  Critics have said this year’s contestants are bland, but I’m tired of the Idol big voiced over-projections and I appreciate these two in particular.

Who deserves to win?  I’ll listen carefully to the final show next week.  I’d have to give the talent edge  to Crystal.  But I’d be glad to have Lee win it.

Any opinions?

DeWyze, Bowersox left to duel on ‘Idol’ finale.

So how will “Lost” end?

Many of you have followed, with me, the labyrinthine ways of “Lost.”  Now, the television puzzler is approaching its finale.  What do you think the final explanation will be?

HT:  Larry Wilson

Cartoon sitcom about Jesus

After censoring “South Park” for depicting Muhammad, the folks at Comedy Central are announcing a whole blasphemous animated series about Jesus:

Comedy Central might censor every image of the Prophet Muhammad on “South Park,” yet the network is developing a whole animated series around Jesus Christ.

As part of the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers, Comedy Central is set to announce “JC,” a half-hour show about Christ wanting to escape the shadow of his “powerful but apathetic father” and live a regular life in New York City.

In the show, God is preoccupied with playing video games while Christ, “the ultimate fish out of water,” tries to adjust to life in the big city.

“In general, comedy in purist form always makes some people uncomfortable,” said Comedy Central’s head of original programming Kent Alterman.

When asked if the show might draw some fire, especially coming on the heels of the network’s decision to censor the Muslim faith’s religious figure on “South Park,” Alterman said its too early in the show’s development to be concerned about such matters.

via Comedy Central developing Jesus Christ cartoon — The Live Feed | THR.

We hear that a lot, about how comedy or art in general makes people feel uncomfortable.  Actually, speaking as a historian of such subjects, this isn’t true.  Sometimes it does.  But those who raise this are generally making the logical fallacy of the undistributed middle premise:  Just because some art makes people feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean that anything that makes people feel uncomfortable is art.

At any rate, Comedy Central knows that Christians will not react in the same way Muslims do, so now the producers can feel all brave and cutting-edged.  In reality, they are hypocritical, tasteless, and pathetic.

The depravity game

A French TV show has replicated a 1960s experiment that demonstrates just how sinful we really are:

Eighty people who thought they were participating in the shooting of a pilot for a French reality series were willing to deliver potentially lethal electric shocks to a contestant who had incorrectly answered knowledge questions, according to the documentary, “The Game of Death,” airing on French TV on Wednesday night.

“Zone Xtreme” seemed to have a pretty standard game-show format, complete with wildly enthusiastic studio audience, a glam well-known TV weatherwoman hostess, gaudy lighting, etc., said the French press reports.

In truth, the would-be reality series participants were part of an experiment that was turned into the documentary.

In “Zone Xtreme,” the faux contestants who gave all the wrong answers were actually actors. Each “contestant” was strapped into an electric chair. The 80 wannabe famesters were each asked to punish the contestant, when a wrong answer was given, by administering up to 460 volts of electricity. The majority of them ignored the contestant’s screams and obeyed the orders of the weather-chick hostess to ratchet up the jolt. They also obeyed the chant of “Punishment!” from the studio audience — which did not know the game show was a fake — until the contestant fell silent and appeared to have died. Only 16 contestants walked away, according to press reports.

The idea for the show came from the work of psychologist Stanley Milgram, who conducted the experiment at Yale University in the 1960s. Milgram found that most people, if pushed by an authority figure, would administer ostensibly dangerous electric shocks to another person.

via Lisa de Moraes – Reality show contestants willing to kill in French experiment –

Maddy Curtis update

Maddy Curtis, the 16-year-old from around here who became an “American Idol” contestant whom I have been blogging about was cut in the Hollywood round.  Ironically, that happened the very day her initial Boston audition was aired, so that her acclaim began at the very time as her disappointment.  Her  mom blogs about the whole experience, emphasizing how God is using all of this:

Well now you dear friends know what we were not allowed to reveal for the last month: Maddy did not make it through the Hollywood rounds.

In fact, what was ironic was that she was being cut at precisely the time the Boston auditions were airing on January 12. While I think she would have kept her composure, the cameras and interviewers have a tendency to needle you until you lose it. . . .

Maddy stopped crying in the elevator. We went up to our room and watched the Boston auditions – which we hadn’t seen – on YouTube.

Maddy was brushing her teeth when there was a knock on our door and I peeped out the peep hole and saw a camera crew. We didn’t answer. Maddy went to sleep peacefully and I stayed up all night reading emails.

Around 2 am, a paper was slipped under our door with our flight information for the next morning. No one ever came to say goodbye – even the producers who had seemed to love Maddy. It was a cold and disconnected feeling, and yet we felt connected to a larger world as in LAX people recognized Maddy and said hello.

For unbelievers, it might be hard to understand the peace with which Maddy and I traveled home. We knew God had accomplished some amazing things – some which we would find out about and some which we would never know. As they continue to be revealed, I will continue to share with you. But even that night, we felt like she had accomplished something special.

I am very grateful to American Idol for representing our daughter so well – though the way they clipped her song made no sense at all. I will be posting the song “The Nearness of You” – which Maddy sang at her Haiti Benefit – in a few days on YouTube. She executed the Ella Fitzgerald classic flawlessly – but it just wasn’t what American Idol was looking for :)

Tripp and I could not be prouder of our little girl. The big question was “Will she audition again?” The answer from Maddy is “No.” What she discovered is that she did not like the cameras and lack of spontaneity. The stage has always been her first love. And her family is grateful that God gave her the opportunity to immediately focus on helping others through the Maddy Sings for Haiti Benefit she did last weekend.

Maddy is receiving invitations to speak and perform at pro-life events and True Love Waits. Having been given a chance in the spotlight, the true purpose of Maddy’s life and her gifts has been revealed. It shouldn’t be surprising that God can use the things of the world to accomplish His purposes.

And even if nothing else happened, what happened is enough. . . .

Meat a vegetarian could eat

Have you seen Man vs. Food, a show on the Travel Channel in which a bloke named Adam Richman goes around to different cities, showcasing their signature food joints and taking on food “challenges” such as eating that gigantic steak in Amarillo or attempting to down the world’s hottest chicken wings. Anyway, he was in Miami on Superbowl weekend and he did a feature on Joe’s Stone Crabs. Here I learned something remarkable. From the restaurant’s website:

In order to assure the continued survival of the species: Only one claw may be removed so the crab can defend itself. Egg bearing females are not allowed to be declawed.The crabs are captured in baited traps. No spears or hooks are allowed. . . . The claws make up half the weight of the whole crab, they are removed by carefully grabbing from the rear and twisting. The crab is returned to water and the claw regenerates. It takes between 12 to 24 months to reach legal size again.

So these crabs are caught, but instead of being killed, only one claw is removed. Then the animal is thrown back into the wild and then grows another claw. People can thus eat crab meat–which Adam said is delicious–without requiring the death of the animal!

OK, I realize that vegans and animal rights advocates would object to twisting the claws off but this is a “sustainable” food supply that at least some vegetarians might get past their consciences.

And yet, the thought gives me the creeps. Isn’t it better that the animal dies as a sacrifice, fulfilling the principle that all life depends on the death of other life (which holds true even if someone eats only vegetables), so that sacrifice is essential for both spiritual and physical life?