Sunday, January 31, 2010

Grammys Swiftly gone Gaga.

The theme of this year's Grammys seems to revolve around Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift for the amount of publicity each has received. One for looking absolutely crazy eccentric and the other for Kanye West's rude interruption.

6:57 - Watching the ending of 60 Minutes featuring Beyonce. It's the stiletto heels that make the musician.

7:01 - Damn it, Lady Gaga is the opener. I will be like every other blogger tonight, but this will be the only time I will mention her. She's literally destroying the low notes by punching them - not good at all. The set and concept of the opener is really good, but a little overdramatic.

Oh my, Elton John with Gaga?? That can't be any more perfect!!

It is absolutely ridiculous that they could be glorifying Lady Gaga over Elton John. He did Bennie and the Jets and Crocodile Rock! Gaga is only carrying on what he invented.

7:08 - Way to go Colbert, give a big hello and a camera shot to a super angry looking Jay-Z.

7:11 - Nice use of the Apple Tablet Colbert. Let's have a little bit more product integration in an already brand obsessed show.

7:12 - 'Single Ladies' wins song of the year. Kanye West rigged that one.

7:14 - Cast of American Idiot performing... Is this like Glee?

I have to admit, this version of the song is really cool, but very reminiscent of Rent for some reason...

7:25 - Prediction: Taylor Swift will win best country album.

7:27 - Taylor Swift won.

It's all because of Kanye West.

7:30 - I don't want to see Beyonce. I want to see Sasha Fierce.

7:40 - Does anyone like Pink anymore? I hear a heartfelt ballad coming on.

Pink's opening outfit reminds me of May Day played by Grace Jones in a View to a Kill, a classic James Bond movie from the 80's, see here.

8:04 - Jonas Brothers introducing the next performance. I haven't seen them in a while and they don't look like a group of thirteen year olds anymore.

8:12 - This seems to be Stephen Colbert's year so far. First, a Grammy win for Best Comedy Album, next his name splattered across the Winter Olympics by sponsoring the U.S Speed Skating team.

Commercial Break!
Here's some Grammy award science.

Record of the year: Awarded to a single or for one track of an album. This award goes to the performing artist, the producer, recording engineer, and/or mixer for the song.

Song of the Year: Awarded for a sing or individual track, but the recipient of this award is the songwriter who actually wrote the song.

Album of the Year: Awarded for a whole album and all who were involved in building that masterpiece.

Factoids provided by Wikipedia.

8:21 - Opera rap thing by Jamie Fox... What the what?!

Rihanna's enthusiasm (or lack thereof) is just showing what everyone is thinking.

Jay-Z is just plain amused.

What's going on in this performance???

Thought process: Who all wants to perform in the Grammy's? We'll just fit you all in.

Who performed in this song? Jamie Fox, T-Pain, Slash, and some girl.

8:32 - Best Rock Album prediction: Green Day

Goes to: Green Day

I didn't cheat, I promise.

Coming up soon: Taylor Swift.

8:46 - The Taylor Swift performance is a little anti-climatic for the amount of popularity she has gained. Boring.

L-O-V-E Stevie Nicks... Although I never have figured out why she always wears a black dress.

8:52 - The Michael Jackson Tribute.

Oh no! I don't have my 3-D glasses! Now it's just a blurry performance. I am not a big fan of 3-D on tv. It just reminds me of A Bug's Life in Disney World and having my senses attacked.

Love that Beyonce is grooving the 3-D glasses. She makes them cool.
Rihanna is totally asleep behind her glasses.

9:09 - Bon Jovi, Bon Jovi! I have a deep love for Bon Jovi, except in recent years he has turned country which is a little heartbreaking. Two country songs in a row in the Bon Jovi melody. Such disappointment.

YES! Living on a Prayer.

9:18 - No Kanye West? That's disappointing. We need a little Grammy drama to keep me awake until the end.

9:26 - Andrea Bocelli is not peforming "Time to Say Goodbye". My mom is going to be so mad she's asleep right now.

9:40 - Adam Sandler? Doesn't matter though, Dave Matthews is now performing. I don't care what anybody says about bros and Dave Matthews, I love his music.

9:46 - Pink is not going to win an award tonight. This is just painful.

Why is Beyonce nervous about winning an award? She has won like 10 already.

9:55 - Lesson for the Grammys to learn: Don't have performers sing slower songs towards the end of the show. Viewers will get bored and fall asleep.


10:12 - Quentin Tarrantino seems so excited about life so late in the show.

Eminem and some guy performing. Wow, entire verses on this song are being silenced. I feel very cheated by television censorship.

Album of the Year: Taylor Swift, Fearless.

Not a shock. See what happens when Kanye West is a jerk to you?

Well, this ends the show. This is the first and last time in history that I will ever sit through an entire award show.

-Hanna Rosman

East vs. West on Google

Dear reader,

I was in China over this past winter break working on an independent project and I met a really nice entrepreneur by the name of Jacky in Beijing. We exchanged e-mails and have kept in touch ever since I returned in early January. Here are some e-mail excerpts from our exchanges that I found rather interesting and would like to share. Cultural understanding is extremely important, especially these days when the international community comes increasingly closer together. The below e-mail conversations are in response to the Google fiasco in China. Every day I check the New York Times and find something new written about the situation in China and its relations with outside countries. It’s a very interesting time right now…

Enjoy! :)

~Caroline Berg


Thursday, January 14, 2010 7:21 AM




“You wish to come to Beijing for work? You have this kind of idea?! China’s potential is enormous; there’s no telling what the future will be like. I hope you are able to come to Beijing to do business because I am an advertising and marketing master-hand, I can help you. Also a reason [I wish for you to do business in Beijing] is that Beijing has not yet become a really significant international city. Lots of [Chinese] people regard little American bosses with curiosity, which would allow [you to] attract media attention, and this can be free advertising publicity. Haha~”

-------------------Lost Response-----------------------

~I had to delete e-mails in my account because I kept receiving warnings that my mailbox was running out of space. My response to Jacky’s above e-mail must have been one of those e-mails deleted…~

Basically in my reply I said I think journalism is where my bag is, not business, and I wish to find a journalism job in Beijing. Because the Chinese Google business dispute had just cropped up in the newspapers, I couldn’t help but ask Jackie if he had heard of this situation. I told him, although I would love to do journalism in China, this Google news is bad news for my profession and my dependence on freedom of speech…


Sunday, January 17, 2010 10:11 AM




“Google’s business in China is very unsuccessful; the main reason is [Google] doesn’t understand the real China, especially China’s culture and ‘national conditions.’ Do you know the website This website is very, very successful because knows what Chinese people really want out of a search engine. [] knows what Chinese people are accustomed to. Now, just didn’t do enough good. The ‘national conditions’ is very important…

“Also there are China’s policies. Right now, China is still a partially open country (to the public and outside world). As far as I can see from my own self, I am a very open-minded person, but this is relatively speaking. I’m still very conservative…”


Monday, January 18, 2010 9:12 AM


我同意Google在中国做生意是个失败,但我不同意是为了什么原因。不好意思,我要说的话可能不太礼貌,但关于新闻学与说话自由是我自己的高手... Google在中国不想继续做生意因为Google发现有一些中国人非法侵入一些Gmail电子邮筒。这些莫个中国人要拦截政治权利积极分子的电子邮件,还有二十多个公司的电子邮件。这个是失败的原因。你觉得政府要删剪网上的消息是应该保持的国情吗?



“I agree that Google failed as a business in China, but I agree for different reasons. I’m sorry and ashamed that what I want to say is probably ill mannered, but when it comes to journalism and freedom of speech, I am myself a “master-hand”… Google doesn’t wish to continue business in China because the company discovered that some China people hacked into some Gmail accounts. These unidentified Chinese hackers wanted to intercept human rights activists’ e-mails, as well as 20 plus company e-mails accounts. This is the reason for [Google’s] failure. Do you think that government censorship of information on the Internet is a “national condition” to preserve?

“Qilian (my Chinese name, ‘chee-lee-an’)”


Monday, January 18, 2010 12:47 PM




“Your candid and straightforward style of speech, this is the kind of character I like. As far as doing business in China is concerned, I actually don’t really understand [the situation], this is nothing more than my own individual perspective. Please forgive me for the ‘sassy’ way I responded to you!”


Monday, January 18, 2010 1:14 PM


对不起,政府要删剪网上的消息与保持国情没有关系,我对此也很气愤,不希望阻挡自 由,我也向往自由,但是没有办法,有些事情,政府不愿意让所有人都知道,因为中国正在发展,尚未到达全部公开的时候,胡锦涛主席要捍卫自己的位置和权力, 同时,也是避免不法分子打扰中国政府的正常工作,包括中国人的团结和思想,我知道,政府删剪网上的消息是错误的,没有道理,但是,对国家没有好处、对中国 人没有好处的消息应该删除,让所有的中国人保持健康的思想和积极的态度,这样对中国来说,不是好事吗?!







“I’m sorry, that the government wants to censor Internet information and maintain the nation’s condition doesn’t connect. In relation to this, I am also indignant; I don’t wish my freedom to be obstructed, I also yearn for freedom, but this isn’t a choice. There are some things that the government is not willing to let everyone know because China is currently developing; it has not yet reached a point that’s fully open to the public and the outside world. President Hu Jintao wants to protect his position and power, and at the same time, he wants to avoid lawless members of society disrupting the government’s everyday business, including Chinese people’s unification and ideology. I know that government Internet censorship of information is wrong, that it’s illogical; but for the information that for the country there is no benefit, for Chinese people there is no benefit, this information should be censored so that every Chinese person can preserve a healthy way of thinking and positive attitudes. In terms of China, is this way not good?!

“I love my country, I yearn for peace, I hate war…

“That said, is the world really capable of not having war?? Right now there’s war, afterwards there will still be war. War is like a courtroom. Those who initiate war are the plaintiffs and those being attacked are the defendants. Now, I think the plaintiff is a bad egg, and the defendant is a fool.

“Many countries don’t want to let China strengthen and wish to hinder China’s development. Do you know of the French protests during the Olympic torch parade? Do you know about America supporting Taiwan with war weapons? Do you know of the British prime minister’s meeting with Tibet’s Dalai Lama…??? All of this is hateful, abominable…

“(Jacky writes in smaller print) All of what I’ve said is my individual viewpoint, because I never really concern myself with government business. I only want you and me to have a good life. I am capable of a happy disposition!



Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:31 PM



对你的评论来说,你说:“对国家没有好处、对中国人没有好处的消息应该删除,让所有的中国人保持健康的思想和积极的态度,这样对中国来说,不是好事吗?!” 我说:不是好事。对我来说,可能这样要删除消息的目的有好的意图,但其实会发展假的印象或限制人们的思想和独立... 你提到那个法国在奥运会期间阻止火炬传递的事情... 这些事没有发生因为法国不要中国发展。那些法国抗议者关于西藏,要中国赞成人权,让西藏抗议中国政府。法国是西方的国家,习惯有自由、人权,只要各个国家会有这样跟法国(跟西方国家)一样的自由。


你说很多国家不喜欢让中国强大... 我觉得很多国家可能害怕中国会发展到什么程度。很多人相信未来的世界战争。中国很大,人最多。大部分西方人不了解 中国文化与思想,不知道中国发展之后的计划。总的来说,我觉得这样的担心会使人不想看中国成为强大的国家。为了美国提供台湾打仗武器的事,我觉得是为了台 湾自己的保护,不是为了威胁中国。





“Thank you for giving me these comments, I think they’re very interesting. I’m also enamored with China, and I also desire peace; I think war is very stupid. I also deeply love my own country, not to mention the entire world. However, I know every country is like people -- none are perfect.

“In response to your comments, you said:

for the information that for the country there is no benefit, for Chinese people there is no benefit, this information should be censored so that every Chinese person can preserve a healthy way of thinking and positive attitudes. In terms of China, is this way not good?!’

“I say that no, this is not good. The way I see it, perhaps the purpose of censoring information this way has good intentions in mind, but actually this sort of censorship is capable of developing false impressions or limiting people’s ideas and independence… You mentioned the protests in France during the Olympic torch parade… These things didn’t occur because France opposes China’s development. These French protesters were acting on the behalf of Tibet, wanting China to support human rights and allow Tibet the ability protest the Chinese government. France is a Western country, it’s accustomed to having freedom and human rights, and it only wants every country to be able to have such freedoms.

“Why do you think that the British prime minister meeting with Tibet’s Dalai Lama is such an abominable thing? Furthermore, America having relations with Taiwan? If Tibet and Taiwan want independence, do you really think these are hateful things? Before perhaps these two countries belonged to China, but what about now? Are these countries truly satisfied belonging to China? Why is China unable to separate from these two countries?

“You said many countries don’t want to see China strengthen… I think many countries are maybe afraid of the degree of which China can develop to. Many people believe there will be war in the future. China is huge, its population is the greatest. Many Westerners don’t understand Chinese culture and ideology, they don’t know what China plans to do after it is developed. Generally speaking, I think this is the kind of anxiety that may cause people to not want to watch China become a strong country. As for America giving Taiwan military arms, I think it’s for Taiwan’s own protection, and not for threatening China.

“All right. These are my thoughts. I wish us and our countries peace. I’m also capable of a happy disposition! :)

“Good night,



Wednesday, January 20, 2010 2:09 AM





“From now on let’s not speak of international issues, these topics are too far out of our leagues. I’m not Hu Jintao, you’re not Obama, we should talk about development, making money; we should discuss China and America’s cultures, economies, ideologies; these topics will have benefit for us. These international issues let diplomats deal with. Let’s relax a bit, be a little more happy; this is most important!...”

Monday, January 25, 2010

Heidi, Heidi, Heidi...

By now you've probably heard about Heidi Montag's recent barrage of plastic surgery operations. Last November, Montag went under the knife and came out as "Heidi 3.0": more plastic than ever. Some of her 10 operations (in one day, no less) included liposuction on her neck, waist, hips, and thighs, ears pinned back, brow lift, nose job, butt implants, and a breast augmentation re-do.

Montag has repeatedly told the media that she has these operations done in order to make herself happy, and also to silence those who have criticized her appearance over the years. She is pursuing perfection, more than anyone probably should. Sometimes it's hard to remember that she is only 23 years old!

If she's happy with her body (which she ultimately probably won't be), more power to her. That's more than most people can say, most of the time. But considering the fact that she nearly stopped breathing in the beginning of her post-op recovery, there's clearly a line that she's about to cross, if she hasn't already.

Oddly enough, this whole fame-whore media blitz ordeal has found me with a new found (more like first found) respect for Spencer Pratt. He has been honest with Heidi about his complete disapproval for her plastic surgery obsession(?), and loved her the way she was when he met her -- without the DDDs.

Hopefully she stops while she's ahead, otherwise she'll turn into an even greater laughing stock than she may have been before she had anything augmented, nipped, or tucked...or lifted...or botoxed...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Prince Goes "Purple and Gold"

Everyone's favorite purple-suit wearing lyricist Prince recently recorded a track to voice his support for the Minnesota Vikings.

While I can't say I really dig the song all that much, it is definitely Prince-like and I do love me some Vikings.

Listen below.

The Golden Globes Disappoint This “Critic”

With awards season in full swing we find ourselves giving Hollywood a pat on the back for a great year in movies and television with the 67th Golden Globes Awards Ceremony. However, as with any awards program, the best movies and television shows do not always walk away with the awards (think Taylor Swift vs. Beyonce at the Video Music Awards, as much as I may hate to admit it, Kayne was right).

The first, and probably the biggest, gaff this year, was giving James Cameron’s Avatar the Globe for best drama. Yes, the visuals were stunning. And yes, the movie may revolutionize filmmaking. But that alone does not warrant the best picture award. Avatar had more holes in the plot than unpleasant holiday dinners this season. Besides the lazy writing and bad dialogue, the character development left a lot to be desired (exactly why does this character have a change of heart??). My pick for the Best Picture Globe would have been The Hurt Locker. Left off of the list was the Coen Brother’s picture, A Serious Man, which was one of my favorite movies of the year.

My second problem with this year’s Globes was the pick for best Musical or Comedy, which was The Hangover. Although the movie was funny, and the highest grossing rated R comedy of all time, I thought that it did not have the heart or the laughs that (500) Days of Summer. The later film also had the stylistic vision that is refreshing in a comedy, somewhat of an Annie Hall for our generation.

As for best lead actors and actresses, I had two problems with the Globe winners. First, Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side should not have won. The Globe should have gone to Carey Mulligan for An Education, which was probably the best breakout performance from a young actor in years. I also prefer Michael Stuhlbarg’s performance in A Serious Man to Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes.

The Best Screenplay Globe went to Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for Up in the Air. I think this was more a pick for the subject matter, the economic crisis, than the quality of the script. Inglorious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino would have been a much better pick. The dialogue, especially of the first scene, will be a classic for years to come.

The one pick I agree with was Christopher Waltz’s Best Supporting Actor Globe for his performance as Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds. I believe he gave the strongest performance of the year and he gave probably one of the best villains of the decade, if not in all of Tarantino’s movies.

Hopefully the Oscars will pick up the ball.

Alex Rich

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fist Pumping to "Pants on the Ground"

I'm a sucker for reality TV. I know that most of it isn't actually reality, and yet, I still watch. And I absolutely adore it. But really, how could I not? These people are entertaining! Anyone who denies that hasn't watch American Idol or any recent show on MTV. Last week, America was introduced to General Larry Platt on season 9 of American Idol. His song, "Pants on the Ground," may be the greatest thing I've heard in quite some time.

If anyone told me they didn't cry or pee their pants from laughing so hard, I would so call them out on it. I would call them a liar, too, if they said they didn't watch to watch it again. I know people who have the song as the ring tone on their phone. Tons of people had the song's lyrics as a status on Facebook just minutes after Larry's fabulous debut. Like Simon said, the song is a hit. And did you see those dance moves?! Any 62-year old man that is able to do this is impressive-- very impressive. Another reality show that has made a hilarious impact on us reality show viewers is MTV's Jersey Shore.

If you know anyone who hasn't heard of Snooki or Fist Pumping, ask them how their trip overseas was because they obviously haven't been in the US for months. With the show's season finale set for tonight, guidos and guidettes have never been more popular. Jersey Shore has taken reality TV to a whole new level. I'm not sure if viewers watch for the random things the cast says and does or if they secretly want to be a member of the Jersey Shore.

Either way, the guidos and guidettes, along with General Larry Platt, prove to be entertaining. And I am going to continue to soak up the comical entertainment that puts a smile on my face-- and sometimes makes me shake my head in disbelief. Until something better comes along, you can catch me fist pumping like a champ to "Pants on the Ground."
-Josie Jones

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hamburgers and Heavy Metal

A strange culture is emerging which combines food and heavy metal music.

Recently, the music news site,, ran an article about Chef Ryan Harkins and Matthew Chernus, two dudes with a van and a dream to combine their love of all-things-metal and hamburgers.

The idea culminated into Grill Em' All, a roadside business operating out of a van with an outer design featuring wizards wearing long-flowing robes and a burger dressed in a viking hat.

The Los Angeles based roadside eatery is currently debuting the Death-Punch Lunch, which contains Applewood smoked bacon, pepper jack cheese and beer-soaked onions, for a limited time only. While I don't necessarily enjoy Five Finger Death Punch the idea is cool and I would support these guys if I was in the area (plus they do offer cooler burgers like Behemoth and Molly Hatchet).

Surprisingly, Grill Em' All is not the first business created which combines burgers and metal.

Kuma's Corner in Chicago is the originator of the metal burger and has a wide range of themed-sandwiches named after a variety of bands, including Mastodon, Motorhead, and Mayhem.

And if that wasn't enough savory metal goodness, self-proclaimed "Morbid Chef" Annick Giroux recently put out the Heavy Metal Cookbook, containing a list of recipes from underground metal artists, such as Udo Dirkschneider's Roast Beef with Green Beans, After the Bombs’ Speed Metal Vegan Tofu, or Eyehategod’s New Orleans Blood Red Beans and Rice.

While the mixing of heavy metal and food culture may be a bit strange, anybody that can find a way to mix metal and business to make money is OK in my book.

New Video and Music from Valley Tongues!

Tim Kelley, former UIowa art major and front-man of solo project Valley Tongues has released his first full-length album, Future Tongues,which is now available to download FREE at Mediafire. Tim first started performing under the name Valley Tongues last year at Iowa City venues including Public Space One and the Mill. His shows usually incorporated three feet wide Native American headdresses, bright green bathrobes, and lots of dancing.

Tim moved back to his hometown last semester for some fresh mountain air and recorded Future Tongues in a cold Colorado barn, leaving the good people of Iowa City with a Valley Tongue void.

The new songs are polished, energetic, affecting, and addicting. Valley Tongues will return to the corn belt for the Mission Creek Festival in March, and Tim will pass the time between then engaging in barnyard antics and washing dishes at the Colorado Springs Village Inn diner.

He wishes to send this single heartfelt message to his listeners worldwide:

“Everyone to have a good time and keep ridin’ the blue dream.”



By Bri LaPelusa

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Star Wars

Who will be the last last night comedian standing?

NBC's decision to bump Conan O'Brien back to his original 12:05 a.m. time slot not only brought out the diva in Conan, but the sharper edged jabs from competing late night network stars David Letterman and Jay Leno. Oddly, one late night comedian who is keeping his lips shut about the whole debacle is Jimmy Fallon, who hosts an NBC show at 11:35p.m. on weeknights.

Potent personal remarks have emblazoned the usually not ferocious "Late Show with David Letterman". Not only did Letterman joke, but revisited his own problems with CBS. Jay Leno is also one who is throwing his jokes in the ring by noting how O'Brien has received more time to settle his show into a new time than he has. O'Brien made a rebuttal on his show to Leno tainted with the bitter taste of the age divide, remarking "do anything you want in life - unless Jay Leno wants to do it too."

O'Brien has even publicly shown his distaste of the network for making this decision by blatantly opening up his show last Thursday by greeting the audience as "NBC's 'Employee of the Month.'"

O'Brien ranks high within the younger demographic of late night television audiences, but Letterman still holds a strong lead ahead of him overall.

As the dust settles this week from negotiations between O'Brien and NBC, it is most likely Conan will either calm down from his A-list sized tantrum and take whatever NBC will give him or get cancelled completely.

-Hanna Rosman