Is anyone surprised that Ashlee Simpson (search) can't sing?
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I mean come on, we reap what we sow. I'm not talking about crops, I'm talking about the 15-minute culture of celebrity we live in today.
The result is Simpson and any number of other manufactured pop stars, Real-ities and dime store actors.
In case you've been living under a rock the past few days, "singer" Ashlee Simpson was caught with her microphone down — on her hip actually — live on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" when the wrong "backup" track played for her second performance of the night.
Simpson had planned to sing "Autobiography," but instead, the lead vocals for "Pieces of Me," the song she "sang" earlier, played. Not knowing how to handle the technical snafu, Simpson danced a jig and took leave of the stage, leaving her band to play out the remainder of the segment.
"SNL" cut to a commercial.
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At the curtain call, Simpson inexplicably blamed her band for playing the wrong song. I guess that was just in case none of us had Tivo or weren't sober when the segment really played out. Hello!
I'm sure her band was surprised to hear it was their fault that their lead singer is a phony, but then again she disses her own sister Jessica (of MTV's "Newlyweds" fame) in a lot of her music, so the band shouldn't be surprised that when the Simpson hit the fan, Ashlee blamed somebody else. How very celebrity of her. And how ironic that the song that was supposed to play is titled "Autobiography."
"SNL" couldn't have scripted that one better, being this could end Ashlee's short career.
There used to be a time when one needed to prove one's self before getting a gig as big as "Saturday Night Live." These days all you need is an established older sister (see Nicky, Jamie), a stylist, a record producer and a song track to become a star.
The real Grrr! question, however, is will "SNL" spoof Ashlee's lip synching on their show in one of their future comedy bits? I doubt it.
Hey, I Can Quit My Job ... Grrr!
Well Grrr! fans, (a.k.a. Grrrpies), this will be my last Grrr! column. It seems that I've been contacted via e-mail by the Australian Lottery Programme, and all I need to do is reply to receive my $1.3 billion prize.
If that isn't enough, I've also been contacted by "Kaamzi Hirbood," the estranged son of the Nigerian finance minister who needs my help in withdrawing some $500 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria, half of which will go directly to me for my troubles.
Wow! Look Honey, our ship has finally come in.
So without further adieu, I bid you farewell. Grrr! You know, the scariest part of all these e-mail scams is, people DO fall for them ... otherwise they wouldn't keep trying.
The Thing About Oblivions
The biggest thing about Oblivions is that they don't know that they are Oblivions. I mean, how else can one explain the cell phone Oblivions at CBS Sports' NFL pre-game show Sunday. These Oblivions will position themselves behind host Greg Gumbel (a terrific host, by the way), and proceed to wave frantically at the camera to whoever they're talking to on the phone.
They must be Oblivions because if they knew how stupid they look, they wouldn't do it.
Ditto the clown lucky enough to get a seat behind home plate at the World Series. She spends the entire game on her cell phone waving before every pitch. It kind of reminds me of Times Square in New York City right about the time MTV broadcasts its TRL show. You'll never see a bigger display of Oblivions in your life.
For more Oblivions, click on "The Grrr! Block" segment in the video section above.
The New York Yankees Sold Its Soul to Scott Boras ... Grrr!
Crystal replied simply, "pitching."
But instead of acquiring good pitchers to fill the void left by Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite, the Boss had to have Alex Rodriguez. In case you haven't guessed where I'm going with this, let me get to the point.
The Curse of A-Rod is bigger than the so called Curse of the Great Bambino suffered by the Boston Red Sox (although that remains to be seen since the curse is really about the World Series, not the playoffs).
Just look at the records.
While A-Rod was setting individual player statistics records his teams languished. In 2001, when his agent Scott Boras (search) conned the Texas Rangers into paying him the biggest salary in professional sports history, his former team — the Seattle Mariners — went on a regular season tear, winning a record 116 games. Meanwhile, the Rangers were dead last. Dead last!
In the last off season, two big baseball stars were available for trade: Alex Rodriguez and Curt Shilling. The team that got the pitcher won the pennant.
Hey Billy Crystal: After you conquer Broadway this winter with your one-man show "700 Sundays," (search) you might want to think about buying a baseball team.
Now for Your Grrrs ... Don't Forget to Spot The Oblivion(s)
Michael M. in cyberspace: Your story reminds me of a GRRRR! I have with some of the aging rockers who bill their latest concert as the "Farewell" tour and ask you to shell out a few hundred bucks. These rockers then have the nerve to tour again and charge even more outrageous prices for their retirement funds. I've seen two farewell tours of a famous group that will remain nameless. There should be a law that refunds everyone's money if a group tours after they have done a farewell tour.
Scott M. in Cincinnati: Did you read John Kerry's interview in Rolling Stone? I particularly enjoyed his responses to questions about music. When asked, "Who are your favorite rock 'n' roll artists?" Kerry's reply was, "Oh, gosh. I'm, you know, a huge Rolling Stones fan; Beatles fan." Gee, John. I bet your favorite songs are "Like a Rolling Stone" or "Papa was a Rolling Stone" or how about "Rolling Stone Blues"? Later he said, "My favorite album is 'Abbey Road.' I love 'Hey Jude.'" Uh, John, 'Hey Jude' isn't on 'Abbey Road'. He continues, "I also like folk music. I like some classical. I love guitar. Oh, God. I mean, you know — Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Buffett." Jimmy Buffett? Yeah, "Margaritaville" is a real guitar-hero rock anthem. The question wasn't, "How many rock 'n' roll Jimmys can you name?" Grrr!!! to John Kerry for being a musical poser and a BIG, HUGE GRRR!!! to Rolling Stone for not correcting Mr. Kerry on his musical idiocy! If George Bush had made those comments, RS would have shish-kabobbed him. To heck with politics, Kerry wouldn't know a Fender Strat from a ukulele.
Tara in Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Grrr! to all of you who think that a construction site is fair game to take what you want from it! We are currently building a house (which took us a long time to get to do) and we have had numerous things taken from the site. We had one man digging in our dumpster taking two by fours that WE paid for (the dumpster is there to keep the site cleaned up -- not to discard unwanted materials). Someone took one of my 400-pound boulders, and now someone has taken a load of crushed rock that we need for our driveway! If it is not YOUR property, YOU CAN'T TAKE THINGS FROM IT! You don't own the land or anything in/on it. We work very hard to get what we have and it is despicable that one thinks they can take what they want. It's called theft.
Damon C. in some nail-biting office space: Could some one please explain to me why a coworker finds the best place to trim his fingernails twice a week is at the office? I'm not talking bent and tore part of it off and needed to trim the rest, but cut down all 10 nails. Just the sound of the click, click, click, click of the clippers alone is infuriating but the thought of the trimmings flying off somewhere in the office is just disgusting. Obliviots, all of them. GRRRR!
Scott W. in Yucaipa, Calif.: What an unadulterated pinhead you are, Don H. Let me summarize: "I've enjoyed your work in the past but since we disagree on this one point, I can no longer acknowledge your usefulness to the human race." IDIOT!!!!! OK....Mike listens to Howard Stern. SO? I honestly don't remember Mike mentioning the dreaded H.S. before this previous column. It's not like he has some long history of being a big supporter or advocate of Stern. Mike mentions he listens and this negates everything he's previously written. Well....this is certainly the work of a rational thinker. Well done, Don H. My guess is that Don has never even listened to the Stern show. He's one of these frightened bigots who says things like, "I don't have to listen to know what it's all about." Again, this is the work of a brilliant thinker. I'll bet you have a moustache....don't you, Don? Enjoy your Pat Boone records, Don. Love your column, Mike. I promise to keep reading.
—Thanks Scott. I wonder if, after forwarding my column with his printed response to all of his friends, Don H. explained how he saw it — you know, being he was never going to read me again.
Dan T. in Lake Stevens, Wash.: Kudos to your SLD award for last week (Tiki Barber). It reminds me of a story concerning hall of fame wide receiver Steve Largent as his career with the Seattle Seahawks was coming to an end. During promising wide receiver Brian Blades' rookie season he would have a tendency to celebrate excessively after a touchdown. Largent's advice to the rookie was, "Act like you've been here (in the end zone) before!" I wish more professional football players would see the simple truth in that advice.
Brad in Concord, Calif.: I recently attended a Bob Dylan concert in Berkeley, Calif.. Grrr! to Bob Dylan. He played the entire set without a hit. The first song I knew, and I have most of Dylan's albums, was "Positively 4th St." during the first encore, and even then I didn't realize the song until about half way through due to his mumbling the lyrics.... barely audible! My thought is, and I have nothing against older musicians promoting new work, mix it up with the old stuff. My expectation is an artist will give the audience what they came for ... some of the hits. With Dylan's catalog, he could have easily satisfied the nearly 20,000 in attendance with more than a couple of hits. I agree, Dylan is famous for changing the sets night to night and I anticipated this, but I expected to hear some of the old stuff.
Chris in Conn.: GRRRR! to my sister, grandmother and father for not respecting my right to NOT vote in this upcoming election. My father wants to hear nothing about it, my grandmother is grandmotherly trying to convince me and my sister wants to disown me. GRRR! to them for telling me to “pick the lesser of two evils.” If you had to vote between abusing a child or 10 helpless animals, what would your choice be? GRRR! to people for telling me it's my duty to vote ... it is a RIGHT. I am acting upon my right to free speech now...in one minute, I will not be acting upon my right to free speech, should I be chastised for it?
—Yes. You're an idiot Chris. This is arguably the most important election of your lifetime. It means the difference between fighting a War on Terror with weapons or waging a war of words with people who would rather chop your head off. It's the difference between embryonic stem cell research or not. It's the difference between a tax hike or not. It's the difference between appointing a conservative or a liberal Supreme Court. It's up to you to decide which is better for you, but by choosing not to vote you are doing a disservice to yourself, your fellow citizens and your children (or future children).
The Grrr! Block
Check out "The Grrr! Block" above in the video section.
Special thanks to FNC employees Greg Hart, Jess Todtfeld and Brian Korner - (The Obliviot) for helping me reenact the Elevator Oblivion segment.
Stupid Lit'l Dreamer
A few months ago while Grrr'ing the practice of hiring Real-ities for TV show jobs that I believe should go to professional broadcasters or actors, I took a swipe at Tony Danza (search).
I was Grrring his choice of sidekick, the beautiful Ereka Vetrini of "The Apprentice" fame. I wrote, "the only saving grace here is that Ereka hitched herself to a horse that will last about two weeks." Well, "The Tony Danza Show" (search) has lasted a lot longer than that, and it's topping the timeslot in the ratings department.
Therefore, this week's SLD mention goes to Tony Danza, for sticking to his guns and to his heart. Danza is a fine talk show host, and I apologize for that parting shot.
Nothing against Ereka personally, but I still Grrr! the practice of hiring Real-ities. Imagine if Tony Danza lost out on "Taxi" to someone from "The Contender" or "The Next Great Champ." Where would he be today?
Until Next Week ... Grrr!
Mike Straka is the Director of Operations and Special Projects and columnist for FOXNews.com and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine." He was also in the movie "Analyze This," and has appeared in various commercials, theater and TV roles.