FRQs: …

No rant. Just questions. Have a good weekend and enjoy the SuperBowl.

1. Who is your doppelganger, per your own eye and not what people tell you?

2. What are the first three words that come to mind when you think of Lady Gaga?

3. Saints or Colts?

4. Who is the most famous person to ever graduate from your high school?

5. What do you think of 3D effects?

Singled Out

I’m still scratching my head at Sunday night’s main event and trying to figure out just two specific things that happened say about the state of music.

“Single Ladies”, a song written by three men, somehow won the Grammy for Song of The Year and Taylor Swift, the winner of the Album of The Year award for Fearless, gave a performance that would have gotten her booted from American Idol’s initial auditions.

Those two things (along with hearing a lyric that said “I’m your insulin…let me be your medicine” and Quincy Jones allegedly allowing Lil Wayne to sing a piece of “We Are The World”) have caused me to wonder where in the world music is going. Better yet, what are we requiring of our artists?

I’ve given Taylor Swift’s album a good listen. Well written and thought out. Yet her performance on Sunday night stains her triumphs. The thing that authenticates so many of the artists we see as great is something Swift lacks.

But you can sorta forgive that. So much of our music has been manufactured for years that it’s hard to tell what’s authentic and what isn’t. Most artists seem to come out of a factory with little ability to create for self. At least Swift has the ability to write a good song that carries weight, tells a story and has a sincere message.

Now, before I go here, let me state this: My longstanding disdain of one Beyonce Knowles is trivial at best, stemming from the initial Destiny Child break-up which forced my Letoya out of my sight line for several years. I think Beyonce is an extremely talented vocalist, a stunning look and a great performer.

When it comes to writing and actual substance, though, I’d give her D-minuses. I’d give the song “Single Ladies” an F+, and no that’s not some I-hate-female-anthems grade. And I know I’m no expert. It’s just that when you actually put the song up against ANY of the songs that have previously won the Grammy for Song of The Year it seems laughable that this song would even draw such a prestigious nomination.

And that it actually won seems like a parody of a parody in Quincy Jones’ worst nightmare (Seriously, Quincy gave Lil Wayne a lead in “We Are The World.” Something Sunday night shook the hell out of him). There’s nothing intricate, substantive or even remotely interesting about a woman in a club telling her just cut-loose ex-boyfriend that he should have put a ring on it if he wanted it, while backing it up into some new guy who’s interested in what he sees.

THAT IS WHAT THE SONG IS ABOUT.

Sure, it’s a fun record to listen to from time to time. It’s hypnotic and catchy. But, to me, it’s about as deep as “I’m your insulin, I think ya need your medicine.” It doesn’t belong anywhere near “Daughters”, “Beautiful Day”, “My Heart Will Go On”, “Kiss From A Rose”, “Every Breath You Take” or “What’s Love Got To Do With It”.

Hell, it doesn’t belong anywhere near “Pretty Wings”, “Use Somebody” or “You Belong with Me”, three songs it beat out for the song of the year. I understand that’s my opinion, but I really believe Maxwell, Kings of Leon and even Taylor Swift were sitting there wanting to pull a Kanye because they know just how undeserving that song is.

All of this makes me wonder where we’re setting the bar because it seems as if a little person couldn’t even limbo beneath it right now. At this rate, Plies might win the Grammy for Song of The Year in 2011. And when if that happens, I’m going Oedipus Rex on my ears.

No Thanks

Nothing major. Just a few rambling thoughts from last night’s Grammys.

1. Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” won for song of the year. I find it odd, yet ironic, that three men wrote the song.

2. I’m not a fan. But I hope hope people will get beyond this Taylor Swift/Kanye thing. It’s long over. She’s getting the attention she’s getting because she’s actually good at what she does, not because Kanye interrupted her acceptance speech at some MTV Awards show.

3. The 3D MJ Tribute was unnecessary. Why? Most people who watch the show didn’t have the glasses, and if you didn’t have them, the television forced you to the 3D takes of the performance at about 20/200. It was that blurry and took away from the performance all for the illusion of “Usher walking toward me.” I enjoyed the performance of “Earth Song,” though.

4. Prince and Paris Jackson have grown a lot since July. It was really interesting to hear them speak again and it will be intriguing to watch them as they grow, to see how much of their father actually lives in them. There matching outfits gave off just the right touch.

5. Lady Gaga needs to stop trying to push the envelope so tough. There’s a fine line between art and strange, and she borders on strange far too often. It’s the best word I can think of to describe what she often wears. The novelty of it has to wear off at some point, you’d think. It’s sorta like watching a constant sideshow.

6. Beyonce won six Grammys (three of them for “Single Ladies”). Great for her. She’s a good businesswoman and has branded the hell outta herself. Still don’t think much of her as an artist and that she took home that many awards from that album doesn’t say much for the state of R&B. “Dangerously In Love” is three times the album her latest effort is, IMO.

7. “No thanks.” Solange’s son knew his place and provide my favorite moment of the entire evening when he said he had nothing to say.

8. Am I missing something or was there not one performance that stood out as better than the rest? In fact, all of the performances just seemed … OK. The Grammys idea of fusing together artists from different genres and eras has played itself out, I think. Few, if any, of the performances end up being memorable, and I wonder if allowing more of them to have their individual moments would help.

RE: Brett Favre

Favre, the quarterback I love to hate. But he's great.

“You’re not George Foreman. You’re not going to win the Super Bowl with one haymaker-like Hail Mary TD pass akin to the one that floored Michael Moorer.” ~ From my open letter to Brett Favre.

Dear Brett,

At my worst, I can be fairly stubborn. Like most people, I don’t like having to admit when I’m wrong. But I don’t have much of a problem doing it. I just don’t like it.

But here goes nothing. I was wrong when I wrote this and this. More so, I was wrong specifically about your ability as a 40-year-old man (I should have spent more time listening to Mike Gundy).

You proved me and so many others wrong this season with your play. I said there was no way that you’d have the season you had considering how much you wavered just on your decision to come back and because you only wanted to play to stick it to Green Bay.

Yet, there you were Sunday evening, playing for the NFC Championship, coming within a few miscues — that last interception was classic Favre — of winning it and playing in another Super Bowl. As much as I wanted to see you fail this season it was amazing to see you succeed as much as you did.

It’s almost impossible to root against you. You are one of the game’s greats, and it’s unreal to imagine you doing what you did this season at your age and with the wear you showed at the end of last season. I didn’t think it was possible. I thought you were arrogant to believe you could come into an NFL locker room midway through training camp and lead a team deep into the playoffs. But you did.

And to think, I, along with many others, said “stay retired.” You gave it a great run. Good job. But I’m going to be real, too. I’m glad you lost. I don’t think I could have handled you winning the Super Bowl. I hate being proven completely wrong. It would have been too much.

So would you wavering — until mid August — about whether or not to play another season. Don’t play games with us again. I refuse to watch. Make a decision and stick with it. If you’re gonna jump the Viking ship, jump ship and stay in the water. If you’re going to play, make the decision before you retire and have to unretire.

No one likes Drama Queen Favre. So if you repeat what you’ve done the last two off-seasons, I’ll saddle you with more disdain next season. But it will be silent disdain because I respect your play. You’ve earned that much.

Again, I offer an apology. And rest up. You took a beating yesterday.

Sincerely,

Damon

P.S. Cicely says she’s sorry, too.

FRQs: Conan

I must admit it. I haven’t watched this many straight nights of The Tonight Show since Johnny Carson was still on the air and I was a little kid trying to find any reason to stay up past curfew.

For that, I have the ratings-hungry imbeciles who run the Peacock station to thank, since they decided to go “The More You Know” route concerning the latest Late Night Wars and let him roast them for two weeks non-stop. At first he was throwing jabs. But Conan is going out hurling haymakers left and right at the Peacock. He’s even stripped it of a few feathers in the process… all of this on NBC.

It’s sorta like that scene in “Jerry Maguire” where Jerry gets fired. Except Conan — $30 million-plus in tow — is going R. Kelly on everything in sight as he’s walking out the door. You figure NBC could have prevented this by showing reruns the last two weeks. But, yeah, I guess they need the ratings. Seriously, they’ve been promoting it with commercials like it’s some great thing that they pushed him out.

Well, all I can say is that it’s the best real reality television I’ve seen in quite some time. Too bad one of the good guys has been voted off the island. Thanks, NBC.

The Five Questions:

1. How would you define the term “best friend”?

2. What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of MLK? One word.

3. Name one person you’d switch places with so that you could see the world from his or her perspective.

4. What do you think will result from being forced to pay to read newspapers and magazines online?

5. What’s the one vegetable you hated most as a kid? Do you still despise it?

Wretched Looting Refugees

“Flashy words make the world turn, but it don’t turn right.” ~ Shihan

Words. They’re powerful. Nations, like ours, are founded upon them. Elections, and universal health care, are lost because of them (see: Martha Coakley, Curt Schilling).

But unfortunately, calling a Red Sox hero a Yankee fan isn’t the only way you can misuse words. Trust, I know. I’m guilty of doing so. Still, I feel it necessary to share, from time to time, the words that are currently irking the hell out of me. I know, excusing eternal damnation from my person seems like it should be a wondrous thing. But in this case, it’s not. These words, when misused or misspelled, just piss me off.

Wretched. There are plenty of people who are going to be shocked by what I’m about to say, but a ratchet is a “mechanism consisting of such a bar or wheel with the pawl.” Yes, you can “ratchet” something by moving it by some degree. But you are wretched (i.e., deplorable) if you mistake the word wretched for ratchet.

Looting. I linked this one because I want there to be no mistake. Looting is almost always looked upon as a negative thing. And so it should be because someone is taking advantage of a situation because they have the power to do so. But when people who are starving choose to procure food to live on from abandoned stores, it shouldn’t be classified as looting. It is surviving. Now, if you catch someone in a similar situation stealing plasma televisions, by all means, call it looting. But this simple (i.e., stupid) word choice annoys me. So does this next one.

Refugee. If there’s a natural disaster in your nation, and you’re left homeless IN YOUR NATION, you are not a refugee. You a victim of a natural disaster. A refugee seeks refuge — wow — in another country because of political upheaval or war.  This one isn’t hard, yet I keep hearing this one used in reports concerning Haiti as well. It shouldn’t be that difficult to get considering that idiots in the media mistakenly called the people of New Orleans refugees a few years back.

Judgemental. This is as much of a word as conversate. The word is judgmental. I know it’s not a huge deal. But it irritates the hell out of me when someone says “don’t be so judgemental” and actually offers you the opportunity to judge him/her right in that instance. Just stick to typing #dontjudgeme or “Only God Can Judge Me.” Yeah, those work.

You?

Castouts

You’ve probably heard me say before that Denzel almost always seems to play the same role — some sort of authority figure — no matter the film. But he almost always plays it well and there are often subtle differences between the characters that draw us back to the theaters to watch him time and again.

It got me to thinking about those actors that have no shot, no hope, no nothing in their field because of a role they played long ago that has them typecast as a specific character. As a matter of fact, I’ll just name the roles that these actors can’t escape no matter how hard they try.

1. Al Bundy. I know Ed O’Neill is doing his thing on the show “Modern Family.” But you can’t tell me that you’re not expecting him to plop on a couch, grab the remote and stick his hands in his pants whenever you see him. It’s the only way you I can envision him.

2. Steve Urkel. An exact 83.7 percent of the people who watch “Family Matters” called the show “The Steve Urkel Show.” Sure, they tried to help Jaleel prove he could play another role. But Stephon was just Urkel without glasses and that annoying voice. That’s all anyone sees.

3. Carlton Banks. Every time I see Alfonso Ribeiro I want him to break out into the Carlton. Instantly. It doesn’t matter if he’s being interviewed or if he was busy co-starring on that show “In The House,” I wanted to see him do the dance. Think about it. When you have a dance named after the name of your character, you have no hope. Although, I bet he could go on “Dancing With The Stars” and win.

4. Maury Povich. What? I know he’s not an actor. But can you imagine Maury going all Geraldo on us and doing anything but saying his most infamous phrases? Didn’t think so. At this point, there’s pretty much nothing he can do aside from retire and go home to Connie for good.

5. Jessica Spano. Watching her in Showgirls was just weird. The first time I watched it, I kept waiting for her to break out into “I’m so excited! I’m soooo excited! I’m soooo, soooo….” You know the rest. Alas, it never happened. And in “Any Given Sunday” I was shocked that Elizabeth Berkley’s character could stomach the idea of being with a man who was shorter than her. Nevermind that she was getting paid.

6. Omar Little. I don’t care what other roles Michael K. Williams plays in his career. I will always think he has a sawed-off shotgun on his person and that no child — save Kenard — will stand in his vicinity. So sure, he could play Sam Jack’s character in a remake of “Coming To America.” But beyond that and other criminal roles, I’m not sure there going to be that much more work. Kinda sucks because he’s a good actor.

Who else belongs on this list?