Anthrocide is the official website for D.L. Hamilton, author of several Christian novels and essays.

Archive for September, 2009

Odds and Ends…

First, a follow-up to the America’s Got Talent story.

So, Eeyore won. My pick, Barbara Padilla was runner-up. Interestingly, both had problems with their final performances. Barbara made a tactical error by reprising an operatic solo she had previously done. She needed to show that she could use her thrilling voice to sing something in English for us “just plain folks.” Even an old show tune like “Some Enchanted Evening” would have been a much better idea. Kevin Skinner’s performance was vocally poor; he was flat and off-key in parts. Seriously, now that the story of the sniveling chicken farmer has run its course, only the most hard-core and tin-eared CW fans would pay Las Vegas prices to sit through an hour-plus of listening to him. Better invest that $1 million wisely, Eeyore…

ON THE SPORTS FRONT, time for a quick recap of what’s happening with my teams:

  • SF Giants: Well, it was a nice run while it lasted. I guess you’ve got to give them props for making it interesting through the bulk of the season. Given their unimpressive offense it was amazing they were ever even in the race. But as it stands they have only gone from perennial bottom-feeders to perennial “almosts.” That is, “almost” as in almost a wild-card team. Winning the division is not even a consideration. Which, again, makes one scratch one’s head. Suppose SF managed to squeak into the playoffs and somehow won the two short NLCS series necessary to go to the world series. They are clearly not the best team in the NL by a long shot, so that would make no sense. Playoffs are sometimes of dubious value.
  • MIZZOU Football Tigers: However, the one place an 8-team playoff would make sense is in College Football. So, of course, that’s the one place in sports where it doesn’t happen. Anyway, as for the 3-0 MU Tigers, it has been said that their next 4 games will define their season. However, the next one against Nevada is significant only if they fail to win since they are heavily favored. Assuming they win, beating Nebraska will be huge, and vital. But whether they are just a decent team this year or something really special will be determined by how they play against OK State and Texas the following weeks.
  • SJ Sharks: Speaking of playoffs… No team in all of sports is as Jekyll and Hyde between regular season and playoffs as the Sharks. Last season, with a new coach, a new attitude, a new style of play, and a rip-roaring start I was really hyped about them. After their playoff debacle I’m struggling to generate more than tepid interest this year. Maybe if the Heatly-Thornton-Setoguchi line catches fire I might perk up but for now it’s not there.
  • SF 49ers: Still speaking of playoffs, for a brief shining moment we can mention playoffs and 49ers in the same breath. If they could play .500 for the rest of the season it’s a possibility. Of course, these lofty speculations are due for a sudden collapse after the Vikings in all likelihood rough them up this coming Sunday. Plus, if they should somehow reach the playoffs, they’ll be a really boring team to watch since their offense pretty much consists of a steady stream of 3-and-outs until a couple of times a game they manage to sustain a drive for a score or break Gore loose. I yearn for the Walsh-Montana-Young days when a 3-and-out offensive series was almost unheard of. But, anemic offense or no, Singletary’s got the defense making believers out of opponents week-by-week.
  • But… Why not root for Missouri’s pro football teams, you ask? Actually it’s not for the obvious reason that they’re both terrible. St. Louis is the Rams. C’mon now, no one who is or ever was a 49er fan can root for the Rams. Not even if they gave me a luxury box. As for Kansas City, I actually considered adopting the Chiefs as my AFC team until I heard that nausea-inducing noise that put them permanently on my black list: The tomahawk chant (or chop). This originated with the Florida State Seminoles although it is not some long-standing tradition – they only started it in 1984. It’s irritating to hear FSU do it, hideously repulsive to hear the Atlanta Braves fans do it, and pathetically plageristic for the Chiefs. Nope, sorry, not going to happen. I would not, could not root for any team whose fans do that lame, fingernails-on-a-chalkboard chant.
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    America HAS Talent…

    So, America’s Got Talent huh? (Although, from the title one assumes it doesn’t have much in the way of proper grammatical skills or it would be America Has Talent.) Anyway, for those who, like me, have no better sense than to waste their time watching this drivel, here is my take on the finalists from worst to first:

    Grandma Lee – Granted my sense of humor doesn’t mesh with a lot of people’s; for example, I don’t find David Letterman the least bit funny. And, granted, I have become convinced that performers who resort to off-color humor do so because they don’t have enough truly funny material. They rely on the shock value of what they say to get audience reaction. Hence, I do not find Grandma Lee funny. She aims her risqué humor at the judges who obligingly pound their desk with hilarity and proclaim her comedic timing “impeccable.” It isn’t; it’s slow and halting and if she were 30 years younger she’d have been dumped long ago. As it is she gets additional shock-value mileage by being 75 and saying what someone that age isn’t expected to. But would her lame old-lady sex jokes, sans judges, sustain a full-length Vegas show? No way, and I wouldn’t go for free. Sorry, Granny, it’s a “no” vote from me.

    Kevin Skinner – The human Eeyore. He’s a mediocre singer and at first the aw-shucks human interest angle was somewhat touching. But he has laid that “Ah’m jest a humble hick (sniff, sniff)” stuff on so thick for so long I no longer buy it. An evil part of me sees him offstage after a performance with a martini in one hand and a cell phone in the other saying in plain broadcast English, “Vinny? This is Kev. Hmm? Actually, I thought it went well tonight and, hey, that onion-juice-on-the-guitar-strap idea of yours was pure genius. Gets me teared-up every time. Anyway, did you open that Swiss account for me like I asked you? Super! Need a place to put that cool mil, right? And hey, Vin, have my lawyer tell the producers here I want a penthouse for the Vegas gig…” Back to the chickens, Kevin.

    Drew Stevyns – An OK raspy-voiced singer who is thoroughly uninspiring. Since the audience doesn’t vote people off but instead votes for their favorite, I’d say he has zero chance to win unless all the female voters decide his boyish looks merit their votes.

    Recycled Percussion – An unusual group that beats on buckets, car parts, and other junk as musical percussion. Although they’re interesting to watch, here’s my problem with their performances: They have one actual musician, a guitarist, but I hear a lot of other background music and sound. So how much of what we hear are they actually producing? Or are they just a flamboyant Milli Vanilli?

    The Texas Tenors – Since I am not a fan of country music, trios in cowboy hats do not attract me, although “God Bless the USA” is as country as they’ve gotten so far. When they pull off good harmony (which isn’t always) it’s quite good. They could probably carry a Vegas show (or more likely a Branson show), but I doubt I’d pay to go, even if I was already there.

    Lawrence Beaman – Good singer with a deep, mellow voice. However, he has limited range and needs to pick his songs carefully. Cries too much and too easily but he’s the best male singer of the bunch.

    Hairo Torres – This guy is amazing for the contortions he can put his quadruple-jointed body through all while performing acrobatic break dancing. Him I’d pay to see.

    The Fab Five – Talented group of five twenty-something to thirty-something sisters who can dance up a storm. I’m not real big on watching dance acts but they’re amazingly precise, they’re attractive but modest, and they seem to be having a ball while on stage. The biggest concern with them is that their dancing is so frenetic that after a 2-minute audition performance they’re completely gassed. That being the case, how on earth will they handle a full 60 or 90-minute Vegas show?

    The Voices of Glory – Two brothers and a sister (16, 11, and 9 I think) who blend excellently. The little girl has a dynamite voice and is fearless on stage. Their background story is quite touching; you can’t help but root for them.

    Barbara Padilla – Operatic singer who is the whole package. Great human interest story of a cancer-surviving wife and mom who sort of came from nowhere. She’s a lovely lady who comes across as incredibly gentle, kind, and caring (okay, okay, she also cries too much and too easily but I’m cutting her some slack). But all that aside, even though I’m no opera aficionado her performances give me goose bumps. I would definitely pay to see her perform and would sincerely hope for a chance to meet her and shake her hand afterwards. Even though an operatic singer won last year, she is by far the most talented of the competition and gets my vote to win it all.

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