Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

Location, Location, Location

posted by ellen leventry

With homes in London, the British countryside, and Los Angeles, why would Madonna be interested in a “shack” by the Sea of Galilee? According to the The Times of London and other news organizations, the Material Girl’s representatives have been “cold calling home-owners in the picturesque mountain retreat of Rosh Pina and offering to pay any price to secure property,” because “Kabbalists believe that the Messiah will appear at Safed and walk to Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, traveling along the ravine that cuts through Rosh Pina.” Mrs. Ritchie, reportedly, plans to build a Kabbalah study center on the site.

A woman named Shiri Havkin was approached with an offer to buy her 100-year-old ramshackle house, but thought it was some kind of joke. “The house is worth a little more than $500,000,” Mrs. Havkin told The Times, “but I would sell it to Madonna for a million dollars ….”

Buying a house in a backwater between southern Lebanon and the Golan Heights: $500,000. Buying that same house if you’re a multimillionaire pop-star: $1 million. Being present at the moment the Messiah appears: priceless.

How the Mighty Have Disappointed

posted by

I read with sadness about the death of Kirby Puckett, the charismatic former star of the Minnesota Twins baseball team. Dead after suffering a stroke Sunday, he was only 45. Hard working, charming, exhilarating, dedicated, Puckett was one of my favorite players during his too-brief, but highly successful, major league career. Like so many others, I loved him as much for his winning smile and casual charm as for his baseball heroics–which is what made what happened after his retirement so painful for us, his fans.

After breaking into the majors in 1984 and leading Minnesota to World Series championships in 1987 and 1991, Puckett lost sight in one eye and retired in 1996. He was then voted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, in 2001–but later that same year, his trouble started, or rather, became public. His then-wife accused him of threatening to kill her and told police he had a history of physically abusing her. He denied the charges, but then was hit with another accusation, this time from a woman who accused him of sexually assaulting her. He was acquitted of all criminal charges but largely stayed out of the public eye after that.

Though the two stories are entirely unconnected, I can’t help but connect my feelings at Puckett’s death with the bombshell Sports Illustrated dropped today about home-run king Barry Bonds, rumored for years to be a steroids user. SI.com writes about an excerpt from a new book by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters who describe in excruciating detail Bonds’s steroids regimen. Based on records seized by federal agents in a raid on the lab that administered the steroids, the book seems to leave little doubt that Bonds’s storied career has been, indeed, too good to be true.

Lamenting the immoral behavior of athletes is a cliche by now–so trite, so last century. Yet I, forever an optimist, kept hoping the rumors about Bonds weren’t true, that somehow he’d clear his name and erase any doubts about the legitimacy of his record 73 homers in one season in 2001. And today, I can’t help feeling sad not just at Puckett’s death–whatever his misbehavior was, he didn’t deserve the lot life dealt him–but also at the fact that another champion failed miserably to live up to his public personae. I miss Puckett, but I’ve been missing him for five years now, ever since the Kirby Puckett I thought I knew was proven to be an illusion.

Take My Oscar, But Don’t Steal My Tagline

posted by burb

After “Brokeback Mountain” lost out to “Crash” last night for Best Pic honors, “Brokeback” screenwriter Larry McMurtry was quoted as saying, “Perhaps the truth really is, Americans don’t want cowboys to be gay.” And he wasn’t the only one implying that “Brokeback” offered too much man-love for Oscar.

Academy voters—said to be the blue-haired moms of the eligible, but too busy, actual ballot holders–do trend more conservative than Hollywood as a whole, but we’ll never know for certain if anti-gay sentiment had a hand in the surprise ending last night. All the same, was “Crash” producer Cathy Schulman wisest to thank the Academy “for embracing our film about love and about tolerance, about truth” when the suspicion is out there that intolerance cost “Brokeback”—a movie about love and tolerance—the Oscar?

On Sunday, Did God Create “Desperate Housewives”?

posted by ellen leventry

Those viewers who didn’t turn off the televisions directly after the Best Picture acceptance speech last night were treated to a bit of tasteless self-promotion by ABC. Pumping the return of its regularly scheduled Sunday night lineup–“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Desperate Houswives,” and “Grey’s Anatomy”–the voice-over states: “Thank God for a new Sunday.”

Is it really appropriate to thank the Lord for a new episode of “Desperate Housewives”–which many viewers say may be “jumping the shark” with the stunt casting of Carol Burnett? Many “Desperate” devotees would, indeed, thank God for a new episode, Carol Burnett and all, but I am not so sure. And while I definitely look forward every week to “Grey’s Anatomy,” I still feel that that tagline thanking God is tacky, somehow going beyond simple irreverence.

However, the greater sin may be ABC using such unoriginal, cliche-filled copy.

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