Monday, December 19, 2005

La Academia

Does anyone here furiously commenting on my blog watch La Academia? For those of you not in the know, La Academia is a TV show shown on Azteca America, a Spanish-language television station. It is basically the Mexican version of American Idol. Auditions are held in various places and several people are chosen to compete in weekly shows showcasing their singing and performing abilities. Then they are voted off one by one by the public.

One major difference with American Idol though is that on this show the contestants are actual students. When they are picked they get to live in a school with several instructors who show them vocal techniques, body language, acting abilities, etc., in order to enhance their talents. Also, every weekday, the audience gets to watch them at school learning and interacting with each other. (Plus, I saw a commercial the other day advertising a satellite station which shows them 24 hours a day!) Because of this school situation I think the contestants end up being better singers than those on American Idol.

I tried watching American Idol when it came out and I did enjoy the auditions with all the bad singers. After that though, the only reason to watch the show is Simon Cowell. Overall I think the show sucks. But that is not the case for La Academia. For one thing, the judges are much better. There are four judges and for the most part, although not always the case, they have better credentials. They are not only from the music business but they give more thorough critiques as opposed to the Beavis and Butt-head type of criticism given on American Idol. And also, but again not always the case, the judges tend to be harsher. They have no qualms getting a performer to cry (which is lovely to see).

So far there have been five concerts with four contestants being booted off: Fatimat, Diana (I mean Bianca [see comment below]), Carlos and Alejandro (who was kicked off last night). This season is actually called La Academia USA because the students are either from the U.S. or have spent a significant amount of time in the U.S. Consequently, it is quite interesting to see them mangle the Spanish language or the English language (whatever the case may be). And if you watch the daily show it does have a Real World type of appeal. But at the very least watch the concerts every Sunday night to hear some great Latino music.

Links:

http://www.terra.com/laacademia/
(official website for the show)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Paean for McRib

Just the thought of a McRib gets my panties all in a bunch. I start to salivate at the thought of processed meat in tangy sauce, wrapped in rubberized buns. The pickles and onions are superb. And the cute little patty which looks absolutely nothing like a rib just drives me up the wall.

It's a genius marketing ploy. McDonald's releases the ersatz rib sandwich on an unsuspecting public only occasionally to create interest. Months go by with no McRib sandwich in sight. Then, all of a sudden, a commercial appears on local stations. McRib is back (for a limited time only). Fans go into a feeding frenzy (literally) and buy nothing but McRib sandwiches every time they go to McDonald's. Big-Mac, what's that? Quarter-Pounder with Cheese, not today. I want a McRib. Then, just when you feel your food dreams have been realized, it is gone. And you wait, expectantly, until it comes back.

I suggest we start a religion, whereby we can make Americans act politely and civilly to each other by suggesting that heaven is filled with 70 virgin McRib sandwiches ready to eat. If you are nice to your neighbors and are productive to society you will be awarded the McRib. That's as good a reason to join a religion as any other.

Check out these links:

http://www.mcrib.com/

http://nessart.8m.com/mcrib.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McRib

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Whatever Happened to Corn Quistos?

Since I'm a fat guy and grew up a fat kid I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering about food. And I was wondering the other day, "Whatever happened to Corn Quistos?" For anyone who doesn't know what the hell I'm talking about, Corn Quistos were a snack sold in the 80s. They were little hard, rolled pretzels with creamy cheese filling inside. I loved them. I remember walking on over to the 7-Eleven to get these and various other snacks (nachos, beef jerky, Big Gulp, ice cream)....mmmmmm!

Summer vacations were an endless round of junk food, TV watching, reading, and video rentals. Picture this: hot June and July days in El Paso, Texas, fat kid with glasses (almost a mini-Roger Ebert), walking a few blocks under a clear, desert sky (did I mention it was amazingly hot), sweat pouring down oversized T-shirt, in the armpits, on the chest area, a pair of "Husky" jeans. Said kid walks into the local 7-Eleven to feel the cool, refrigerated air and gets himself a Big Gulp, candy (Reese's or Twix), some nachos with gobs of gooey, yellow-orange cheese and slabs of jalapenos (they're not as good anymore at 7-Eleven), maybe a packet of Big League Chew, and possibly a comic book or two. Then rolls on back home to await his favorite cousin so they could go rent Spaceballs or Conan the Barbarian. Domino's Pizza delivers some pizza later on that night and we play on the Nintendo 64 the next morning.

Ain't a bloated, spoiled, American life grand?