Friday, February 26, 2010

RATE IT! Voyage of Discovery

I've been waiting and waiting -- not very patiently, mind you -- for NBC's television debut of the worldwide genealogy franchise, 'Who Do You Think You Are.'

Now after over a year's wait, the Lisa Kudrow (yep, 'Friends' Phoebe) produced series is about to launch on March 5 in North America. Much like the UK original, the American 'Who Do You Think You Are' delves into the family trees of famous folk -- in this case, Sarah Jessica Parker, Spike Lee, Brooke Shields, Matthew Broderick, Susan Sarandon, Emmitt Smith and Lisa Kudrow herself. Will the celebs be shocked at the newly revealed skeletons in their plush closets? Will there be tears? Please?! The UK version ALWAYS has tears -- even if they're just mine! I'm a sucker for people learning who they really, truly are!

Genealogy is a hard slog chock full of details and confusing twists, turns and horrible brick walls (I'm currently stuck with my English side) but it's also one of the most fulfilling hobbies one can take on. I fully recommend it -- and hopefully the same can be said for NBC's turn at 'Who Do You Think You Are.' Heck, its pedigree is pretty impressive!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

RATE IT! Separated at Birth?

Flamboyant American figure skater, Johnny Weir and "Tainted Love" Soft Cell-er, Marc Almond....

Okay it's a bit of a stretch...but both have a flair for sequins and blazing their own unique career paths. Not afraid to stand out in order to portray their "art." The mop of jet black hair & their skill with the liquid black eyeliner definitely helps too!

I love Marc Almond -- he has a voice like no other -- and I think Johnny Weir brings an interesting take to the figure skating world. Sometimes a serious genre needs a little shaking up and Johnny does just that.

The world would be a boring place if we all wore the same things, never made mistakes & did everything we could just to fit in and be like everyone else. For being true to themselves, I salute both Marc and Johnny -- and wish just wish that I could be as adept with black eye liner as these two!

RATE IT! Spoilt for Choice

Since wee Zoey Bean came into our lives last May, our place has had many close encounters of the puppy toy kind.

We swore that our dog would never be spoiled. We swore that she'd only have as many toys as her little Ikea container would hold. We swore that we wouldn't spend loads of cash on expensive "human" toys that she'd just chew up and eat.

Yep, we've broken all our homemade rules. Zoey's toys would put many kids playrooms to shame. And the fact that her collection features so many pop culture faves (Mr. Bill, Dug & his dog pals from the Pixar movie "UP", and one of the 'Littlest Pet Shop' pooches...), it's quite easy to say that she is definitely her puppy momma's daughter!

Pop culture, not just for humans!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

RATE IT! Simon Says.. To Go

Do you remember this flashy electronic game? Long gone but obviously not forgotten by someone!

Simon Says back, and wants to give your PSP a run for his money.

Small but mighty, Simon still wants you to follow his lighted way despite his new configuration as a tiny keychain plaything. Now you can take him on the go. Gaming simplicity at its best.

What's next? Head-to-head baseball as a key chain?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

RATE IT! Virtue & Moir

Bit bleary eyed this morning, but the reason was SO WORTH IT! Last night....late last night the best moment of the Vancouver Winter Olympics -- at least for this Canuck -- was the coronation of the new Olympic ice dance champions.

Canada's Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, skating one of the most beautiful ice dances I've ever seen - flawless, poetic and passion-filled. Classy. One of the few pairs without gimmicky costumes (step forward 3rd place Russians). Thank goodness the judges did their job and awarded the highest marks of the competition to Tessa & Scott, clearly the most deserving.

So brilliant was their performance that skating experts are speaking of Virtue & Moir in the same breath as Torvill & Dean. Yep, they were that good!


Check out Tessa & Scott's official website here.

HATE IT! Trailer Trash Birthday

Here's a way to bring the traditional blowing out of the birthday candles to a whole new low...

Pseudo lighters masquerading as a new take on birthday candles. For the over grown birthday boy, aged 26-ish who is more than happy with a 6-pack & a wife beater tee as his gifts.

Trailer trash-ific!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Britain's version of the Oscars®, the BAFTAs swept through London this past weekend collecting all Tinseltown's glitteri up in its wake.

I hope Hollywood took note at the eclectic assortment of BAFTA winners. Sure, 'Avatar' may have raked in the most cash but a plethora of greenbacks does not mean a movie has the most heart or best performances. James Cameron's blue-hued epic won just two awards -- neither of which were for Director, Best Picture (both went to 'The Hurt Locker' -- with Cameron's ex, Kathryn Bigelow at the helm), or for acting (thank goodness!). Nope, the BAFTAs did the right thing and granted their lead actor trophies to the lovely Carey Mulligan ('An Education') and the humble Colin Firth ('A Single Man').

At least one motion picture academy set the right tone. Will Hollywood follow suit? I'm not holding my breath!

(photo of winner Colin Firth with Kate Winslet: Joanne Davidson)

RATE IT! Tom Brokaw Explains...

...Canada to the US.

A must-see clip from NBC's pre-Winter Olympics coverage.

Friday, February 19, 2010

RATE IT! Yep, It's Pretty...

Steve Nash, Kim Cattrall, Michael J. Fox, Ryan Reynolds, Sarah McLachlan and Eric McCormick all have one thing in common...

Sure, a green screen was used, but so what? It's still gorgeous scenery.

RATE IT! Official Olympic App

How did we survive the Olympics without phone apps?

Depending on where you're geographically located, you may be privy to several phone apps for the Winter Olympics. In Canada, there are at least three: CTV's official broadcast app, NBC's official broadcast app, and the 2010 Guide: the Official Mobile Spectator Guide.

Hands down, the 2010 Guide is THE app to have. Where the CTV and NBC apps end, the Official app -- brought to us by Bell -- goes above and beyond. All sports are represented with thorough descriptions of each event, plus venue details, maps and medal standings. Best of all, the information is continually updated. Say for example you're watching women's figure skating live on the 2010 Guide app and select women's figure skating. The app will automatically update the standings, skater info (including what music they're performing to) and more! While the app won't completely eliminate the need to watch the Games on television, it will enrich the viewing experience. On the go? This app will keep you completely on course & in the know.

Scroll through the latest Games' news, keep track of your favourite events and check out what non-sport activities (concerts! performances!) are happening in Vancouver & Whistler - you can even follow Twitter feeds! It's all here, and it's wrapped up in a cool, easy to navigate style.

Best Olympic app by far -- and it's FREE! No wonder it's the #1 free app on iTunes at the moment! With a week of the Games still left to go, there's still plenty of time to enjoy this useful & fun app.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

RATE IT! Patriotic Pastry

With the Vancouver Winter Olympics in full swing, Canadians from coast to coast are bursting with pride for their team and country.

It would only be fitting for Canada's premier coffee establishment, Tim Horton's, to show their national joy as only they can... with patriotic pastries, of course!

Meet the Canada Donut. 220 calories of sugary joy in the guise of a classic donut topped with vanilla fondant & red maple leaf sprinkles.

IT. IS. DELICIOUS! Canadians KNOW their donuts -- this one is not to be missed.

Get 'em before they're gone. Just like the Winter Olympics, Tim Horton's Canada Donut will only be around for a limited time only.

HATE IT! What's that Crunch?

No, it's not a stale bag of Lay's sour cream potato chips, or past-their-sell-by date pretzels...

Nope, it's a handy snack size bag of crispy Crick-ettes. You read that right - CRICKETS!

REAL ....well, *dead* crickettes, seasoned in a grab bag with a choice of zesty flavours including sour cream & onion, bacon & cheddar or salt & vinegar for the Anglophiles in the room....

I don't think there's enough vinegar in the world to make these insect husks delectable. I'll pass, thanks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

RATE IT! Keep Calm Gallery

What was once a cool, trendy print, The Keep Calm & Carry On poster/t-shirt/mug, exploded out of the UK and became THE must have slogan accoutrement. I think most design magazines featured it in some regard and really, who could blame them? It's fab. Simple, to the point and inspirational.

That said, there's a wonderful place where you can buy the aforementioned poster as well as many others inspired by it. The Keep Calm Gallery is a smorgasbord of creative motivating influences -- be it, towels, posters, mugs or cards.

Take the sunny 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade', or the refreshing 'tea revives you.' Feeling bossy - well, there's always 'eat your greens,' and the very effective "Get Lost!" cheekily overlaid on a map, of course.

There's a mood lifter for all tastes.

I feel better already!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

RATE IT! Whose Game??


So happy that it's back!!! Coca Cola Canada has resurrected the exhilarating hockey commercial they lovingly created (with McLaren McCann Advertising in Toronto) for the previous Winter Olympics.

It's brilliant, it's exciting...and just in time for the Canadian men's hockey team to take to the ice for their first game of the tourney later today. Canada's women are already crushing the competition, winning 18-0 and 10-0 --- now tell me whose game it is? Yep, still OURS!

Got goosebumps? I do!

RATE IT! Snoop Dog-Nerd

The glasses! The blackberry (shame, no iPhone!)

Techno-geek Snoopy celebrates his nerdy-ness in fine form in this new tee from Mighty Fine.

Me want!

Monday, February 15, 2010

HATE IT! iTunes - You've Done It Again

Like most music obsessives, I have a love-hate relationship with iTunes.

I'm thankful that the service exists for its ease of use, and I worship daily at the mantle that is the genius of the iPod. It changed my life, seriously. To be able to carry with me my entire music collection (5,500 songs, give or take...) is just the most important techie thing to have ever happened to me. End of story.

BUT I don't like how iTunes gets away with little customer service screw-ups. Remember my rant about their gift cards? One of the best gifts in my opinion, however, you CANNOT use them for purchasing iPhone applications. Silly, yes?

Well, my other main pet peeve with Apple's iTunes... when there's a song that you really want but you can only buy it as part of an entire CD. I desperately want the latest tune by The Bird and the Bee -- it's found on the new soundtrack for that star-studded 'Valentine's Day' flick but in order to lovingly cradle it in the safe environs of my iPhone, I have to pay for songs that I would never, ever dream of owning. Musical clutter. At a price. Ugh.

I have voiced my displeasure to the band via their Facebook page in order to make ME feel better. I'd never expect my rant -- which also set off others too, ha! -- to make a change in this case because it's really big, nasty iTunes who are to blame here and not the little band, but at least I said my peace.

Now I'll just move on and ignore that song that I want so much....*sigh* Until next time.

Friday, February 12, 2010

RATE IT! Vancouver Olympics


And thankfully, Rod Stewart won't be in sight! Sorry, Rod!

After years of preparations & secrecy, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics will kick off in grand style this evening. I CANNOT WAIT!

The cute mascots, the fantastic winter sports, the spirit of cheering for your country -- and it's all in CANADA this time!

Rumours have been circulating like mad about who will be the final torch bearer -- everyone from Wayne Gretzky to Betty Fox have been touted -- and the mystery just gets more and more enthralling with news that both Walter Gretzky (yep, the Great One's beloved Dad) and Rolly Fox (wife to Betty, and father to our greatest Canadian, Terry Fox) have been torch runners today.

Petitions on the web, on Facebook & elsewhere have been flying for months hoping to add fire to the campaign to have Betty Fox bring the torch to its final home in Vancouver. If the rumours are true, there won't be a dry eye in the place - or in my home. I'm stocking up on tissues just in case.


RATE IT! Pinball Table, Anyone?

Got a spare $2,000 to spend?

Nah, I don't either, but if I DID, I would head straight over to this fabulous webstore, Still Life.

Pricey, yes, but that's not the only green aspect to this shop -- Still Life takes gently used items, and recycles them into unique furniture with a new lease on life -- all for your home. A pinball machine morphs into a coffee table, a vintage movie theatre chair gets made over into a living room staple, while a '50s telephone becomes....a lamp?!

Seriously! And it's all really cool! Better start saving...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

RATE IT! VW PunchDub

One of the most entertaining 'super' commercials aired during last weekend's Super Bowl was Volkswagon's 'PunchDub' ad.

What better why to promote your product than with a bit of nostalgia? Remember playing 'punch buggy' as a kid whenever a VW Beetle drove by? I do! But this time, VW has taken the game to a whole new level, encouraging a solid punch whenever *any* VW product drives by.

And it features Tracy Morgan & Stevie Wonder. 'Nuff said!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

RATE IT! Bittersweets

I've never been 100% comfortable with the idea of Valentine's Day. Let's face it, when you're alone without a "significant other", the day and all its red, smoochiness is just one big embarrassing bummer. Even when you're partner'ed up, it still reeks of obligation. You MUST buy chocolates, flowers or jewellery, or you're a horrible, heartless person. Pu-lease!!!

I don't like anyone telling me when and why I should gift my loved ones -- I'll do it throughout the year, thanks... and because of all this February 14 overt gooeyness that I despise year in, year out, I happen to LOVE these freaking fantastic Bittersweets -- they're Love Hearts gone hilariously wrong!

Instead of "I Love You", "Sugar Bear" and other sickly sweet sentiments, these Despair Inc. goodies declare: "U Turn Me Off", "Mommy Issues", "Awful In-laws", "Aging Poorly" and my personal fave, "Dog is Cuter." Choose from three hilarious black trimmed heart-shaped tins -- Dumped, Dejected or Dysfunctional, and celebrate anti-Valentine's Day!

* of the candies in the 'Dumped' tin has the message, "U Have a Blog" --- just ignore that one, will you?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

RATE IT! Beaker's Ballad

'Dust in the Wind' will never, ever be quite the same again!

HATE IT! Cinematic Cheese

A true sign that Hollywood is running out of ideas....

A remake of the 1980 Academy Award® nominated film 'Ice Castles'!

Say it isn't so!!

The original, starring then-teen heartthrob Robby Benson & the little known Lynn-Holly Johnson, was late 70's cheesy goodness. A promising figure skater suffers a debilitating head injury yet continues to skate through her blindness...yep, back then anything was possible!

The movie was really movie-of-the-week fodder but still had just the right amount of romance, plus that Oscar® nominated song 'Through the Eyes of Love' that it managed to garner quite the cinematic following...obviously enough of one to make Tinseltown execs see $$ signs in a remake.

I'm guessing this rerun went straight to DVD. For those interested, it's released today for your maudlin viewing pleasure. Me, I'll take a pass.

Monday, February 8, 2010

RATE IT! I Really Dig Vampires

You can keep your Twilight vampires... this Ugly Doll vamp gracing this new tee is more my style.

Much cuter than that Edward guy.

This ghoulish fella kinda looks like my Schipperke in her bat costume.

Friday, February 5, 2010

RATE IT! Hulu...It's So 2009

Buh, bye, Hulu --- there's a new TV player on the block....

If you haven't met this stunner already, please let me do the honours... meet

TVGorge offers up pretty much every TV show airing in North America right now --- without the geoblocking frustrations that befall many of us with stinky Hulu. C'mon, people.... Canadians and Americans share a plenty...and blocking Canucks from your American website feeds (NBC!!!!) just makes us snarky and more apt to tune into the other networks... or find freebies like

Switch your web viewing from Hulu to and kiss goodbye the "sorry... you cannot view this clip from your location" blues for good!

Now, TVGorge doesn't have "SNL" in its listings -- the one omission that I found -- but that's a only a slight knock on my part. Heck, they had the premiere of "Lost" up on their site the day after its debut on ABC!

Happy viewing! And not just for Canadians and Americans...our relations in Australia say it works down there too. Hopefully it will thrive for awhile before it gets yanked off the (web)waves.

RATE IT! Amazing Jeff & Jordan

CBS has come up aces again with their reality-TV cross-promotion.

Remember when Boston Rob & gal pal, Amber moved over from a successful stint eating bugs on 'Survivor' to charming their way around the world on 'The Amazing Race' a few seasons back?

Well, following that successful reality mash-up, the next globetrotting installment of CBS' award winning 'Amazing Race' (premieres Sunday, February 14) will feature 'Big Brother' faves & real-life couple, Jeff & Jordan. In the last 'Big Brother' series, Southern cutey Jordan triumphed over her lying, cheating housemates to walk away with the series' top prize *and* fellow BB-er, Jeff. Not too shabby for a 'supposed' dumb blonde receptionist.

The couple were so popular outside the house that Jeff won the prize for most popular housemate by BB viewers. CBS would be insane not to take the Jeff-Jordan franchise into another TV venture...and a few months later, here we are with Team JJ set to battle their way (hopefully) to a second successful TV adventure!

Can't wait!

(photo: Entertainment Weekly)

Thanks, Gabrielle for the article link!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

HATE IT! Fashion Crime

Some things in life just do not mix.

Milk and Pepsi -- have you tried it? Horrid! 'Laverne and Shirley' have a lot to answer for. Shame we can't blame this abomination on Squiggy.

Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger -- pretty as a picture on the outside, household of hell on the inside.

Designer fashion and the 'Jersey Shore' cast -- no brainer, right?

Turns out, several people believe that the fashion world makes a good match with Snooki, The Situation and the other interchangeable Jersey Shore greaseballs. Apparently, these Jersey embarrassments are on the cusp of being featured AS MODELS during New York City's upcoming Fashion Week. True story. Several designers are considering hiring the obnoxious gang for their catwalk presentations.

Am I the only one to think that NYC's Fashion Week just hit a brand new low?

Sure, their presence will get plenty of attention but isn't it the wrong kind?

(image: MTV)

RATE IT! Your Thighs Will Hate You....

...but, so what?

Some things are worth the indulgence, right?? -- I'm looking at you, Everything But the Kitchen Sink chocolate bar!

Marshmallows, peanuts, pretzels, popcorn, graham crackers, toffee and cashews all have starring roles in this tasty chocolate sensation from Dylan's Candy Bar.

Meal replacement at its very best!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

RATE IT! Olympic Appetite

If you're one of the lucky ducks heading to next month's Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the perfect respite is on the menu for you!

Take a break from an overdose of sporting action & refuel with 'Edible British Columbia' -- an adventure embracing food, shopping & cooking. Sample the delights of the BC foodie scene with two-hour chef guided market tours, whiskey dinners (really!) and more.

With so much on offer to satisfy every appetite, who could blame you for skipping the ski jump and figure skating? Not me!

Not taking in the Games? Fear not.... 'Edible British Columbia' is a year-round celebration that will continue even when the Olympic Games have moved on.

(photo courtesy: Edible British Columbia)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

HATE IT! Ugly News

Actually, it's old news... from last week but the fact that it was announced days ago doesn't take the sting out of the cancellation of one of the most heartfelt and funny TV shows out there -- 'Ugly Betty.'

I was out & about when I first spotted the news on Twitter last week. The demise of Betty has been a common rumour for a few seasons now -- and it appears that ABC has decided to finally evict Betty and her wonderful cast of characters to enable a more vapid program to take her timeslot.

Sure, the program has endured moments of questionable plot lines, but through all the twists and turns, the show always portrayed plenty of heart, soul and truth. Instead of the hilarious hi-jinx of 'Mode'-mates, Marc and Amanda, or the sweet sisterly devotion of Betty and Hilda, we'll probably be force fed more 'Bachelor' spin-offs, or a questionable hour of annoying sitcoms.

'Desperate Housewives' survives, Betty does not. Go figure.

Thanks for the memories, Betty! You will be greatly missed.

RATE IT! Groundhog Blizzard Joy

It's Groundhog Day today, kiddies!

Are we doomed with six more (DREADED) weeks of this frozen hell they call Winter, or will it all be over lickety split? As per the wacky North American tradition, Canada's Wiarton Willie, and his American cousin, Punxsutawney Phil, will be dragged out of their toasty burrows by some scary dudes wearing top hats (!?) in the hopes of forecasting an early Spring.

"Legend" has it that if they see their shadows & high-tail it back inside their warm dens, we're punished with six more long, draggy weeks of Winter. Failing that, if no shadow greets the rodents, Spring's just around the corner -- supposedly. Year in, year out Willie & Phil get centre stage... and this year, they're not the only ones making a well-timed February comeback.

February's Blizzard of the Month is one worth repeating. Yup, IT'S BACK!!!! Celebrated all month long *last April*, the Midnight Truffle Blizzard from Dairy Queen is making a comeback in grand style! Dark chocolate truffles... cocoa fudge! Welcome back, dear old friend! At this point I don't even care if Spring is delayed... with this Blizzard of the Month treat, February can drag on and on and I won't complain one bit!

Don't be surprised if after all their weather forecasting festivities Willie and Phil make a run for the nearest Dairy Queen today -- can't say that I blame them!

RATE IT! Sergio!

Wacky with a nod to the freaky greased up sax guy featured in "Lost Boys", here's the SNL Digital Short from this past weekend's Jon Hamm-infused episode.

Be careful who you cross!

Monday, February 1, 2010

RATE IT! Hamm & Buble

Shame Mad Men's Jon Hamm can't be the host of SNL *every* weekend.

Here's one of the silliest sketches from this past weekend's show. Kudos to Canadian crooner, Michael Buble for being a great sport! Perhaps Lorne Michaels will invite him back to host *and* be the musical guest -- he's got the comedic chops to pull it off.

Apologies to readers who cannot view this clip -- NBC has geo-blocked certain regions. Damn, them!!

HATE IT! Scary Valentine

With Valentine's Day fast on the approach, the scramble to find something unique and a little bit different has begun.

I say "unique and different"... and this product now up for grabs on Fred Flare's website certainly fits that criteria.

I give you the gummy heart.


Am I alone in finding this sickly candy "treat" a bit off? It's literally a chewy strawberry heart...not of the cute traditional Valentine shaped variety but the anatomically correct type of heart.

It's a bit too Jeffery Dahmer for my liking. I'll stick with the more staid boring heart shapes and leave items that look like the real thing to someone else....

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