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Test Pattern: Five-link Friday

Popstrology, Scarlett's wedding dress,Yankee-Dixie quiz,  ‘Idol’ magazine, "Desperate Houseflies." By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

Five-link Friday

A little bit of everything today.

• A while back, I remember there was a Web site where you could look up the song that was #1 on the day you were born and pretend that was a theme for your life, or some such. Pretty fun, and now it’s even easier to look up the song via My song’s a fun one. Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean, to a “Daydream Believer” and a hoooooooomecoming queeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen. (Thanks to Denise for the link!)

• The University of Texas at Austin has a I was especially intrigued by how careful they were to get the costumes right. For , they even fit the dress on the dressing form for the actress who played her mother, assuming that since Scarlett rushed to marry Charlie before he went off to war, she would have to wear her mother’s gown. It didn’t quite fit her and was slightly outdated for the era. Now that’s attention to detail.

• Speaking of “Gone With the Wind,” take and discover how much Yankee or Dixie is in you. I’m heavily Yankee, thanks to a life spent north of the Mason-Dixon line, but I’m not Yankee enough to say “tag sale” instead of “garage sale.” I like how you can change your answer on this quiz to get information about the different regionalisms and where they’re popular.

• “American Idol” fans, you can now subscribe to . Although how many features on Ryan Seacrest can one person stand?

• Sure, you know all about the “Desperate Housewives” on Wisteria Lane, but are you following the soap-opera-esque lives of the ?

• March 3, 2005 | 6 a.m. PT

Reader feedback on 'Bachelor' burnout

The ratings claim that only six million people tune in to the weekly Bachelor/Bachelorette episodes, but apparently all six million of them wrote to us. We couldn't share all your e-mails, but here are a bunch. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

There are a lot of comments, so I've sorted them into four categories. Click on a category topic to jump to those comments.

--Tips for improving the show--This season blew--Hey, we liked it!--The whole concept was doomed


“Take it back to sunny California!  New York just didn’t provide the nice background or space like the bach. pads in LA or the fun excursions can provide on the West Coast.  Hopefully Charlie will bring back the fun of the show and get the ratings up again.  Oh, and don’t make the guys and audience wait for an answer LIVE, so unfair for all parties involved, go back to the regular format!  Also, maybe not expect an engagement at the end, just a promise to continue dating in the real world, no one should get engaged in that short period of time and fairy-tale surroundings. Most of all:  BRING BACK TINA FABULOUS!”    —Nancy

DIVERSIFY ALREADY“Time for a Bachelor or Bachelorette to be African American.”   —Eileen

“Casting an actor [next Bachelor Charlie O’Connell] whose current claim to fame is his brother, as the next Bachelor, is very disheartening.  Before even the 1st episode airs you know he’s there just for exposure.  I’ve watched all the others, but this one I have no desire to watch.” —Nancy

FORGET THE RICH“I think the show needs to get their bachelors from the common everyday people. Rich and famous people need no help finding somebody to date. Take somebody that makes around 30,000 a year and match him with somebody else that struggles to pay their bills or somebody that isnt as pretty as Jen is. We want real life people.”  —Tammy

“Doesn’t ABC understand that no one wants to watch a bachelorette who already “won” previously?   ABC keeps casting the Bachelorette out of the pool of women from the Bachelor.  Why does ABC even bother to accept submissions for the star?”  —Anonymous

SPEED IT UP“It moves soooooooooooo slow.  I can catch the first two episodes and the last and not miss a thing.”    —Anonymous

FEWER SUITORS“The one thing they should have considered, and I can’t even begin to imagine why they never did was cut down on the starting number of men/women (25) to maybe 10, not eliminating anyone till at least the 2nd or 3rd episode, then eliminating 5.  The 5 remaining then getting a bit more time to get to know & learn more about the Bachelor/Bachelorette and or each other, and then eliminating 3.  The final 2 should have been given more quality time with the Bachelor/Bachelorette, both on and off camera, allowing them the time to get to know one another much better; and, giving them a basis on which to start building a relationship that might actually blossom into much more once they stepped out into the real world.”    —L

BAD CHOICES”Blame the show’s producers for their POOR choices for the lead Bachelor or Bachelorette.  Whoever thought Jesse, Byron and Jen would make good leads had wet noodles in their strudel!  Give us more guys like Ryan Sutter, Jamie Blythe, Charlie Maher and gals like Brooke (from Aaron’s season) and watch the show come back to life!”    —J


DOUBLE STANDARD OF LOVE AND WAR“This season lost its luster early on, culminating when Jen didn’t even show up for “The Men Tell All.” Bachelorette shows just don’t have the cattiness and guilty pleasures of watching grown women wrestle for a man. Men vying for the girl just aren’t that into it. And when a guy sheds a tear — like Fabrice did on the nightmare date — it makes you squirm and dub him “psycho” which on a woman makes good television but on a man makes us tune out. Oh, the double standard of love and war.”   —AlizaBETTER THAN NY-QUIL“Jen Schefft is undeniably a beautiful women but, acted the whole time like it was being forced upon her. Boring just got boringer. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.”    —Barb

BEGINNING OF THE END“Not only was I disappointed with the ending of the Bachelorette, but I was disappointed in Jen Schefft.  I felt she was too critical of the parents (especially her “Thailand” commentary), and leaving Jerry waiting for an answer to be given on air and then rejecting him seemed tough—although I have to admit that I have no idea what went on between the end of the show and the live “rejection” broadcast following the last show.  This ending certainly seemed like the beginning of the end for the show.      —Diane

“You are right about the Bachelor shows being far more interesting because the women seem so desperate to win—and are so devastated when rejected.  But I disagree that these shows are “Reality TV”—they are Game Shows.  And the scary thing is that the women take this stupid game so seriously.”    —Susanne


EASY ENTERTAINMENT“I enjoy both the Bachelor and Bachelorette shows.  I find it easy entertainment (not much thinking to do) and they are much better then some of the other reality shows.”   —Anonymous

“I love watching the Bachelorette/Bachelor.  It has been nice to see Trista/Ryan and Bryon/Mary find love.  I think that Jen Schefft strung both guys along, especially Jerry, who I think really loved her.  To let him wait it out for 3 months and then reject him on live television shows what kind of person she really is.  She could have been honest with him during the 3 months that the show was on, so that they could have come on together on live television and announced that they both decided just to be friends.  She deserves to be single.  As for Jerry, I don't think he will have a hard time finding love.  I'm single if anyone has his e-mail address."    —Elizabeth

CRYING IS FUN“I think [ABC] should continue with both the Bachelor and the Bachelorette shows – it’s fun to see how ridiculous women and men can be over finding a mate, i.e., Jen crying in the limo with friends and then not choosing either guy.”    —Kristin

DECEITFUL EDITING“I’ll be sad when the Bachelor/ette series ends, even though I blame its likely demise squarely on the shoulders of the producers.  I could live without all their deceitful editing and contrived dialogue.  I liked the first three seasons the best; it seemed to go downhill thereafter.  I enjoyed new faces each season more than recycling contestants.  I hope another network re-works the show and tries it again, but with producers who have integrity.”    —


MOCKING MARRIAGE”This should never have been a reality show to begin with.  If marriage is so “sacred” this just makes a mockery of it.  But apparently people just LOVE to watch people make fools of themselves on TV, including all these so-called “Christians” who scream bloody murder about marriage needing “protection” from those who would like to redefine it civilly, but don’t seem to mind when it’s made into a farce by shows like this.”    —Brian

“These reality shows are tired and it shows.  Let’s get some writers employed and have them make some dramas and Lord knows a comedy show worth watching.  And no folks, these shows don’t have to be like all the others.  No stupid parents, no “hot” teens, no siblings that sound like they escaped from an institution.  Use your imaginations, actually write so people have to concentrate and listen! If I wanted reality, I’d watch my neighbor wash his truck!”   —Susan

Bachelor’ burnout

Warning: If you hate reality shows, you might as well skip today's update and try us again tomorrow.

The current season of "The Bachelorette" ended Monday night, not with a proposal, but with . Jen Schefft, who'd previously broken up with tire/wine heir Andrew Firestone, didn't want a ring from either John Paul or Jerry.

That's certainly her perogative — we too often marry with too little thought in this world anyway, and saying "yes" to some guy just because he proposed on TV is as dumb as picking a college because you liked the mascot. But maybe the "Bachelor/Bachelorette" series should either take this latest unhappy ending as a hint: It's time to fold the tents.

There's exactly one marriage from the show's 7 "Bachelor" and 3 "Bachelorette" seasons. (The jury's still out on recent "Bachelor" Byron and Mary.) For a while it looked as if at choosing mates, but only Trista Rehn has wed her choice. Meredith and now Jen have both moved on as single women. Now I personally think that a proposal after such a short time is fairly lame-brained in the first place, but that's what the show purports to want, and it's failing miserably.

And the show is getting weirder and weirder. This season's biggest plotline revolved around bizarre Frenchman Fabrice and whether or not he was really gay. He denied it, but still stalked out on a rose ceremony in a huff, and refused to participate in one of the show's bizarre contests (a race to the Empire State Building).

"The Bachelorette" seasons have always been more boring than "The Bachelor" seasons, and as a woman, I hate to admit the reason why. It's because the women the show picks to compete for the Bachelor are much more desperate, much more crazy, and thus make for much more shake-your-head TV than the men. The men competing for the various Bachelorettes spend their time working out, drinking, and showing off their six-pack abs, but hardly any time sobbing in the corner about how their biological clock is on overtime and babbling about "soulmates" and "connections." The best drama the guys provide is when one of them drinks too much and passes out.

ABC was planning for at least three more seasons of the show, but those plans may be changed. contributor Andy Dehnart reports on his that it's likely the next "Bachelor," starring actor Charlie O'Connell and debuting March 28, could be the show's last. The show's ratings are woeful — according to E! Online, it averages just 6 million pairs of eyeballs per week.

If the show's going to go out, I say it should go out with a bang. Cast a batch of the most competitive, cut-throat women the world has seen ... think of Heather from Texas from the second season. With a room full of Heathers, the show could possibly ride on train-wreck appeal for another season or so. If not, maybe "The Bachelor" should just decide to stay single forever.

Blogging the Oscars

Want to read our live Oscar Weblog from the beginning? and read up.

8:38: And...I lost my bet! "Million Dollar Baby" beats "Aviator" for the Big One. Unpack your "Oh, baby!" headlines and your boxing metaphors, newspaper editors. And your opinion columns about, uh, the social issue that the movie's really about but that we're not really supposed to talk about for fear of spoilers. And ... we're done for another year. See you in '06, when will surely sweep the awards. Good night!

8:33: And a standing O for Clint. Deserved, indeed, though I have to say the cracks in his face are so deep they remind me of tunnels in an ant farm.

8:23: Best Actor. Here we go. There's only a .00000000000000001% chance of it NOT going to Jamie Foxx, right? Yep. And...there's your front-page photo tomorrow. Jamie with Oscar held high.

8:17: Heh. "29 seconds, 27 seconds..." I love Charlie Kaufman. Second-best line of the night: "No, I don't want to take my time now...I want to get off the stage."

8:14: And the Oscar goes to "A Rainbow of Neutrals," written, directed by, and starring Gwyneth "Mom of Apple" Paltrow. She even blends in with the beige steps.

8:13: Chris Rock, just for slashing back at Sean Penn, I will have your babies.

8:05: No surprise here, except for Hilary's dress, with the high high front and the low loooow back. A well-deserved award, but when she got to thanking her lawyers, I would have played her off too. They should just call that music the "Shut Up" music.

8:03: Hey, they finally booked a theater big enough to hold Sean Penn AND his ego.

8 p.m.: Minneapolis, represent: It's Prince, in the same outfit that my classmate sketched him in for our senior book back in 1985. Also: If you sing your own song at the podium, does that mean you're pissed at the choice of Oscar-night singer? Cough -- Antonio Banderas -- cough.

7:57: Beyonce. Is there any song she won't sing? And the snowstorm: I can almost see Peter and Bobby Brady up in the rafters, shaking the soap flakes.

7:48: Parade of the Dead time: Poor Carrie Snodgrass, following Reagan and Ustinov she gets next to no clapping. Howard Keel! Chris Reeve! Janet Leigh, Ossie Davis ... I've forgotten just how many big names were lost last year. Doesn't it seem like Marlon Brando died, maybe 10 years ago, though?

7:47: Annette, Annette, I appreciate the fact that you know you're not a 21-year-old, but that HAIR. I'm thinking that it is so sharp that if you touched it, it would draw blood.

7:39: Did John Travolta really need to explain what a movie's score is? Yes, yes he did, and he also had to use the phrase "hit the right note." Arr arr. I'm thinking they should have said "This is the first — and last — award for 'Finding Neverland'."

7:36: Chris Rock says what we've all been thinking: "Next year, they're gonna give out Oscars in the parking lot."

7:35: Aw, a winner who confesses to practicing his Oscar speech since childhood. That endears him to the rest of us who are ... still doing that.

7:26: Wow, someone actually looked at the clock and started playing speech-makers off. Or they were kinda pissed about the award-winner's remark about how technical awards are just as artistic as the rest of them, dammit.

7:14: I just cannot find a thing wrong with the way Kate Winslet looks. Not one thing. Dress, check. Hair, check, Makeup, check, Perfectly modulated accented voice, check.

7:12: I'm guessing that this is about the time most people's Oscar pools are going to pot, and they're thinking: Hell, I just guessed on these last two. "Wasp" never played at my multiplex.

7:05: These Oscar songs only serve to remind me that "Blame Canada" was really, really robbed a few years back. I don't know anyone who can sing that blasted Phil Collins song that beat it, yet I find myself humming the "South Park" songs at random intervals to this day. ("All that hockey hullaballoo, and that bitch Anne Murray too!") The "South Park" guys got their own back, though. They added a Phil Collins character to the show and have him permanently carry his Oscar around.

7 p.m.: Does that really get people coming back: "Up next, the Oscar for best cinematography!"

6:58: Seeing all those clips from movies makes me want to restock my Netflix queue and somehow magically watch 10 movies a day until I'm caught up. "I'd like to thank the movies," that's the best line of the night right there.

6:49: That's it, I want the Oscars renamed: Tabernacle of Talent.

6:46: No, we're not uncomfortable standing up here onstage, why do you ask? Do we look uncomfortable?

6:44: And, "Sideways" wins. My co-worker is hoping this isn't their "Sorry you didn't win anything else" award.

6:35: Questions without answers: When did Sideshow Bob join Counting Crows? When did Mike Myers lose his neck? When was Counting Crows "popular"?

6:29: Hey, is that that guy from "The Beach"? Well, this one was easily predictable: "Born Into Brothels" had this one nailed from the day it came out. But it would have been great to see Morgan Spurlock win and thank Ronald McDonald. I appreciate the bold-colored gowns, but does everyone have to wear single-color, close-fitting satin with a train?

6:27: Aw, quit with the Whoopi commentary already and just show endless Johnny Carson clips.

6:22: Well, I was pulling for Virginia Madsen, but I'll accept Cate Blanchett. Overheard in our newsroom when Natalie Portman was shown: "Goooo, Amidala!"

6:16: It's nice of Anna Wintour to show up to help Pierce Brosnan present the costume-design award. Anyone who was surprised by that award though obviously .

6:14: I want to support the technical awards, since they're real people who are amazingly bright and work very very hard, but this show is three-plus hours long, and one needs to take one's bathroom breaks where one can find them.

6:05: That woman in the pink-striped shirt? Is hosting next year's Oscars.

6:04: Latest beauty tip from Beyonce: Matching your eye shadow to your gown makes getting dressed easy and fast.

6:02: Drew's a Barrymore, from the famed acting family, yet she never learned to read cue cards without sounding like she's reading an eye chart? Oof.

6 p.m.: What a stunning and bold move, giving awards from the audience. It's as if they had all the Oscar interns throw ideas in a hat and this is the one that got picked.

5:57: Prediction number one: "The Incredibles" will win everything it's nominated for. Prediction number two: Mike Myers' Scottish accent as Shrek will always bug me. Also, if they didn't play this guy off, they're not going to play anyone off.

5:54: You go, Mork. Botox and Beverly Hills jokes are so 2002. Want the background on what Robin Williams was originally planning to say? Check out .

5:48: Everyone saw that coming. Morgan Freeman was not only the best performer nominated, but that scene they selected was more powerful than any of the others (although Thomas Haden Church had a very realistic broken nose, and Jamie Foxx is going to have to wait for his award). I grew up with Morgan Freeman as Easy Reader on "Electric Company," and it's a cliche, but I'd seriously listen to the man read me the dictionary. Morgan Freeman narration should be added to all movies, kind of like fluoride to water.

5:46: All right, a real award. Apparently the mermaid look is trying to swim back to the surface, courtesy of Renee Zellweger and pals. I like the red tail, but is that a white feather duster on the end?

5:44: Wait, are those the nominees? Onstage? As my co-worker says "This is so rude. It's like the Miss America pageant!" Nothing like everyone's eyes on you when you lose. Didn't they used to start with a big award, one of the best supportings or something? Kudos to the art directors, but who are these people?

5:42: Sorry for not posting more, but I'm too busy laughing. Chris Rock needs to have this job every year, and that "Catwoman 2" dig, just after last night, was well-played.

5:40: I like the Gap jokes, but knocking Bush in this crowd is shooting fish in a barrel.

5:37: And ... Kirsten Dunst is off Tobey Maguire's list, for laughing at that "boy in tights" remark.

5:36: Well, Chris Rock is off Nicole Kidman's Christmas-card list.

5:35: Chris Rock as host is like someone opened up a stuffy room and let in an enormous breath of fresh air. Also, he said "asses" and "sucks" in the first 30 seconds. Two academy members have already had heart attacks.

5:34: Yeah, that scene is from the Oscar-winning "Charlie Chaplin Meets Shrek." Come on, people. Four minutes in and we're already cheesier than Wisconsin.

5:30: And, we're off! I don't mind the movie clip montage, but someone's having a bit too much fun playing with the editing software. Let's put two clips next to each other! Now let's put the same clip up multiple times! Now let's overlap two clips! However, kudos to whoever picked a "South Park" movie clip of Kenny on fire. Heh.

5:27: All of you watching at home, are you taking a cue from Wolfgang Puck and shaping your salmon into little Oscar shapes? Well I'm here to tell you: Don't be doing that. The Oscar trademark committee will be breaking down your kitchen door soon.

5:26: I want a remote control that automatically turns down the volume whenever Billy Bush starts to talk. He. Is. So. SHRILL. Also, how classy to cut off Tom Hanks' tearful speech about those who've died of AIDS.

5:23: Just so you know, I have a bet with a friend on the best picture category. I have "The Aviator," he has everything else. And I thought I was doing well until last night, when I saw "Million Dollar Baby." Just as the credits rolled, my husband leaned over to me and whispered. "You lose." And at this moment, I have to suspect he's right. They haven't even given out an award yet, but I bet newspapers all over the nation are laying out this big headline: "Oh, 'Baby'!" Check me tomorrow morning, see if I'm right.

5:20: "We will, we will rock you?" Yeah, that goes with the Oscars about as well as it does with a kiddy soccer game. I think Billy Bush is on the verge of passing out.

5:19: What is up with Scarlett Johansson's hair? Says Paige: "It looks like she stuck her head out the window on the way there." For me, the little hair ornaments bring back bad memories of Courtney Love.

5:17: Don Cheadle looks dignified and fabulous. No other comment from me.

5:15: Ooh, one of my nominees for best-dressed: Cate Blanchett in her simple butter-yellow gown. Now that's a movie-star look.

5:14: Kirsten Dunst brought her brother, Christian, who has Ashton Kutcher hair and a very similar name to his sib. Bet that was confusing when Mom was yelling for them.

5:13: My co-worker Paige declares Orlando Bloom "too girly," but I'm not complaining. The accent alone is worth it.

5:09: Jan Carl wanted to dress up like an Oscar, and she did a good job.

5:08: Laura Linney doused her hands with Dippity Do and ran them repeatedly through her coif, apparently. It's the new look.

5:07: Leo! I liked him as Howard Hughes, but he's forever 15, even with facial hair and Kleenex boxes on his feet.

5:05: Renee, Renee. I loved your downhome look in "Cold Mountain," but it's OK to wear some makeup for the Oscars. New fashion trend for the Oscars: Severe and conservative?

5:04: Ooh, Jamie Foxx looks awesome, and what a cool honor for his daughter. Think she'll be the talk of her school on Monday morning?

5:03: Heh. Annette Bening thinks Billy's questions are stupid, too. Note how she completely ignored him and just said she was honored to be there.

5:01: Yay, Hilary. But as my co-worker Paige says, is her dress on backwards? Maybe she just doesn't want any trouble with the FCC. No wardrobe malfunctions here.

Whoa, that was a cheesy intro ... it's as if they wanted to confuse you into thinking you'd mistakenly tuned to the NASA Channel. I always find the Oscar Countdown a wee bit squirmy, anyway, with all the sucking up and kissy-kissing. Also, Billy Bush? Please.