Monday, March 30, 2009

More DWTS Madness (Or Who Will Be the Gimp This Week?)

Alright so the dreaded two dances (Lindy Hop and Argentine Tango) make their debut on the US version of Dancing with The Stars. Alright now dreaded, but maybe not the comfort zone for soem fo the professionals.

First up was David Alan Grier. I'm not that hot on him, but he came out with energy. A little hunched throughout the dance. I think that was his way of looking cartoony. He made a little mistake towards the last quarter of the adance but recovered nicely and made it look like he knew what was supposed to happen next. Not the best routine, but it was pretty good. And best of all, Carrie Ann can't play lift police! I'm not sure if he lost time, though I am sure he was confused at times and unsure what was to come next which may have made it look like he was. Or vice versa. The 22 was a little higher, but also Grier is in the awkward position of leading off with no one to be compared to.

The Bionic Booty of Lil Kim danced onto the floor next with Argentine Tango. And it looks like Hough's little problem of oh not knowing the dance didn't hamper them that much. Like Mrs. Angrybell said, I dont know the Argentine Tango, but she looks good. She is still shying away from being in close. She needs to trust that Derek is not there to cop a feel but is there to lead her through a dance routine. When she gets over that, she is going to be a force to be reconded with in this competition. Len may know the dance technically, but he seemed to come off a little too hard on Lil Kim. While I agree with Bruno about how much I liked the routine, a 10 was too high. Mrs. Angrybell disagrees and says that the 10 was right on. The problem is Grier's score might be too high which is causing the problem. But the 27 is the right total.

Chuck "Wussie Complainer" Wicks came out next to dance the Lindy with Julianne. Mrs. Angrybell says that Julieanne should find a Man and not a boy to date. The kicks and flicks looked good but not great, and he seems to be afraid to let those arms go out and be expressive. It was clean. I was bored. Carrie Ann and I go back to disagreeing. I think Wicks is not really a contender. He is riding Julianne's coattails and is unwilling to listen to her when it comes to the important part. 22 was a little high. Carrie Ann gave him an 8? What the Frak? Then there is Len's 7. Lil Kim clearly gave a better, cleaner routine, but he gave her only a point higher.

L.T. comes across as a little frustrated. Which is a problem, but I think he feels he should be progressing faster. One thing LT does well is look fierce and that is how he came out. It came across well, not as well as Lil Kim's routine. I think part of that had to do with him being a little tentative when he was doing some of the lifts. The score of 5 was way off base I thought. Len, really, is that the right score based on the scale you set for the night with the first dances? 19 was the total.

Then came my favorite cowboy (after a little technical screw up). Ty Murray and his partner Chelsie had the Lindy this week. I can see what Chelsie's strategy is: keep him throwing her up in the air so that he doens't have time to think about what he is going to do next. When she put him into the dancing, as opposed to the lifts, he got a little lost. But he pulled himself back in and got back in time. Interestingly, it looked like he stayed better in time when he was not in hold than when he was in hold. However, it was a step forward for him, again. This guy ever stops worrying and just does the dance, he could be a real threat to the front runners. 25 seemed a little high, but understandable because he keeps getting better. Mrs. Angrybell would have given him a 7. I would have given a 7 or 8.

Following that routine was the Woz and Karina. Woz What was Karina wearing? Has she been raiding Edyta's closet? I think what happened here was Karina pulled a routine out of her Achey Breaky days... and did most of the work while all Woz had to do was let her look good. The scores (12) were brutal, but probably right. But what the hell, vote Geek!

So now we have the couple with the biggest impediment: Carrie Ann hates them. Melissa and Tony came out looking like Tony and Minnie Mouse. I do not think that Mellissa was comfortable with this dance. She kept looking down all the time to chekc her ffeet in the begining. That lift that went and through the legs was impressive. The probelme was I think there was a little problem with the footwork. But all those lifts were impressive. And the result: Carrie let go of her dislike of them for a week. What's with the 10's this week? That routine was good but it was not a 10! Lil Kim got hosed! I still like her.

Now the Duchess of Grace herself has to do the Argentine Tango. Holly may be injured, and whining, but after she saw the doc it looked like she sucked it up. Why is it the Playboy girl is more manly than Chuck WIcks? Once again, her balance betrayed her. Mrs. Angrybell was shocked and dismayed by her lack of balance. Here is Holly's basic problem: she has moments of right on followed by disaster. The cycle repeats each time. The scores were correspondingly brutal with a 16. But they were right on.

Following that was Steve-O, the man who needs to go home. Dancing the Lindey, they looked scary in their costumes. Then they started to dance. Lacey was dancing. Steve-O was... doing something else. The lifts looked... not like lifts should look. But darn it all, he kept smiling. Mrs. Angrybell finally had a good thing to say about Lacey tho. She said "She's lost weight!" The scores were, once again, brutal. However, the 15 could have been worse. That routine was not that much better than Woz's.

After that... dance... came the surprisingly strong Giles and Cheryl. They were dealt the Argentine Tango. And once again, he showed why he's been getting the high scores. Yes, he is not like the male professionals, but of the men who have done the tango on the show, he looked the crispest, he looked like he was in character, and damned if it almsot didn't look like he was leading the dance instead of just remembering a routine. Like Len says, the dance is a mix. There were quicks, there were slows, there was hard, and there was soft. If people don't vote to keep this guy in, then they don't like seeing good work rewarded. The perfect 30... maybe a point too high, but that dance was clearly better than all the others. Lil Kim's dance in comparison was good, but she is just not there yet.

Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas were the ones who were left to answer the challenge. Their outfits were as scary as Steve-O and Lacey. However, they looked a whole lot better. As Mrs. Angrybell said "Richard Simmonds meets Buddy Holly". This was a fun dance and they made it look fun. And the way she does a flip and lift with Mark Ballas, its like she's saying "This is so much easier than what Im used to." Interestingly, the biggest mistake was made by Mark, when he messed up his little roll over her. The 25 was the right score, and should have put them closer to the top, but the stupid scoring was out of whack.

Alright, so has anything changed? Not really. Shawn Johnson/Mark Ballas and Giles Marini/Cheryl Burke remain the head fo the class. Ty and Lil Kim are getting better. Steve-O and Chuck just need to go.

My perfect DWTS double elimination? You guessed it: Steve-O and Chuck going home.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Defeat of the Pole Tax

Generally, I am against poll taxes. However, this is about pole taxes.

With the economic downturn, there has been some attempts at increasing the sin taxes. Among those being increased in some areas, are strippers. Texas passed a tax on people going to strip clubs last year. This tax was challenged and ultimately struck down in a decision by a Texas state court as "unconstitutional".

Most recently, a Albany, New York, area strip club challenged a tax assessment made on it for failure to pay sales tax on fees from cover charges and dancer fees. Nite Moves contested the taxes. With the help from lawyer , an ACLU attorney from Utah, they took their case before an administrative law judge.

After reviewing DVD's of dancers working at the club, administrative law judge Catherine Bennett, concluded "The videos depicted dance routines that incorporated acrobatic pole maneuvers, splits and other patterned repetitions,... The pole maneuvers in particular are no small feat to accomplish, and attempting such a performance without the skill and a planned routine of steps could prove dangerous." Because they met the standard, she found that the strip club's activities fell under the First Amendment and that it qualified for a "dramatic arts" tax exemption.

However, my favorite part of the decision reads as follows:

The Division's auditor had a preconceived opinion that the admissions for the door and the private couch dances were taxable, along with the beverages sold. The auditor spoke briefly with petitioner's management and observed only the layout of the business prior to its opening. No observation was made of either the stage dances or the private couch.
Essentially, because the auditor did not stay for the show, he could not accurately determine the nature of the business. Why do I think that the male auditors are going to be fighting for the opportunity now to audit New York state strips clubs?

So at least in New York for now, you won't have to worry about sales tax on your lap dances.

Gotta love legal system.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Scream Heard Round the World

That sound you may have heard was not an explosion or a jet screaming through the air. It was in fact Karina Smirnoff screaming when she found out that she and her partner Steve Wozniak were going on.

Now, if Ms. Smirnoff was supposed to be the man eater in the Hall and Oates routine, why is it that Edyta was wearing somethign that was just above a set of pasties and a g-string? Not that I'm complaining.

I was a little surprised when Denise went home tonight. In a head to head matchup, I would have sent Holly home, but I guess there are more fans of The Girls Next Door watching that liked her enough to stay on. But the good thing is, Denise and Maksim are gone.

Now can we please get rid of Steve-O!!!!!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

More of My Madness - Monday's Dancing With the Stars

First up is Denise Richards and Maksim, neither of whom looks very good in their outfit. What is up with her hair this week? Please, let me get rid of the image of Maksim in the hot pink. Its wrong!!! So on to the dance. They got screwed on the song. This just is not a great samba song. Mrs. Angry is very agraid by what she is seeing. I have to agree. This dance for Richards was a bit of a ... disaster. She kept mising steps, getting off time, and over thinking the whole thing. Len obviously felt the same way and was just very, very nice in not really mentioning the dance to Denise.

A samba should look like:

The scores for Denise were fair, totaling 16. It was a mess of a routine.

Next up was Chuck and Julianne. Can people remember that they are not supposed to be voting Julianne? So far Chuck has showed just about nothing other than he was not as bad as some of the others. They drew the foxtrot. Not an easy dance, but he did not help himself with the start. His posture could use some work. Mrs. Angrybell was giving him kudos for looking like he was trying. Then threw in a lift. It was cleaner than his last couple of dances. But he is still schmo. I have to disagree with Carrie Ann. He has had one

Another good foxtrot from seasons past was Helio and Julianne.

The scores were a little high. It was good, but two 8's? Really? Mrs. Angrybell is still not convinced that he is more than a flash in the pan.

Following Chuck and Julianne was Holly and Dmitri, doing the samba. Anyone who has seen the Girls Next Door will know this i not a coordinated girl. Mrs. Angrybell, who loves HOlly, calls her the Kenny Mayne of women. Then she got on the floor do her dance. It started off a bit rough but it seemed to get better as it went. Not clean but there were times when she seeemd to be right on, then she woudl start to over think it over. Another problem was that she was missing hip movement too much. Was it really necessary to beat up on her more Carrie Ann for that lift? The 17 was a little (should have been an 18) low.

Then came Mrs. Angrybell's least favorite couple: Steve-O and Lacey. The dance started off nice and then about mid-way through he started to lose time. Now what I am wodnering is if he did not do something to his back midway through the routine because when they did the final bit, he winced pretty big in pain. I have to agree with Len, it looked like a proper foxtrot (who the hell choreographed it because I cannot believe that Lacey had a hand in it). The 15 was a little low, but then again, he did shoot himself in the foot by getting lost in the routine.

Coming up after that routine, Edyta and LT were dancing the samba. Let's see if it paid off giving up his golf game. Right out the shoot, they are the first couple to get a good Samba song. Mrs. Angrybell is thinking that LT has natural rythym which is going to help him. He was a little too flat footed in places but he was hitting the steps in time. By the end of the dance, Mrs. Angrybell was comparing him favorably with Warren Sapp. I agree with Len more than the other two, he does need some more hip movement.

And here is Sapp's performance from last season.

The scores were a little low (a 6 Len? Really? You gave Holly and Denise 6's!!!!) Mrs. Angrybell calls Bogus!

And once again, just before 9 p.m., Shawn and Mark came out to dance the foxtrot. Who did this to Shawn? I mean really, did they have to try and dress her like she is Edyta? She has a different body but that dress just made her look awful. Once again, it looked great. Mark Ballas should be thanking his starts that he hasn't drawn a Cloris Leachman yet. Three nines later, and no one in the Angrybell household is surpsied.

Following Shawn and Mark came Giles and Cheryl. Can he do three routines in a row with the Samba this week? Mrs. Angrybell;s reaction was "There are not too many men who can do that and not look fegeleh." I would have to agree. He had hip movement. His footwork was good and he obviously listening to what Cheryl is teaching him. Shawn through down her 27, Giles effectively said, "here's mine".

Next up is one my lesser favorite people: David Allan Grier (partnered with one my favorites Kym Johnson). Dancing the foxtrot, they came out with a bit of flash. He has the rise and fall going at times but his problem is that he is not hitting the heel leads. Some nice open dancing, but I'm wondering if Len is going to be a little dissappointed that they were so much in open. Mrs. Angrybell said "There were moments when he is ok." The score was confusing though. Yes it was a better routine than the previous ones. However, he scored a 24.

Then the Woz and Karina took the floor with a bum hamstring. Alright, I gotta say, he is gutting through the pain. Mrs. Angrybell is asking, "Where is legal? Where is the insurance people?" The actual routine looks like ist was painful for hm. They got a good song, which sometimes helps, since it looks like he was having fun even tho he was in so much pain. The catch at the end was... yeah. But he did do the worm. This week, he was channelling Cloris Leachman. Really, a 10 was just mean.

After that... samba... Melissa and Tony came out to dance the foxtrot. It was good, but it was not as good as Shawn's. It felt just a little off on the footwork (thanks Len for confirming my feeling). Tony had the look of "Are you out to get me AGAIN Carrie Ann?" And I have to agree with him. And the scores? A little higher than I thought. The 27 is the high mark for this show. She should have been 1 or 2 points behind Shawn Johnson and Giles Marini.

Lil Kim then rolled onto the floor with Derek to do the samba. And she stepped out in the other half of Edyta's outfit. Have to say, she went for it after a while. It was a little slow on hte start but at about ht emid point, she turned those hips loose and it started to look a lot better. The score was a little high, but since they were inflating Melissa's score it was right where it should be.

The final couple of the night were Ty Murray and Chelsea Hightower. Now this was a routine that marred by Chelsea and her dress. It looked like that was what was taking her down. Other than the little mess up in the last quarter of the dance. His posture was good, if not great, and there were times when he not the most musical at times. However, he was the one making the saves on the professional. Chelsea is doing a remarkable job with a guy who came from absolutely nothing in dance terms. The scores were just about dead on with two 8's and a 7.

Best of the week: Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas and Giles Marini and Cheryl Burke.

Breathing down their necks: Mellisa Ryecroft and Tony Dovolani (she's good but she's just not
there ... yet).

Ones to watch out for: Lil Kim and Ty Murray. Lil Kim has that somethign going on there. Ty Murray is quitly probably the most competitive guy out there. He has this look of "I may be going down, but I'll be damned if I make it easy to be voted off."

Who deserves your votes: Ty Murray and The Woz. Seriously, these two guys deserve better than what they are probably getting right now.

Who deserves to go: Steve-O. Please. Really. Don't vote for him.

Monday, March 16, 2009

This Weeks Insanity (Or the injury list keeps growing)

Really, he goes to rehab and becomes a pansy? What could have sidelined Steve-O? The freakin Salsa? Are you for real? This on top of Woz picking up an injury and all I can say is this bunch is a bunch of pansies.

But first up was Holly Madison. First off, when you dance like she does, and claims dancing as a hobby, then its time to rethink what your hobbies are. Now the quick step she put on, when you think about it, it wasn't that bad for someone who has less than two weeks of training. Yes, she was a little behind, and she needs some help with her frame. However, there have been quick steps in previous years that made this one look like a masterpiece. That being said, it was not an ok quickstep. The 18 was fair.

Next on the chopping block was David Alan Greer and Kym Johnson. Watching the montage, I get the feeling that he is a little confused on who should be calling the shots in choreographing the routines at this point. Watching the routine it was a little more clear. He needs to progress to the more advanced stuff when Kym thinks he's ready. Bruno was brutal, but he was right on. Perhaps what should have been done was making it a little more basic to allow Greer to show off a bit more rhythm. Personally, I would have scored it an 18, not a 17.

Now comes Denise Richards. Relaxing with Maksim cannot be easy in the first place. The dance looked... off. I felt like she was off a little. On the other hand, maybe it was I didn't like the song for that dance. Was it an improvement? Yes, but I don't think it was the quantum improvement that the judges saw. Then again I'm just a guy with a keyboard. The 21 was fair.

Then comes Belinda Carlisle and Jonothan. Apparently Belinda is the first to piss off the costuming department. I mean really, she is an ttractive cougar. Why did they have to put her in something to emphasizes the wrong parts of her. Big problem in this dance for her: hip action. Gotta give her credit tho for that handstand at the end. Coming in with an 18, that's not too bad.

Following the cougar, came the King of the Cowboys. Ty Murray came out and missed the high five from Chelsea. Good song for them. THen they got into the dance proper. And you know what, it was not that bad. He seemd to be going where he should be. And doing it with the right steps. And looking like he had a little more rhythm. The ending combination was a little flubbed. But that was a huge improvement even with the little errors. Len was just wrong there. He gave Holly a 6 for a routine that had more problems. The 20 was low. Too bad for Ty, this week you got robbed.

And just before 9 p.m. we had Shawn Johnson coming up to do the Salsa. Feet going where they should go, but there is a distinct lack of hip action. She is getting some, but not getting it consistently. This is something she needs to work on, otherwise, she is going to get hit every time she does a latin dance. Otherwise, it was fun to watch.

Then the Woz had his Quickstep. He has a broken foot but he gets out there trying. And it was... not bad. He was a little off. He almost dropped Karina. But it wasn't a bad routine considering what happened last time. He pulled a 17. Not bad for him.

Next up comes Chuck and Julianne. I'm wondering who brow beat who into doing this competition. So its the Salsa, and the hip action was sorta there. Otherwise, I'm wathcing it thinking, why is this guy even out there. Julianne was great. Chuck was.. not so much. Bruno hit the nail right on the head "She did all the work". And I agree with Carrie Ann, it didn't feel like Chuck was dancing a salsa. The score of 20 has the Julianne inflation there.

During the LT montage, it felt like I was watching someone who would keep doing the practice until someone's feet fell off. THen of course came the routine with Edyta. Edyta was wearing the most clothes I've ever seen her in, with the most demure slit she's worn to date. Overall, the routine looked good. The major problem: Carrie Ann and the lift police. Surprisingly, she did not ding him, although it almost looks like Len did. Len's 6 was little picky. Overall, 20 was fair.

Then there was the Steve-O mishap. Making "television history". Famous last words. The 14 was ... ugly but so was the routine. Mrs. Angrybell finally had something nice to say about Lacey, saying she liked her outfit. History has been made.

Then we get Lil Kim, who so far I'm enjoying. Derek has his work cut out for him on this one, because its hip hiop meets Ballroom. There were times it looked like she was losing her posture, but then she seemed to correct herself. The footwork was not too bad especially since Derek seemed to throw some interesting moves at her. The thing she needs to really work on in the smooth dances is that she has to get in on Derek's hip and just live there. The 23 was a bit of surprise, since I thought Len was going to only give her a 6.

Then we had the final dances. First up was Melissa Ryecroft and Tony. I'm not sure if Tony knows what to do with a non-cougar in front of a camera. They got a good song. Hip movements are not going to be Ryecroft 's downfall. She then throws in a lef lift that is almost a dare to Edyta. Towards the end it started to fall apart musically. Otherwise, I thought it was a great routine (at least for this season). Bruno needs a cold shower. Mrs. Angrybell felt that the 9's were excessive. I think it should have been 8/8/9. Instead, it was 9/8/9.

Batting clean up was Giles Marini and Cheryl. Dancing the quickstep with a separated shoulder. And to show he had it, he peeled off the shirt. Hmmmm. Mrs. Angrybell and I have the same question: Has he danced before? This routine looked very good, even if they gave him a horrible color scheme for the Superman song. The men have a clear standard bearer for the time being, and he's a frenchman. The scores were bang on: 27.

So the favorites are now clear: Giles-Cheryl and Shawn-Mark.

The dark horses: Melissa-Tony and Lil Kim-Derek. Depending on what happens, you might get LT, but I'm not sure he is going to have the staying power to be there all the way through to the end.

The upside of it all: Steve-O and Lacey will be gone soon. Give the Woz your votes. He's having fun and he's definitely not a whiner.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Congratulations Are In Order

In a hard fought legal battle, the firm of Behrend Morrison and Alexandra came out on top. Paul Behrend and his partner, Aaron Morrison, defended a tenant who was being evicted for allegedly paying his rent late. At a jury trial this past week, they proved to a jury that he had.

Congratulations to them. They saved someone's home.

I Turn My Attention to Work for a Week and... (DWTS Injury Line)

So apparently while I was busy trying to protect someone's rights from a judge (who is suffering from what Rumpole would call "premature adjudication") and apparently I missed a bit of Dancing with the Stars news.

It appears that in addition to all the other broken bodies, Giles Marini (partnered with Cheryl Burke) is suffering from injuries. It is reported that he suffered an arm injury, which turned out to be a separated shoulder, happened just before he went on to perform that night.

This on top of the earlier groin pull that he suffered during training.

Here's hoping that he doesn't fall apart before Cheryl has to give him a really challenging routine.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

W.R. Grace Trial

Somehow I have failed to mention anything about W.R. Grace's legal troubles. For those who do not know W.R. Grace is a chemical company who has had more than a few run-ins with legal actions since it was founded more than a century ago. Perhaps its most famous case was the one chronicled in A Civil Action (book and movie) where it was eventually prosecuted and forced to pay for the clean up of chemicals in Woburn, MA.

Now that notoriety may be eclipsed with the current trial that W.R. Grace is going through. The case is United States v. W.R. Grace et al. What is interesting is that this is not a civil action. This is a criminal case. W.R. Grace and seven former executives were indicted on ten counts including wire fraud, conspiracy, knowing endangerment, and obstruction of justice.

The individual defendants in the case could face as little as 5 years and up to 70 years if convicted. W.R. Grace itself could be fined as much 280 million dollars (based on a fine of double the profits made from the wrongdoing). The amount of time would depend on how the jury finds. Of course, if the jury comes back with a not guilty verdict, then they face nothing.

The case concerns one of W.R. Grace's operations was a mine in Libby, Montana. At this location, W.R. Grace mined vermicullite asbestos. The theory is essentially that the W.R. Grace operation was run in such a way as to expose the entire town to asbestos dust. It is alleged that the mining operation is responsible for 192 asbestoes-related deaths and the cause of 375 people suffering from asbestos related diseases.

To put that in perspective, the town of Libby has a total of 2,626 people. That works out to almost 15% of the town's population suffering from an asbestos-related illness. Furthermore, given the latency for most asbestos caused illnesses, more will be reported in the coming years.

Anyways, there is a very good live-blogging effort to cover the trial. The University of Montana's School of Law and School of Journalism has students in the courtroom blogging (and twittering if you follow those). The blog can be found at Grace Case. Read it when you have the time.

Monday, March 09, 2009

My Madness Begins Again... Dancing With The Stars Starts Once Again

Worst Carrie Ann line (to Chuck) " You are the most graceful man we have". Did she missed where he almost fell twice because his balance is so godawful?

That comment was almost surpassed by Carrie Ann's comment (to Holly) that she knew how to shake her hips.

Biggest surprise: Cheryl and Giles. He followed her teaching. He had almost manly hands.

Then came the replacements. First up was Holly, perhaps the least coordinated of the Girls Next Door. The best I can say: she did not fall. However, with only 5 days notice, there has been worst. There may be hope, but its not looking good for Ms. Madison.

Now I have to pay a little tribute to my favorite cowboy right now: Ty Murray. His whole demeanor says "I can't believe I let my wife talk me into this and now she's bailed on me!" His dancing screams that he suffers from white-man'sitis. Totally out of his comfort zone, it wasn't great but there were times when he let loose and had some fun there. I'm pretty sure that Holly has her partner in the bottom two next week.

Then there was Shaun Johnson. No surprises. Still the favorite.

Karina, wow. You had a big guy there with little dance experience going for the first time and you put him out in open? Could you make his first time a little harder. Woz, however, seemed game. Some of it actually looked like the Cha-Cha-Cha. Hopefully some of the stiffness will go away.

David Alan Grier and Kym were nice. Boring I guess. They got caught by the lift police.

And then on to Maksim and Denise. Apparently Ms. Richards is going to be crier this season. And as Mrs. Angrybell said "She had more time than Holly but they look about equivalent." I have to agree. She looked lost and tentative. Although Bruno insists that there is something deep down, I'm think its the depth of a puddle. Scores were very generous.

Then there was the second repalcement. Melissa Ryecroft came out and started well. There were some rough patches and she obviously told not to worry too much about the rise and fall. Still, for someone who got the first lesson for this routine on Saturday. I'm curious to see what she will do with a full week of training. Carrie Ann's comments about "just being out there" were just weird and not necesary. I'm starting to wonder if she is on something. The scores seemed to based more on her being so willing to jump in at the last mintue.

Yes there were some other dances that I did not really talk about. Lil Kim was fun. Belinda could use some work. L.T. ... the les said the better. Steve-O, I kind of hope goes home early because I don't like his partner.

So in sum:

Favorite: Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas.
Should be there in the final four: Giles Marini and Cheryl, Melissa Rycroft and Tony, David Alan Grier.

Surprise of the night: Giles Marini.

Who needs to go: Denise Richards (She cries, she can't dance well, and basically is just annoying) and Steve-O (Sorry but I'm not a Lacey fan).

Who I'd like to see stick around: Holly Madison and Steve Wozniak. They both seem game for it.

Mrs. Angrybell thoughts: Denise Richards needs to go the way of the Dodo. David Alan Grier got hosed.

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Injury Line on Dancing With The Stars

Apparently the show will not go on for Jewel. Originally, her injury was listed as being a knee injury, most likely tendonitis.

Somebody got that one wrong. Apparently she has fractured both of tibias. Hence the collapse during her rehearsals.

The same is true for Nancy O'Dell. Apparently she ahs torn her meniscus and will require surgery.

Now this puts DWTS in a bit of a scramble. They apparently want to keep the number of couples up. However, they need somBlogger: Wandering Bell - Create Posteone who can be ready in a little less than a week (the premiere is March 9).

So who are they calling up from the bench to replace these two? Well rumors have it that Holly Madison is being courted to replace one of the injured ladies. Bridget Marquadt, Ms. Madison cohort and friend from The Girls Next Door, has apparently been telling people that this is a done deal.

All I can say is, whether it being Tony Dovolani or Dmitry Chaplin, they are going to have their work cut out for them. If you've watched The Girls Next Door, you'd see how... well coordinated would not be the right word to describe her... she truly is.

No word that I have seen as to who else will risk being the number two female replacement. my suggestion: Sharon Lawrence. Mrs. Angrybell is pulling for: Candace Olsen (of Divine Design fame).

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

They're Going To Kick Me Out of The Club For This

Apparently Supervisor Daly is proposing a few reforms to San Francisco's Rent Ordinance. But I think Chris Daly is going too far. Oh wait, that's nothing new.

I'm a big fan of it. I live under it. I help people who should be protected by it. I hope someday to have to deal with it as a landlord (go figure). I definitely do not want to see it invalidated or eliminated. In my opinion, given the conditions that exist in San Francisco (and many other large metropolitan areas) it gives renters some way of dealing with landlords on a somewhat even footing.

Now, any time something new gets added to the San Francisco Rent Ordinance, the landlords howl like money has been taken from their pocket. While that might be true, its money that was never in there pocket in the first, place only money which possibly could have been.

But back to my point.

Supervisor Daly has proposed the following:
1. Giving tenants greater rights to add roommates.
2. Limiting the "banked" rental increases.
3. Preventing landlords from raising rents to more than one-third a tenant's income.

Now, of these, only one of them really is needed. The other two are just too extreme. As it is right now, landlords often play a game with long-term tenants who have a history of having roommates. At a certain point, the more unscrupulous ones will stop allowing replacement roommates, or at the very least make it unreasonably burdensome to bring in a replacement roommate.

(Just as a side note, I'm currently litigating a case because after almost 6 years of haivng roommates, the landlord has decided to make it almost impossible to replace a roommate for my client. He has thus far managed to use every excuse imagineable.)

As for the other two, I think that they are mistakes. Currently, the San Francisco Rent Ordinance allows landlords to withhold rental increases. Most years the increase is well below 5 per cent. However, the landlord is able to use the accumulated rental increases all at one time. Under Daly's plan, a landlord would only be able to "bank" so many of the rental increases. Under the current proposal, the total number of "banked" increases would be limited to 8 per cent.

(As a side note, I can just see my future trying to do the math on that and its not pretty.)

The way it stands now is that landlords are limited in their ability to raise rent to what they think the market will bear in return for the promise that they can raise it somewhat to keep pace with inflation. Taking away that right, turns the Rent Ordinance into something punitive. It will only serve to increase the elimination of the landlords renting the two to four unit buildings. Instead, they will probably be more influenced to go the TIC/Condo route. This will take even more rental units out of the market. More units out of the market, the higher the rents will go.

The final proposal is just ridiculou. It may even be violative of the Costa-Hawkins law. Costa-Hawkins is the name of a law which was passed a while ago. First, it preempted local municipalities abilities to create new rent control laws. Second, it made it so that rent controls which were allowed to remain in effect were what is known as vacancy decontrol laws. This means that it limited increases while a tenancy is in effect but that it could not set limits to what rents were contracted at.

The problem with enacting Supervisor Daly's second and third proposals is that it will give the landlord's attorneys another go round at San Francisco's Rent Ordinance. The way that the appellate courts and Supreme Court of California has been viewing tenant's rights is not exactly a good thing for those who want Rent Control in San Francisco to continue. At the very least, it is going to cost San Francisco a lot to try and defend it. My guess would be that even if it were upheld, its implementation would be stayed by the court until the litigation ended. And that could literally take years.

The other side of the coin is that it simplyt not fair. Many landlords in this city are decent people trying to get a return on their investment. This is complicated by the fact that the economy stinks right now. Taking away their ability to make reasonable return in the name economic expediency is wrong.

Landlors can be scum. Tenants need help. Imposing such draconian measures on landlords in the name "protecting" tenants is wrong. At some point, protecting the weak goes too far and turns into oppression for another group.

Besides, I really don't want to Andrew Zacks' law firm getting another chance to eliminate San Francisco's Rent Ordinance.

How about some other ideas to improve the quality of life for San Francisco's renters.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Stop the Insanity

Please no. I just cannot take another holiday for [insert minority group]. It was bad enough that Cesar Chavez became a holiday, but now there is a push to try and add another holiday to the calendar in honor of Harvey Milk.

Let me make something clear: this is not because Milk was gay or Chavez was a union leader. I am all for equality for all. I am all for people being paid a living and not a subsitence wage.

What I am against is another holiday on the calendar which will be forgotten except when it comes to closing state offices. Now I realize that giving people days off and closing state offices might be a good thing, this will not always be the case.

Please, find another way to honor Milk, but don't give make it a day off in his honor. Add something to the requirements for California education so that we expose people to his different view point, and to try and influence people to view equal rights for all to mean more than just equal rights for people based on the classifications that existed in 1865.

Otherwise, its just going to become a day when the court won't accept a filing, will screw up the counting of days (court versus regular) and in 25 years, people will go "Milk.. yeah he did a body good so we get the day off class."

Anyways, that's my view on that.