Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Old is no excuse for rudeness.

Where's your ideal place to be at 7am on a Wednesday morning? Not many will answer ACME supermarket, but that's where I was, taking advantage of the (normally) perfect time for the lack of queuing and the usual primetime supermarket travails. As usual, it was full of folks who were about 40-50 years older than me, and me. I think hanging with this peer group for a bit a few mornings a week enables me to embrace my curmudgeon by default mantle... or something. However, this fair morning it seemed that ACME was invaded by an entirely new group of my senior friends. The normally nice, pleasant and always ready to chat-to busload from the senior center were not to be seen. Instead, it was the busload of the bitter seniors with chips on shoulders and bow-down-before-me attitudes. Now, I have HUGE respect for the senior population and love to spend time sharing memories and creating fun new ones with my older pals (well, most of them anyway). Typified by my grandmothers having been two of my best friends ever in the world before they passed away at advanced ages, older neighbors who are great friends and Karl, 91 year old grandfather-in-law, is the most amazing man you could spend hours chatting/laughing with). However, most of the seniors in ACME this morning... wow! I would be saying not-so-nice things and have a lot less patience with kids who behaved in similar ways. From the bitching and fighting over the few shopping carts that were available, the shouting at each other because one took the only head of broccoli left, the horrible attitude to the only young guy at the checkout who was being incredibly patient with them (you know it's bad when I'm defending the checkout folk at ACME!). Granted, being older does entitle one to some respect. After all, a lot of these men/women either contributed greatly to or carved paths in their own small way for us to live as we do today but being older doesn't demand respect. To the older lady who in the juice aisle this morning who charged down the aisle toward me (quite sprightly I may add) and some ACME staff who were stacking shelves, I had a few things to say. She crashed into the workers, quite vigorously, then got angry with them for being in the way. They dutifully got out of the way for her, then it was my turn. She couldn't reach something she wanted on the top shelf and simply demanded that I get it for her, not ask. As most would do, I reach up and got it for her. No word of thanks. Then she proceeded to turn back to the workers and start berating them with racial slurs for not doing their jobs and being in the way, no respect for older people, etc. Had to step in here and let her know that the staff are doing their job and are not getting in her way on purpose and in no way warranted any of the other stuff she was hurling at them. So, it became my turn and I got a torrent of "young people nowadays have no respect for their elders" ranting. The loudness of this was causing a bit of a scene. So, I let her finish and then had to say "Look, I have the utmost respect for elders but sorry, old and infirm you might be but this gives you no license to be rude." This launched another torrent of "people like you coming down into our neighborhood..." nonsense. I also informed her that respect is earned, and you get what you give in terms how you treat other people and that she was very lucky she wasn't getting what the people around her at that moment really wanted to give her! She kept going and going as I walked away. Now, those who know me, know that I can often be rather rude. I'll freely admit this, even though I don't like it, I try to curb it when I can but please, please don't let me become one of those horrible, mean, bitter and rude old people that I encountered today. Surely, they weren't like that all their way through life. Were they? If so, how on earth did they get by!? Perhaps she's ill, is having a bad day, recently bereaved or something and I'm being unfair but even then, there's some excuse for rudeness and it shouldn't be something that's accepted because of it. Sometimes, I think I'll be happy to leave our South Philly neighborhood next month, even though I dearly love it. I was fuming and wanted to turn on her even more but that "respect for the elders" thing wouldn't let me and I walked away. It didn't seem to bother her though! At least, as I was leaving the store, my faith was restored as I helped another old pal put her groceries into her push cart. Her smile, brief chat about the cold weather and thanks made me forget (well, not really since I entered this blog) the other old harridan. I wanted to give my nice old lady friend a hug, but thought the better of it as that might have scared her and created a whole other "rudeness" scene...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Maybe I should re-enter the blogosphere and go on about silliness beyond the Eurovision Song Contest (can't promise that topic will never come up again, particularly as this year's is in the offing - bring in Dusseldorf, woohoo!). Stay tuned...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Eurovision Song Contest 2009 Review - 2nd Semi Final

I have more time on my hands to review this semi final, so beware or be bored.

Firstly, let me point out my thanks to the PlayStation 3 SingStar folks who posted a number of Eurovision songs to download on the online SingStore. Our neighbors (much to their horror no doubt) will be regaled this weekend with rousing renditions of Wild Dances, Believe, My Number One, Vampires Are Alive and more!

Back to the show. So, welcome to the Moscow Hoedown in a biosphere, complete with Russian dolls, crazy costumes, odd choreography and folksy versions of former Eurovision winners/hits (why do they always play Ding Ding Dong? Can't we have a folksy version of Apres Toi, Take Me To Your Heaven, Hallelujah or All Kinds of Everything for once?) Now we have politically correct black and white dancing bears to finish off the opening number, whatever that's about. Here they come, the co-hosts of doom. Let's see if she can screw up her French as much tonight as she did in the previous semi final. Yeah, you two muttering about less of you tonight is right, let's start the show...

Here they are again, the crazy be-wigged lovelies with the towns/cities sprouting out of their heads. And our Russian vocabulary lesson before this song is... "Russian Doll" My Russian is expanding in leaps and bounds. Soon, I'll be able to conduct learned conversations with Russians about such exciting things.

And the singing begins, starting with:

What's with the opera-ish style of some of this year's entries? Is that the new trend? Are we finally leaving the 10 year "culturally ethnic national sound" thing behind at last? These twirling women are getting far too many close-ups. He's not up for singing this kind of song live either but you know, it's not totally horrible. Actually, it is. Yeah, I'm fickle.

IRELAND - Yeah, come on home country!
Oh dear. Dear, oh dear, oh dear. This song would be great not live, she's not selling it to me. She doesn't sound good. Poor Sinead and Oopsy Daisy (or whatever the backing girls are called). It's a rock-amped traditional Eurovision song and they're working it as best they can but I despair for them here, they probably won't do well. Love that Pink-like chick in... pink, rockin' the guitar. I never saw anyone like her where I grew up. Even now, back home there's still a fair bit of Dana around. Good luck this year Ireland (you're gonna need it), I'll buy you a drink and ask you to sing a few bars of this if I see down the pub when I'm home next if you're not running away in shame. Take heart though ladies, you're still a millions time better than the turkey puppet that represented us last year! You know next year they'll wheel out our national Eurovision relic Johnny Logan to either perform again or write Linda Martin a song.

Some contestants from Project Runway (or Project Catwalk if you live in the UK) are attempting to sing and dance around the stage in outfits they designed themselves, that would absolutely get them kicked out of that show. They are led by some fella who is wearing the next Dr Who's costume. Sorry, this is a song contest I know but I'm writing about the only fun/interesting things about this performance. Ah, there is method to their costume design, it doubles as a screen to view really poignant things (I would assume, if I knew what they were singing about) like... a hand!? Maybe if I spoke their language it would mean something but right now, please, just stop. This hurts.

Yay! Ready to outdo Croatia, here it comes, the true Balkan craziness! If you recall a Hanna Barbera cartoon from the early-mid 70s called The Hair Bear Bunch, the character Hair Bear is performing this song, dressed as yet another incarnation of Dr Who. There are also lots of men wearing too much leather that's neither funny nor outrageously camp. This is a piss-take, so let 'em on. You know the Eurovision haters around the continent will be doing their "vote for the worst" best to get this through. You know the ones, those that hate this show, never watch it but always can tell you what they hated about it and probably still voted for something like this. The fact that I'm typing about this tells you just how much I switched off from this song, oh, since it just about started.

And here is the entry that will get the most votes from Ireland. We have a standard Eurovision ballad, she's doing OK. Yet more men and woman cavorting around the stage with fabrics of various sizes and shapes, spinning, intertwining themselves in and out of knots etc. I'm sure there's some connection to the lyrics and all of this carrying-on but I fail to see it. I'm just enjoying her sing pleasantly, in her pleasantly forgettable way. Oh er... that end note! Honey, you missed it and I don't think even Ireland can save you now.

All of the other Eurovisioneers are telling me that this is the fave to win. First time I'm hearing/seeing it so... we have a cross between Harry Potter minus glasses and a cute hobbit playing a fiddle with 3 other chaps dancing around him. He's singing fairly competently about a fairytale that seems to be about leprechauns or somesuch by the goings-on of the dancers. Lots of pals will be finding all kinds of not too subtle innuendo/double meanings in that song title. Oh, now he's joined by two Nordic lovelies to help with the harmony. This has just the right amount of quirky to kind of work, I can see how/why this is a fave. The kid is cute, can sing live and is just the right side of irritating. Now, his fiddle playing is so dubbed, because there's a busted string on it already. Though I'm no fiddle player, so correct me if I'm wrong. I predict high scoring for this.

Odd little transition bit, looking at years gone by, winners then and now, etc. Some of them should truly have stayed in the "then" and never been seen again now.

Christina Metaxa is here. I like it already because her name is so cool. She should be a Marvel comics superhero or villain with a name like that. She's doing ballet moves with her arms while sitting on a spinning, glowing sugar cube and not doing a very good job of singing this song live. I'm sure it's pretty but again, not one of those songs that you can "kill" live. It's like putting Enya in a live venue situation and watching her whimper, go "waaaaah" then "woooooh", moan, falter, wail, lament, eventually cry and tank. I like how this song builds but she just can't carry it. Without the backing vocalists, I cannot imagine what this would be like? My ears bleed at the prospect. Our heroine Metaxa may not win her superhero battle with...

I think this girl thinks if she keeps her eyes closed, none of us are really here to hear/see her sing. Oh no, that's not it. Is she blind then? Not that either. Ah, I get it, it's because she didn't want to see or even deal with that fella sauntering onto the stage singing at her, aka trying to duet. Oh here it goes, we're ramping up, to the... not very harmonious chorus. God, she's still looking at him through closed eyes halfway through the song. I want it to end, now. Please. If I close my eyes will the same trick work for me? No, it didn't.

This is... interesting. I'm glad he got up off the floor to sing to us, I was worried he was in protest or something. You know, I actually like this but again, not a good/easy song to sing live. This probably sounds good on the radio. I like the folksy/rock vibe of it. It'll go nowhere in the contest, except maybe to the final but I hope I'm proven wrong. I know this is one I'll know all of the words to in a few days after getting the CD of this year's show. He looks a bit like an older Ronan Keating from Boyzone and I just heard that Ronan Keating actually wrote this too!? Typical for him to insert a clone of himself in Eurovision since he's too chicken to take it on himself for his home country. Yikes, last bum note dude. Along with Iceland, I'm putting this in my fave list, not necessarily to win though.

Hmm... The Love Symphony are here to perform this treat, that bodes well. Ooohh... clever silhouette/shadow play with the set/props. Some drama at last, even if it is somewhat protracted and not very... dramatic. Loving all of the mobile boys with string instruments action. The singer likes to stay in silhouette until... pretty much the whole song! Maybe she's nervous, got a bad skin breakout, hates the stringboys or something. Oh no, here she is. Wow, I like her, we should have seen her a lot earlier because she can sing this song live too, to boot! I'm diggin' this. I feel like it's the opening song/credits for an 80s Saturday morning cartoon. Go this song! I heart this. Another fave.

So far, the best thing about this is the cube FX on the stage. LOLOLOL... Sacred heart of divine Jesus, what is this? We've just taken a side step into Budapest's biggest gay bar/club and here is your evening's entertainment. He cannot sing, and he thinks that his skintight outfit and "hotness" (not!) is going to sell it all. He's going on about dancing with him in his disco fantasy. I cannot think of anything more nightmarish and he's a true case of bad video, shame about the song. Surely this cannot get through, if it does, it's criminal. Well, if I were drunk enough at some gay bar/club somewhere, I'd be dancin' along with him thinking it's great. But then, that late in the night, we think anything with that throbbing gay club beat is fantastic! And this truly isn't.

I love the instrumentation from countries like this... oh no, it all started so well but then they ruined it by singing! My favorite thing here is the middle backing dancing/singer who is totally stealing the limelight from the two leads when they stand in front of her, she's all like "I'm fierce, Europe is watching and you WILL notice me!" They need to watch out for her if they get into the final, which I hope they don't. From the lyrics, I'm not buying that these two want to "get together" at all. I think he would like to join the disco fantasy with the guy who sang for Hungary. They scream "Thank you!" at us. I'm doing the same in gratitude of it ending.

Here comes Shakis Rouvis (yet again), back to show us more of his hotness and killer body at Eurovision. Not content to fail at singing in this contest as well as presenting it a few years back, he just can't let it go. Oh Shakis, you're very easy on the eye and I would happily watch you jump, leap, show some flesh, frenetically not dance well, hit bum notes oh... and even slide/glide across the stage for ages but this does not make you winning material, even with the weird magnet shoes/leaning over at illogical angles effect, etc. I wonder if they need the title of the song flashing across the top of the stage in case they forget the 5 words that comprise this song? That was eye candy and fun only. Sweet at first but that quickly dissipates. He was better at Shake It a few years back.

Oh, something understated and mellow for a change. No stage wizardry at all. This is kind of interesting, a bit bluesy/pop-ish. Oh dude, don't get up from the piano, stay there, you belong there, please don't do that toilet squat up and down move as you move across the stage, go back to the piano!!! And, take off your hat, you're handsome, we'd like to see a bit more of you. Again, this is one I know I will probably like more when I have the CD with a real studio recording. The end note and... crazy! He's on fire! Literally!!!! He's producing flames from his hand!! Is he one of the X-Men?

This song is titled "Hora Din Moldova". Given my very limited understanding (OK, none) of whatever language they speak there, I really hope this doesn't mean "horrible din from Moldova" but... it seems like my understanding of Moldovan (or whatever) is intuitive and I'm fairly on the money. Now that I do speak the language, I believe this performance could also be called "Hora Dress Moldova" or "Hora Ole Ladi Moldova". Honey, you're a bit too long in the tooth to be pulling off this look and moves, plus she's battling that tornado-ish wind effect that bothered the Andorran entry the other night. Hai Yaiiiiiiiiiiiiiii what were those horrible last notes? Please go perform at the Amanda Carrington wedding to Prince Michael Day Massacre back in your homeland. (Moldova/Moldavia, you know the Dynasty producers meant this place).

I think there's a blue screen special FX mistake dancing around this girl. The blue human-shaped thing is writhing around her, in search of a visual effect but it's not happening. Maybe it was for the Moldovan song and it showed up late? The singer cannot sing this live at all but she's pretty and trying her best, even with all the fuss and nonsense of the blue screen mistake in flares and hobbity men in black with the painted faces. This is trying to throw every old/new Eurovision trick in the book in there, the modern dance/pop beat, crazy dancers, girl ballady pop singin' and even a bit of that national/ethnic sound. She's improving her singing as she goes through the song and finished fairly strong. She's probably all of about 16, so go her, even if I'm not a big fan. Poor blue screen FX person/thing, what were you about? We shall never know.

These behind the scenes bits with the waiting semi-finalists are always ridiculous but this cute Russian guy is helping me through it, telling me that this year's DVD is "very special" in his own stupid way. Sadly, I am really buying that it's very special, and yes, his broken English helped with that too. Did he just introduce Ukraine's entry as "Anti Christ's girl?"

Oh, it's "Anti-Crisis Girl", my mistake. Since Ruslana did her Wild Dance (hello stealing everything from Duran Duran's Wild Boys video!) and won in the early 00s, the Ukrainians certainly love to have lots of stage FX/drama. They also love a strong, leggy, gravelly voiced woman singing a powerful song. Nothing's changed, they're at it again and doing everything kind of right. I'm not a fan but it's memorable. These scantily clad Roman legionnaire guys are certainly memorable though. She's working the entire stage, the dancers the props, and now gliding across the stage playing drums. Old news sweetie, Greece did that move a few songs ago. Like it or not, she definitely rocked this out.

I like this. She looks... interesting. Again, the very right side of quirky. This is all very dramatic but in a cool way, lots of cool string action from her supporting orchestralings, nothing too over the top and she can sing. Simple, cool and good. This should definitely be final material. Another lower level fave here for me.

A band called The Toppers are representin' the Nether regions with a song called Shine, oh come on now! The name is so appropriate that the double-meaning isn't even funny! Do they know their Eurovision market or what?? Get rid of these 3 old tops, er guys and just let that overweight woman off to the left, with the box run the show here, she's marvelous! This is very old-school Eurovision pop fare. You totally know that this threesome have been acting this fantasy out at home since they first saw and loved the Eurovision as teenagers. Well, their dream has finally come true, they're on stage acting it out, in shiny silvery suits. But you know what, beware living out your fantasy until the fat lady sings, as she blew you guys away. Big lady, SHINE!

That's it for the songs in this semi. The crazy hosts are back to torture us, press magic buttons, ask us if we're ready a million times, falter, try to do things in unison (and fail) and now we have 15 mins of recapping fun. While all of this is going, let's recap the Russian words we learned from the pre-song videos throughout the show to see if we can hold an enlightening or insightful conversation in the host country's language, they are:

Russian doll, musical instrument, beetroot soup, happiness, party, grandmother, friendship, bear, Santa Claus, together, peace/love, good luck, space, miracle, caviar, Gagarin and 3 more that I missed.

So, next time I go to Russia, am hangin' out with the TaTu chicks, asking Putin to kiss a baby's belly or hunting down this year's co-hosts, I will proudly and confidently insert the following into conversation (I'll just fake all the other words below that I don't know how to say yet by saying them in English with my best Russian accent):

"I love Russian dolls, they are like musical instruments to me in their own strange way. Like beetroot soup, they fill me with happiness, do you find that too? The last birthday party we had for our grandmother, she kept going on about my Russian doll friendship, why I liked bears, what it was to be so old and lamented the fact that I no longer like to believe in Santa Claus but together we celebrated, toasted peace/love and wished good luck to all! She then kept going on about space, caviar and what a miracle it was how she and Gagarin made it into orbit and yet he was the only one to get all the fame and fortune for it. Then, I left the nursing home and poor grandmother to her confused but happy Alzheimer dotage until I would visit again."

Back to the show, and it's Folk Dances From Different Countries. La de da... jiggin' about a bit, twirlin', kickin' legs up, arms a'wavin', heads a'bobbin'. These guys/gals are good!

Oh, a preview of the songs from countries that are automatically in the final. That French woman looks tortured. Russia are probably praying they don't win again. Looks like Germany has entered a Ricky Martin song, called Miss Kiss Kiss Bang, complete with Ricky. I feel bad for Andrew Lloyd Webber, he wrote the song for the UK and you know it'll go down in flames, this song's time has long past in Eurovision. And it seems Spain has entered a song that normally would come from Sweden, but that's OK because Sweden didn't enter that kind of song this year and we need one like it.

The votes are in, now more nonsense with "pushing buttons" and "magic buttons", blah, blah, blah. The songs from this semi going to the final are:

Azerbaijan - What??? This doesn't bode well
Croatia - No, no, no!
Ukraine - No surprise there, go Anti-Christ Girl
Lithuania - I can live with that
Albania - Others so much more worthy
Moldova - Terrible, this is grim
Denmark - Finally, something I like in the final from this semi
Estonia - Another worthy one
Norway - The favorite is on its way (I bet they were nervous before this announcement)
Greece - What would a Eurovision final be without Shakis in this decade?

And that's it. Poor Ireland, never to have any Eurovision glory again it seems. There were much better songs to go through than those that were voted in but that's the vagaries of public and political/country bloc voting these days. C'est la EuroViesion!

So, we have our final roster. Moving on to Saturday, I dunno who will win and am making no predictions at this point. However, my personal faves are Iceland, Denmark, Estonia and yes, maybe even Norway. But watch, the Dark Sisters of the Force will win and keep the contest in the former Soviet republics for another year.

For the Irish among us: Help us Ronan Obi Wan Keating, you're our only hope (even if your song is Denmark's!)

Fun times!

Eurovision Song Contest 2009 Review - First Semi Final

I only got to really watch the semi online last night! Pretty much only heard/seen these songs for the first time as I watched the show, so my reactions are fresh, uninformed and unlike previous years, I didn't get the chance to get to know or my own feel for the songs before this stage. So, let the debate begin fellow Eurovisioneers and the show begin:

Is there some bargain bin somewhere in Europe that gets dipped into annually to pull out random bad hosts of live shows like this? If so, we're suffering from the pickings from it tonight again. We're also suffering from a similar bargain bin choice of writers who are scripting their banter! I am not 100% certain but I think that the woman (model) who is hosting this is one of the runners up from America's Next Top Model a few seasons ago. She's just as irritating here as she was on that (yeah, I admit watching Top Model, what about it?). As for the host fella, honestly, could last year's winner Dima Bilan not have done this and better??

Anyhoo, there's a strange folk fairy tale being told and acted out on-screen/stage with lots of really cool visual FX but I don't get it at all, so to sum that part up for you, "Once upon a time, lots of girls and boys from around Europe and other ancillary nations that somehow qualify as Europe even if they're not at all, wrote and sang songs in their own countries, then winners were magically chosen and they all entered the world's biggest singing competition that this year is being held in wonderful, fabulous, cosmopolitan (see how much of a fairytale this truly is?), and dynamic Moscow. This is their story..."

Finally, the twerp hosts get to the point and the show begins with...

MONTENEGRO - This song is OK, she performed it well. Like the simplicity of no stage shenanigans and whatever that guy in the white pants was doing, he made me hold my attention longer than I normally would. Oh, and she's hot too.

CZECH REPUBLIC - Nuts! There's always one of these circus/clownish silliness songs. Actually, let me correct myself, nowadays Eurovision usually has about 7-10 of them! This is dreadful. Not dreadful in some cool, fun way. Just, plain, simple, dreadful.

BELGIUM - Sorry Koen, what is this about? It's better that Elvis stayed dead.

BELARUS - It's nice to see that Siegfried & Roy have found something else to do now that they've retired from Vegas and recovered from the tiger mauling incident, which may have helped make this more enjoyable. Where do they get these middle-aged, dyed blonde long-haired, I-refuse-to-age-but-only-in-my-mind guys from???

SWEDEN - What a departure for normally "poppy song with the Eurovision power key shift at the bridge" Sweden! I kind of like it. Love the whiteness of everything on the staging/performance but while this lady is killer on the operatic parts of the song, sadly singing the verses her voice is grim. And she looks like Charlotte Nilsson's (or Pirelli, or whatever she calls herself this year) mother!

ARMENIA - So this is what happens when two girls are apprenticed by Darth Vader and embrace the dark side of The Force. What is this about? Ugh! Let's just keep this song in a galaxy far, far away please.

ANDORRA - Nice to see that Geri Halliwell (aka Ginger Spice) has found something fun to do. Well, apart from holding down her skirt from that wind machine that constantly threatened to show her nether regions. Cute song, going nowhere.

SWITZERLAND - Er, no. Just, no.

TURKEY - Didn't they do this number back in Riga a few years back and Serteb win for them? This woman sounds like a man. Not a fan. Why is everyone loving this? Perhaps it's one of those that sounds better in a recording but live this just didn't work for me. This is such a hot pick by so many others I am normally in step with, so what I'm not getting here?

ISRAEL - Oh, some kind of Russian cultural moment. What a cute lesbian couple playing with their drums. No wait, this is a song? Never mind. Moving on...

BULGARIA - This is the glorious debacle of the night. People who cannot sing, staged/choreographed/costumed by someone who took Eurovision kitsch waaaay too far. The most fun part was watching Elvira stroll around the stage attempting to harmonize with that man who sounded like a tuneless castrato.

ICELAND - This is my fave! Yohanna DottyDottirsdottir or whatever is gorgeous, the staging is wonderful, simple, not too "power ballady", just a sweet, simple melody. By far the best song in this semi final. It harkens back to the days about 15-20 years ago when songs like this did well. I so want her to win. Please vote for Yohanna, please, please, pleasedottir!

FYR MACEDONIA - Did we just step through a time warp and end up in Top of the Pops circa 1975? Is that Noddy Holder from Slade? Enough, let's hurry and back through the time warp to 2009 please.

ROMANIA - I like this. She can sing well live and it's the usual all girl group, pop, dance routine. It's cute. But probably doomed.

FINLAND - OK, prepared to hate this as it started but this guy/girl combo work really well together. A bit of a non-hard rock departure for Finland, which of course will probably commit them to oblivion but I liked it.


MALTA - Oh look, it's Chiara! Back for her 3rd attempt at a win and even heavier than before! This woman can sing, has a great voice but honestly, if she couldn't win with her two great songs from years past where she was a close runner up both times, this song isn't going to do it for her. Those other songs were waaay better. She'll be in the final and get the Johnny Logan, multiple attempts points but I doubt she'll win.

BOSNIA & HERCEGOVINA - This is like DJ Bobo switched nationalities and changed costumes from Vampires Are Alive to be an odd military marching band. So, left, right, left and march right out of the competition too please, for all I care.

The "postcards" in-between each song are, as usual, odd. What's with the Russian language lessons?? Like, if I visit, it's really important for me to know the words "Siberia" and "dance" in Russian (yes, in that order of learning). Well, if I went there, maybe I would need to know them, as a gulag could be in my future. And each postcard ends with a girl wearing a town on her head. I think. Is this art? The stage and surrounding effects, etc. are incredible this year. As usual, the co-hosts are dreadful. Their attempts at innuendo are abysmal. Can't some voiceover do this job by now? Actually no, my schoolfriend Ann Marie and I (who practiced and played Eurovision Song Contest from ages 9-12 or so, were excellent at this part, so we're pros at the bilingual bit) would be waaay better.

So, after voting, the songs/countries joining the final will be:

Israel - WTF??!?!?!?Malta - no surpriseBosnia Hercegovina - huh?
Iceland - YEAH! But they called it last! I was very worried for Yohanna
Sweden - Expected
Portugal - I give up!
Finland - Yay!
Romania - Nice! (shameful to admit it but yes, I'm happy)
Turkey - Please, no
Armenia - The dark side of the Force was with them tonight, but their destiny lies another way

Pathetically, I am kind of lovin' that Eurovision has expanded to a 3 night campfest. Bring on tonight's second semi final...