This may sound like name-dropping

…but I’ll live with it. That’s not really the point of my post, and hopefully you’ll believe me. If you don’t believe me, just remember that I’ve never revealed the name of the supermodel I dumped to marry my ultra hot wife.

(I should clarify that the supermodel part is a joke. An average guy wouldn’t have to clarify something like that, but I know some of you might think I actually dated a supermodel. I didn’t. No, really. I didn’t.)

Anyway, my good buddy Michael Armstrong (whose website I would link to if he had visited it himself in the last ten months) is on the road playing acoustic guitar and keys for a new country artist named Julie Roberts. Her debut album released this week, and I’ve added it to my collection (and to my album list on the right). I’ve probably bought five country cds in the last five years, but I really like what I’m hearing so far. She’s the real deal — a smoky, soulful voice singing songs without a lot of the glitz and cheese that make most modern country go down like a shards o’ glass freeze pop.

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Do yourself a favor

InAmericaposterThe next time you’re wandering around Blockbuster wondering if there’s been a worthwhile movie made in the last ten years, walk on past the latest offerings from Steve Martin (who just ain’t the same), Eddie Murphy (see Steve Martin), and Ben Affleck (who, let’s be honest, is just lucky to be Matt Damon’s friend) and pick up a copy of In America.

Despite critical acclaim and several awards (including three major Oscar nominations), you may have never heard of it. That’s mostly because there’s a conspiracy in Hollywood to get you to spend your money on really bad movies that eat away at your brain and act like novocain for your soul. I’m not some film elitist – I watch my share of stuff that leaves me feeling stupider than I was two hours prior. But I’m trying to watch less of that, and I’m urging you to do the same. So give this one a shot.

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Regis and the bRat Pack

I don’t vote for American Idol. I don’t call Seacrest or text message him on my AT&T wireless phone. I’ve never auditioned for Survivor, though I did give about two seconds of thought to applying for The Benefactor. I’ve never even found my way to a local Jeopardy casting call. I’m typically not one for reality TV or for game shows. But I have this one vice…

Back when Who Wants to be a Millionaire? made its first run, I got curious and made about four attempts to qualify by phone. And I did qualify, at least as much as it was up to me. If you don’t know how it works, you call a toll free number and a robot guy asks you sequence questions, much like the fastest finger part of the show only without Regis or the national television audience. The questions have four answers, each one corresponding to a number on your keypad (1,2,3,4). You have ten seconds to correctly answer each question. Once you get one wrong, you’re done. To qualify, you have to get them all right. It seems like it was only four questions on the first run of the show, but I may be wrong about that. Now that it’s Super Millionaire, it’s five questions. Anyway, a few years ago I made it through all the questions and advanced to the next round. As it turns out, that just meant I got put in a pool with all the other eggheads who got through the questions. They never called my number, and I’m not a millionaire.

So as you may have guessed, I’ve been sucked in again this time around. I think it’s worth saying that, for me anyway, the draw really is as much the competitive (even self-competitive) aspect of the game as the money. I still love and want money more than I should, but not as much as I used to (or at least I hope that’s true). I’ve never had much money, so I don’t think I seriously entertain the prospect of winning a million bucks, much less ten million. I just watch the show and rant about how I could school most of the folks in the hot seat. Oh, and I absolutely thrash on the fastest finger questions. Really. My wife thinks I’m an uber-genius based on this fact alone. Which is a fitting segue to —

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