Are New Year's Eve celebrations supposed to glorify the year that was or offer a tasty preview of the year that's to come? If you were watching TV on New Year's Eve, you probably know the answer: They're supposed to make you turn off all the lights in your house, hide in your closet and tremble in horror!
In the same manner that yesterday's youth used to watch Guy Lombardo's Times Square New Year's hijinks with smarmy smirks o' superiority until--way back in '72--the elder dude was replaced by the more robust Dick Clark, time has now passed and things are, shall we say, getting weird. ABC-TV's Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2008 offered a blend of the mundane (as in cheerily vacant host Ryan Seacrest), the ordinary (the chipper young Jonas Brothers), the famously famous (Fergie, Miley Cyrus), and--in the shape of briefly returning host Dick Clark, post-stroke and back for the third time, the praiseworthy but off-putting. Others perhaps more famous put in appearances--such as Carrie Underwood and Akon--but the overwhelming impression was that 2008 would be just about the right time to introduce a new reality show called America Had Talent And Then Drove Home And Went To Bed! Given that other options included watching Tila Tequila, Carson Daly, other dopier celebrations, and a Twilight Zone marathon, some concluded the wisest choice of all was to eat a big piece of cake, drink champagne and watch old Mariah Carey videos! Sadly, you already knew that.
All things considered, the week's biggest news most certainly had to be the revelation that a moving essay that won a 6-year-old girl four tickets to an upcoming Hannah Montana concert was in fact determined to be completely fake! Yes, it was a scoop that could only be described as earthshaking. Though the seeming winner had penned heartbreaking prose that began with the line "My daddy died this year in Iraq," the horrifying truth was that the young winner's mommy admitted it was all completely untrue. "We did whatever we could do to win," explained role model Priscilla Ceballos, for whom candor is apparently no problem whatsoever. Contest sponsor Club Libby Lu, a Chicago-based store chain, then yanked the prized tickets and awarded them to another contestant, whose identity remains undisclosed. Rumor has it that the new winner's essay either detailed her own father's abduction by space aliens or demonstrated "exquisite penmanship"--but in these troubled times it's difficult to believe anything one hears!
Frankly, if anything served as a refreshing breath of fresh air, it was the news that onetime rap demigod MC Hammer now has plans to reinvent himself as a "Silicon Valley entrepreneur," as in fact we all do. In this instance, the uniquely dressed "U Can't Touch This" rapdude plans to launch a fascinating website called DanceJam.com, apparently set to focus on the burgeoning market of dance videos, which are rumored to be popular on sites like YouTube. The strategy? To grab some of that "rapidly growing Internet advertising market," which will certainly come in handy for Hammer--or Stanley Burrell, as he is called by some--as the lovable rapman went bankrupt back in 1996 with close to $14 million in debt. It warmed the cockles of our heart to read Hammer's candid commentary regarding his new start-up venture, and indeed his take on this whole "Intenet" thing in the first place. "There is no high-tech lingo or business strategy that you can talk that is above my head," says the man, "I breathe this stuff." Though such talk seemed a tad boastful, Hammer upped the credibility ante by additionally offering: "When everybody started raving about the Internet, I always wondered, `If it's so great, why can't you see my videos on the Internet?'" The ensuing silence was undoubtedly something we should all treasure in our own unique way.
Finally, and certainly equally fascinating, come reports that blonde and attractive Jessica Simpson may indeed be planning to "go country" with her next album--in the same manner that folk-rock hero Bob Dylan did with his 1969 Nashville Skyline album, some have suggested, but perhaps less significantly. Simpson noted in an interview that she had always wanted to make a country album, but was waiting until the right time. Hey, me too! Fears that Simpson is merely an attractive, product-spewing puppet were allayed, however, when she noted that she'd be involved in the creative process of any country album bearing her name. "Writing is a release for me," said Ms. Simpson, "It's a way for me to tell my story." She then added, "That's not to say I wouldn't record a song that I didn't write," and the world--as one--breathed a collective sigh of relief!
In all? Conclusive proof that as years go, 2008 will definitely be going 2007 one better!
THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:
1) Liar Liar Pants On Fire! - Guess whose baby girl won't be seeing Hannah Montana?
2) Please Hammer, Don't Hurt Us - Former rap icon makes a new-fangled Internet move
3) Girls: He's Free! - Marilyn Manson's divorce is finalized
4) What's Ne-Yo? - Ne-Yo, R. Kelly and promoter in abruptly ending tour dispute
5) I Want To Hold Your Product - Beatles music turning up in rap songs and other odd places
6) Download This, Bossman - Radiohead's Thom Yorke questions behavior of EMI Records chief
7) Let Jessica Scare Us To Death - Simpson's next album may be countrified
8) Orchestral Maneuvering, In The Dark - Billy Joel to debut with Philadephia Orchestra
9) It's Funkier Than Usual In Here - James Brown's final recordings stalled by legal struggles
10) Kylie, Ian Anderson Linked! - Performers among those newly honored by Queen Elizabeth