American Idol’s Lazzzzzzzaro Zzzzzzzzzzzz

What needs to happen next on “American Idol” Season 12: Someone needs to discover that Lazaro Arbos, currently a Top 7 finalist, is faking his stutter.

Gee, guess who Lazaro's idol is? Ugh.

Gee, guess who Lazaro’s idol is? Ugh.

Please, I mean no disrespect to people with legitimate stammers. I love and have great empathy for you. Some of my best friends are stutterers. I have been known to be at a loss for words.

I’m just so bored with this kid that I hope someone finds some real dirt on him — maybe sneakily recorded uploaded iPhone footage showing no trace of a stammer.

He’s cute, reminds people a smidge of Ricky Martin, or “Ricky Ricardo,” as Nicki Minaj calls him (racist!). But I’m just sick of his vibe. There’s a point where any “gripping back story” starts feeling freakish. I celebrate that he has overcome obstacles in his life and made it this far, shedding light on what most of us take for granted: glibness. But he has had more than his 15 minutes. Time to pull the plug.

I can speak, sorta, as I am also Hispanic. Seguro, Lazaro’s story was moving at first. His mom’s tears; that part always gets me. But … GET THIS BOY SOME HELP.

I’m simply no longer “in awe” that he can sing fluidly in spite of his challenges speaking. So over that. Everyone knows the benefits of singing, and how people with heavily accented English or speech impediments can lose any trace of their accents or issues when singing. My problem with this contestant is he has lost all integrity, ever since the dust-up with mentor Jimmy Iovine.

Lazaro lied. He lied during Beatles week when he butchered “In My Life,” saying he had switched his song “last night,” and then cried about it. Jimmy later confirmed that Lazaro had had the same amount of time to learn his song as everyone else, and that he had been working on “In My Life” five days earlier. And if there’s one Lennon-McCartney song any self-respecting Latino knows it’s “In My Life,” because it sounds like every other Spanish ballad ever written.

The kid is making excuses, and he never apologized to Jimmy for lying.

This past week, he ruined the Motown trio with Devin Velez and Burnell Taylor by forgetting his part again. And these weren’t difficult words: “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch.” C’mon! Or, as Entertainment Weekly put it:  ” ‘Sugar Pie Honey Bunch’ … you know that I don’t know you…” — Lazaro

During the results show on March 28, it bugged me the way he was fixing his outfit as Aretha Franklin’s audio message to Kree Harrison played. He always seems to be checking himself on the monitor. Even in his Telemundo interview, he constantly adjusted himself — is this part of an act to display ongoing stress? They talk about him as if he’s not even there, with his audition playing on a painful loop in the background. And he barely attempts to speak in his native language, which I find odd. Shouldn’t Spanish prove less stressful?

SPOILER ALERT: His voice is just not that good. Close your eyes and listen. Too much vibrato and no sense of pitch. Devin was far superior in terms of representing Latino singers — he gave us bilingual anthems, at least. And young Devin had a modern, suavecito attitude, not some old-school smarmy style. Oh, how it irked me when Devin was “singing for his life” Thursday, trying to earn the judges’ once-a-season save, and Lazaro first adjusted his suspenders, then looked at his watch and THEN started singing along on the Spanish part. The nerve! He just doesn’t seem that likeable. It’s not his stutter that keeps him from having friends — I’m thinking it’s his personality, and his stutter only prevents people from getting to know him well enough to realize that.

American-Idol-Lazaro-Arbos_510x317Truth is, if you eliminate the sympathy vote, Lazaro’s got nothing. His tears on March 20, in hindsight, seemed a ploy to get more votes — or at the very least showed he doesn’t have what it takes for this kind of work.

Sin verguenza. Stop voting for him, mi gente. Put him out of our misery and let him go get the therapy he needs before attempting to launch any sort of international career in singing — or acting, as the case may be.

— Not a fan


Sticking it to the car inspector

Got the car inspected today. Thankfully, it passed. As well it should, given we recently pumped over $1,200 worth of repairs into it. Still, its odometer reads 146,902 miles and a car can’t last forever, as people don’t. The anxiety of sitting there waiting for the judgment to come down — the judgment of one man with bad teeth, neglected skin and a dorky hat — can seem unbearable. And not so good for one’s own health.

IMG_1210[1]Ours is probably not the safest car in the world, just as I’m not the fittest person in the world. Given the precisely wrong alignment of circumstances, this 2005 Honda Element (they don’t make ’em like they used to? They don’t even make ’em anymore) could prove a death trap like any car on the block.

Yet it got its sticker, a free pass for another year to terrorize the streets, like a gold star from a fussy piano teacher for having mastered this week’s etude.

In another state, under a different set of measures, it might not have qualified as “safe.” Even at another garage, a different greasy guy who might have been grouchier that day or more nitpicky or didn’t like the way I looked might have slapped on the blanched circle with a spike through it, that symbol of shame with which I would have paraded around marked as if with a scarlet “A” for 15 days and eventually pay through the teeth to spare society, those other drivers I share the road with, to get whatever it was “fixed” — or merely passable — up to the standards of some random guy’s random judgment.

It’s like going to get your bloodwork done or getting a physical and waiting anxiously for results. As if these gauges will finally tell me what I’m about, as if any of it would come as a surprise. At some point the numbers dictate how many pills I have to take, how big a dent in my disposable income I suffer, how great a percentage of my toiling at work gets rechanneled back into merely extending my days tethered to my desk.

This is him, ladies. The man who make our live a living hell every time we step on the Wii Fit and the little animated scale on the screen wiggles its carthodes at you: shame, shame, shame.

This is him, ladies. Adolphe Quételet, the man who makes our lives a living hell every time we step on the Wii Fit and the little animated scale on the screen wiggles its cathode rays for shame, shame, shame. See the evil in his eyes.

Is my BMI within the arbitrary scale for what’s “normal” as decided by some mid-19th-century Belgian statistician, Adolphe Quételet, whom no one has ever heard of and was probably a freakishly built endomorph who suffered from apoplexy (which he did), massive internal bleeding, ensuring he weighed significantly less than your typical red-blooded, prepping-for-a-doomsday-famine American?

No. Yeah, I’m not normal. Once again, I’m off the charts. An alien who cannot pack herself into the confines of what it means to be safely human and live an expected average life span of 81.2 years because I behave beyond the limits of what’s needed to merely survive. I miscalculate every day the amount of stored energy I need vs. what I expend, writing instead of running, reading instead of reaching for it, getting inspired instead of physical. I don’t need any bad-girl sticker, people can just look and see the internal imbalance.

But the car passed the test. I might have a heart attack or stroke behind the wheel, but the vehicle is A-OK, my ticket to tool around among unwitting mortals another year. Don’t have to sweat this again until March 2014.


Somewhere deep in Fairfax County, Va.


Ya think maybe at least someone could BUY an apostrophe? (2013 photo by Terry Byrne)

Spied this cozy neighborhood near the intersection of Reston Parkway and Lawyers — yes, lawyers — Road. It’s no wonder our county taxes are so high.


Weirdly, the houses on this street weren’t nearly as obnoxious as the McMansions lining Reston Parkway. (2013 photo by Terry Byrne)

UPDATE: Since writing this post, I now live in Reston, not far from this spot. It was a sign. (OK, so I rash-judged it a little …)

The Daily Urinal Journal: Who knew?

urinals PLAY

Exploiting a new niche market: A veritable pee palace!

So what ELSE has been going on in men’s restrooms all these years I’m not privy to?!

It has come to my attention that at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Reston the current edition of USA TODAY is displayed in a colorful array above the urinals.

This poses many interesting questions: What did you THINK men were busy looking at while they went? Do they fight for the urinal beneath the sports section? Is that sexist of me? How do they turn the pages? Will the papered walls one day be replaced by iPad screens, or will men’s rooms be the final (edition) bastion of print journalism?

I’m ever intrigued how the world plays out differently for men vs. women, but it blows my mind I’ve never been let in on this boys’ club secret. And in downtown D.C., my husband informs me, The Washington Post has dibs at every self-respecting Irish pub washroom. After several Harps or Guinnesses, I’d imagine, men could consume a lot of news in relief. Women, at best, get advertisements, crisis-center hotlines or lovesick graffiti inside their stalls, while men are soaking up a FREE news stream?!

It’s a wonder there aren’t longer lines to get in.

Anyone who has ever lived with a man knows that a newspaper and the john go hand in hand. We even refer to the “men’s room” at home as the “library.” Moreso now, since laptops and smartphones have made access within the facilities more facile.

Still, I can’t help but think media companies, fighting to keep from going down the drain, haven’t somehow capitalized on this fecund opportunity — the last-standing outpost to the newsstand. Could prove a gold(en) mine. All those averted eyeballs, looking for something respectful to do.

I’ll humbly volunteer to do more market research.