Parisian Love: An American Finds Love in Paris

Parisian Love: An American Finds Love in Paris

Well, I ended up missing most of the Super Bowl, as well as almost all of the ads that went along with the Big Game.  But I did catch the Google ad and it’s a knockout, a real triumph of story over the technical wizardry that’s usually showcased in Super Bowl ads.

Parisian Love: An American Finds Love in Paris

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Jennifer Hudson Returns with a Dramatically Soaring Triumph

Jennifer Hudson Returns with a Dramatically Soaring Triumph

In her first public appearance since the tragic October murders of her mother, brother and nephew in Chicago, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson re-entered the national spotlight and gave a stunning performance of The National Anthem before a huge Super Bowl crowd on Sunday. As she stepped onto the small blue platform with a solemn expression, Hudson initially trembled on her high heels. She began and ended the performance with an audible sigh. But in between, Hudson unleashed her signature crystalline vocals, bringing to The National Anthem a dreamlike, pensive quality that rivaled Whitney Houston’s legendary soul rendition in 1991 during the first Gulf War. Pouring her heart into the music on the largest national stage of the year, Hudson instantly set a new standard.

Jennifer Hudson’s heart has surely been broken by recent events, but her voice remains a rare instrument. If anything, the tragedies in her life gave this performance an emotional inspiration that couldn’t be denied. The result was a grand national diva moment for the ages. Hudson began with feelings of tenuous doubt: Would the world welcome her back? Is she still good enough? In the end, she delivered a dazzling skyward-striving musical call to the heavens. Jennifer Hudson confronted her underlying feelings of almost unspeakable pain, and shared with all of us her capacity to transcend that anguish through a dramatically cathartic musical performance.

Jennifer Hudson Returns with a Dramatically Soaring Triumph

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A Special Super Bowl Sunday History of the Internet

Oh my…it’s Super Bowl Sunday again! Football, football, football everywhere. What’s a poor soul to do who’s just not into this locker-room Super Bowl football sort of stuff? Do you have to just slink away into the kitchen and try to hide from all the drunken mister macho clamor? Nope, this one here’s just for you! Now I’m getting educational on you…watch this great little video and learn all about how the Internet came into being and developed. Plus, after watching this, you’ll sound super, super-smart as you dominate the idle chatter at all of this weekend’s After-Super Bowl cocktail parties. Everyone will absolutely marvel at your stunning techno-chic brilliance!!

A Special Super Bowl Sunday History of the Internet

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Puppy Bowl IV: Great Tacklers, but Can’t Pass

In response to the Super Bowl ratings giant, executives at Animal Planet created a show that has turned out to be a hit in its own right. Puppy Bowl IV is a three-hour extravaganza in which a cast of 46 dogs frolics, chases, pants, sniffs, rolls, tail wags and occasionally picks up a ball (or, more likely, a chew toy) on a set resembling a football field. It is going to be broadcast at 3 p.m. on Sunday, with repeat airings to follow.

And as the show’s viewership has grown, so has the attention lavished on it by animal lovers and sports fans. Puppy Bowl parties are common. Among the stars of this year’s game are Rascal, 13 weeks, a border collie mix; Mrs. Roper, 9 weeks, a Labrador retriever mix; and Bruin, 14 weeks, an Alaskan malamute. No more than eight puppies hit the gridiron at once, but the show is in high definition this year. Many of the animals come from shelters; part of the show’s mission is to promote adoption via Petfinder.com. Recruiting players is not a challenge.

Though there are no teams or uniforms, the show follows many football conventions. This year’s game begins with the national anthem; the puppies watch the flag wave with due seriousness, if no paws over hearts. There is commentary, by Harry Kalas, the legendary N.F.L. and Phillies broadcaster, who in this case says things like: “He’s at the 20, he’s at the 30! O.K., now he’s back at the 20, the 10.” There are M.V.P. and viewer’s choice awards. And there is a referee to call the action, such as it is, and deal with what the show refers to as puppy fouls. He cleans them up, on camera but without close-ups.

Taped over two days, the show has a production crew of about 30 people, as well as dog and cat owners, an animal handler, a veterinarian and a representative of the American Humane association to oversee it. The puppies are running around, playing with squeak toys and mock footballs. Whether they realize it or not, some of them actually do make touchdowns.

Puppy Bowl IV

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