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Leno provides nothing special in Tonight Show comeback

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It's been almost two months since the NBC Late Night fiasco began, where Conan O'Brien was essentially forced out of his slot on The Tonight Show to make room for Jay Leno, after Leno proved to be unsuccessful at his new self titled primetime television show. The resulting switch proved to be the same exact thing NBC had hoped to avoid when it granted Tonight to O'Brien over five years ago: A gigantic controversy over hosting duties and public backlash against the network and their host of choice. It didn't exactly help that the vast majority of people came out in support of O'Brien, with Leno and President and CEO of NBC Universal Jeff Zucker in particular receiving a barrage of insults and criticism.

But the Winter Olympics gave NBC time to both reestablish Leno (after all, he was number one in Late Night for the vast majority of his original 17 year run) and the network as being serious threats, as well as help cool down the heated opinions regarding the entire situation. Unfortunately, it didn't exactly help with the quality of the program. Whether at 11:35, 10:00, or back at 11:35 again, the result was the crippling flaw in Leno's show for years now; he's not that funny.

Watching the monologues from Jay's first week proved exactly why there was such public backlash against him in particular going as far back as when his primetime show was first announced almost two years ago. All the jokes, the setups, and the dialogue, were unoriginal, forced, and boring. Watching Leno, it finally began to dawn on me why Leno's jokes are both widely popular and wildly reviled. The quips are made as if they were a general consensus about that particular topic. By that I mean, the jokes told by Leno would be discussed in another Late Night room as the overview of the joke, before they took a different look at it. For example, all week long Leno told jokes about Toyota cars, which are currently in the news for their faulty braking. And not once during the week did those jokes stray beyond that basic premise. Every single punchline to those setups sounded the exact same, which would be that the car couldn't stop, and that was it. There was nothing more to that joke than that. That's one of the main reasons why Leno is incredibly popular with both middle America and older viewers, because the jokes are basic and don't require a complex train of thought. Even O'Brien, who occasionally fell in the habit of telling the same types of jokes frequently during his Late Night tenure, would provide a charismatic way of telling them, or would improvise and admit that the joke was unoriginal.

This would lead to some of the most predictable jokes in the history of television. During Leno's first night, there were two jokes in particular that stood out: One was when he was discussing the aforementioned Toyota problems, and said that in spite of their problems, customers still ranked the brand as the most environmentally friendly car company in business. Right away, the first connection that popped in my brain was a Toyota driving into a tree, the symbol of environmentalism. Sure enough, Leno's punchline followed that exact same path. The other joke was his last one, where he mentioned that during Tiger Woods's press conference about his affairs (which was old even by the debut show), Tiger had mentioned he had gone back to practicing Buddhism. The first word to come up in my mind when I heard that was "bootyism". Leno's punchline was as follows: "As opposed to what he was practicing before: That was bootyism. That was totally different!" *Sigh*.


The worst part about this entire thing is that NBC has completely eliminated any and all traces that Conan was ever on the network. Besides eliminating all of his archives from their website and Hulu, Leno mentioned on his first show that his guest on the next night's show would be former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who Leno claimed "ha[d] never appeared on a late night show before." That's a blatant spit in the face of O'Brien, who had Palin on his show as a special surprise guest last December. If NBC is going to try their best to get their struggling network back on track, the least they could do is acknowledge their past failures, instead of pretending they never happened.

The mediocre comedy combined with a host who seems incredibly robotic in his delivery (how often do you see Leno improvise during his monologue or acknowledge when a joke bombs?) leads to a long period of waiting for O'Brien to get back on the air after September, which will shake up the Late Night world. Until then, it's going to be Leno doing the same boring, middle of the road shtick he's been doing for nearly two decades. The best way to describe The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is that if it were a book, it would be called Late Night for Dummies.

 

Students bored with or without school

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As the school year droned on at George Mason High School, students were itching for a break from the stresses of school and the snow provided a way out. Although once the snow came rolling through and caused what is now being called "the second winter break," students found themselves bored to tears with nothing to do at home.

The snow hindered the students' ability to roam free through the town. The way school was cancelled on a day by day basis rather than all at once made it difficult for students to make any plans ahead. Without high school, sports, and worst of all homework, students have began to find that school is the best time waster they have.

It's only natural that most students do not enjoy the idea of school. The fact that they have to wake up on a daily basis at some ungodly hour to go to a depressing building with bland white lighting just has something unattractive about it. After seven hours indoors with no connection allowed to the outside world, students are finally free to go home, and do homework.

Although, once the time comes when students have no school, it feels like they have just a bit too much time to do nothing. Usually once vacations are over and done with in the summer, days seem to drag on. Of course afterwards students realize it flew by, but only after complaining of long hours of boredom with nothing to do.

The fact is that school is the best killer of time in teenagers' young lives, I've heard students say all too often, "I've had a really boring day, I just sat at home and did nothing."

Life at home may be boring, but if students are going to complain that school is wasting all of their time and life, they should at least be happy to be home with television, unblocked internet, and cheaper food without having to complain about boredom.

 

DiCaprio shines again on the big screen

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‘Shutter Island,' a new Martin Scorsese movie, has been No.1 in the theaters since its release on February 19. It got more views in the past week than ‘Avatar.'

It is a dramatic and a mysterious movie with a huge twist at the end, which Lasso won't ruin, but the end did get a lot of attention from critics since it has two possible interpretations. They don't specify if it ends with the common, obvious cliché or if it is completely different and much more interesting story. One would rather think it wasn't a cliché since Scorsese is such a well known and respected director and the performing was so great.

Once again, Leonardo DiCaprio did an amazing job working with the rest of the cast in a role different than he is used to. He made about 22 million from this success.

In the film, DiCaprio is a U.S. Federal Marshall, Teddy Daniels, sent to a mental treatment facility on an island to investigate the disappearance of a patient. While he is there with his partner, everything starts to get confusing and messes with their minds. They can't distinguish reality from nonsense anymore and in each scene there are new questions and twists.

The unique and undeniable thing about this movie is the quality of the shots with a lot of intensity. If movie watchers are still hesitating to watch it because of the scary trailer, don't be, it is worth the money.

 

John Mayer breaks hearts in Verizon Center

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John Mayer visited the Verizon Center and despite high expectations managed to leave the crowd in awe. Before his set began, the band Spearhead powered through a fast-paced set list and pleased the crowd with their antics. At moments the lead singers would run through the crowd, and they ended with a large group of teenage girls singing and dancing onstage with them.

After the stage crew cleared and reset the stage for Mayer's band, the moment finally came for John to do his thing. He opened up with his new single "Heartbreak Warfare" behind a semi-transparent curtain. He seemed to be enjoying himself as much as the crowd was enjoying him, flashing cocky grins during the crowd's cheering and hopping around the stage like a little kid at times.

The concert however reached a slow point when Mayer pulled out his acoustic guitar. He played mostly his new songs which makes sense seeing as it's a tour for his new album. Even though he mixed some classics into the set list, he left out some of his most notable songs. These include "Heart of Life" and "Daughters."

Junior Jade Womack said, "Unlike a lot of artists, Mayer sounded the same as on his albums. He displayed his ten years of talent and played my favorite song ‘Gravity at the Concert.'" Womack continued, "His guitar solos were amazing and made the experience all the more memorable."

The encores however made up for the slow acoustic break. Playing "Who Says" behind the semi-transparent curtain, with his own image projected up onto the screen was a truly unforgettable moment. This was followed by "Gravity" which featured Mayer playing his guitar while it was lying on the ground and behind his head.

The unofficial set list was:
"Heartbreak Warfare"
"Crossroads"
"No Such thing"
"Slow Dancing in a burning room"
"Perfectly Lonely"
"My Stupid Mouth"
"Your Body is a wonderland"
"Neon"
"Waiting on the World to Change"
"Belief"
"Assassin"
"Bigger Than My Body"
"Why Georgia"

Encores:
"Who Says"
"Gravity"

 

Editorial: New changes to Yearbook create hassle for seniors

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This year, there have been a lot of changes to the yearbook pages for seniors-- but is this change good or bad? It depends on who you ask. Some people enjoy the opportunity to add their high school accomplishments and artwork to the page; however, for me, I feel these are rather unnecessary and not really what I want going up on my senior page.

The artwork aspect does not interest me as I am not much of an artist. For people who are, this is probably a great opportunity, but that seems to be a small portion of seniors. Of course, there is always the option of putting a baby picture; personally, that is not something I am interested in, and judging by the amount of seniors who have left this out of their page, they most likely feel the same way.

Adding the accomplishments to the yearbook to me seems rather haughty. In the yearbook, I do not want to list accomplishments because it feels like bragging. We should not need to write the accomplishments down to remember them; if they are important enough, people should remember them for the years to come-- to me, writing them down almost takes away from their true meaning.

The part of the senior page I was looking forward to was the senior quote-- I feel the quote and the senior picture are a good allotment for each senior, and if people would like more space they can always get a personal page.

I was very disappointed to hear we could not use music lyrics in our quote because that limits our quotes-- I was personally thinking about using song lyrics. While I realize this is a copyright issue, I know people are allowed to use a certain amount of a song without violating copyright laws, and I would have appreciated this option.

If it felt like it was our personal decision in determining whether or not to add these elements of senior space, then I would be all for it. However, it seems that we are being forced to do it and judging by the amount of seniors who have not done it, it seems like this is a lost cause. If there were a little more freedom with the senior space, in choice of what to put and whether or not to do it, then I would be much more welcoming of the idea and I think my fellow seniors would agree.

 

‘The Pirates of Penzance’: St. Andrew's Episcopal School shows inner booty

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In a play full of pirates, useless policeman, nine silly girls, and an extremely sappy general, St. Andrew's Episcopal School managed to emit an aura of holiness, despite these typical, despicable characters.

The show began with a surprisingly long overture played by the supremely talented Stage Band. Immediately the audience was drawn in by the awkward yet talented group of pirates, even though the action began before the lights came up. Most impressive out of these bandits was the Pirate King, played by junior Ben Mitchell. It seemed as though Mitchell had the breath support of an Olympic swimmer.

Jonah Orr, the Pirate Apprentice, captured the audience with a tender tenor voice and his quick, subtle wit. After Frederick (Orr) decided he wanted to leave the pirate life, he attempted to find himself a "fine" lady. Unfortunately for Frederick, the first girls he saw (disregarding the calm, compassionate Ruth played by Astrea Somarriba) were Major-General Stanley's nine daughters.

The Major-General, played by Joey Schepis, created a brilliant atmosphere that brought every dead actor on stage to life. With a somewhat confusing, inside-joke rendition of "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General," Schepis drew the audience out and appealed to the certain instincts of the crowd, being sure to mention the Cappies, of course.

Through some clumsy choreography, the daughters fumbled through their scenes and songs, sans diction. The blame for these mistakes was partially on the girls themselves, but also on the technical crew because of the inconsistency with microphones.

Soon the audience was introduced to Mabel, played by Katie Richer. Richer showed the audience she was a talented redhead with an exceptional voice, but through her arias, she forgot to act. Stone-faced and with hands permanently glued to her sides, Mabel still stunned all with her clear soprano voice.

This emotionless demeanor failed to spark chemistry with her ever-trying romantic counterpart, John Orr.

Steve White, who played Edward the Police Sergeant, saved the downward spiral with collective comic relief not only from himself, but from his constables as well. White helped the play end with a newfound confidence.

Overall, the show was endearing, especially with such strong male leads. Unfortunately it was the little things like the shaky ensemble and the spotty spotlight that transposed the show from being great to good.

 

‘Rebirth’ should be buried six feet under

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I'll start this review with a complete and full disclaimer, just so there is no confusion: I hate Lil Wayne. Yes, "hate" is a strong word and should never be thrown around carelessly, which is why I can say with 100% confidence that I hate Lil Wayne. I don't hate the man on a personal level, because I have never had the (mis)fortune of meeting the man. For all I know, Wayne could personally save a school child every day while simultaneously reversing Global Warming. But I can say that when it comes to the man who appears on TV and the radio non-stop with his barrage of songs and verses, there are few people in the world who I can't stand more than Dwayne Carter from New Orleans, LA.

The reasons to dislike him are monumentous: For starters, Wayne is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad rapper. This will offend all of the fanboys who try to insist that everything Wayne touches turns to pure gold, but the reality is that he cannot rap worth a darn. His wordplay is terrible; his flow is anemic and non-existent; the metaphors and similes he is renowned for are third grade-level, corny, and cheesy; and his voice is beyond horrendous.

It's really hard to see exactly what is so appealing about a voice that is reminiscent of a frog with strep-throat who just performed a four hour concert without drinking any water, complete with intentional voice cracks and a high-pitched tone that sounds more violent and disturbing than any audio tape released by Osama bin Laden.

On top of all that, Wayne insists that he be called the Best Rapper Alive, a title given to him by...himself. He claimed that once Jay-Z retired in 2003, he became the best rapper alive (even though Jay didn't die or anything,) but then said the same thing when Jay-Z unretired in 2006. If that isn't the most narcissistic thing ever, I don't know what is. It's one thing to be a terrible rapper and claim yourself to be better than your subordinates, but to spit in the face of the other rappers who even made it possible for him to put out a record is an insult to everything the genre stands for. Lil Wayne couldn't win a rap battle against Andy Milonakis, much less anyone in the business with any kind of marginal talent.

Wayne's last studio album, "Tha Carter III," sold like hotcakes, especially in a time where albums weren't selling anything significant. There's no denying that the man knows how to market himself to incredible levels. After his gargantuan breakout success, Wayne decided he would no longer be just a hip-hop heavyweight, but now he would become a "rockstar." He started with his god-awful "Lollipop" video where he started carrying around a guitar and began using auto-tune, which of course is how rock vocals have been produced for years. I may not know much about rock-n-roll history, but call me crazy, I don't recall Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash using vocoder's on their albums.

The hype machine began rolling for Wayne's rock album, which would be entitled "Rebirth." Of course, most of the hype came from Wayne himself. This was because even Lil Wayne's most die hard fans weren't feeling the idea of their favorite rapper switching over to horrendous "singing" with weak guitars and whiny pitches. What a shocker.

The album's first single was released in early 2009, and to the surprise of few, "Prom Queen" was exactly what critics of the direction of the album feared; terrible lyrics from a whiny grating voice, all over a beat that was bad even by Lil Wayne standards. The negative reception towards the album caused it to be delayed numerous times, which was all punctuated when Amazon.com accidentally shipped around 500 copies of "Rebirth" to customers who had pre-ordered it on their website. Even though the album had been scheduled for a late December release, the album was once again pushed back to February, but the website still ended up shipping many of the copies to its costumers, causing the album to be posted online for all of the world the hear. Of course, it didn't help that the overwhelming response to the leak was negative, but the silver lining was that it forced Cash Money to finally stand firm with its February release date.

After all of the hoopla, it all comes down to the actual product. The album is truly, above all else, garbage. Actually, garbage would be a nice way of putting it. Hot, disease-riddled garbage would be more apropos. Every single song on the album (full disclosure: I listened to the leaked version back in December, which remains largely unchanged from the retail version) is terrible. None of them have any noticeable positives, and everything that was bad about a song like "Prom Queen" is especially evident on the entire record.

The album's other singles, "Da Da Da" and especially "On Fire," are atrocious. The album's so bad, even Eminem sounds weak on it, having an unremarkable verse on the grossly overrated "Drop the World." Everything on "Rebirth" is a picture perfect example as to why Lil Wayne is nothing more than a narcissistic self-inflated egomaniacal rapper, who got to be successful by completely filling himself up with hot air and try to make himself out to be something he clearly isn't, which is an artist with any kind of marginal talent.

 
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