Celebritology Live: Adoption Ennui?, 'Real Housewives'

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Madonna was in Malawi on Monday for a hearing on her application to adopt a second child from the southern African nation. The pop star and her three children stopped by a day care center that was built with funds from her charity. Video by AP

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Liz Kelly
washingtonpost.com Celebritology Blogger
Thursday, April 2, 2009; 2:00 PM

When stars shave their heads, marry (or divorce) inadvisedly, couch-jump, spend countless minutes in jail, commit a fashion faux pas and/or other random acts of ego-inspired inanity, washingtonpost.com Celebritology blogger Liz Kelly is on the job. Every weekday, Liz shares the buzz, offers perspective and provides crucial links to juicy alternate news sources and, of course, takes your reaction in her daily blog.

Join Liz LIVE every Thursday at 2 p.m. ET to gab about the latest celebrity pairings (and splittings), rising stars (and falling ones), and get the scoop on the latest gossip making waves across the Web.

In her pre-celeb obsessed days (as if!), Liz ran washingtonpost.com's Discussions section, where she enjoyed talking to really interesting people -- sometimes even Post reporters -- on the phone. She still produces Pulitzer-prize winner Gene Weingarten's weekly Chatological Humor discussion and serves as co-proprietress of post.com's "Lost" Central.

Celebritology Live Archive

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Liz Kelly: Welcome back to Celebritology Live, returned to its usual Thursday time slot. And thanks to everyone who remembered to turn up for last Friday's rescheduled edition of the show. I'm showered and equipped with a cupcake and cat repellent. I hope you're similarly prepared.

Tomorrow a Malawi court is probably going to greenlight Madonna's adoption of another child from that country. I wrote about it Monday and talking heads are coming out of the woodwork to analyze Madge's motives and whether or not her adoption of another kid makes this world a better or a worse place, but I've noticed something I wanted to run by you: Disinterest.

Have we become desensitized to celebrity adoptions? Are we just over the whole phenomenon?

And, on a more serious note, can someone please explain to me how this shadowy footage has somehow become proof positive that David Spade crassly deposited his ABC (already been chewed) gum under his seat while attending "American Idol?"

Oh, and I'll happily entertain any schadenfreude directed at the "Real Housewives of New York," who between them now seem to have amassed assault charges, extramarital infidelity and a foreclosed home.

Let's get started...

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New Haven, Conn.: If you had the ability to inhabit the body of one celebrity for one day, who would it be and why? What would you do with your day?

I would be Nicholas Cage so I could change the name of his poor son. Then I would announce my retirement from stage and screen forever.

Liz Kelly: Okay, this might be my favorite question of the year so far. No, it definitely is my favorite of the year. I'm putting this out there early in the show because I think we all need some time to think about this. Depending on the end one hopes to achieve -- gratification, adoration, making the world a better place (a la your reasoning behind choosing Cage) -- the answer is different.

Yours is quite good. I need to think about this, but will entertain others' choices.

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Cleveland Park, NW - Britney between a rock and a hardplace: Clearly Britney is unhappy under her father's rule (see: the MTV documentary), but does anyone have any doubts if she is able to fire him it will be back to her downward spiral where she lives for the manic highs? This will not end well.

washingtonpost.com: Britney Spears Sneaking Cell Phone To Dump Dad: Testimony (Huffington Post)

Liz Kelly: I think that's the unspoken assumption on everyone's mind, yes. Or at least mine -- that Britney, once freed from her father's strict limits on everything from her sleep schedule to who she dates -- will bust out the pink wig and the British accent again.

Although a part of me misses the heady days of not knowing what whackadoodle Britney would do next, I don't want to go back there. Towards the end it got more painful than entertaining.

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Bai Ling: Yo Liz -

Where's the promised BL interview?

Liz Kelly: I'm going to publish it late next week. I was hoping to coincide with the release of her next movie, "Crank 2," which is out mid-April.

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trainwreck breakup: Ugh - these two both seem like wretched individuals who deserve each other.

washingtonpost.com: Shanna: Travis Got "Numerous Romantic Emails" From Women in Hospital (usmagazine.com)

Liz Kelly: Wow -- is it just me or does Shanna bear an uncanny resemblance to Catherine O'Hara in that photo?

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Beauty Sal,On: I'd rather discuss Kara DioGuardi's hairy armpit at 00:21 instead of the shadowy David Spade at 00:17.

Liz Kelly: Not to mention the unicorn that wanders through at 00:56.

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If I could be a celebrity....: I would be Johnny Depp, and I would touch myself for the entire day.

Liz Kelly: Ohhhhkay.

Returning to the original poster's theme of doing good while possessing celebs, maybe I'd jump on into the hot mess that is Joaquim Phoenix. I'd get him a haircut, a detox and a new agent.

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Housewives: Wait, is the foreclosure thing an April Fool's joke? The story that is linked to has a link the an "Article" that is an April Fools page.

Liz Kelly: Sigh. Yes. So hilarious, the fake April Fool's news story.

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Rockville, Md.: I know some papers have been predicting a breakup for ages, but do you really think Brad and Angelina are on the rocks?

Liz Kelly: Not based on the scant evidence we've heard about this week: A marriage ultimatum from Brad and an annoyed Angie, who was perturbed upon finding Brad drinking beer and loafing instead of looking after the kids.

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Adoption, central: I'm not about to pass judgment on whether Madge or Brangelina are good parents or whether their adopting kids from third-world countries is good or bad, but what I am curious about is ... what will it take to blow the lid open on the psychological issues with an obsession with more and yet more kids? Octomom, Angelina, Madge ... their child-collecting is more than a bit obsessive, especially when it's coupled with other narcissistic behaviors (plastic surgery, attention whoring, etc.)

Liz Kelly: But is amassing a large family really a new phenomenon? Is acquiring kids through adoption or fertility treatments really all that different from the Mormon or Catholic family that devoutly produces a baker's dozen of kids to build the flock? Does the ability to build that family in a couple of years rather than over a decade make a difference?

Or is this something new? Is the Octo-mom the ultimate product of a society primed to over-consume? Or is she just a random oddball?

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Kara DioGuardi's hairy armpit : That might be the only reason I've seen to LIKE her. Being brave enough to break that rule. Go girl!

Liz Kelly: Okay, I've got one pro-armpit hair vote.

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washingtonpost.com: I would be JD Salinger, and I would shock the world by doing a washingtonpost.com chat.

Liz Kelly: Producer Paul, stop trying to lift the level of dialogue here. Can't you see we're talking about Britney Spears?

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Sunday Rose: Wow. They named her Sunday because Sundays are lonely when you don't have anyone in your life? That is so depressing. Maybe when she's older she'll go by Rose. At least they gave her a normal middle name. What is poor Ashley Simpson's kid going to do?

Liz Kelly: I had the same thought. It's as if Keith Urban was saying "My daughter is the living embodiment of the gaping hole in my heart." I hope they figure out a better story before she's old enough to understand.

Or, I guess they could just go with the whole thing and start her on a strict diet of wearing black and listening to The Cure.

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Daisy of Love: Have you seen the VH1 promo? First, the title makes no sense, and second she looks about 3 times more plastic than she did on Rock of Love.

I just can't imagine it being even remotely interesting. And this is coming from someone who finds "Rock of Love" "Housewives" and "The Hills" all mildly interesting, mostly for entertainment value.

Liz Kelly: Yes. I can not wait. I feel slightly soiled, but I can't wait.

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washingtonpost.com: Fine. Brian Austin Green it is then.

Liz Kelly: Wait -- current Megan Fox-dating BAG or David Silver era BAG?

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Re: Housewives: Sigh is right. Man, my initial thought was HA! finally living beyond their means and all their fakeness caught up with them.

I so wish they would ax Alex, and the new one--Kelly---can't stand her snooty tooty attitude, fake tan, and weird boobs.

Liz Kelly: Well, she did lose her job a couple of weeks back. Give it time. This could turn out to be a premonition.

As for Kelly -- does she always have a really bad sunburn or does she have daily laser resurfacing?

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Bethesda, Md.: Liz, I read in the comments of your blog today about the "Real Housewives" and now I'm just confused.

So, in Orange County, that one super-transparent gold digger that was engaged to the really old dude with late-stage cancer (the one who almost got it on with the son of one of the other housewives)...

1) Is he dead?

2) Did they ever actually get married?

3) She was getting it on with that "Slade" guy from the first(?) season who had that other awkward show where him and Jo (?) were fixing each other up with people?

4) This is the first I've heard, how old news is this?

Can you please set me straight on this? My Fiancee watches these Housewives show, and I generally watch them with her for the Schadenfreude component. Gretchen was the one I loved to hate the most...I really need to get to the bottom of this.

Thanks!

Liz Kelly: Any "Orange County" watchers out there capable of answering this? I confine myself to New York (and maybe the upcoming New Jersey). Oh, and Atlanta.

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Celebrity bodysnatcher: I would be Robert Pattinson. I'd take a long hot shower, put on lots of deodorant, and then I'd come take me out on a romantic date and then seduce me.

But, wait. Would I still exist in my alternate universe to be wooed? Or even worse . . . would I just be hyper-aware that I was kind of making out with myself?

Maybe I should inhabit his body, take the hot shower, and then write a note on a sticky page that says he loves me and wants me and then add my phone number.

Liz Kelly: Right -- what are the rules here. I'm thinking this would have to be a self-aware possession ala "Being John Malkovich," otherwise it would be impossible to affect any changes. We'd all just settle comfortably into their consciousness rather than force them to act against their nature.

And I'm going to make an official ruling and say no, you can't woo yourself. That's just too convoluted.

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Housewives, NY: This season is DOOMED! Kelly loses her Page Six "writing" job and subsequently clocks her "boyfriend" in the eye. Alex loses her graphic design job at Victoria Secret. LuAnn's divorcing her cheating hubby. All the other parents are shunning Ramona at her daughter's religious school. Both Kelly and LuAnn are selling their Hamptons pads.

I mean, the economy sucks, but the East Coast gals are really getting hit hard!

Liz Kelly: Indeed. Too bad the cameras aren't rolling on them now.

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Madonna: Why is Madonna fixated on this one child that has family that does not want to let her go? It seems she is definitely coping the attitude that she should get what she wants.

Liz Kelly: I think we need to be fair here. The little girl's family is being pursued by reporters and bluntly asked why they abandoned her to an orphanage. How would you answer if the whole world is watching?

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Socal Housewives: 1) Is he dead? Yes. Leukemia.

2) Did they ever actually get married? No.

3) She was getting it on with that "Slade" guy from the first(?) season who had that other awkward show where him and Jo (?) were fixing each other up with people? I don't think so..Gretchen did have an episode of sorts in the closet with Tamra's derelict young 20's son though. tee hee.

Liz Kelly: Thank you. I'm trusting this information is legit.

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Confused about Cavallari: Liz - I know you get a lot of "why is this person famous" questions, esp. regarding "the Hills" kids, I understand the LC, Whitney, Heidi, etc., coverage. My question is about Kristen Cavallari - "Laguna Beach" has been over for years, and the best she's been able to do is a few direct to DVD comedies and a dead body on CSI -- why is she such a tabloid draw?

washingtonpost.com: Cavallari institutes TEMPURA BAN (New York Post, April 2)

Liz Kelly: Well, don't confuse someone who is able to make Page Six with being an actual celebrity. I think the same goes for someone who receives regular tabloid coverage. These are publications that have a news hole to fill each week. They have to have some filler in between the jaw-dropping faking -- I mean, breaking -- news items and candid pix. And some folks are very good at putting themselves out there. I think Cavalleri might fall into that camp. Think of her as a less successful, or still aspiring, version of Paris Hilton. Paris is famous for being famous, but Kristin is, like, out there because she's out there.

I'm not sure if that made any sense. Maybe another cupcake will help.

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Celebritology, dreams: Last night I dreamed that Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban were pregnant again.

Wow. Celebritology is even invading my dreams ... so can we get our weekly Andy/Opie/Page photos so I can come back to the real world? (Assuming Page is doing publicity this week :-))

Liz Kelly: Wait -- Keith Urban was pregnant, too?

I don't have any new pix. Have I shared this one or this one yet?

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Leesburg, Va.: "If you had the ability to inhabit the body of one celebrity for one day, who would it be and why?"

Selma Hayek.

Because I am a straight male.

Liz Kelly: Selma Hayek... is she related to Salma?

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Snark-free zone: Would just like to say that boyhood buddies Ben Affleck and Matt Damon both appear to have grown up to be good guys who try to do interesting work, promote worthy causes, and produce adorable little kids.

Liz Kelly: Consider it said.

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I would be Katie Holmes, All the Way: I need answers about Tom and his madness.

Liz Kelly: Oooh, shrewd choice. Though I wonder if a possession would be detectable by all those Scientology diagnostic tools. You might find yourself trapped in some kind of soul repository.

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Sundays: " I guess they could just go with the whole thing and start her on a strict diet of wearing black and listening to The Cure."

That's what I did in high school and I'm okay. What?

Liz Kelly: But was your name also "Sunday?"

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Nicole Kidman daughter & Minnie Driver son: It's been around, but worth a re-telling: Their two children meet, and years later, fall in love and marry. Nicole's daughter becomes Sunday Driver.

Liz Kelly: Heh.

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Bronx, NY: For one day only... I'd be Lindsey Lohan. I'd dump SamRo and Dina, serve a lifetime restraining order against Michael forbearing him to ever speak of me publicly, snarf down a couple of cheesesteaks and maybe a large milkshake, and check into rehab.

Liz Kelly: While you're at it do something about those ratty extensions.

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In A Celebrity Body For A Day: George Clooney. Three-quarters of the world's females adore him. The other 1/4 don't know he exists, not yet. Plus he has a lakeside mansion (Lake Como) in Italy. C'mon. That was easy.

Liz Kelly: Okay.

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Quatch Cave: If I could be a celebrity for a day, I would be either Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh. I would use my 24 hours to apologize for all the cruel, nasty things my celebrity has said over the years. I would also use the 24 hours to donate all the celebrity's assets to various causes that the celebrity has disparaged.

Liz Kelly: Well I like the idea of liquidating their assets and using the proceeds for good.

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celeb adoptions: What do you mean, "desensitized?" As in, we no longer see it as a significant act, connected to a family, but merely as a "trend." And, sorry if someone has mentioned this already, aren't there any children in Malawi without living relatives?

Liz Kelly: Right, exactly. It's not a new story anymore. I don't know that I'd explain our ennui as viewing it as a "trend" so much as we -- as consumers of celebrity gossip -- are ever on the hunt for new, exciting stories and this has a "been there, done that" vibe.

I'm not saying that's admirable or right, but it may in fact explain our inability to muster up the energy to debate this issue again.

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Liz Kelly: Or -- a third option -- do we already feel as if we're on record regarding celebrity adoptions and don't need to rehash the discussion?

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Liz,

Have you ever noticed that TomKat never dresses Suri in "normal" children's clothes? She always has on some weird dress and shoes.

Liz Kelly: I think Katie has talked about that in the past. As I recall, she said Suri prefers to wear dresses. And I am going to give TomKat the benefit of the doubt on this one. When my niece was Suri's age she steadfastly refused to wear anything that had pockets.

She got over that when she realized pockets came in handy when collecting cruddy rocks to add to one's cruddy rock collection.

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Totally cool cat thingie: "Keith Urban was pregnant too?" Yeah, that's what made the dream REALLY weird.

But more importantly, WHERE did you get that fantastic cat scratcher thingie Opie and Andy are enjoying? Thus far my cat's favorite is the Alpine Scratcher, but yours blows that away! My cat would love it.

Liz Kelly: I think I found that at a site called Design Public. It's a little pricy, but has totally been worth it. The cats LOVE it and it fits in with our decor way better than a carpeted tower.

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Chicago: I would like to be Oprah for one day. Then I could find out the truth about Gail and Steadman.

Liz Kelly: I like the way you think.

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Madge and the orphans: African attitudes about orphanages are a little different from ours: sometimes it's the best way for a poor child to get (moderately) better food and education for a kid. Here's the question: why must she keep getting children who have biological parents in the mix -- surely there are orphans with no close relatives available in Malawi?

Liz Kelly: I don't know. That's a good question and one I don't think has been answered. From what I've read, and I understand that these families didn't have many alternatives if they wanted to keep these kids fed and clothed, the familied did understand that adoption was a possibility. But maybe an in-country adoption -- to a family that could be visited from time to time -- would have been much more palatable than knowing their children will be utterly out of reach and in a completely different world.

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Housewives of NJ?!??!: Are you serious? Will they be sporting acid-washed jeans, three inch long Lee press on nails and a gallon of Aqua Net? If so, I. Am. So. There.

Liz Kelly: Oh, I'm totally serious. The show kicks off mid-May, I believe. And the promo I saw last night didn't disappoint in the big hair/bad clothes department.

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I would be JD Salinger, and I would shock the world by doing a washingtonpost.com chat.: Bull hockey. We all know who Producer Paul would want to be for 24 hours:

Ryan Reynolds

And we also know what Producer Paul would do for those 24 hours.

Liz Kelly: Read scripts?

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Brian Austin Green: Is quite good looking now, in mt opinion. I like that picture that's used over and over. I like his fashion sense. And he's got wonderfully broad shoulders.

He would so never go for Donna Martin if he'd looked like that then.

Liz Kelly: Oh come on -- are you saying David Silver only dated Donna because he wasn't able to lure anyone else? Maybe he loved her for her winning personality, okay?

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Rob Pattinson, for instance: Fan-psychology question for you, Liz. Why do women (eg teen girls) demonstrate their affection by screaming, stalking, and general mania? I'm sure Megan Fox has at least as many male admirers as RP has female admirers, but I don't think they follow her from club to club, screaming "Megan Fox - marry meeee!" Side note: I used to pant for RP, but now I feel kinda sorry for him. He seems to be a bit overwhelmed by the reactions and turning into something of a shut-in. He described the reaction at Comic Con as "the sound of the gates of hell."

Liz Kelly: No, male fans don't tend to be a shrieky, excitable bunch. They show their affection by arriving unannounced with guns and duct tape.

You see the problem with generalizing, here...

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I'm crushed: Is it true that many of the pictures of celebrities caught in the act of being ordinary that appear US Weekly are sent in by their publicists? I feel snookered.

Liz Kelly: A portion are definitely self-submitted. And many celebs call the paparazzi to alert them to photo ops, too. I hope we haven't crushed your dreams.

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Alexandria: Is it wrong I am really waiting for the Real Housewives of DC?

Just think of who we could offer up as smart, smartass women who do things like run countries.

Liz Kelly: I'm waiting for that one, too. I'm guessing that one is on the table at Bravo.

Did everyone see that Craiglist ad last week about a celebrity stylist moving to D.C. and casting for a reality show?

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And I'm going to make an official ruling and say no, you can't woo yourself. That's just too convoluted. : Seriously, save questions like that for the "Lost" chat at 3.

Liz Kelly: Yeah. If my brain hurts too much now, I'll never make it to 4 p.m.

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Celeb for a day - Barack or Michelle, easily: I'd be one of the Obamas - the real question is it better to be Barack and sign a cart-load of Exec Orders, or be Michelle and get to rock those awesome biceps and makeout with Barack?

Liz Kelly: I'd have to go with Michelle and her killer wardrobe.

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Shanna and Catherine: Liz,

It's just you.

Liz Kelly: Okay.

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But is amassing a large family really a new phenomenon? Is acquiring kids through adoption or fertility treatments really all that different from the Mormon or Catholic family that devoutly produces a baker's dozen of kids to build the flock? Does the ability to build that family in a couple of years rather than over a decade make a difference? : Liz! Stop! We come to you for answers, not more questions!

Liz Kelly: Yeah, that was annoying, wasn't it?

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TMZ in DC: What's your take on the TMZ coverage of DC ? To me, it just ain't that interesting.

Liz Kelly: Agreed. No matter how hard they try, random junior representatives just don't carry the buzz of a Britney Spears. Or even a Kristin Cavalleri.

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And I'm going to make an official ruling and say no, you can't woo yourself.: How about a rule that you can't pick someone just so you can feel yourself up?

Liz Kelly: That sounds sensible.

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That's what I did in high school and I'm okay. What? : Yeah, but you waited until high school, and it was your choice. This poor girl already has a story being told about how she was named after loneliness.

Unless your name is Abyss or something, it's not the same.

Liz Kelly: Abyss. Ha!

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Housewives of NJ?!: : I thought that's what the NY show already was: listen to their accents. They certainly aren't NY's bluebloods.

Liz Kelly: Agreed. When the Countess is the closest thing the show has to a real New Yorker, well, things aren't looking too good. But I have to admit I've grown to like Bethenny and Jill. They're mostly harmless and Bethenny is wicked funny.

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female fans: Of course not all female fans shriek and cry and faint and stampede at Hot Topic. Plenty of level headed women who can maintain a healthy celeb/real-life balance. BUT, the fans who line the red carpet or show up to signings seem to be overwhelmingly female. Am just trying to figure out why male fans don't (tend to) do the same thing.

washingtonpost.com: For youngins, I think it's because it's socially acceptable for girls, but no 12-year-old boy in his right mind would be caught dead screaming at Miley Cyrus?

Liz Kelly: Good point. I think my 13-year-old nephew would rather have his teeth pulled without anesthesia than betray any emotions.

Okay, that's it for today. Losties join me in the other room. Oh, and keep thinking about your celeb-for-a-day candidates. We may just continue that thread in the blog tomorrow.

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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