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Monday, May 31, 2010

LONGTERMER #1: Update 23, Ford Telstar 2.0i4 Ghia - PART 2

As promised, here's the 2nd part update on my FORD TELSTAR.  I was in Port Dickson, Glory Beach Resort to be exact last Friday to Sunday.  Well, there's a saying, a picture's worth 1000 words, Here are some pictures...

ON the way to Port Dickson, Friday 28 May 2010, 12pm... Via KL-Seremban Highway => NKVE => Port Dickson Highway => LUKUT.  SLOW TRAFFIC...

FIVE of us ONBOARD...  I am the driver...

Reached destination after 1 hour 55 minutes despite slow traffic.  I stayed at 6th floor BLOCK E, Glory Beach Resort...
MY ROOM...  Shared with another friend...


AFTER...  17.1x OPTICAL ZOOM.  Thanks to my Panasonic LUMIX TZ-7...

ABOVE: The Main Entrance of the resort.  BELOW: PARTING SHOT, Check out the BOOT SPACE OF THE TELSTAR.  It swallowed 5 persons' luggage easily...

THAT'S ALL FOLKS, Thanks for having the time and patience to read this blog entry.  MY ORIGINAL WORK...  Again, see you on 29 June 2010 for the 24th update of my Telstar.

LONGTERMER #1: Update 23, May 2010: Ford Telstar 2.0i4 Ghia - Part 1

LONGTERMER #1: Update 23, May 2010: Ford Telstar 2.0i4 Ghia - Part 1

In this blog entry, I am updating my Ford Telstar i4 Ghia. This is the 23th update.  I'll be dividing into 2 parts, first part about "Major Repair" and 2nd part about my TRIP TO Port Dickson (28 to 30 May 2010).  Yup, just came back from Port Dickson Yesterday.

I sent my car to my Auntie's mechanic (A BMW and Mercedes Specialist) in Kampung Pasir, off Jalan Klang Lama to fix the leaking Flywheel oil seal.  He said need to Remove engine and gearbox before can replace the flywheel oil seal AND gearbox oil seal (Both leaking).  Besides the leaking oil seals, the Driveshafts (both side), Piston ring (emit white smoke), Spark plugs, Water pump AND GASKET... 

I collected my car on May 14, 2010 (after 8 days in workshop)...  RM2,977 poorer...  So far so good apart from the LOW-IDLING (hovering between 600 to 800rpm).  Here's list of parts changed:

- 1 set Piston ring................................RM180
- 1 set top gasket...............................RM370
- 1 piece timing oil seal.........................RM38
- Converter oil seal...............................RM45
- Drive shaft oil seal (2x).......................RM50
- 1 piece flywheel oil seal......................RM65
- 2 pcs drive shaft joint (220 x 2)..........RM440
- 2 pcs drive shaft inner boot (28 x 2)....RM56
- Oil sump gasket................................RM25
- Oil pan gasket..................................RM25
- Water pump....................................RM185
- NGK Spark plug (1 set)......................RM36
- Oil filter...........................................RM28
- Engine oil........................................RM59
- P.V.Valve........................................RM29
- Clip................................................RM6
- Auto transmission fluid......................RM120
- Coolant..........................................RM30


- Service radiator..............................RM80
- Test cylinder head leakage
 & skim head...................................RM120
- Workmanship................................RM900
- Extractor screws (missing)..............RM90

GRAND TOTAL...............................RM2,977.

Almost forgot, I sent my car twice to BHP Superjet car wash.  Costs RM4 only.  1/2 Manual (human) and 1/2 Automatic.  The result:

What's up in the month of May?

As I am typing this, the Telstar covered 1058km. Now, 153,966km. Previous month, it's 152,908km.  This is despite being in the workshop for 8 days.

Without further ado, let’s proceed to Logbook…


Year of manufactured: December 1998 (registered January 1999)
Purchase price: RM42,000 (Aug 2005)
Current value: RM12,000 (As at March 2010)
Depreciation per year (averaged): RM7,500

Mileage Last Month: 152,908km
Mileage Now: 153,966km
Mileage used May 2010: 1058km

Fuel consumption (so far):
BEST: 10.2km/l (24 December 2009)
WORST: 5.9km/l (September 14, 2009) => 100% City driving

BEST: 8.5km/l on 30 May 2010 (80% Highway driving). WORST: May 13: 6.2km/L, 90% City driving. I used either RON95 Shell OR Mobil RON95 only.

0-100km/h: 10.8 secs (1/1/2010). Previous run 10.4 secs (27/9/2009).

TODAY, As at 31 May 2010,

Expenses (this month):

1) Petrol: 300.
2) Toll: RM100
3) Major repair: RM2,977 (Weng Soon workshop)
4) Parking: RM50
5) Carwash (3 times) RM15.


Before I go, here's some parting shots below:
 ABOVE: Parked outside one of my favourite eatery: HOW YEKEE in Section 17, PJ.
BELOW: The NEAT Engine bay after all the repair...

END OF PART 1!  Thanks for having the time and patience to read this Blog entry of mine...  See you on June 29 2010 for the 24th update...  AN ORIGINAL JEFF LIM'S PRODUCTION.  My original work...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lee DeWyze is the American Idol Season 9 winner!

Lee DeWyze is the American Idol Season 9 Winner

Posted by Kamille Casia on May 27th, 2010

Ryan Seacrest revealed to the public the collective difference between Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze’s vote which totaled to less than 2% at the beginning of American Idol Season 9’s show last Wednesday.

DeWyze 24 years old, was given appraisal by the judges for his live spirit and his voice but his potential was not credited.

While Crystal Bowersox also in the same age with DeWyze’s had wheeled as she started to perform and sing “Black Velvet”. Simon Cowell even said
“You took that song (“Black Velvet”) and you absolutely nailed it.”
The people had judged and it was Lee DeWyze who is the new American Idol.
He even stated this:
“It’s amazing,” said a visibly shaken Lee, shortly before singing his coronation single, Beautiful Day. “Thank you guys so much. For everything. Thank you. Thank you. … I’ve never been happier in my life.”
Source 1:

Lee DeWyze wins "American Idol" as Cowell departs


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Former paint salesman Lee DeWyze was the surprise winner of "American Idol" on Wednesday, beating front-runner Crystal Bowersox on a night that saw the talent show's former champions reunite to bid farewell to Simon Cowell.

DeWyze, a 24-year-old Chicago native, won the coveted title and a recording contract after a nationwide phone and text vote based on the contestants' performances the night before.
"Idol" judges had all but anointed Bowersox the winner after her three songs on Tuesday outclassed a nervous DeWyze. But Americans made up their own minds and chose DeWyze.
"I have never been happier in my life," said a stunned DeWyze, choking back tears after the result was announced at the climax of a two-hour finale that featured performances by Christina Aguilera, Janet Jackson and Joe Cocker.

"It felt like a huge weight is off my shoulders. Now that this big step is done, it's on to the next step, which is to make an album and go on tour and do all the things I've wanted to do for a long time," he told reporters later.

Initially shy, he blossomed in later rounds of the show, and emerged as a serious threat to Bowersox after a rousing version of the Leonard Cohen classic "Hallelujah" last week.
His cover of U2's "Beautiful Day", his first single, was made available immediately on iTunes. His debut album, on a Sony Music Entertainment record label, will likely follow in the fall.
Bowersox, 24, said she had sensed before the show that DeWyze would take the title. "I knew Lee was going to win and people seem to be surprised by that, but I just had a feeling.

"I couldn't be happier for him...We both win. Both of us are going to have very successful careers and we're going to be friends for a long time," she told reporters backstage.

Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees and Alanis Morissette were also among the guest performers on Wednesday, while Poison rocker and "Celebrity Apprentice" winner Bret Michaels played his first live gig since suffering a brain hemorrhage in April and a mini-stroke last week.


DeWyze and the show's high-wattage guests had to share the spotlight with both Cowell, whose departure was described by host Ryan Seacrest as "the end of an era", and former "Idol" judge Paula Abdul.

Abdul, who quit last year after a contract-renewal dispute, got a standing ovation from the 7,000-strong audience at the Nokia Theater when she appeared on stage to bid her old sparring partner a teary farewell.

"My darling Simon. I've worked with a lot of people over the years...but none of them holds a candle to you, my friend.

"I have loved all the fun we had together. 'American Idol' is not gonna be the same without you. But as only I can tell you, it will go on," she said.

Seven past "Idol" winners and more than 15 former contestants appeared on stage singing "Together We Are One" in tribute to Cowell's part in making them stars.
Pulled on stage after a series of flashback video clips of his years on the show, Cowell seemed genuinely moved.

"I didn't think I was going to be this emotional," he said. "I am going to honestly, honestly miss you".

Cowell announced in January that he would be leaving "Idol" at the end of this season to launch a U.S. version of his "The X-Factor" talent show on Fox in the fall of 2011. His replacement has not been announced.

"American Idol" remains America's most popular TV show of the last seven years. But this year audiences have slipped by about 9 percent to an average 23.9 million viewers per episode, compared to a 2006 high of about 30.8 million.

(Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)

Thats all folks, thanks for having the time and patience to read this blog entry...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Star: Dealing with subsidies is serious business...

The Star, Wednesday May 26, 2010

Dealing with subsidies is serious business, it cost RM74bil in 2009


SUBSIDIES in the country, which reached a staggering sum of RM74bil in 2009, will be the thrust of discussion over the next few days as the Cabinet and the public will examine the ambitious plan hatched to minimise and eventually remove the burden to the Government.
The Cabinet is scheduled to meet today to deliberate on the subsidy-removal plan laid out by Pemandu and the public will have their say at the subsidy rationalisation lab open day tomorrow.
The basis of wanting to give subsidies the boot is simple. The cost of maintaining cheap food, energy and services has put a terrible strain on government finances with the fiscal deficit now projected at 5.6% of GDP.

Whatever the case, maybe as one economist puts it that Malaysians may now feel a right of entitlement with subsidies after enjoying the benefits all these years with Malaysia being one of the most heavily-subsidised nations in the world.
One of the main subsidies is for petrol. Subsidised fuel has made the price of petrol in Malaysia among the cheapest in the world

As a percentage of GDP, subsidy expenditure is now at about 11% of GDP compared with 3.5% in Switzerland, 1.4% in France, 0.7% in Britain, 2.7% in Indonesia, 1.6% in India or a meagre 0.25 in the Philippines.

One study puts the average subsidy expenditure for OECD countries at 1.5% of nominal GDP.
Much of the subsidy bill, totalling RM42.8bil, is in the form of social services which include health, welfare, education and scholarships.

While such expenditure is important as it involves directly funding education and healthcare and other services which the public is dependent on, there are components within that category where subsidies can be lessened through better effort to check on wastage and abuse.

“I don’t think people will complain much if they are asked to pay RM3 for outpatient care at a government hospital compared with the current charge of RM1,” said an economist with a local brokerage.

While savings from the huge social bill can be obtained, the biggest and fastest source of savings from the reduction in the deficit will come from the reduction and removal of energy subsidies.

Fuel, either in the form of petrol, natural gas, LPG or electricity, cost the Government RM23.5bil in 2009.

Subsidised fuel has made the price of petrol in Malaysia among the cheapest in the world, as Malaysia is ranked 157 out of 175 countries in terms of having the lowest cost of petrol.
Cheap petrol and diesel prices have also led to wastage and frivolous use of such energy. Furthermore, the amount of smuggling, in the form of fuel, sugar and cooking oil, to neighbouring countries is huge.

The subsidy bill for food, which includes cooking oil, sugar, flour and rice fishermen, was RM3.1bil in 2009.

Analysts agree that the subsidies for fuel and food should eventually go but they caution that the immediate consequence of that, depending on how the subsidies are removed, will have an impact on inflation and consumption.

The planned subsidy removal, which will likely be done on a comprehensive but staggered and gradual basis, may see inflation rising by between 4% and 4.5% in 2011 before coming back down the following year.

“If the rise in fuel price is gradual then people would be able to stomach such increases. What they don’t want to see is a sudden steep increase in the price of fuel as that would see inflation and their disposable incomes hurt,” said an economist.

Dealing with the subsidies is a major concern for the Government now as the mountain of subsidies, which it has to borrow money just to fund, has taken a toll on its total debt.
The percentage of total debt to GDP, which was in the 40 percentage plus point range for much of this decade, surged to 54% in 2009 which also took into account the fiscal stimulus cost incurred to aid the economy during the recent recession.

Economists have said that the implementation of subsidies had been faulty for all these years as they were not targeted to the needy.

Instead, government data shows that 97% of subsidies were given regardless of household income levels. As an example, 71% of fuel subsidies go to the mid-income and high-income groups who can pay for higher fuel prices.

If subsidies can be reduced and utilised to targeted groups, then the extra freed-up cash can be used to improve services and productivity that will improve economic growth in the years ahead.



That's all folks, thanks for having the time and patience to read this article...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's PACMAN's 30th Anniversary and Google is Celebrating!

Google celebrates Pac-Man's 30th anniversary with playable logo

A playable ... logo? That's exactly what web giant Google has today, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man's Japanese release. The doodle (Google's term for its event and holiday-specific logos) is accessible on its main page and is a full 255-level game complete with a 256th level "kill screen," just like the original coin-op.

The interactive doodle -- a first for Google -- is the brainchild of senior user experience designer Marcin Wichary, whose earliest exposure to Pac-Man came at age five while traveling across his native Poland with his father, a game technician, to repair arcade machines. Wichary worked with Google doodler (yes, it's a real job) Ryan Germick to create the finished design.

So, for today at least, you can tell your boss: "I may be browsing the web and playing a game, but I'm also being part of something historic."


That's all folks!  Thanks for having the time and patience to read this blog entry...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Interesting ability of Malaysian Drivers

Interesting ability of Malaysian Drivers

May 20, 2010 by naz 
Many would not agree with the some of the points that are stated below, but if you have opinions meaning my work is done, just to ensure that people read this post. Malaysian drivers are interesting drivers; they have capabilities that would amaze any foreign drivers, such as multi tasking abilities, incredible reaction time, road cunningness, and unity.

Multi tasking ability
  • The ability to text (sms) and hold the steering wheel at the same time,
  • The ability to actually be romantically involved – “Can’t take my eyes of you” but “Can take my eyes off the road”.
  • The ability to drink, smoke and eat while gassing at 120 km.
Incredible Reaction time
  • The ability to swerve at the nick time, especially when from one rear bumper to next lane.
  • The ability to press the brake inches from the car in front due to tailgating.
  • The ability to press the horn and to show hand signal when other cars abruptly overtake.
Road Cunningness
  • The ability to use the emergency lane as an escape route during jam.
  • The ability to follow any emergency vehicle especially ambulance.
  • The ability to slow down and stare in case of accidents in the next lane. (The main cause abrupt jam).
  • The ability to flash on highlight in case of speed trap or police check.
Above are some abilities that were able to be identified, but there are more, Malaysian drivers had been classified as drivers with lack of road courtesy. Isn’t it time to prove them wrong?

ARTICLE: Young men should pay more for car insurance

Young men should pay more for car insurance, says industry group


KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 — The average male in his 20s accounts for one in four car accident insurance claims in Malaysia and should be charged a higher premium, an industry report released today concluded.

Although individuals aged between 21 and 30 years represented only one-fifth of motor insurance holders, their average claims frequency was 47 per cent higher than the 41-to-45 age group.

“A risk rating system would ensure those in high-risk groups would pay more,” said ISM Insurance Services Malaysia Berhad (ISM) CEO Carl Rajendram today.
ISM is a shared services company that provides statistics and information on insurance coverage and claims to insurance companies and takaful operators.

Rajendram urged the government to reform the outdated tariff insurance system that has been in place since the 1970s as it charges similar premiums to both high-risk and low-risk groups.
Comparatively, other markets like the United States and Australia use risk-based rating systems that vary motor insurance premiums depending on risk characteristics such as age, gender, driving record and vehicle model.

Insurance companies in those markets also offer pay-as-you-drive policies where drivers only need to pay for the total distance driven on a rate determined by their driving habits, as monitored by Global Positioning System (GPS) devices installed in their vehicles.

“A risk-based system will provide incentives for road safety, better vehicle safety and security standards, and better driver behaviour,” said Rajendram in his presentation of ISM’s 2009 Motor Insurance and Takaful Statistics Report.

He added that the net claims incurred ratio for third-party bodily injury increased by more than 80 per cent from 2002 till 2009.

A risk-based insurance system would also incentivise express bus companies to improve their safety standards, and vehicle owners to install good safety and anti-theft systems in order to avoid paying high premiums, said Rajendram.

“A total of 21 per cent of buses are more than 20 years old,” he said. “Programmes to phase out these buses should be put in place by the government.”

END OF MalaysianInsider Article. Source:

In my opinion, Malaysia should LOOK NO FURTHER than United Kingdom's FAIR Tiered Insurance schemes.  It rewards Frugal, city cars (Lower group)  and penalise Performance Car (Higher group).  It also rewards Family men and penalise Young and RECKLESS Drivers (Points based).  Here are its "BASIS of Premium Charges".

It is classified according to the following:

1) Gender: Men average more miles driven per year than women do, and consequently have a proportionally higher accident involvement at all ages. Insurance companies cite women's lower accident involvement in keeping the youth surcharge lower for young women drivers than for their male counterparts, but adult rates are generally unisex.

2) Age: Teenage drivers who have no driving record will have higher car insurance premiums. However, young drivers are often offered discounts if they undertake further driver training on recognized courses (eg. Defensive Driving Courses).  Senior drivers are often eligible for retirement discounts reflecting lower average miles driven by this age group. 

3) Driving History: In many Countries, moving violations, including running red lights and speeding, assess points on a driver's driving record. Since more points indicate an increased risk of future violations, insurance companies periodically review drivers' records, and may raise premiums accordingly.

4) Marital Status: Policy owners that are married often receive lower premiums than single persons. One reason is that marriage may be considered an indicator of stronger financial stability within the household

5) Vehicle Classification.  In UK, it's graded according to Groups.  Group 1 (for Perodua Kelisa) to Group 20 (for Mitsubishi Evo).  The higher the groupings, the more $$$ it is.

6) Distance/Mileage based: Insurance are higher in London or Large Cities compared to Countryside OR Suburbs as more cars perceived as Higher risks. 

7) GPS Based System. 

8) Classic Car status.  Classic Car (above 25 years old) tends to have LOW Mileage (RARELY USED), as a result, Insurance Risk lower, hence Lower Premiums.


That's all folks, thanks for having the time and patience to read this article of mine (Partly)...



The judges work overtime to convince us we've witnessed a ''Moment,'' and push hard for a Lee vs. Crystal showdown

By Michael Slezak | May 19, 2010

Image credit: Michael Becker/Picturegroup
''HALLELUJAH'' + CHORUS Lee DeWyze got some serious backing support — not to mention dramatic lighting — on his Leonard Cohen cover.

Like a pizza without cheese or a Beyoncé concert without costume changes, an American Idol season without ''Moments'' (upper-case ones, naturally) is just an impostor, a 43-episode litany of unfulfilled promises, unexplored risks, and underutilized water coolers. And so, as we get dangerously close to the end of the show's sleepy ninth season, I guess we can't really blame its producers for going to almost comical lengths to make our souls stir and our tear ducts activate and our hearts beat double-time, faintly thump-thumping the words ''de-WYZE, de-WYZE, de-WYZE...''

Yes, folks, tonight we were treated to a Very Special Episode in which the combined medical staffs of Grey's Anatomy and House teamed up to cure cancer, the castaways of Lost walked meaningfully across a scenic beach, and David Caruso's Lt. Horatio Caine took off his shades. And then put them back on again. Plus, Julia Roberts stood in front of a boy, asking him to love her.

And what song was playing over this deeply moving montage? Why it was Lee DeWyze, backed by strings and horns and an eight-person Gospel choir, bringing us Leonard Cohen's ''Hallelujah,'' the musical GPS perpetually set to the corner of Emotional Release Ave. and ''Feel Something Already!'' Blvd.

Heck, I'm surprised Ken Warwick didn't think to plunk Paula Abdul in the front row and pay her a full season's salary to seal-clap and shed pure, glistening tears of joy. ''It was you, Lee! It was always you! All this time, I'd been waiting for a Moment, and you were right there, delivering your authentic truth right in front of me!''

The shame of this 20-car pileup of hype, of course, is that Idol's overwhelming desire for a Moment tonight essentially doomed it from ever happening in the first place. I mean, subtlety has never really been the show's strong suit, but its greatest hits — Fantasia's ''Summertime,'' Kelly's ''Stuff Like That There,'' Bo's ''In a Dream,'' to name a few — have always been performances that caught us unaware, that jolted our seats upright and out tray-tables back without any signal from the Captain that something noteworthy was about to go down. Simon's banty-rooster intro — ''We've heard this song before, but I don't think we're ever gonna hear it like Lee's gonna do'' — promised us calla lilies; Lee's eventual delivery of high-quality carnations could only be a let-down by comparison.

But as much as I want to bristle against the great big Idol Manipulation Machine, it's impossible
for me to deny that Lee was, without question, the star of the evening, and that the only satisfying(ish) conclusion to this long and inauspicious Idol season would be a Lee DeWyze/Crystal Bowersox finale. Hey, just because Simon's got a smug grin on his face doesn't mean I'm rooting for it to get wiped into a mask of stunned horror on Wednesday. Not if it means advancing the underwhelming Casey James into the finale.

NEXT: Reading a little too much into the night's proceedings

Image credit: Michael Becker/PictureGroup
SOXY LADY Crystal Bowersox rocked thigh-high leather boots for her rendition of ''Maybe I'm Amazed.''

And anyhow, at this point in the season, I've reached that stage where everything's become an ink-blot test of murky, indistinct motivations. Were the judges genuinely giving Lee the accolades they felt he deserved? Were they trying to level the playing field between Lee and Crystal to ensure the most thrilling possible finale next week? Or were the judges possibly trying to catapult Lee to the role of front-runner, the better to allow their true pet, Crystal Bowersox, to attain the desirable ''outsider'' status that certainly didn't hurt Kris Allen or David Cook? Or was the Lee pimpage merely a means of ensuring against any last-minute surge by Casey, the only person on the planet who still had the ability to thwart the long-expected Lee-Crystal faceoff? Or am I spending too much time trying to look for deeper meaning in the uninspired words of Randy Jackson? Maybe I should choose ''E) All of the above''?
Or maybe I just need to set aside the judges' opinions for a minute and rate the performances on their own merits. Yes, this! So let's get to it, in descending order from ''blew it out the box'' to ''it was just ai'ight for me, dude.''
Lee DeWyze, ''Simple Man'': If ''Hallelujah'' was the slightly overcooked, herb-encrusted lamb shank in port-wine reduction with turnip puree and a chanterelle foam, then Lee's Lynyrd Skynyrd cover was a simple steak, grilled to near perfection, and served on a plain ceramic plate. ('s the wee small hours of the morning, and I'm suddenly craving protein.)

Seriously, though, while it wasn't hyped as such, I thought this was the night's most potent performance — heartfelt, in tune, and absolutely current — and proved that Lee can hold a note for more than three seconds. Perhaps most interesting, though, was the fact that ''Simple Man'' was the only selection from the ''Contestant's Choice'' round that played to a contestant's strengths. I wish one of the judges had pointed out that Lee lazily wore what looked to be the exact same collarless gray leather jacket that he rocked during ''Treat Her Like a Lady'' back in Top 10 Week — remember the good old days, when Kris Allen wore that fuzzy gray sweater or that olive-colored military shirt with the numbers on the shoulders? no? — but at least the guy knows what sounds good on him.

Now if he could just managed to pull together a coherent thought during an interview segment. ''Um, well, I like the song so I like to play it and it's like fun for me to play and sing it because I like it so much and also connect...'' I loved how not even Lee's rabid fans in the audience cared to hear his long-winded explanation for picking ''Simple Man,'' screeching ''I LOVE YOU LEE!'' when he was only halfway through ''articulating'' his thought. Somewhere a poster is being scribbled in strawberry-scented marker: Lee DeWyzzzzzzzz.


Image credit: Michael Becker/PictureGroup
FOR LADIES ONLY? Kara insisted Casey James play to an audience of women and girls. 
NEXT: Maybe I'm amazed that Crystal worked that song so well

Crystal Bowersox, ''Maybe I'm Amazed'':
Like Simon, I activated my most disapproving side-eye when I first heard Ellen DeGeneres had chosen Paul McCartney's not-exactly-greatest hit for MamaSox's ''Judge's Choice'' round. But thankfully, the panelist who doesn't even bother to critique the contestants anymore took her song-selection duties a little more seriously, pairing MamaSox with a midtempo ditty that stretched her upper register and (despite a couple wonky notes) let her rip into the vocal line with the fervor of a coffee-house patron opening 10 packets of Splenda simultaneously.

I liked that Crystal put down her guitar, worked the stage, and stepped it up in the fashion department with a kicky black minidress and thigh-high boots. I liked that she didn't awkwardly gender-flip the lyrics to appease the three percent of the viewing audience who might be offended by hearing her sing the lines ''Maybe I'm a man, maybe you're the only woman who could ever help me.'' I liked that we saw the reemergence of the soulful, bluesy MamaSox that I first fell for when she covered Aretha Franklin back in Hollywood Week. That nice lady belongs in the finale, yo!

Lee DeWyze, ''Hallelujah'': Okay, so I've already established I thought this performance got a wee bit over-hyped in JudgeLand, and here's why: For starters, those mariachi horns sounded like they should've been emanating from a grainy TV set in the background of a '70s crime movie. Which is to say that Tim Urban's stripped-down semifinal arrangement of ''Hallelujah'' was probably the more radio-friendly of the two.

Secondly, this is a song that benefits from a gentle touch, which is not the effect you get when a Chicago paint salesman is struggling to be heard over the top of an eight-member choir. And really, if this performance proved that Lee is ''a fantastic singer and a great person'' (Simon's words) then Jason Castro's heartbreaking season 7 cover must make him a God in Mr. Cowell's eyes. (Seriously, Simon, bow down.)

Anyway, all of this sounds more negative, really, than I actually want to be. But it's hard not to embrace the role of the syrup of ipecac to counteract Kara's toxic combination of ''you are what this show is all about'' and ''the heart of the show this season'' and ''incredible epic moment.'' Lee wasn't kidding when he said ''Hallelujah'' is the kind of song that ''pulls everything out of you,'' because Ms. DioGuardi was spilling crap all over the stage in the wake of that performance. Uh-huh, I said it!

Casey James, ''Daughters'': The bad news for Casey: Simon was right that this low-key jam climaxes with a guitar solo, which isn't exactly the best way to advance to the final two of a nationally televised singing contest. The good news for Casey: He's a better guitarist than he is a singer. Either way, the shaggy-haired singer held up admirably on the Judges' Choice round, especially considering Randy introduced the performance by noting it would be a good direction for Casey ''even as he leaves the show.'' Interesting word choice, Dawg! Of course, then we had Kara ''encouraging'' Mr. James by insisting he perform for his audience of ''women and girls,'' because apparently he's competing on The Double-X-Chromosome Factor and not American Idol. Way to help winnow down Casey's audience for him, Kara! Wait, did you say Casey got to show his ''vulnerable'' side? Sorry, I missed it the first 700 times you used that adjective in conjunction with the guy whose abs you ogled back in the audition rounds.

To give Casey his due, though — and probably for the last time — ''Daughters'' seemed like a comfortable fit, allowing him to settle into a mellow, sexy groove, even if his slowed-down arrangement played up the goat-bleat in his voice. In other non-negative news, Casey's purple, vertical-striped shirt was one of the few successful fashion choices made by a male contestant all season — and in the season 9 sea of black/gray/navy, that's worth applauding.

Crystal Bowersox, ''Come to My Window'' You'd think a musician of Crystal's caliber would have viewed Top 3 week (and especially Contestant's Choice) as an opportunity to take a huge risk, to dazzle the audience by selecting an obscure or unexpected track — think Adam Lambert's ''Mad World'' or Kris Allen's ''Heartless'' — but instead she reached into the fridge, pulled out a Tupperware dish from her past, and served us reheated Melissa Etheridge. The vocal was sloppy — particularly the out-of-tune riffs at the end — and verged on unpleasant on more than one occasion, and the outfit looked like something one would wear to plant potatoes out in the vegetable garden.

Simon blathered on that Crystal has made it through 13 weeks of live performances without compromising herself as an artist, but I'm more interested to know if she's grown as an artist, if she's challenged herself to raise her game and look for new and different ways to entertain her audience. I've been a MamaSox fan all season long, but if she can't answer that query with a resounding ''yes'' next Tuesday, I might abstain from my right to vote — or perhaps even change allegiances.
Casey James, ''Ok, It's Alright With Me'' Honestly, dude should've chosen Kris Allen's delectably boppy ''Alright With Me'' from his jaunty Ford ads instead of the bland slice of album-filler blues-rock from Eric Hutchinson. As Kara pointed out, it's tricky to choose a track that most of the audience doesn't know, because it's harder to establish that you're putting your own stamp on it. In this case, though, it doesn't really matter. Putting a stamp on a bowl of cold oatmeal doesn't mean you're not still staring down at something you've got zero interest in ingesting. Casey, though, is ''just glad to be here.'' Enjoy it while it lasts, dude — in a few hours, I predict your ''journey'' will come to an end.

And now, tonight's scorecard:

Lee DeWyze, ''Simple Man'': A-
Crystal Bowersox, ''Maybe I'm Amazed'': B+
Lee DeWyze, ''Hallelujah'': B
Casey James, ''Daughters'': B-
Crystal Bowersox, ''Come to My Window'': C+
Casey James, ''OK, It's Alright With Me'': C-

What did you think of tonight's performances? Were you disappointed with the song choices? Was Lee as good as the judges said, or was he overrated? And who do you think will and should go home on Wednesday? (I'd vote Casey and Casey.)
Follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.


END OF AN ULTRA LONG  ARTICLE...  That's all folks...  Thanks for having the time and patience to read this article. 

Article 1 & 2: Crystal to battle Lee for "American Idol" title

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Casey James was eliminated from "American Idol" on Wednesday, leaving Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze to battle it out for the title in the finale next week.
James, a Texas guitarist, was voted off America's most-watched TV show after being overshadowed on Tuesday night's performances by his more charismatic rivals.
The 2010 "American Idol" will be crowned live on Fox television on May 26, and win a recording contract.

Image credit: Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup
COLOR HIM SENTIMENTAL Lee was moved to tears while visiting the paint shop where he used to work.

Thu May 20, 2:25 am ET
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze will battle each other for the "American Idol" title next week after guitarist Casey James was voted off by viewers on Wednesday.

Bowersox, a 24-year-old dreadlocked mom, had for months seemed certain to win the top-rated TV singing show. But DeWyze, 23, who worked as a paintshop clerk in Chicago before auditioning for the show last year, has gained steadily in confidence.

His performance of Leonard Cohen's classic "Hallelujah" on Tuesday stunned the judges and brought the "Idol" studio audience to its feet.

Judge Randy Jackson said on Wednesday that DeWyze had "blossomed beyond belief" during the five month-long season.

"I've never wanted to win more than I do right now," DeWyze said.

Bowersox, who a year ago was playing guitar and singing in small-town Ohio bars, also impressed with her version of Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed."  But she seemed amazed when told on Wednesday that she was through to the finals. "I'm safe?" she asked in disbelief.
Bowersox, whose voice has been compared to Janis Joplin, is the first woman to make it to the "Idol" finale since 2007 when Jordin Sparks went on to win the title.

The expected elimination of blond, blue-eyed James followed his lackluster rendition of John Mayer's "Daughters" on Tuesday.

"I'm so thankful for the opportunity and it's been an amazing, amazing journey," James said. "I'm so honored that I'm here."

Wednesday's show included emotional footage of the three contestants visiting their home towns for the first time since they became national media stars, and a performance by 16 year-old Canadian teen idol Justin Bieber.

The 2010 "American Idol" will be crowned live on Fox television on May 26 after a two-part finale, and will win a recording contract.

The Fox TV show has launched the careers of Grammy winners Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson, as well as that of best-selling band Daughtry.

But after nine seasons, audiences have slipped about nine percent this year. In recent weeks, less than 20 million viewers have been watching per episode, compared to almost 30 million in 2006.

Next week also sees the departure of abrasive British judge Simon Cowell from the show. Cowell is planning to launch a U.S. version of his own "The X-Factor" talent show on Fox in the fall of 2011. No replacement has yet been announced for role on "American Idol".

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant)

END OF ARTICLES...  That's all folks, thanks for having the time and patience to read this ARTICLE...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

[WTB]BMW 5-series E39 (A) Touring

[WTB]WANTED  to BUY: BMW 523i OR 528i E39 Touring Wagon.  1998 to 2002.

Price Negotiable.  Location: Klang Valley, Peninsular Malaysia.


1) Less than 3 owners car...
2) Mileage below 200,000km (130,000 miles)
3) CBU with AP cert and Sunroof preferred
4) FULL Spec... 
5) Service History (BY BMW Specialist also acceptable) preferred...
6) M-sport with front bucket seats & bodykit is a BONUS.

Well, there's a saying a picture's worth 1000 words.  Here are more pictures:

 Before I go, here's a parting shot:

Are you seduced by the beauty of 5 series, E39 Touring? 

That's all folks...  Thanks for having the time and patience to read this blog entry of mine... 

Announcement: My Blog now OPEN for Vehicles related WANTED/FOR SALE ad...  FREE OF CHARGE...  Do Spread the news...