This fall, HGTV hotties Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri will appear in a new show, Cousins Undercover.
If only they’d appear under my covers. (Oops, did I say that out loud?)
You met them two years ago in HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins, in which, as the title concisely spells out, the real-life cousins made over kitchens, usually with a European flair. And heavy on contemporary Italian styling, naturally, the New Jersey contractors being Italian-Americans themselves.
Owing to the pair’s popularity, Kitchen Cousins got revamped in January as Cousins on Call, going from re-doing just kitchens to entire homes, inside and out.
The new Cousins Undercover is like a smaller scale Extreme Makeover: in each episode a deserving family gets a home renovation with the hunky duo and a lot of help from neighbors, family and friends. The show premieres on HGTV in October.
How did the first cousins, “just ordinary guys” they claim, working in the family’s Jersey City construction business wind up as home reno stars? Well, they had a little help from a friend, who filmed the muscle-bound and tattooed duo at work, likely swinging sledgehammers in their tight T-shirts, and sent the video to HGTV executives.
We can only imagine the swoons.
Carrino, 34, could be a double of a young George Clooney, except he’s even more handsome than the movie heartthrob. And 32-year-old Colaneri is adorable, with his high-school-captain-of-the-football-team good looks, all dimples and gleaming teeth atop a linebacker body.
Their first show focused on kitchen redos, possibly because someone couldn’t resist making a pun on the expression “kissing cousins.”
Then success lead to greater opportunities, with the show expanding in scope and morphing into Cousins on Call. The two, who enjoy restoring old brownstone buildings and other large spaces, welcomed the change. After all, they know what they’re doing; they just happen to look really good doing it.
“We had our own construction business before TV was ever a thought for us,” explained John in an interview earlier this year. “Brunelleschi Construction has prepared us for these larger projects. It was just a natural transformation of the show.”
“The interesting thing is the time frames that we get,” added Anthony, referring to working within a tight TV schedule of five or six days per job. “So it’s insane.
“But we really enjoy the challenge, and we’re very passionate about it,” continued Anthony, who co-founded Brunelleschi Construction with his father, Alfonso, in 2004. “And it’s always for a great cause, so just somehow you seem to get it done because of who you’re doing it for.”
Among the recipients of a Cousins makeover were a 10-year-old cancer survivor’s family and victims of last year’s devastating Hurricane Sandy. But they also had lighter fare, such as creating a state-of-the-art theater system for Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom for an episode that aired earlier this year. (Wonder who gets to keep it.)
You might have noticed the boys sport some body ink. In case you’re curious, Anthony says he gets about one new tattoo a year, all of which have meaning for him. So far, he’s up to nine. Adorning his muscly arms, he has the symbol of Florence, Italy, a raven, a hawk and a phoenix; a tree he calls “an art piece” runs up along the side of his torso.
On John’s arms, he has the words “fratelli Colaneri” (Italian for Colaneri brothers), his family crest and on one wrist the start of what will be a family tree. Right now it says, “family is everything” and includes the names of his parents and two brothers. He also has one on his back in memory of a deceased friend.
Successful, talented, gorgeous, sensitive. Yep, these guys have the whole package.
I, along with millions of other devoted fans — and we had to be devoted, didn’t we, to stick around through the flailing plots of the past few seasons; maybe it’s that crush I have on Michael C. Hall — watched with bated breath the Dexter series finale last Sunday. And ever since, it’s been a media blood bath. Reviewers have shown no mercy, cutting it down as if they’d cling-filmed it onto a table in one of Dex’s killing rooms.
And I think the creators of the cuddliest serial killer on any screen thus far are getting a bad rap.
Truth be told, I was devastatingly disappointed. I had hoped Dexter and Hannah would run off and live gorgeously ever after. Even if it meant having that annoying kid in tow. (I also wanted Debra to be happy, even if it was with the scrawny, snaggle-toothed Quinn.)
I genuinely felt Dex deserved it. Apart from LaGuerta and Doakes (and, OK, maybe a couple of others), Dexter just took out the trash — and good riddance to them. Not only did he prevent the all too common scenario of villains remaining on the lose, or being set free because of technicalities or shoddy police work or what have you, he prevented the drain on the judicial system and the cost to the state and taxpayers involved in trials and possible, if doubtful, incarceration. Dexter Morgan was a hero! (And a hottie!) Of course we rooted him on.
Many of us Dexter fans would agree that the series peaked in season 4, with the brilliant John Lithgow as the Trinity Killer and culminating in the shock murder of Rita. The Showtime hit had been sliding downhill ever since and really lost its way with the creepy semi-incestuous feelings Deb had toward her adopted brother. It didn’t need to go there. Really.
But I was happy to see Hannah back. Even I, a hot-blooded hetero gal, fell under her spell. Actress Yvonne Strahovski was luminous, sexy, enchanting — and a better looking pair, homicidal or not, has never been matched. And their love story ranks up there with some of the best ever.
Apart from the silly asides — such as Masuka having a daughter (heh heh heh), for one — the show stayed on the path it had started down: humanizing Dexter. We saw his battle his Dark Passenger, witnessed him gain the upper hand only to fall back then edge ahead again, in a fierce fight for survival. We saw his small victories, and the awe etched in his anime eyes when he realized that a feeling he had always faked had incredibly become real. He did love. And we viewers felt he deserved that.
The series had always had as much humor and humanity as it did darkness, so a couple of killers riding off into the Argentine sunset would have tracked. We fell in love with Dexter. If we were supposed to see anything abhorrently wrong with his unique brand of psychopath, then I for one missed it. What little collateral damage there was could be forgiven. Don’t we forgive it every day, celebrating our military despite the horrific things they’re sometimes compelled to do (bombing weddings, comes to mind), and for what? Isn’t war more about money and power, politics and greed than any humanitarianism?
Watching the episode, my heart stopped the moment it was clear that Deb would not survive; it was equally clear then that Dex couldn’t either. Either he would sacrifice himself, finishing what his sister started when she had tried to drown them both.
Or, more likely, he would punish himself. Not in a real prison, I didn’t think, but in a prison of his own making, all alone and stripped of any chance of happiness. He’d sacrifice himself for those he now genuinely loved — his sister, Hannah and Harrison. Dex would do it even though that is not what Deb would have wanted, as she herself made clear to him on what would be the last time they spoke — go be happy, she implored him, don’t feel guilty about me or anything.
They pulled the plug on my dream ending. I could easily envision Dexter and Hannah decorating any Argentine street cafe with their good looks when they weren’t running the flower shop I imagined they had opened or having beautiful, model sex. I could see them entertaining Deb when she visits, Dex grilling steak, as usual, and probably the best he ever made her given the South American country’s love of and pride in their beef. I easily pictured them showing her the sights and showing off their Spanish.
Eventually, Quinn would join them, loving Deb enough and having had suspected Dex enough not to be shocked when he learns who he had been. We saw that in the interview room when he and Angel watched the video of Dexter stabbing Oliver in the jugular with a pen. In a way, the calm, clinical way Dex put him down was confirmation of his suspicions. But also, it was OK — Dex had after all avenged the would-be murder of Quinn’s true love.
In my hoped-for finale, Miami Metro would go on as it had, its star detective Debra back in the fold and, after finally allowing herself love, much less prone to foul-mouthed tirades and epic bitchiness. But what we got was life and love shattered, Dexter living out his self-imposed sentence on a cold mountain somewhere, at once human finally — and finally dehumanized.
Dexter fans have complained its ending was terrible, to say the least. I disagree. It was fitting in tone and progression to the episodes leading up to it. But it was utterly disappointing. After making us love Dexter, making him the hero, making us cheer him on, the series producers decided to give us all an unwelcome and unnecessary lesson in morality — crime, even justified crime, cannot pay — that seems not a little hypocritical and a lot cruel.
(Yes, it rhymes. And yes, it means what you think it means. It’s an alternative I learned from working with Brits.)
I hadn’t planned on updating my iPad Mini to iOS 7 right away. But after seeing it on my hub’s iPad 3, the old iOS looked dated, so I switched. It’s OK. Looks a bit fresher and brighter. Some changes are useful, but some of my apps don’t work at all or are a bit wonky — including the App Store, which you’d think Apple would take great care to keep functional. Maybe using it on an iPhone I’d feel differently, but my overall reaction so far is, meh.
Apps, of course, are optimizing for iOS 7, mostly with positive results. That is, they mimic the look and work.
But not Zite.
After seeing this one on the hub’s IPad, I wanted nothing to do with it. But stupidly, I accidentally updated it and it’s pissing me off. Here’s why.
The new serif font looks more dated than the previous sans serif but thicker font. And because it’s not bold, it’s harder to read. Headlines you can’t read, can’t grab your attention. Seems a silly change just for the sake of change, and definitely not an improvement.
– Closing articles
The swipe-right feature from the last update was handy. When it worked. But it did for most of my reading, so I do miss it. Now you have to tap the X. [Update: this feature did not vanish, it’s just possibly fussier about where you swipe from. I thought it was gone because for the few days I’ve been using the updated Zite, I couldn’t get any article to close while doing the same motion I’d always done before. But my gripe about the X still stands.]
Previously, the X appeared on its own in the top left, also handy. Now it’s at the bottom next to the back arrow. If you clicked on a link in the Zite-procured article you were reading to open up a new article, you used the back arrow to return to the original article instead of closing out of it altogether and returning to your feed. Being on the bottom left, the back arrow was handily distant from the X that would close both articles. Now that the two are next to each other, it’s too easy to tap the X when you wanted the back arrow, or vice versa.
– Original web page
To accommodate this “improvement” the globe symbol that opened the original web page was sacrificed. It used to live next to the back arrow on the bottom left. This was a feature I used a lot because more often than not, in the conversion to Zite, an article was incomplete or the formatting was messed up or captions or other text went missing, and so on. Now to see the original web page, you first have to get to the bottom of the article where a link to the original web page appears. In long articles, that’s several swipes and wasted time.
These are quibbles I had with Zite — which, yes, I do actually like and use every day — before the last update. And since they have not been addressed, I feel it’s appropriate to mention them here.
Frequently, an article I read the day before, or the day before that, will not only still appear in my Top Stories, but it will appear as a new article, that is, not grayed out. There are usually four or five such stories, annoying because you can’t help but scan the hedes of new articles, so it uses up that extra teeny bit of your time you didn’t need to spend.
For the past month or so, 99% of videos within Zite articles won’t play. At first I thought maybe I was just too late and the video was taken down before I got around to it. But it kept happening. I did a test trying to view every video I came across, even if I had zero interest in, across many different subjects, and realized there was no way that absolutely all of them would give me the same message: This video is currently unavailable/Learn more.
So I did another test: whenever I came across a video that wouldn’t play in Zite, I sent it to Pocket. Then I’d immediately open Pocket and try to play the video. It worked in Pocked every time. This was proof the issue was — is — with Zite. I have to take the extra step of sending things to Pocket that I’d normally just read in Zite and be done with it.
Lastly, all the thumbs up and down I’ve given over the nine months I’ve had my iPad Mini has lead to My Top Stories becoming increasingly repetitive and more limited in depth. Not sure how to get it to learn new interests.
… despite the complaints, Zite remains my favorite news aggregator and it’s one of the few apps on my iPad Mini that I use daily.
Have I missed anything? Do you disagree? Tell us in the comments!