When Celebrities Compare Hair

I have my first piece in The Nervous Breakdown, “an online literary publication type deal.” It’s titled “A Tale of Two Nominees: Justin Bieber and Esperanza Spalding,” and it uses the 2011 Grammy awards as a pivot to discuss two very different types of musicians. Bieber you might have heard of. Spalding is a jazz bassist and vocalist.

(Please go read the article. And leave a comment at the end. For complicated technical reasons, the piece had a rough birth, so it didn’t get a lot of promotion. Thus, the comment stream consists mostly of my mom’s friends, which is gratifying, but also makes me feel like a nine year old who’s full of promise … but I digress.)

When I wrote the piece, I spent a little time researching Bieber, especially since I heard that after Spalding won the Grammy for Best New Artist, instead of him, he went to congratulate her. (MTV has video of that encounter, but it’s tiny and inaudible.)

What’s a lot more prominent is a cringe-worthy interview of them together, apparently jammed onto the same stool, where they compliment each other, and each other’s hair … and then Bieber pets her hair.

After I saw Esperanza Spalding perform, I wanted to write about her, and realized that the notoriety she gained after Bieber fans attacked her Wikipedia page made Justin Bieber and appropriate comparison.

But after suffering through that video of him and Spalding at the Grammys, I’m pretty sure I’ll never write about Bieber again.

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USA Today, the top newspaper in the country (circulation-wise), is rumored to be considering offering its writers page view bonuses.” — Business Insider

Mortgage rates change less than Donald Trump’s hair
By Joey Cothaw, USA Today

NEW YORK — Despite tumultuous recent events including a possible federal government shutdown, Glenn Beck leaving Fox, and Matt Lauer leaving the Today Show just like Katie Couric did, the search for Obama’s birth certificate, a revolutionary new diet, and an exclusive set of Kim Kardashian nude photos, fixed mortgage rates were essentially unchanged this week, as the average rate on the 30-year fixed loan stayed below 5%.

Celebrities such as Kate Hudson would make out roughly the same because of unchanged interest rates.

Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year fixed mortgages rose to 4.87% from 4.86% the previous week. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17% in November, when a shop owner in Philadelphia picked winning PowerBall numbers.

“These rates are as stuck as the Wisconsin legislature, but without the Paul Ryan voodoo math,” said an official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so that Wikileaks wouldn’t reveal his sexting habit. “They need help from a Kelly Clarkson hit song, or tsunami video footage, or something.”

The average rate on 15-year fixed mortgages increased to 4.10% from 4.09%. It reached 3.57% in November (read the horoscope for Scorpios), the lowest rate on records dating back to 1991.

“You’d think these low rates would be like bargain Canadian pharmaceuticals, boosting home sales like Viagra or Cialis or Levitra,” the unnamed official said. “Instead, they’re like a sad old Hugh Hefner, leaving those buxom Playboy Magazine Playmates unfulfilled in their intimate lingerie.”

Low rates have done little to boost home sales, which are as stubbornly entrenched as Muammar Gaddafi (sometimes spelled Gadhafi, Qaddafi, Khadafy or Khadafi), the ruler of Libya. Many builders of dream homes have reported a sharp decline in home orders for the December-February quarter.

In Los Angeles (a place of many celebrity sightings and movies), one company said its new home orders dropped 32% from last year. Such declines, the company said, are worse than the drop in U.S. productivity after a Britney Spears crotch sighting, or a Lindsay Lohan drug scandal. “Our business is deader than Elizabeth Taylor,” the spokesperson said.

Many would-be buyers are as hopeful American Idol contestants, but they’re finding it’s no Tea Party out there, thanks to strict credit requirements, unemployment fears and expectations that home prices will fall further, because of the record number of foreclosured homes on the market. (For hot stock market tips, click here.)

The five-year hit 3.25% last month, the lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005 — a year dominated by news of the Iraq War and natural disasters.

The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate loan fell to 3.22% from 3.26%. Three weeks ago, the rate hit 3.17%, the lowest level on records dating back to 1984, the year many celebrities were born, including Prince Harry, Katy Perry, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who was portrayed in the Academy Award-winning movie “The Social Network” starring Justin Timberlake.

Note: Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Karina Smirnoff did not provide additional reporting on this article.