Oh, Justin. Justin, Justin, Justin. Why you got to snark off to Simon like that? Don't you know that ladies love humble even more than we love talented and tuffle-headed? Sigh.

Yes, my American Idol fixation is still raging, and I still love Justin, but Tamyra was also just fabulous on Tuesday night, although I still think that she's more a Broadway belter than a pop star as envisioned by Simon And Co., and Kelly rocked the house. But really, I just want Justin to eat a few slices of humble pie between now and next week. And also sing "Ribbon in the Sky" again. Possibly with no shirt on.

Last night's show was interesting. I was amused to hear the finalists sing "California Dreamin'" and know that, given the show's freely stated bias against the large and less-than-lovely, poor Mama Cass wouldn't have even made it past the first round.

And also -- and pay attention, Fox types -- I want better judges next time. Simon is fine and necessary -- brutal, but necessary. However, Randy is useless and annoying, and Paula is....well,I understand that it's hard to criticize performers who all seem like nice people (except for Ryan, who scares me), but the earth-mama "you did great, just great," is really getting on my nerves. Except that she actually is the perfect judge for this sort of thing. And Simon's got her pegged -- she was a flash in the pan, a several-hit wonder, a product of an era where great videos and faboo production meant more than great songs or great singing. Except aren't Britney and Christina and Beyonce products of essentially the same era? And won't the Idol be, too? Still, we're weary of Paula. Adam and I think they should get Cyndi Lauper for next year. We like her songs better.

So here's what's up -- the tour dates for IN HER SHOES should be posted shortly. Sixteen cities! Four Jewish book fairs! From Boston to Albuquerque to Los Angeles back to Philadelphia! The whole thing kicks off September 26 with a reading right here in Philly, at the brand new Borders location on Broad Street, and then on to NYC.

And we've been playing around with the book's back cover -- the color, the fonts, the quotes, and the dog on the back cover (I think all of my books are going to have dogs on the back of their covers....they just can't always be my beloved Wendell). Anyhow, the pug in the book is a snorty, disdainful, matronly creature who looks at her caretakers "like a dinner guest waiting for the soup course." The first pug to make the cover was this bug-eyed, wild-looking little thing with its tongue hanging out -- the Jenny McCarthy of the canine world.

So I wrote and said, "We need a more distinguished-looking dog." They sent me three pugs to choose from. I picked the right one, I think. When the book comes out, you'll let me know if you agree.

Some recommended reading -- here's Martin Amis, disabusing the notion that I'm the only writer who complains about stuff. Here's Salon on the whole Dale Peck/Rick Moody dust-up ("Rick Moody is the worst writer os his generation!" "Dale Peck is an angry queen!" Heh. I like a vigorous debate about the future of the novel as much as the next girl, but I must admit I like even better when someone gets called an angry queen in the middle).

Here's what I'm reading right now (I saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and there was a trailer for the movie, with Gwyneth looking all scholarly and disturbed, and I thought, ooh, better read the book first), and here's what I just ordered from Amazon.

Jen