I just got back from New York City, and boy am I freezing. It is cold out there....and Philadelphia's not much warmer, and still seems to be sulking about the Eagles.

Anyhow, what was I doing in the big city? Why, taping an episode of The Caroline Rhea Show, which will be broadcast sometime in May.

It was really fun. Caroline Rhea is a huge fan of GOOD IN BED -- during one episode, she actually held up a copy of the book on camera and talked about how much she loved it -- so she had such wonderful things to say about it ("You're going to fall in love with this character! I guarantee it!")

As for me, I don't remember much of what I said, except that the guest who proceeded me was a standup comic whose routine was about his wife's pregnancy, and how enormous her breasts got. So I think (and understand, this is all still very blurry) that I sat down and said something like, "Oh, yes, that's true, your breasts do get really big." Like the word needed to hear about my breasts. Sheesh! But I think -- although I wouldn't swear to it -- that things improved, and I didn't wind up sounding totally incoherent. Guess we'll have to wait until springtime to see for sure. Also, interesting side-note....I got to use the dressing room that belongs to Seth Meyers on Saturday Night Live, and can report that Seth is very neat.

Other than the stress of trying to find a suitable camera-friendly outfit when you're twenty-seven weeks along and then not sound like Sharon Stone at the Golden Globes once you're on-stage, New York was wonderful. I got to hang out with my fabulous agent Joanna and my wonderful editor Greer and eat barbecue and go see La Boheme on Broadway (looked great, was hard to connect with emotionally...also, if girlfriend is dying of consumption, why does she insist on singing arias outdoors?)

So....more American Idol. That's good. But it's on at the same time as The Bachelorette. That's bad. I started off my Wednesday by switching back and forth between them, and wound up basically ditching Trista in favor of Simon. I'm still having trouble telling the bachelors apart, and I just don't find Trista very interesting (now, if Shannon had been ABC's designated singleton, I think things might have been different), and A.I.'s auditions are fascinating in a sick, train-wreck-ish way.

The part I don't get is why the really dreadful singers set themselves up for scorn and mockery -- and they have to know that's what they're in for. If you make it through the first round and get to face the judges, and you've got an iota of intelligence and a realistic attitude, you know that you've been tapped because either A., you've got real talent, or B., you are so fabulously untalented and/or unattractive that they're just putting you on TV so the judges -- and, later, the nation -- can laugh at you. If you suspect that you fall into Category B, why not say "Thanks, but no thanks," and go home? I know that making fun of the no-talent wannabes is part of the joy that is A.I., but I'm finding it increasingly uncomfortable. Especially when the show goes on to expose/exploit personal information about the contenders, like the fishnet-stocking'd-boxing-single-mother who didn't seem to realize she'd been cast as Wednesday night's sob story.

Finally, on a high-culture note, I am about one-third of the way through the most fabulous book ever: I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith, which was recommended to me by an Irish journalist, who swore that it was fabulous, and she was so right. It's about this seventeen-year-old girl living in a crumbling castle with her father (a writer who doesn't write), her twenty-one-year-old sister, her stepmother Topaz, her brother Thomas, and the servant who seems to be in love with her, and these mysterious and dashing Americans just drove up onto the scene. It's just great -- sort of Jane Austen crossed with Harry Potter with a touch of Madeline L'Engle -- and I'm so happy to have come across it!

Jen