BURNING QUESTIONS: DECEMBER EDITION

When will Linda Ronstadt be loved — by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, that is? The most significant female rocker of the 1970s has yet to be inducted alongside fellow distaff interpretative singers Brenda Lee and Dusty Springfield.

The just-announced 2010 Grammy nominations confuse me. There are too many categories. And how does Beyoncé’s “Halo” get nominated for Record of the Year, while “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” gets a nod for Song of the Year (a songwriter’s award). Is “Single Ladies” a triumph of songwriting over sound? And is there any doubt that in the Album of the Year category, Dave Matthews Band will trump Beyoncé, the Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift? Middle-aged and senior-citizen pop and rock always seem to prevail in that category.

Will Sandra Bullock at long last get an Oscar nomination for her work in The Blind Side? She’s having the best year of her career, and the odds — and Oscar prognosticators — are certainly on her, um, side. That would be one down, dozens of respected but never-nominated thespians (including Donald Sutherland, Mia Farrow, Christopher Plummer, Michael Gambon, Eileen Atkins, Hugh Grant, Jim Carrey, Dennis Quaid, Adam Sandler, Jamie-Lee Curtis, Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, Meg Ryan and Ashley Judd) to go.

So Susan Boyle sold 701,000 copies of her debut album, I Dreamed a Dream, its first week out, thanks to word of mouth, underdog appeal and YouTube (okay, and maybe, to some degree, talent factored in). That’s more than the 2009 releases by Eminem, Jay-Z and the Black Eyed Peas moved in week one. But can she possibly achieve career longevity once the novelty of an ordinary-looking middle-aged pop star wears off? How many dreary, plodding covers of “Wild Horses” can one sit through before throwing up the hands and screaming, “Next!”

Speaking of Susan Boyle, are you digging her makeover (above) as much as I am?

I couldn’t care less about Tiger Woods and his extramarital affairs. The story bores me as much as golf. When will people realize and accept that men cheat? Even the ones who are busy pointing fingers. Remember how John Edwards took to throwing stones at U.S. president Bill Clinton during the whole Monica Lewinsky brouhaha, while in his own glass house he had fathered a love child with a woman who wasn’t his wife?

When will we find out what really happened to MTV Remote Control host Ken Ober? Before his death, the 52-year-old had been complaining of headaches, chronic chest pain and flu-like symptoms. I’m sure we’ll eventually get the untold story, just as we did with the late Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, 33, whose pulmonary edema wasn’t random but rather the result of a congenital heart defect, according to his family. I’m sure the cannabis he reportedly had smoked the night before didn’t help matters. But regardless, isn’t life so fragile?

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