April 27, 2005

Volume 35

1. Follow Up On Cults
2. Follow Up On the Oscar's Article
3. Dakota Fanning
4. Fran Drescher
5. And The "Cruelty To Viewers" Award Goes To...
6. The Wedding Of Charles and Camilla
7. Aisha's Guide To PR
8. Photographers or Craparazzi
9. LEGAL FILE: The Michael Jackson Trial
10. LEGAL FILE: Lil Kim
11. Letterman Son Kidnap Plot
12. MUSIC: Brian from Korn, Elvis
13. FILM: Atlanta Killings Parallel Movie "Diary Of A Mad Black Woman"
14. FILM: Fever Pitch
15. FILM: Madonna Canned!
16. FILM: Madonna Allegedly A Film Producer?
17. Madonna and Husband slammed for dressing up like the Pope and a Nun
18. FILM: Alexander The Great Update
19. FILM: Poetic License Or Defamation Of Character?
20. FILM: Right Team Or Wrong Team
21. Britney Spears And The Tabloids Round 2
22. Parents Protecting Their Rugrats
23. Pregnancy
24. Grokster, Mark Cuban And P2Ps
25. SPORTS: Basketball: The Miami Heat
26. SPORTS: Tennis: Key Biscayne Final
27. SPORTS: Perils Of Partying Your Career Away
28. SPORTS: Preventing Injuries
29. HEALTH: Waterlogged, 8 Glasses Of Water Per Day?
30. PETA
31. Blogging Bad?
32. Death Of The Pope
33. Death Of Terri Schiavo


Sound Off Follow Up On Cults

This is a follow up on the February 14, 2005 Sound Off article where I wrote the following about cults:

Another thing, only God knows when that day is, and certain cults are doing unethical, illegal things in trying to bring that day about (for example the branch Davidians were a cult who unethically tried to bring about the end of the world). Cults need to stop that unethical conduct, lest innocent people get hurt...Therefore, to the cults, knock it off with trying to kill people. God wants you to live each day in a good, moral, ethical way, as though it is your last...not try to make it your last. 

On March 12, 2005 a disgruntled cult member, Terry Ratzmann, opened fire on a cult congregation in Wisconsin, killing seven people. 

At first news outlets reported it was a church, but later investigations revealed that it was a cult with 6,000 members.  

I do not agree with people misinterpreting and twisting the Bible. It is such a powerful book as it is, which God put in balance, that any misuse thereof can have terrible repercussions. God even put a warning in the Bible that no one was to add or take away from its contents and it was for this very reason. People should not twist it to suit their purposes or to manipulate people.

Follow Up On the Sound Off Oscar's Article

In the last Sound Off article I wrote about Beyonce and Banderas replacing nominated singers for the performance portion of the Oscar telecast. I wrote of Uruguayans displeasure with Banderas' rendition of "Al Otro Lado del Rio." Well, it looks like the French weren't amused with Beyonce's version of "Look To Your Path" either. Actress Julie Delpy later referred to Beyonce's performance as, "offensive to French people," due to her bad pronunciations, which she says "sounded like Chinese" rather than French.

Like I wrote last month, it's best that the singers that brought the songs to the point of nomination perform them at the show. However, another singer accompanying them, singing the song properly is acceptable.

Dakota Fanning

Photo credit: Wire Image

Dakota Fanning is a talented girl. What a great little actress she is - better than many of the grown actresses in the business worldwide.

I hope Hollywood won't be too much for her. She is so talented as it is and sometimes adults in the industry forget they are dealing with a child, when it's a prodigy, and apply too much pressure on them to comprehend and succeed. I hope things turn out well for her. She really is a talented kid. If there were such a thing as a born actress - she would be it.

Fran Drescher

I wrote about Fran Drescher in the last Sound Off Column. Recently, she was on the cover of the TV guide (no, not the magazine - the one that comes with the Sunday paper) advertising her new show, and yes, she still looks 20 years younger than her age. While she is a talented comedic actress, the important question is...just what is she doing to look like that? When I read her age I thought it was a misprint.

-Aisha looking over Fran with a magnifying glass-

It doesn't look like Botox cause she can still smile and her eyebrows move up an down.

It doesn't look like a face lift cause her face looks natural without that tiger effect from when some surgeons pull the eyes back too far.

What have you been doing, Fran. Then again, maybe she's just been taking care of herself...which would be really disappointing and upsetting.

And The "Cruelty To Viewers" Award Goes To...24

A few months ago my mom told me about the show "24." She asked me to watch it with her and I found the show engrossing.

Question...shouldn't they have named it "1" since most of the action takes place in an hour, hmmm. And do you notice how a day can last two months on "24" hmmm.

Just teasing.

However, I must complain about something...why is it your writers and editors sadistically and cruelly cut the show off each week at pivotal plot points, requiring viewers to watch the following week. Hence the Aisha Music "Cruelty To Viewers" Award.

I know it helps ratings to break the show up like that, but still.

-Aisha mumbling- ...never mind the whole country is left wondering what happened at the end of the last show for the rest of the week, because of where you cut it off...

But it's okay, just as long as you have your nice, shiny ratings.

I'm totally kidding.

The Wedding Of Charles and Camilla

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles got married in Windsor, England. Apparently my invitation got lost in the mail (sob). I'm not upset or anything (sob).

However, I noticed redcarpetmonger Joan Rivers' invitation didn't get lost in the mail -Aisha glaring @ Joan Rivers-. I'm just kidding.

Back to the wedding. Camilla's dresses were beautiful. Contrary to what a few implied because she is not a glamour puss, she's a good looking woman. I saw a picture from twenty years ago of her and the late Princess Diana at a function and they resembled each other.

While I didn't agree with the adultery that was present with both parties in the marriage (Diana and others and Charles and Camilla) that is not for people to judge now. God can forgive, therefore, so should everyone else.

I read articles that questioned the legality of the marriage that happened this month and I hope everything is okay in that respect.

I liked Diana and I do like Charles and Camilla as well, however, if you know the story you'll realize that Diana and Charles were mismated. I'm not saying that was good cause for what happened, but there were many incompatibilities and problems. The whole thing was really sad and I'm sorry their marriage did not work out.

I read books on the subject years ago and realized that Camilla was the right one for him. They dated years prior, but through choices did not end up together then.

A lot of people now can learn from that story. It is important to recognize who the right person is for you from the beginning. It will save you a lot of pain.

However, Diana and Charles got two children out of their marriage and so did Camilla from hers. You have to look at it in a positive manner. People should forgive Harry as well regarding the shirt incident. He has apologized.

On a lighter, more sonic note, you should have heard my mother singing along with God Save The Queen during the ceremony. She sang it and other British songs as a child, as Jamaica came from British rule and she remembers them to this day. The Queen was Jamaica's Queen as well - she still is. Jamaicans have a lot of affection for her.

Joke: they reported on the news from England that they expected rain that day. They said it like they were actually surprised. While I'm thinking, "and that's a shock?" Isn't rain to be expected. Just kidding. I'm teasing my English relatives sitting here in sunny ol' South Florida -raspberry-. No, I'm not mean, really. On a serious note, Windsor looked so lovely.

Aisha's Guide To PR

A good publicist. In the mainstream entertainment industry that statement reads like an oxymoron, doesn't it.

Some publicists actually plant stories in the press that they feel will benefit their celebrity clients, regardless of whether or not the content is true.

Those stories are usually boring and fake. They are the height of celebrity delusions of grandeur -cough- desperation.

There's a publicist who is constantly spinning on behalf of and at the request of her questionable, media whore of a client. It's as though they have the motto of keep her name in the papers every week, even if the story isn't true.

There's another that just invents these incredulous stories all the time to get a certain singer in the paper and mentioned on the news. Some celebrities and publicists work with tabloid journalists in concocting these stories for publicity.

There is a tabloid journalist in London that makes a habit of doing that on behalf of a very questionable singer and her publicist. However, she often goes too far. For example, when she takes material from unpublished copyrighted scripts and documents, that she is not the author of and had absolutely no business viewing, as it violates several international laws, partly due to how it was procured, then applies them to that unethical singer in her boring, less than Sunny column. That type of conduct gets people into serious legal trouble that no solicitor can explain away.

However, said journalist keeps getting herself into more and more trouble, because in her manipulative mind she is a celebrity and above the law. Said journalist should Google herself on the internet to get in check with reality, as the only journalist that catches more written abuse than her right now is...Martin Bashir.

I think the approach of inventing and planting stories is bad. It's so contrived and some of these stories are so implausible that they unintentionally become humorous.

Some of those made up stories are dumber than a valley girl on Jeopardy.

And if you know how challenging some of the questions on Jeopardy can be, you know just what I mean by that statement.

      My definition of a good publicist:

  • One who clarifies stories, not creates them.
  • One who clarifies stories, not creates them, then clarifies them.
  • One who doesn't do the above mentioned to get their client some publicity (you laugh, but it happens). They make up the story just so they can clarify it. That's two spots in the paper over the course of a few days. However, these stories are usually as dumb as can be.

Some things are best left printless, as they don't leave a positive mark on the public's consciousness.

Some publicists believe all publicity is good publicity; that there is no such thing as bad publicity, which is untrue:

  • Look at all the unwanted publicity Michael Jackson is getting with his trial. It's not helping him or his sales.
  • Look at all the unwanted publicity OJ got with his trial. That didn't help him one bit.
  • Look at all the publicity Janet got from the Super Bowl. As I wrote at the time it happened, it will not help sales and later when her album was released, it didn't help.
  • Look at the publicity Madonna got from kissing Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the MTV awards. It didn't help her one iota. Her album that was released right after sold 15,000 copies in the first week, which was very poor, especially for a major label release.

PLANTED ARTICLES

Why do all planted PR articles read the same. It's like they're all reading the same stupid book and following it to the point that even their press releases are almost identical with an "insert celebrity's name here" blank space. They make up the stupidest stories in an attempt to keep their client's name in the papers. That's why reading some stories you think, the publicist made that one up.

Here are some of my favorite, unintentionally funny headlines you commonly see variations of in the press, which are accompanied by my interpretations of their real meaning in brackets. I've used the word celebrity in place of actual names:

  • celebrity is a good role model (if you don't count the debauchery)
  • celebrity is thrifty (less the constant $50,000 shopping sprees)
  • celebrity is thrifty (in paying employees)
  • celebrity has a girlfriend (-cough- in 5 cities)
  • celebrity can't cook (cause they don't eat)
  • celebrity is a diva (insert nasty, godless, self-centered behavior here)
  • celebrity cares about the environment (but has 5 cars and uses a ton of hairspray)
  • celebrity has natural beauty (less hair extensions, make up artists, hair stylists and surgeon)
  • celebrity writes all their own music (less the 20 writers listed in the credits)
  • celebrity produces all their own music (less the real producer who actually produced the song, wrote and made the beat)
  • celebrity writes autobiography (with a ghostwriter)
  • celebrity is an independent mom (celebrity yells: "where's the nanny?!")
  • celebrity discovers new artist (that the A&R guy left in said celebrity’s office after finding them at a club)

COMMON HEADLINES

  • celebrity jets away for vacation
  • celebrity jets back from vacation
  • celebrity jets away again for another vacation
  • celebrity buys house
  • celebrity sells house

BORING HEADLINES

  • celebrity dates celebrity
  • celebrity splits from celebrity
  • celebrity dates another celebrity after split from celebrity
  • celebrity splits from celebrity after splitting from other celebrity

However, the funniest by far are the issued statements containing quotes supposedly from the entertainer that are so above the celebrity's head that you know they didn't say it, but rather the publicist wrote it.

Photographers or Craparazzi

Photo credit: Wire Image

Recently on the news I heard about a few paparazzi going too far in their stalker-like treatment of Reese Witherspoon. They blocked her in the gym, in the parking lot and then wouldn't let her get into her house. She subsequently called the police and filed a report.

Some laws need to be made just for them. Not the good photographers who respect people's privacy, but the ones who have no respect for people's privacy and well being.

First of all, they shouldn't be able to touch you. I see footage of them on the news often literally pushing, shoving and roughing up entertainers to get that frazzled look in their pics. How is that right or acceptable? It should qualify as minor assault.

They shouldn't be able to bump your car to cause an accident, where you have to come out so they can get the pic. A few photographers did that to a pregnant actress and almost ran another off the road - and her children were in the car at the time. That is going way too far, as it's endangerment.

They shouldn't be able to engage in high speed chases. After all, such behavior by the paparazzi caused Prince Diana's untimely death (which I also wrote about on here a few years ago).

I never could reconcile the fact that even as she lay there dying in the car after the crash they caused, they were clicking away, one even pushing a bystander out of the way that wanted to help her, as it was blocking his shot. It's almost incomprehensible.

Have you ever seen them darting towards a target with such force that you think they are going to end up running over the person they are trying to get the pics of.

With certain photographers the gloves really come off. They'll do anything to get that pic - and some of them reportedly make 6 million dollars a year. That's ridiculous.

Fair game? I think it's an unfair game the way some members of the press and paparazzi treat people.

I hate that about the concept of celebrity. It turns real people into cartoons for others amusement - even the reluctant ones. Some really put themselves out there, and in a sense the press feels they deserve anything they can dish out, but what about the ones that only care about their work and not the other industry garbage. Why should they be subjected to that?

LEGAL FILE: The Michael Jackson Case

  • A bodyguard alleged he saw Michael Jackson performing a sex act on a boy, seeing this he was shocked, therefore turned and left the room.
  • A maid alleged she saw him in a fogged up shower bathing naked with a boy, seeing this she was shocked, therefore turned and left the room.
  • A chef alleged he saw him fondling a boy (Culkin), seeing this he was shocked, dropped the fries he just made, turned and left the room.
  • The mother of the boy in this trial alleged she saw him licking her son's face on a plane, seeing this she was shocked, therefore turned and left the cabin.

My question is, why is it all of you allegedly witness all this stuff, then turn and leave the room without kicking someone's teeth in. I am not for violence, but in a case like that, even a knee to the groin...

If I had worked for or been around anyone and saw them do any of the above mentioned, I would have knocked them out then and there. That's like seeing someone getting mugged and beaten up in an alley and you look for a second then walk away. Why didn't you all stop him, then? Why did you just walk away if you saw something like that? It just doesn't make sense.

If I witnessed any of that for even a second, you better believe I would have stopped it. He would never "shamone" or "moonwalk" the same again and sing soprano for the rest of his life.

But these witnesses allegedly saw all this stuff and looked the other way...towards the tabloids!

You see a child being harmed and walk away to go tell the tabloids, rather than get the person off the child immediately and call the police right then and there. That just doesn't seem right at all.

And it's obvious these kids are being coached. It's showing in their answers and as a result the defense lawyers are getting them to contradict themselves.

When you tell the truth it is very difficult for people to do that. The stories will corroborate. I know sometimes people have memory lapses, but blatant memory lapses that look like lying aren't good.

I read an excerpt from the transcript of the previous molestation case and the young man said Michael Jackson's behavior "graduated to kissing me." When I read that the statement seemed odd, as not many 13 year olds use the term graduated in that manner. It sounded like something an adult would say and it made me wonder about what the young man said and whether or not it was truthful.

I'm not defending Michael Jackson nor am I defending his accusers, as I only want justice to be served, but certain elements of the case comes across as coaching and others as incredulous (the witnesses continually walking away after seeing the alleged misconduct). This is part of why people don't know who is telling the truth and who isn't. In the service of justice, this isn't good.

As with any case, the truth will speak for itself. If you try to prep it, rehearse it, rephrase it, embellish it, it will backfire in the face of a competent litigator.

In cases where there is coaching or tampering, the evidence becomes tainted and a thorough lawyer will find it.

In cases where that happens, if the person is innocent a good lawyer will find those discrepancies and use it to vindicate their client. If the person is guilty, it will taint the case to such a degree that the jury will not be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you are telling the truth, it's best to leave the evidence alone. With the OJ case, the evidence was tainted and that cast so much doubt on the entire proceedings. Some just didn't know what to believe because of that.

A good lawyer and investigator will put it all together and find the missing pieces. And if you're not telling the truth and play with the evidence, a good lawyer will find that as well.

On shows like CSI the criminal cleans up the crime scene, but CSI goes in there, finds where the criminal talked, extracts two million forms of DNA from the airborne germs, pins the crime on them and then sends them to jail. Ok, I'm exaggerating.

However, the premise of certain shows like that is real in that a good, tidy, thorough investigation is better than tainted or planted evidence to infer guilt.

You should always think about credibility and just how much water it holds.

LEGAL FILE: Lil Kim

This story was really sad. The people she apparently tried to protect turned on her. I always say when people get to a certain level of celebrity; they need to leave certain people behind. It sounds harsh, but once you get to a certain point, there are people who do questionable things that can get you into trouble. It may hurt some people, but certain individuals you have to walk away from for your own sake.

That's not to say that there aren't some who won't stalk you and try to muscle their way into your life. Still, you have to be careful.

Letterman Son Kidnap Plot

Someone tried to kidnap talk show host David Letterman's son. Thankfully, the man he approached to commit the crime told the  authorities and the FBI apprehended him.

It's really sad the way people prey on celebrities sometimes. You really don't know much about Letterman, as he leads a very private life. He doesn't go out much, evidenced by the fact that you don't see many pics of him in a public setting. I can't say I blame him, as it's a crazy business.

However, someone still targeted him anyway. His only son and someone wanted to kidnap him for money. Some people just don't care what they put others through.

I remember when I heard on the news that Letterman just had a baby (well, not literally, as that would be very painful for him to give birth - just kidding). They showed a clip of him talking about it and he looked so happy. He was beaming. His first child. Then they showed a pic of this adorable little boy - the baby didn't have a care in the world. Yet all of that was looming in that someone saw him as a meal ticket.

I find it amazing that a person can stay out the spotlight when they're not working, yet be targeted anyway. It's sad to think that someone would do that to another human being for money. The whole thing was cruel, but I'm glad things turned out okay.

It's kind of ridiculous and disturbing when you think about it - that as a celebrity or someone with money (Elizabeth Smart's family), you can't even hire a person to paint or work on your house without worrying if they have an agenda. Or that as a public figure you have to go around with an insane amount of security because of a few unethical people in the world.

I remember when I met the late Johnny Cochran - he had an incredible amount of security. We were at a restaurant and these tall, hulking looking men came in and started looking around. In total, the number grew to about 6 burly men. I'm sitting there looking at one of them near our table wondering, "what's with the secret service earpiece." The guards had gone ahead of him to check out the restaurant, then ushered him in and later ushered him out. However, I must note, he was still nice and genial in spite of all of that surrounding him.

The reason he probably needed all that security was because of the OJ Simpson trial. Even though this was years after the trial he still needed security, because you just never know with people. You don't know who will flip out and try to harm you.

Then again, people target non-famous people as well. On the whole you have to be careful of who you let into your home and your life.

Brian from Korn, Elvis

I read that Brian from Korn has become a Christian. Good for you. A few of his friends who are into rock and the showbiz lifestyle questioned his decision. However, I question anyone's decision in following the industry lifestyle.

I remember I saw a show once that featured a cousin of the late Elvis Presley. On the show, he recalled the final chat he had with him the night before he overdosed. Elvis told him to continue in his faith in God and not go astray as he had.

Even at that point it still wouldn't have been too late for Elvis to get back on his feet, but drugs claimed his life before that happened.

I wasn't a fan of Graceland for the simple reason it became idolatrous in the way people caricaturized his life, when he was a real human being with a nice voice. I knew about his mainstream hits, but I knew of his gospel recordings as well and they were very nice.

Back to what I was saying...

That lifestyle will take its toll on you and if you're not careful claim your life. 

I was raised in the industry and I can't name one artist whose life has been made better from living that drug fueled, promiscuous lifestyle. However, I can give you a long list of names containing hundreds of musicians and actors who have overdosed, damaged their health or died from living that industry lifestyle.

The industry itself isn't bad per se, it's what people choose to indulge in.

Many entertainers are suicidal. They put their bodies through so much with the drugs, drinking, gambling and promiscuous sex that their emotions go haywire.

I'm not saying Christians are perfect, cause we're not. However, the understanding of God and how things really work in life is invaluable. You spare yourself a lot of pain by not making certain choices and or realizing the error of your ways and changing them.

Film: Atlanta Killings Parallel Movie Diary Of A Mad Black Woman

I noticed some similarities in the Atlanta courthouse killings that claimed the life of 3 people last month, to the film Diary Of A Mad Black Woman.

  • In the film there was also an Atlanta courtroom shooting.
  • In the film she left her incapacitated husband in the house for 3 days without bathing him. She also physically attacked him for verbally abusing her again. In the case of the shooter, he held his former girlfriend in the house for 3 days against her will and assaulted her.
  • In the film the lead character was abusive with his wife. The man apprehended for the Atlanta shootings was arrested for being abusive to his girlfriend. Both were about domestic violence.

However, having written that, the suspect was incarcerated at the time of the film's release, therefore he did not view the movie. 

FILM: Fever Pitch

Fever Pitch is about a Boston Red Sox fan. That's all I know about it and that's already too much (joking). Though I haven't seen it, the film is blatant, shameless propaganda. Basically, I haven't a clue what I'm talking about cause I'm talking trash on behalf of the Florida Marlins. Have to look out for the home team.

Speaking of that, the Miami Marlins would have been a really catchy name. Why do we have to share them with the rest of the state.

Note to self: avoid the rest of the state until that joke wears off.

Ben Affleck probably sponsored Fever Pitch with his Red Sox loving self (joking).

Speaking of Affleck = good actor, bad roles. I saw him in the Sum Of All Fears and he was excellent (that wasn't a bad role or script, but I didn't take to some parts of it). However, judging by trailers of his other works, he undertook a few roles that didn't fit his talent.

Then he caught a major brick with Gigli. Hey, it happens. But you know my motto - at least you didn't get, um, Swept Away.

Speaking of Swept Away...Let's move right into our next segment, shall we...

FILM: Madonna Canned

She should be caned too for crimes against cinema.

First the canned music -cough- lip-syncing, now news that she's been canned by Cannes.

Madonna's so called documentary film was Swept Away by The Cannes Film Festival in France. It's not like it was a real movie, anyway.

Besides, Madonna and cinema do not go together. According to many internet sites she killed Ritchie's career with Swept Away - a film his former partner wanted Penelope Cruz in. While I did not see Swept Away, I saw several excerpts of it on different shows and I could totally picture Cruz in that roll. Madonna's inorganic, lackadaisical performance destroyed it.

You know, the funny thing is had Cruz or a Belluchi been in the film it would have been like a little indie success with credibility. It would have come across a lot differently. Cruz and Belluchi have presence and charming accents, so it would have worked with Giannini.

Speaking of accents, Madonna's British accent is pretty bad. Gwyneth Paltrow puts on a pretty good British accent, hey she fooled Chris Martin of Coldplay (just kidding), but that just hasn't rubbed off on the thieving Materialess girl.

I read an article where the subject of a biopic, Joan Hannington, said she did not want Madonna to play her in a film about her life, which she says a certain someone wanted Guy Ritchie to buy, so Madonna could play her in the film.

However, Hannington didn't want Madonna playing her because she said she can't act and her British accent is terrible. I thought she was kidding (not about the acting part, I already realized that doozey). I'm mean, how do you ruin a British accent.

It wasn't until I saw an episode of Blue Peter that I realized what she was talking about. The accent was indeed bad, particularly the way she said the word fantastic. Um, the word is not pronounced fintastic.

While I'm writing about the talentless wonder...meaning I'm wondering how she got that far with no talent.

I read a little blurb on the net about the sexual harassment and wrongful dismissal suit brought against Madonna, Mark Morgan, Guy Oseary and their den of thievery, Maverick and how it has placed the untitled project they are working on, about a robbery at the Miami Grand Prix, in jeopardy with Puffy who has a part in the film. The article mentioned Puffy being apprehensive about the suit.

First of all, wasn't there a storyline regarding a robbery and misconduct at the Miami Grand Prix on CSI last year. Why are you lot so fond of using copyrighted property that doesn't belong to you. Just what else have you added to that script!

Another interesting headline, which relates to that...

Madonna Allegedly A Film Producer?

A headline blared, "Madonna all set to become a film producer"...yes, but whose films is she producing?

Who is the true copyright owner of the works the nefarious witch is allegedly producing with her accomplices, I mean coworkers.

Hollywood needs to ask itself that very serious, consequential question, as the legal fall out from it is not going to be pretty.

The film "Material Girls" starring Hillary and Haylie Duff, among other Maverick announced projects, is not hers and infringes my copyrighted film works/scripts that she has managed to get her grubby hands on. She is putting forward the lie that the film is based on her song "Material Girl," but it is not. If you read the lyrics to "Material Girl," which is about a woman sleeping with men for money and gifts, and compare it to the film synopsis and information that has been released for the infringing film "Material Girls," you realize that it's not inspired by the song at all.

However, it matches a script I wrote and copyrighted way before they made the announcement they are doing this infringing film. My film is about two sisters fighting over a company and one is the CEO. Her rip off movie "Material Girls" is about two sisters fighting for a company and one is the CEO. Moreover, I also wrote another film called "Contemporary Girl" after my song of the same name. Furthermore, my song "Contemporary Girl" is the one about the CEO.

That idiot has been going around Hollywood making deals with my copyrighted works. These unlawful events and all the parties affiliated with these rip off projects of hers, have been included in the forthcoming lawsuit against her and all of you deserve it for signing your name to and taking credit for a project you know you did not create or author. What's more, judging by what I've read about the film "Material Girls" and how they are producing it, it's a flop waiting to happen.

Madonna Sued For Shafting Director

According to papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Madonna shafted a director out of almost $350,000 in fees and expenses he covered at her request (well, it'll be well over that when the legal fees are counted). She is an absolute thief, for more on that click here.

She contracted him to fly to Miami, Seattle, Nevada, parts of England, France and Portugal to film her at her talentless best. On her behalf he scouted locations, hired different film crews, who are suing her as well, to shoot the projects in each city - and as you know if you've done any kind of on location filming in multiple cities, that can get quite costly. It's not cheap to follow a narcissistic singer around with a camera.

Upon seeing footage from the ghastly, chaotic, contrived show CBS and HBO passed on buying it for the requested 10 million dollar fee. However, the director cannot be blamed for content - that was her doing. She decided to turn the show into a confused mess. Unable to unload the turkey, she decided she wasn't gonna pay him all that was owed.

And before anyone tries to put a spin on it, Hamilton isn't some two-bit director trying to make some money off poor, defenseless Madonna.

You notice anytime someone brings a lawsuit against certain celebrities they try to cut them down and defame them in the press and in court, because, you know, everyone in the public is incredulous and opportunistic and only celebrities are decent, honest, hard working people - not!

Hamilton has directed the Brit Awards, which is the British equivalent of the Grammys. He has also directed projects for U2, Robbie Williams, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears. According to the suit, he has requested payment several times and Madonna has acknowledged she owes him, but still will not pay him. He has email confirmations of their business dealings and an oral agreement.

Having an oral agreement with Madonna is like having an oral agreement with the Devil. It is worthless. It's the same way she shafted another director in 2002, Vincent D’Onofrino, who sued her for cutting him out of the remake he pitched to her for the film Swept Away - while she and her husband collected millions in advances and budgeting to make the future flop.

Dude, just try to get your money in court for your film remake they stole, go home and thank God that you don't have that heinous, ratchet piece of film work, due to the acting, on your résumé.

Ironically in that case, Madonna's lawyer, Marvin Putnam, said no contract was signed between them and D’Onofrino, whose lawyer, Morris Getzels, said they had an oral contract. Oral contracts are legally binding.

Do you see a pattern here? She keeps reneging on oral contracts and shafting people after she's gotten what she wanted (and more than she bargained for with the flops). It's the same thing again with Hamilton. These oral and sometimes written (Warner and Maverick) contracts with Madonna mean nothing, as she is a very dishonorable person (it was reported that she tried to renege on the terms of Maverick's contract with Warner as well).

However, this misconduct is characteristic of her, judging by all her lawsuits, as they show she has defrauded many writers, singers and directors out of millions of dollars. It's what's helped to build her fortune that she is so proud of, much of it she did not earn. A lot of it was based on songs, films and works she stole from others, as attested by numerous lawsuits and allegations of theft. She is quite shady, craven and cutthroat when it comes to money, which is very unbecoming.

She has this disgraceful view that everyone's work and labor are there for her to steal or use for free, even if it violates their rights.

I've read a few message boards where dismayed fans are trying to figure out what's going on with her career these past two years, as it took a precipitous decline, she has become increasingly scatterbrained and unable to complete anything, even with a big staff. Projects they waited for stalled or were cancelled and many that were released just didn't make sense.

She recently decided to manage herself, when she knows absolutely nothing about management- and it's showing. I credit Fred Demann with building her career and Maverick, but then she shafted him as well. Shortly after things went right downhill for that whole enterprise. Maverick racked up 72 million in losses not long after she unceremoniously gave him the boot.

According to reports, her Reinvention Tour documentary was shunned by Cannes because it wasn't up to their standards. Other projects by her have left many baffled as well, due to the fact that they just don't make any sense.

It's her own fault. She's trying to do too much, that she clearly does not have a talent for, with works that do not belong to her, that she does not understand. Hence all the confusion, cancellations and incompletion.

The concert footage in this latest lawsuit started off as a concert DVD. Those are standard. However, coveting what Moore did at Cannes, she decided to make it into a documentary film. Yea, if you say so.

Don't you just love it when entertainers try to make more of their work than it actually is - the thing was a concert DVD, not a film. It may have been shot on film, but a film it is not.

Then in a nonsensical twist, cause she's having difficulty getting into a real movie, she decided it was going to be a film about humanity. Oh where did that idea come from.

It all sounds like a right mess, trying to do all that in one pseudo-doco and that's what it's proven to be based on reports.

Maybe if she would stop stealing other people's work that she does not understand, therefore cannot do justice to, does not have a talent for and is ill equipped to make, then she would gain some focus.

Maybe if she would stop interfering with other people's copyrighted works and projects, constantly ripping them off, she would gain some focus.

She's running around like a headless chicken making deals all over Hollywood with copyrighted works that do not belong to her, that she is ruining and will take many other people's careers and credibility right down the toilet with her. She's done that already with Swept Away, with more dramatic failures of the same to come.

It's like trying to figure out a puzzle you do not have all the pieces to. It will never work.

Only set her up for more failure, financial losses and critical abuse. It's a recipe that can only spell disaster, as has been proven with her. Yet it's a recipe she keeps utilizing.

Like an uber idiot, she keeps running into that wall headlong.

She's trying to be all these things that she is not and never was, while not paying attention to the blaring fact that it has irreparably eroded her career over the last two years.

Let me ask all of you normal, uncovetous people a question...say you were doing something bad and you kept getting burned for it, would you continue to do that thing that keeps getting you into trouble?

To a normal person the answer to that question would be a resounding no.

Madonna And Husband Slammed For Dressing Up Like The Pope And A Nun

Over 1.5 billion people were concerned about his fading health and Madonna convinced her husband that it was the appropriate time to dress up like the Pope and a nun - and without apology. The inane, imbecilic stunt caused great offense around the world.

What made it even worse is he died days after. Her rep Liz Rosenberg tried to put a spin on it. How many times are you going to do that to justify her abhorrent conduct. It's becoming like a broken record that people just don't listen to anymore (get it? a record people don't listen to cause it's broken). I agree with what the Rabbi said, you're a smart woman - why you choose to rep someone you have to do all that demeaning spinning for is ridiculous.

If you do anymore spinning for her you're going to become a tornado.

...Doesn't Madonna look like Faye Dunaway in Mommy Dearest in the next pic, especially the look on her face:

Speaking of Mommy Dearest, why do her kids always look so sad in pics. Maybe if she'd stop using them as a fashion accessory...

They are adorable children, but their mother's judgment is very questionable. I mean, using your 6 year old to usher in you kissing two singers half your age reeks of bad judgment and exploitation. Then to go on national television on ABC and when quizzed about the lapse, well, pervasive poor judgment, say she kisses her girlfriends on the mouth when they come over to play and that it's normal for her. That isn't normal for any little girl. I found that more disturbing than the little girl being used to usher in the kiss between her mom, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

There was an article that stated her daughter receives hundreds of dollars in weekly beauty treatments at a salon. Is that really appropriate. What could possibly necessitate beauty treatments at age 7. None of that stuff is normal. Children's skin isn’t supposed to be put through that, as it's more sensitive.

What does all of that odd treatment and bad examples do to a child. Kids need stability and normalcy, not ushering in perversion, kissing other little girls on the mouth and weekly hundred dollar beauty treatments. It's all highly inappropriate and very dysfunctional. Children are not guinea pigs or fashion accessories.

America is a great place. Britain is a great place. However, if a parent has bad judgment, it won't matter where a child is raised. The good present in both countries will be null and void if what a child sees in their immediate home is detrimental. 

It’s one thing if you want to mess up your own head, but to mess up your kids' as well is inexcusable. God didn't give you those children to do things like that. It's not normal and it's not good for them to be exposed to such things. They deserve more than that.

I know parents make mistakes, but there is a difference between mistakes and dumb stuff. There is a difference between mistakes and sheer carelessness.

Money can't buy love; apparently it can't buy class, talent, good taste, good parenting skills or sense either.

FILM: Alexander The Great Update

It seems there were threats of a lawsuit from the Greek Lawyers Association against Oliver Stone and Warner Bros for their inaccurate depiction of Alexander the Great, portraying him as gay. In Greece, he is a national hero and they took offense to Stone rewriting history, as he has done before, the film JFK, and passing it off as historic. The Greek Lawyers Association wanted Stone to put a disclaimer on the film saying it was not historical, due to the changes he made that had no basis in reality.

However, the film bombed and another filmmaker who had been making an Alexander The Great film at the same time said he would continue with his, in light of the Stone' flop.

Stone failed to conceptualize a brilliant concept. Alexander the Great could have been an epic. Good idea gone...

FILM: Poetic License Or Defamation Of Character?

The films The Perfect Storm and The Amityville Horror raise questions about the liberties some studios and directors take with biopics and historic figures in their attempts to rewrite history for the sake of cinema.

A widow recently sued Warner Bros. for casting her late husband as an alcoholic that took his life. She argued that she and his daughters now have to live with what Warner Bros. did in defaming him.

However, she lost the case against Warner. Good for the old corporate image - a poor little old lady, who is a widow, sues because her husband was defamed in a film, she lost and had to pay the uber multinational conglomerate Warner's legal fees.

If that's not a "what you talking bout Willis" moment I don't know what is.

Recently, George Lutz, whose life is featured in the film, "The Amityville Horror" said they defamed him for the sake of cinema.

How can directors and studios get away with that?

Should studios be allowed to rewrite your life, essentially rewriting history, branding you undesirable, defamatory things you never were, for the sake of cinema?

Let's turn the tables, shall we. Let's say a new director were to do a film about a well-known major director or studio CEO, and decided to make him a pedophile in the film. Oh, got your attention now.

Would that be right? Would it be appropriate?

How come certain filmmakers make it a habit of rewriting history at other people's expense.

Right Team, Wrong Team!

While Alexander The Great was a less severe example of how a remake or biopic can go wrong and bomb, there are more extreme cases.

Writers of original material or remake projects also need to beware. Just because a script is a good idea, has a good concept or reads well, doesn't mean it will translate as such if the wrong team works on it, in terms of putting it into production.

Swept Away for example... As I wrote above, done differently and with a different actress, would not have bombed the way it did. Now the writer is stuck with an unfair title of the worst film in history and it wasn't even her fault. It also destroyed the sequel she was trying to pitch.

Not every film script will turn out right. If it is in capable, talented hands with a true understanding of it, with proper talent in the picture, the chances of good cinema are very high.

Not everyone has a talent for filmmaking. Some take on projects they can't do justice to (even though they think they can), while others steal projects and destroy them with their profound lack of talent and understanding of what the real writer envisioned and wanted to conceptualize.

I reiterate writers beware. Just because a big name wants to do your film doesn't mean it will succeed and bring you the results you desire. You may be placing your script in the hands of someone that will destroy your legacy (and theirs) for having been apart of it.

Britney Spears And The Tabloids Round 2

Remember in the last Sound Off Column where I wrote about Britney's rip off Column Streams Of Consciousness, saying it ripped off this one in theme, style and even initials.

Well, the people at Music Today in conjunction with Britney have renamed it Love B: Streams Of Consciousness. Oh, it's not the same at all now (rolls eyes). Also, Music Today, why is it the new site you made for her rips off the menu/site navigation from indie musician Geoff Byrd. I read about him in the papers last month, and I guess you all did as well.

And about that Madonna site you all made and host...

Britney Spears Pregnant

Well, it was all over the news that Britney Spears is pregnant. Congrats to her, but I have a question.

Why did she cuss off the tabloids about printing lies about her when they were right in that she is pregnant. When you do things like that, in the future you won't be believed when you say anything and -gasp- you end up giving the tabloids credibility, which nobody really wants.

However, it is good that she is pregnant. I hope it gives her focus and a new appreciation of her audience, in that she will not subject them to vulgar shows anymore (hey, her audience is laden with kids, not adults). Hopefully, being a parent will give her a sympathetic understanding of trying to protect your child from the not so great things in this world, and in that clean up her own act, so to speak, well, write.

Parents Protecting Their Rugrats

I've often wondered what it must be like being a parent and having to protect your children from bad influences. And I have come to this conclusion - being a parent is one of the biggest responsibilities in the world.

You are responsible for this little person that's looking to you for love and guidance - not to mention money LOL.

I've been blessed with good parents that provided well for me by God's grace. On the contrary, there are some parents whose improvidence left much to be desired and their children floundered as a result.

Still, parenthood looks like it's great and if you do your best, use good judgment and act with prudence, you'll do a good job.

Pregnancy

A few points pregnant women should keep in mind:

  • Give up smoking and drinking - they can cause problems with the baby such as diminished intelligence, respiratory problems and birth defects. People shouldn't be smoking around pregnant women either.
  • Avoid excessive flights - as I wrote on here about a year ago, it is not good to take flights during certain stages of pregnancy. I know some celebrities constantly take flights in regards to their job, but it can cause problems like a detached placenta and oxygen depravation, which is not good.
  • Cut back on work - when a woman is pregnant the best thing she can do is relax, cut back on work and stress (that includes husbands not upsetting their pregnant wives).
  • Eat and sleep well - It is also important to eat and sleep well. Once again, no booze.
  • Medication - check with your doctor regarding the medications you take, as it maybe harmful to the baby.
  • Spend less time on your feet. One of my good friends had a miscarriage because her boss was unsympathetic to her and had her working on her feet several hours a day whilst pregnant. It being her first pregnancy, she didn't realize that she was not supposed to be on her feet so much. There are actually guidelines for how many hours a pregnant woman should be allowed to stand up each day.

I've noticed for some time now that some pregnant women have difficulty adjusting to pregnancy in terms of their schedules and habits. I guess some women don't make that connection that when you are pregnant it is okay to slow down, to ask people to do things for you, to sleep more than you usually do, to take longer to do things because you can't move as fast as you used to.

It’s not the time for yoga or strenuous exercise either, as that can be harmful. Speaking of that, I saw something on the news the other day about Yoga for babies and I wanted to slap the instructors. Then right after, a doctor was interviewed who said it's not a good idea exercising babies via yoga, which can strain their muscles.

The funniest part of the show was the segment featuring a few moms exercising their babies via yoga. One mom was exercising her son's legs. They did a close up of the baby and he had this serious look on his face like, "what are you doing?"

Grokster, Mark Cuban And P2Ps

In the last Sound Off Article I wrote about the disc burning industry giving the public the tools that are slowly eroding the music and film industries. Apparently Mark Cuban doesn't think so. He thinks the technology used on p2p sites is great.

Mr. Cuban, what if the industry created a P2P program just for your bank accounts and your children’s trust funds - and took all your money. You would go postal. Well, that's what these p2p's are doing to labels, their artists and their artists’ children - robbing them of their royalties also known as money.

I am not against technology. However, I am against questionable technology. To say the industry is against technology is a weak defense presented by those in favor of p2ps, to enable them to continue stealing intellectual property that does not belong to them.

If you have no content to host that you are the lawful owner of, what are you doing with a p2p?

The industry is technology based, therefore how can it be argued that it is against technology. It's just certain technology, via programs used to commit copyright infringement, intellectual property theft and other crimes, that should be illegal or illegal in the wrong hands.

Certain money presses or official currency paper are illegal in the wrong hands. It's only supposed to be used by official treasuries. The actual technology is not wrong, but in the wrong hands it becomes illegal. I even read a government article that stated it is "illegal to reproduce paper used to make U.S. currency."

That is the appropriate analogy for what has been transpiring with those copyright infringing web sites. I think this premise should apply to the p2p site programs as well.

Don't outlaw technology, just set proper guidelines for lawful usage and strict penalties for violations thereof.

Mr. Cuban, would you give me all your content to host and do with as I please? Of course you wouldn't, because you'd lose a bucket load of money. Therefore, why is it you are supporting such conduct in throwing in your lot with Grokster. Are you planning on buying into the company when they inevitably go legit.

Grokster will most likely pull a Napster by going legit in hopes that film studios and record labels will hand over their content to said company.

That's part of the reason these sites have the industry over a barrel. They are so desperate to save sales that they are bargaining with the very people destroying them. Instead of making an example of them, they bargain with the very people that are destroying them.

Not much incentive for someone not to try that once more, which would in effect start the cycle all over again, leaving the door open for another p2p company to pop up thinking there is no consequence to such criminal behavior.

They'll think they can get some sponsored advertising for the site that's facilitating the theft of intellectual property, businessmen will be throwing millions at them to invest when they go legit, their legal fees taken care of, then they become a CEO - without doing any of the actual work, as the product you stole and redistributed on your site wasn't yours to begin with.

I'll be frank. I dislike what p2p's do. Several of them should have done some jail time for all the damage they caused to so many people who did nothing to them.

  • Thousands of people lost their jobs when record stores all over the world were closed down.
  • Thousands of record and film company employees lost their jobs when the companies had to cut cost, as there were less paying customers.
  • A few thousand singers and groups lost their careers when the labels dropped them from their deals/roster to cut costs.
  • Many mom and pop record and video stores that were around for years are now out of business. These were small merchants trying to earn a living and support their families, not big industry moguls.
  • The industry lost billions in sales as their hundred thousand dollar and multi-million dollar costing records and films were being given away for free by people who had no right to them.
  • Sales averages are lower, which means albums that would have set records and entered the history books didn't or didn't chart where they should have (i.e. Come Away With Me - hypothetically speaking, that album would have set a lot more records had it been released say 10 years ago).
  • Record labels are signing fewer new artists.
  • Film studios are making fewer movies.
  • Movie budgets are lower to save costs; therefore certain types of film genres are affected, especially in what they can produce for the screen.
  • All this affected the economies of different countries like America, England, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. People were buying less goods (music, film ect...), people were losing their jobs and businesses because the goods they normally sold were being given away by a few people who had no legal right to it, as they did not author or pay for its creation.

Me personally, I don't care about major labels/studios getting richer or poorer. As I see it, some of them have stolen from my work, so I can't honestly say I'm sorry for them.

However, I do care about the mom and pop stores going under, as those are hard working people trying to support their families with their local businesses.

I do care about thousands of artists losing their record deals, as that's their careers, not just a way of supporting their families. A lot of these musicians have studied their craft since they were kids and dreamed of becoming entertainers all their lives. It's not right that an illegal entity can wipe that out, years of work and dreams, all while breaking several laws.

I do care about the thousands of major chain record store employees who got fired when branches closed down and companies filed bankruptcy. Those people have families to support. I'm sure many of you can think of record stores in your neighborhood that closed down.

I do care about the smaller labels that try their best to run an honest business. 

What Grokster is doing and what Napster did is technically just a step down from drug dealing. Easy money without having to work for it. However, God doesn't work that way. There is no such thing as easy money - it all comes at a very high price when it's ill gotten.

Application of the law in this case:- I don't get it. I don't understand how it is being litigated. I keep wondering why these p2p sites' behavior doesn't qualify for other things: racketeering/ a few violations of RICO statutes, fraud, conversion, criminal copyright infringement, deceptive trade practices, deceptive advertising, negligence, misrepresentation and misappropriation.

You couldn't open a store where people trade, sell or distribute large quantities of food stolen from a supermarket chain. That's stolen goods. You'd go to jail.

You couldn't barge into a chain electronic store's warehouse, steal loads of items and open your own store with it. You'd go to jail for it. And even if you didn't do it and your friends did, even if you drove the getaway truck housing and transporting the goods, if you facilitated the crime in any way, you'd be an accessory and on your way to jail.

Therefore, these unlawful p2p sites should be held liable for the conduct they are creating and facilitating.

The government implemented RICO statutes because the mafia would steal goods and resell or give them away to their cronies. Why can that not be applied to unlawful p2p's. They shouldn't be released from liability for unlawful activity that is a direct result of their misconduct.

The Passage Of The Family Entertainment And Copyright Act

Recently, the Family Entertainment And Copyright Act was passed by the Senate. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a portion of the Bill protects Clearplay, a technology firm out of Utah.

I don't understand why the industry objected to Clearplay's technology. I don't understand why they took exception to their home DVD players that expurgate questionable content to protect kids. That's commendable considering some of the films that are on the shelves - some geared towards kids and teens, but still contain inappropriate content.

Is there concrete proof of potential misuse of the technology they've developed. The evidence set forth shows no signs of that, thus far. Unless someone's obtained some secret information about ClearPlay's technology that the rest of us don't know about, why were they opposed to their product. As long as the scope of what they are allowed to make is lawful, what's wrong with it.

The industry needs to choose its battles carefully. I understand them wanting to make sure questionable technology, like the ones P2P's utilize, don't become legal, but they still should be careful of the battles they choose.

It would be better if a clearer scope were defined, that wouldn't hurt honest technology developers, only the unlawful ones. It can be done.

The news the industry welcomed was scoring a victory in the portion of the bill that pertains to pirates who secretly film recently released films in theaters. It is now a felony to go to a movie theatre with a camcorder and film the movies being shown. That was an important victory. Only an idiot would risk 5 years in jail to record a bootleg, which is the jail time a felony can constitute. With extra monitoring at each film theatre using infra red technology, as has been previously mentioned, it should cut down on piracy in that regard.

SPORTS: Basketball: The Miami Heat

Good to see Alonzo back. He played for The Heat for so long. South Floridians grew up seeing him representing Miami in basketball. He looks like he is enjoying himself out there. Good for you, Alonzo.

Miami Heat's Alonzo Mourning (pic courtesy of the NBA)

A joke for you: years a go it was reported that when Alonzo was thinking about leaving North Carolina for Miami, fans chipped in for a billboard that read "Zo, don't go." When they heard he signed a deal with The Miami Heat, the billboard was replaced with the words "Zo, gotta go!."

Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade (pic courtesy of the NBA)

Dwayne Wade - The 65 footer at the buzzer against the Charlotte Hornets was great - and sitting down! You know, I taught him that (kidding).

I must admit, last year, I initially called him "Dwayne Wayne" like the character on the 80's show A Different World.

Miami Heat's Shaquille (pic courtesy of the NBA)

Shaq - wow, players from other teams are really trying to batter him. All these injuries. I think Kobe paid them to do it. I'm just kidding.

To the members of the Heat, I say this in the kindest way possible:

I WANT THAT RING! I DON'T CARE WHO SHAQUILLE HAS TO STEP ON, WHO ALONZO, STEVE, DWAYNE, UNDONIS, KEYON AND THE REST OF THE TEAM HAVE TO ELBOW AND OR BODY SLAM. I'VE BEEN WAITING ON THAT RING SINCE 1989 AND IT'S MINE!

...and in closing, always remember to play fair because sportsmanship is very important.

(I'm just kidding - LOL).

SPORTS: Tennis: Key Biscayne Final

You can always tell who won the match by the pic - it's usually the one smiling with the big grin on his face:

[Aisha Photo Jacking Credit: ESPN. Roger Federer (left) and Rafael Nadal (right) @ The NASDAQ final]

Federer: "Oh look, I made you wear out your shoes!"
Nadal: "Don't worry, I'm gonna send you a bill for it!"

Just kidding, they didn't say that. I seldom call him Federer. I usually call him FedEx cause he delivers. Oh wait, that's the Post Office's slogan, isn't it ("we deliver for you").

The NASDAQ final was great. Federer and Nadal played well. It was something the way Roger came back from a two set deficit. He didn't look himself in the first two sets, but rebounded quite nicely.

Nadal played great as well and shouldn't feel bad about the match. Not that losing feels good, but he played a great match and his ranking went up.

In watching the match, Nadal reminded me of Spanish and British soccer players. He has the instincts and demeanor of a soccer player. He plays tennis like one. He's got that same look, where they stare down their opponents and the ball, while they think about their next move. Sort of like a lion staring down its prey. It's very interesting seeing that applied to tennis.

He added a very real rough and tough (not tumble) dimension to the game and Roger added the artistic quality - you know, Picasso in sneakers (trainers).

Next tennis topic...from Tennis X...

David Wheaton, who is currently the interim coach at Minnesota but cannot take over full-time coaching duties because he does not have a degree, according to the Minnesota Daily, has just published a book: "University of Destruction: Your Game Plan for Spiritual Victory on Campus," a preparatory guide for Christian students coming out of high school and adjusting to what he calls the three pillars of peril: sex, humanism, and drugs and alcohol. Isn't that four pillars? Can you imaging being a party-time freshman tennis player on scholarship at Minnesota, all like "Whooo! Spring Break! Whooo!", then you show up to practice and there's D-Wheaton with his Bible? Doh! 'Alright fellas, 100 crosscourt forehands, then prayer circle.'...

What's wrong with him thinking it's a good thing that players not be drunk, nursing a hangover, worn out from partying, drinking and sleeping around the night before. Any idiot, well apparently not any idiot, would know you can't do that and be a successful athlete.

Why would you, Tennis X, think or want to promote by default via your words, the party loving, alcoholic, promiscuous lifestyle or even venture to write as if it is something commendable, in mocking Wheaton and his book. The man wrote a book, not a critique of your web site, why are your getting your draws all in a knot over it, devoting a whole paragraph in what is a relatively small section to it, forcing me to be a smart aleck.

After an athlete knocks himself out doing all that the night before, what's left for the match the next day. It will translate into a second rate -cough- maybe third rate, performance and most likely a loss.

I feel sorry for anyone with a drug and or alcohol problem, because that's exact what it is, a problem. One that can take their health, livelihood and dignity if they don't beat it. I know people who've had those problems and the toll it took on them was terrible. It's part of the reason I don't drink and I've never tried drugs. One, it's wrong getting drunk and high and two, I wouldn't trust myself with it, as I've seen too many people get addicted from using drugs casually or on one occasion, or from just taking a drink that turns into an addiction.

No one sets out to become an addict; it just creeps up on you from that seemingly simple decision to start.

"Adjusting to what he calls the three pillars of peril: sex, humanism, and drugs and alcohol. Isn't that four pillars?"

No, it is not four pillars in the way he phrased it, as people sometimes classify drugs and alcohol in the same category, hence the word "and" after the word "humanism" in the title, rather than just a comma after "humanism." I guess he should have dumbed it down for you.

Regardless, please tell me which professional sport you know of that you can get skunk drunk, party and sleep around all night,  then go play a superlative session the next morning? Even people on steroids can't do that. That's like kryptonite to the steroids.

Alcohol and drugs and their effects alone linger in your system for days and slow down your reaction time, which is exactly what you need when you have a 125+ mph serve hurling towards you - not.

You couldn't even play good table tennis, let alone good tennis if you undertook that lifestyle, making it a staple. You'd be free to try and free to sample the consequences in seeing your career evaporate right before your eyes. *No disrespect to the table tennis people with that little joke.

I'm not saying some don't have a bit of wine with dinner and are okay, what I'm saying is you can't live out your rock star fantasy by getting drunk off your face, in essence treating your body like its a liquor distillery, sleeping around and partying all night, then go out and kick butt the next day - you'll get your butt kicked the next day, is what will happen.

Actually, rock stars can't even do that and make good music the next day. They usually stay in bed all day, looking and feeling like crud, miss their recording sessions with a dozen people waiting in vain on them, who are all on the clock at pricey rates, cause they feel too cruddy to get out of bed - other than to go to the toilet to pay a regurgitate ode to what happened the night before. Well, that's right before they turn around long enough to ask, "who is that girl in the bed?" and do they, "need to go to the clinic?" Well, mostly male musicians do that.

Back to what I was saying...

As a professional athlete, if you continually abuse your body like that you will not have any lasting success. If you look at what history tells us regarding the subject of drug and alcohol abuse in every sport, the athletes who embarked on that lifestyle lost a lot personally and professionally.

If you ask them now, those of them who are still living that is, if they regret those choices, they'll tell you yes. Many of them have made those declarations of regret in interviews - and the destructive behavior usually starts in high school and college - hence Wheaton's book trying to cut young athletes off at the pass.

Quite a few talented athletes threw away their careers because of drugs and alcohol. I'm not condemning them, because I realize it's an addiction and they didn't deliberately sabotage their careers.

My dad played soccer professionally and internationally starting as a teen (18) and in a conversation we had about two years ago, he told me he couldn't go out and drink and party with his friends like he used to when he started playing, as it would have negative effects on his game. Not to mention it translates into not getting enough rest the night before, which is very detrimental.

Who could play well under those circumstances. It just doesn't happen. If he as a teenager realized what that would do to his body, why is it you as a grown-man-writer don't comprehend that concept? Top athletes from Pele to current champs like David Beckham get that premise, have for decades, why don't you?

Oh, that's right, you don't play tennis, just slam the players...what's with slamming Serena every five minutes and bringing race into it on a few occasions when she didn’t? I sincerely hope you are black (which I strongly doubt), cause that's the only thing that would make your racially laden statements even remotely acceptable (actually, it would still be inappropriate if you were black considering what you've written).

What's with that and overly dissecting every post match press conference she gives like she speaks like Buckwheat when she doesn’t? What? You expecting Shakespeare. No athlete is. You just watched a tennis match - you want a poetry reading in the press conference after? Actually, that would be quite funny.

A lot of the athletes don't even speak English as a first language, but they try and you appreciate their efforts. You understand what they are saying, even if it isn't perfectly phrased. So, what's the problem?

Considering guys write your articles, slamming a woman every five minutes makes you look like you have mommy issues. Stick to slamming the dudes you don't like. It'll look better than picking on a girl every five minutes - a girl that could probably dismantle you on a tennis court without trying.

SPORTS: Preventing Injuries

Sports injuries are difficult, however there are ways to minimize them. According to Merck, more than 10 million sports injuries are treated each year. That's a lot of jacked up athletes.

A lot of experts say stretching helps. Warming up properly is and wearing heel inserts is another. The AAOS (American Academy Of Orthopedic Surgeons) has a helpful web site with tips on how you can prevent sports injuries. It is even chronologically listed by sport and issues like "heat injury" (and no that's not a pun on the Miami Heat). If you are an athlete you should read the tips found at this AAOS link: http://www.aaos.org/wordhtml/prevspor.htm

*Aisha Music Disclaimer - The above mentioned advice on preventing sports injuries will not help you if you are a professional athlete who is targeted by other players because you play too well and are subsequently the victim of flagrant fouls on the job that encompass kicks and karate chops, also known as assault.

Slipped Discs

I read a wonderful article on netdoctor.co.uk about slipped discs. This is something that has happened to me three times in the last 8 years, but I didn't know what it was until my dad told me, as he had that problem as well when he was younger. There are ways to prevent slipped discs, which is something athletes sometimes have. My dad had this condition when he was younger and playing soccer professionally (sports injuries). He loves sports, which as most athletes know, can put a lot of wear and tear on the body. A British coach realized the problem and was able to tell him what to do to correct it. He had to do exercises to strengthen his back and abdominals and that corrected it. He's not had those problems since. It's always best to avoid back surgery if possible.

HEALTH: Waterlogged: 8 glasses of water per day?

For the average person who drinks 8 glasses a day, by the fourth or fifth glass they are most likely forcing it. However, because experts had previously said 8 is the correct amount, people did their best to meet that requirement. Now there is a new study that suggests 8 is too much, not enough (get it...the old show called 8 is enough).

On a more serious note, a woman died recently from drinking too much water. Too much water flushes the saline out of the human body.

PETA

Eating meat and wearing fur is not a crime. While I'm not a fan of Jennifer Lopez's conduct regarding certain things, she hasn't broken the law in wearing and selling fur, however, PETA's treatment of her would lead you to believe she is a criminal.

To vilify, harass, slander and defame her, for something that is not a crime or infringing on your rights, is, well, wrong.

They are also mocking Star Jones, for wearing furs. They've hired a drag queen to play her in a commercial, which is so not funny and going too far.

PETA has even tried reverse psychology in referring to fur wearing as Unchristian. However, there are many scriptures in the Bible where people ate meat. There was also an old practice in the Old Testament where Jewish people offered animal sacrifices to atone for their sins. This was before the birth of Christ, who in turn, became that atonement through his crucifixion (that became the only atonement needed for sin, as opposed to animal sacrifices). 

Once again, eating meat and wearing fur is not a crime. PETA should respect others choices in that regard. People are not breaking the law or being hypocritical by being carnivores or fur wearers. That's your opinion/view and it's getting to a point that it can be construed as harassment - i.e. placing defaming ads in magazines.

You are free to ask people not to eat meat and not to wear furs, as is anyone about the things they feel strongly about. You are free to hand out information and set up web sites for your cause, but when you infringe on other people's rights in doing so, by defaming them for lawful conduct, then it becomes wrong.

I watched an interview on Neil Cavuto's show the other day, where he asked a PETA rep if they were stuck in a little boat that was taking on water and sinking and had a choice between saving a dog or a human, by tossing one overboard, which one would they choose. He was kidding, but that's how many view PETA now. Animals being more important than humans.

The practice of throwing paint on fur wearers by some (not all) animal rights activists is wrong. Not only does it cause property damage, which is unlawful, what if one day you miss and the paint ends up in someone's eyes and causes damage. Then what?

I read about a non-PETA animal rights activist that kidnapped a journo and branded him with a scorching hot iron to prove some point regarding the way some animals are branded. Assault never proved anyone's point. It just shows incivility and barbarism. That journalist hadn't done anything, but they valued animals more than his well-being. It was a clear case of things going to far.

I read about a group of animal rights activists that sent death threats to Prince William for hunting. Was that really necessary? Not to mention it doesn't create sympathy for your cause threatening people's lives.

Can you image if there had been animal rights groups around at the time of Christ, when He was performing the miracle of multiplying the boys sack lunch, which contained fish. Can you imagine some animal rights groups giving Jesus a lecture regarding the subject of eating animals. Can you imagine them reprimanding Him for multiplying the fish, thereby multiplying the alleged suffering of little fishes.

I've got nothing against PETA and other animal rights groups. I have nothing against vegetarians. If that is the choice you feel comfortable with, so be it, you aren't committing a crime in abstaining from eating meat. No one should harass you for that (the Bible says that), however you should extend the same courtesy to others who decide to do otherwise (the Bible says that too).

I propose we start PETP - People For The Ethical Treatment Of People

*PETP Disclaimer - PETP's scope excludes voguing, lip-syncing pop tarts and cannot be held responsible for disses thereof.

Blogging Bad?

I read an article on Blogosphere that carried a piece about a recent speech John Kerry gave at a convention, that the writer interpreted as a diss to blogs.

I think blogs are great. This column is a glorified blog (hey, it's all in the packaging, call it a column and it's a step up LOL).

Freedom of speech is what helped to make this country great. These blogs have also given kids something to do. Some people seem to be under the misguided impression that kids in this country aren't smart or industrious. Not true. They are very smart and industrious, particularly when they find something that interests them.

I've seen some amazing sites created by teenagers than range in topic from music to film to sports to politics. I like to read about different musicians, actors and athletes. When you go to a search engine and type in a name for a search, it often leads you to a well-designed fan site. You peruse the site and are impressed, it's contents thoroughly covering each aspect of the person's career. Then you read the site's about us info and find out a teenager put it together - something that looks like it was professionally done. I'm amazed at the details and coding used in some of these sites.

I know several people with web sites and they enjoy making and updating them. It's a form of creative writing. Something they look forward to after school or work.

Where they once felt like they didn't count, they now have a voice.

A lot of people make friends through their web sites/blogs. I know people who’ve met decent people through their web sites. However, be careful of that, as sometimes the person on the other end has bad intentions.

Most of these sites are constructive and I admit, some of them aren't. The ones that host unlawful content that infringe other people's rights are not appropriate. However, many are good sites.

I remember a few years ago when Fox News wasn't the name it has become. I would watch the morning news with the four anchors cause they made me laugh. Now, they are the top news channel. Fox embraced a style of covering news that included the conservative stuff you didn't get to watch elsewhere. Therefore millions of conservatives tuned in.

It's sort of the same thing with blogs. They put out the items that often aren't featured in the mainstream media.

Therefore, I don't think law-abiding blogs erode society. It gives you a chance to read how others honestly feel and it's good for grassroots projects.

Actually, I think pop-ups erode society. If I ever catch the sadistic person that invented pop-ups...(just kidding). Nothing worst than being on a site that deploys 3 or 4 pop-ups at one time that slows down your computer and connection.

Freedom of speech can be abused, but there are lawsuits for that.

However, freedom of speech never killed anyone (well, except rappers of course).

No I'm not trying to be funny, but trying to remind people in rap to be careful.

DEATH OF THE POPE

The Pope passed away recently. I liked that he was outspoken on many issues that some remained politically correct or silent on. I read that he'd traveled over 800,000 miles, which is the equivalent of going around the world 30 times.

I admire people who devote their lives to charity and helping others. It's so inspiring and uplifting.

The huge mount of security at his funeral was a sad reminder of the terror plagued times we live in.

TERRI SCHIAVO - Follow Up On Last Month's Article

Terri Schiavo died after 13 days with no food. My condolences to her family - her real family, as her husband's behavior was so questionable. When you vowed before God until death do us part, the Lord didn't want you to accelerate the death part.

Some have made it into an issue as being promoted by the right to lifers. Why do some conspiracy theorist have to assume everything has some ulterior motive. It's sad how some right to die groups jumped on this and made him their poster boy, rather than looking at the helpless woman who was misused, whose wishes we truly did not know.

People even brought up the political aspect - I didn't even realize there was one. What I saw was a woman facing a painful death and a distraught mother on television begging for her daughter to be saved, her life spared, as though the poor lady was a criminal facing execution. Terri was not a criminal, but died like one. No one wants to be starved and dehydrated to death. It's a cruel way to die.

Her condition was misclassified. I saw two nurses on Fox News who spoke out about her husband's questionable conduct and the fact that she would try to speak to communicate. One of the nurses said earlier he would send her flowers to thank her for helping him, ask her advice and said to her he wasn't sure what Terri wanted (whether or not she wanted to have the plug pulled).

After seven years, he met and began living with another woman, who he now has two kids with. This was the time when he told Terri's parents he wished to have her feeding tube removed. 

Hospital staff interviews revealed her husband earlier referred to her as "the bi*ch" and kept asking "when is that bi*ch going to die." He placed her in a hospice with no rehab and "requested the lights and television in her room be kept off and the shades closed." According to television reports, he collected a 1 million dollar settlement that he spent, with very little of it going to Terri's care.

The fact of the matter is we don't know what she wanted, therefore it was best to "err on the side of life" as the President said.

There was no will, therefore it was all hearsay. What if it was not her wish to be starved and dehydrated to death for two weeks and all that happened?

On the episode of Neil Cavuto's show that I mentioned earlier in the column, he featured Kate Adamson, author of the book "Kate's Journey." She too had a feeding tube for a time, however, her husband was very supportive. He did not want her to die and she was eventually nursed back to health.

Adamson recalled on the show how she was unable to speak, but aware of what was going on around her. I've always felt people in that state are cognitive and aware, even though they are unable to verbally communicate.

She said she felt terrible hunger pains when her feeding tube was removed and went without food for 8 days. She said though she could not speak she was screaming on the inside for them to reinsert the tube because she was suffering without food. The tube was reinserted and she is now okay. 

Her husband, Steve Klugman, played a role in her recovery. However, he expressed his disapproval of Terri's husband stating if you care about someone "you don't kill them in such a manner."

The Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act of 2005 I made mention of in the last Sound Off Column was passed. Good on all of you that supported it. I see it as Terri's legacy - that incapacitated people will now have more rights and not be left to other people's mercies and whims.

It was good watching the voting process that brought it into being. I have an aunt and friends who are disabled and I'd hate to know that someone made a decision that went against their wishes because they were unable to properly communicate what they wanted. Therefore, I view the bill as something good. 

It is my prayer that God will help the Schiavo family through this difficult time of bereavement.

   

 


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