February 2003  

Volume 9

February 4, 2003

It is not rocket science. On Saturday February 1, 2003, the Shuttle Columbia disintegrated 15 minutes before it's scheduled landing in Florida. My condolences to the families and friends of the astronauts. 

It's return was called ďa picture perfect re-entryĒ and a shuttle has never exploded on re-entry. So what happened. It endured re-entry into the earthís atmosphere. Sadly, there were warning signs that were not given credence. Had they been alerted, they could have ejected. It was a precarious situation and and regrettably, the shuttle was lost.  

To go into space to do research that benefits mankind is a brave, admirable undertaking. However, space exploration has risks. Risks the astronauts knew about. It is such a perplexing concept to most, filled with uncertainty. In embarking on mission, there are certain risks you assume. Even the finest scientists will concede that. It is not rocket science, as much as it is based in science. 

The presence of the first Israeli astronaut in space, Ilan Ramon, aboard the shuttle, prompted people to question if it was an act of terrorism. Considering the things that have happened recently, it is understandable that people would assume that. However, this has not been proven and the investigation is not completed.

Certain anti-Semitic people saw the shuttle's explosion as God's vengeance against Jewish people. I was appalled when I heard those statements. Anti-Semitism is wrong. Jesus is Jewish and I believe in Him. You cannot claim to love God and Jesus Christ and not love Jewish culture. God does not hate Jewish people. He loves them. He loves you as well.

The people of Israel are grieving and understandably so, but Israel must not give up. They accomplished what they set out to do with the space mission. They successfully sent the first Israeli into space and no one can take that from them. Mission accomplished.


February 14, 2003

War In Iraq

Some entertainers have publicly spoken out against war and you have to wonder with some, not all of them, if they are truly concerned or if some, under the advisement of their publicist or manager decided to do so to enhance their image. 

To be fair, some entertainers are socially active and would speak out against something they didnít agree with, but these are the celebrities that do this all the time, many of whom do work for charity. The ones that do not do charity work, only speak about themselves, their image or the current project they are promoting in interviews, are not socially active and when they do things like this, it makes you wonder if their motive was publicity. War is serious, it's not the time for you to try to garner publicity. If you are going to speak out against something, it should be sincere. 

Tabloid Gossip Columns

Some of these tabloids and gossip columns ruin peopleís lives and careers. In some instances, they even set people up just to get a story. If you go around wrecking peopleís lives, someone else will wreck yours as well. What goes around comes around. Find a new job for your own sake. Itís not worth it.

- Why are adults lustfully staring at teen acts? It's one thing listening to a teen act sing a song, but quite another staring at them in a sexual manner. Iíve heard and read where men and women made lewd, sexual comments about underage teen entertainers. That is totally inappropriate. It does not  matter how mature a teen act looks, they are still underage. 

Some minders are guilty of encouraging teen acts to use sexuality to sell records. There is a teen act sparking controversy for using their same sex relationship to sell records. It's so exploitative that even liberals are requesting this actís video be banned. 

Some of the topics that teen acts choose to sing about is totally inappropriate as well. It's fostering and encouraging pedophilia. The adults responsible for these teen singers should not put out that type of material. Using the excuse that kids are so advance today does not justify it. 

Copyright Infringement

A few months ago, a record company was hit with a 300 million dollar lawsuit because a producer recorded music off the TV, went to the studio and looped it on his song that he produced. What he didnít realize was that he didnít sample a track from a unknown foreign singer, what he really did was illegally sample a track from one of the best known sopranos in the history of that country. It was like illegally sampling Whitney Houston.

MTV pulled out an interview from months before the lawsuit, where the producer told them on camera that he recorded a song off the TV one morning and used it for the song that they are currently being sued for. He failed to clear the sample and pay the publishers, which is illegal.

It is now an important case because a judge granted an injunction ordering that the album containing the song that infringed the other artist's copyright must be stickered (crediting writer) or pulled from shelves.

Ripping Off Other Artists Styles

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I say it is the most insincere form of coveting. Someone else having something you want and a easy, legal way to copy it. Itís part of the reason that so much of the music that is out right now sounds the same. 

How many times has a singer or actor come up with something and then other entertainers rush to do the same thing. Thatís part of the reason why so many albums and films are so stale and the charts are clogged with the same music. Thatís why when you turn on the radio you think, didnít I just hear that song. Well, sometimes it is because of that and sometimes itís not a song copying another tune, because you really did just hear the same song a few minutes ago Ėcough- because of payola. 

Thereís one known producer that closely watches another well known producer and duplicates excerpts from his latest releases for his own songs, whether it be his style or parts of the beats or lyrics. Heís been doing this for years, but the other producer probably was not paying attention to the other guys music and didnít notice it, well that is until recently when they got into a dispute over something else.

There's another example of why there is so much of the same music out now. Thereís a well known singer that does her best to duplicate another well known singer every chance she gets. I noticed it a few years ago and wondered if the singer realized it.

Now she apparently has and expressed how upset she is about it. She had reason to be upset. She goes to producers paying them a lot of money to come up with new music for her albums, she goes to hair stylists and pays a lot to have special hair styles done, she goes to designers and stylists and pays for special clothes, only for the other singer, who is her rival, to deliberately and cheaply rip off her music and her look and pass it off as her own. There is a male singer that does the same thing as well and the other male singer that was being copied noticed and spoke out against it.

An entertainer goes out with a new hairstyle, then a few other entertainers rush to copy. I saw someone do that and thought, canít you pay a stylist to come up with something else for you. When you take from someoneís look or sound, you are stealing from them. You are stealing from their act and from who they are. What does that have to do with music?

I heard the beginning of a song the other day and for a split second I thought a group that has been on hiatus made a comeback. It turns out it was the group that constantly uses their style.   

Record labels do this as well. When an act does well, other labels are quick to look for duplicate acts to capitalize on the other actís success. Iíve got more respect for A&R guys that sign new talent that is unique, than the ones that go out trying to find an act that looks like and sounds like a currently successful one.  

Conversely, sometimes itís not the label's fault. Sometimes producers, writers, artists and executives, rip off other people without the label's knowledge, which places the record company in a difficult situation when lawsuits are filed over infringements.  


February 28, 2003

Soccer

Thereís a soccer player who plays for Arsenal that scores a lot of goals. Too many if you ask me! I'm kidding, Arsenal has a good team. He has been playing quite well and greatly contributed to many of the team's victories this season. Sometimes I watch him thinking, is no one going to stop him, just let him score again why donít you. Somebody trip him! Iím kidding, but wasnít that a scary glimpse of the kind of coach I would be. Donít worry; I will leave the coaching profession alone.

Tennis Players Visit Graceland

A group of tennis players visited Graceland recently and one of them, a known South Florida resident, suggested that curators include a hall in the museum featuring contemporary recording artists as a contrast, one of which is a black rap group, because he rightfully feels the entertainers he named are "zeitgeists" and "incendiary acts of today," as was Elvis.  

 

As hilarious and scary as the thought of that is, am I the only one in shock that an athlete used those words -cough- big words in a sentence. He's the one that should be in a museum with a sign that reads "athlete with a brain." I'm just kidding, I'm sure there are other intelligent athletes out there. If you find them, let me know haha. I'm kidding, don't get mad, after all my dad was once a professional athlete and he is very intelligent.  

 

But, back to my point. Considering some of the racist attitudes that still exist in the south, more so than any other place in America, he was very brave saying that here, very brave indeedÖ especially saying that here without 20 bodyguards and a tanker. While Graceland is not my cup of tea, can you imagine a rap group there. Not just a rap group, a black rap group.

 

Racists would go crazy. And he  probably did displease a few racists with that statement; I commend him for that. He also said, "It was pretty interesting to see it, and probably more interesting to see the tourists who went to visit."

 

-Aisha suppressing laughter-

Rap Feuds

There's a lot of tension in music today especially in rap music and it keeps getting worse. There have  been alarming new developments in the last few weeks that indicate the parties involved have not resolved their differences. There's too much jealousy and it has become very disruptive to people who are not affiliated with the companies involved in the dispute. People have cancelled events for fear of retaliatory violence.

I implore those people involved to stop. None of them are ready to meet God; if they were, they would not be attacking people. They would not have that mentality, therefore they have not changed their ways.  It may not mean much to some people, but God cares.

Each person has a soul and if some of them die in their sins without asking for forgiveness and changing their bad ways, they will lose their soul. It's sad that people can get into the industry and it ends up costing them their life. It's ridiculous when you think about it. Why is it people have to take things to such extremes.   

The FBI has stepped in and some people are crying foul. What did they expect; some of the crimes that have happened were so flagrant, it would be amazing if they didn't notice. Some people don't even make an effort to conceal their misdeeds, but rather wear them as a badge of honor. That is not something to be proud of. 

I just don't want anyone else to die as a result of all this squabbling. So many of these guys could have great futures with their families if they would put an end to the violence. That would be nice. They have been given great opportunities, but they are wasting them.

It's all senseless, like the east coast vs. west coast rap dispute that happened a few years ago. Now, both coast have united to fight each other. How are you going to hate a whole coast? Some of the people involved had relatives on either coast, yet bought into that nonsense.

How gullible and deluded can people be. The devil must laugh at things like that. Most rappers state that they want to become wealthy, yet it is in vain when the person is cut down and leaves the money behind. What's the sense of being called a legend if you are not here. I don't agree with that either. It's building up people into gods, which is something people will never be.    

Fanaticism

Fanaticism is not a good thing. In fact, it's very unsettling. It is not good becoming fanatical about entertainers especially when you mistreat people you do know because of them. I've seen people do this. It's normal to like an entertainer's work and even want to become friends with them, but if you can mistreat people you know that you are friends with because they aren't fanatical like you are about an entertainer you like - whom you probably don't know and doesn't care about you as your friend does, it's time you reassess things. That's not good for you, it is emotionally unhealthy.

Award Shows

Why do some people get angry and insult other artists in the same category when their favorite entertainer doesn't win the award. The person could be classically trained with several octaves, but someone will try to diminish their talents, some going as far as saying they have no talent, because their favorites lost the award to them. Don't do that. It looks irrational.

Just because you say someone isn't talented, doesn't mean it is so. Have enough dignity to refrain from insulting other singer's talents who aren't your favorite. I know sometimes people win who may not be the most talented, but let it go. It's not that serious. Well, unless you win.

   

 


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