January 2003

Volume 8 

January 4, 2003

Copyright Infringement

Yesterday, I read an article about a director who is suing another director for copyright infringement. This is one of the worst ones I've read about, partly because it is so blatant. The indie director made an independent film and entered it in film festivals, one of which he won. He then tried to get distribution and took his script and film to another filmmaker's company. 

Years later, the filmmaker that he took the script to, went ahead an made his own film using ideas, concepts and the plot from the filmmaker's movie, evening using some of the same crew the first director did on the film. 

In an interview, the filmmaker who is being sued didn't deny the obvious similarities and acknowledged that the other director made this film first and that he did work with him for a while when he brought his script to him, but claims he had the idea at the same time. 

However, as I wrote above, the other director made the movie first and won a notable award at a recognized film festival. He can also prove access via when he brought it to him seeking distribution years before he made his version. The first film was made 10 years before the once that was just released.     

I think it's all very sad. Why can't artists have the freedom to make their songs and movies, and properly get it out there when they see fit, without having to rush it or guard it like a pit bull in fear of a sniveling person trying to profit off it in some way by ripping it off and claiming it as their own. This stuff always comes back around to the people who do this, but some people want that fame and credit so bad for coming up with work that is creative, that they do almost anything to get it.  

Falsifying Record Sales

I read an article about record companies falsifying sales. This isn't something new. It's been happening for a long time. Some labels are also accused of chart rigging. I remember when I was about 18, I noticed that for years, there were always lots of copies stocked in the store by a well selling artist, lots more than people who had sold the same amount as this artist. 

The organization in the industry that handles certifications goes by how many copies you ship, not how many copies you sell. So if the record company ships 500,000 copies to stores, you will receive a certification for going gold or if they ship 1,000,000 copies, you will receive a certification for going  platinum (these numbers get ridiculously high at some, not all labels when they add in foreign sales). 

However, the company that tabulates sales using a very detailed computerized system is the one investigating claims that sales were falsified by certain labels. They picked up the discrepancies. I don't want to get into the details of what was written in the article, but I was surprised anyone said anything. 

It's sad when an act wrongfully gets the number one ahead of another act who really deserved it. It is not uncommon. Since I was about 16, I've had a habit of looking at who was #2 and #3 on the charts, because sometimes they really should have been #1.  

Rap Feuds

On to another subject. Some artists make the mistake of bragging about their crimes on their albums or in interviews. I've read interviews where people brag about misdeeds. I've always thought that quite unwise of certain artists. If your audience can read it, so can the authorities. That type of bragging and indiscretion seldom gets by the government. They're not stupid. That's another thing with this industry, when some people achieve success, it makes them think they can do anything and they get careless.  

There is so much violence in the music industry now. Several people have been killed. Some of them enter the business not thinking that they could be killed, but regrettably it has happened. It's ridiculous that things of that nature should transpire. What does violence have to do with music.  

It happens because there are people that were into crime and when they start working in the industry, they refuse to leave that mentality behind. Sometimes, it appears that certain people they used to associate with won't let them leave that lifestyle behind. Yes, that is not a easy decision to make because often lives are threatened if they do not comply, but you can't keep doing the wrong thing.

There are people who are not being threatened by people they used to associate with, to stay in to crime while they work in the industry. The problem is too many people have that mentality and refuse to let it go. People who are actually trying to prove credibility through non-music outlets. People who are trying to gain credibility through violence. 

No matter how wealthy some artists become, they can't leave that mentality behind and end up in trouble as a result. They spend years struggling and when they finally achieve success, they throw it away because someone said something they didn't like and they want to physically attack them.

A lot of it is happening in the black community and among rappers. You don't see white rock artists killing each other like that. You don't see pop boy bands doing drive by shootings on rival boy bands yelling "you stole my hairspray"! Okay that was a little comic relief. Rappers don't like when people say that, but a lot of the fatalities have been rappers and their associates.     

It's is getting out of control and it's gone past people insulting each other. There are too many rappers making records insulting each other with some verbal disputes resulting in violence. People have been wounded and others killed. I don't agree with some people in the industry and certainly wouldn't pretend, but I would not resort to violence. Why can't some people just leave others alone. There is never any need for that type of hostility.

Life is precious, yet too many people take life for granted. There is someone I know, who was really an acquaintance in a sense, because as much as I had brief conversations with him over the years, I didn't really know him as a person. 

However, I did know he lead a stressful life for the past 15 years. He developed health problems due to stress and bad habits. Last week my mom went to visit his family and she decided to call 911 when she saw him, because she said he looks like he is dying. She wanted him admitted to the hospital. While he was there for a few days, my mom went to visit him. She said he thanked her for all the things she had done for him and his family and as she left he extended his hand to her for a handshake.  

Well, he died yesterday morning. It made me sad. He died in a hospital room, probably by himself or with doctors around him who he didn't know. He made choices in his life that he regretted that alienated some people, but he was a human being.

I was listening to Night Sounds on Thursday night and the host Bill talked about people taking things for granted like breathing. He said he had breathing problems sometimes when he would eat food and it would block his air passage. Ironically, around the time I was listening to that show, the person I wrote about took his last breaths. He died of a heart attack. 

Some people complain about trivial things and there are other people out there with serious problems. Some people have so much to be thankful for, but they complain and waste opportunities. Some people are risking their lives unnecessarily with foolish disputes that could turn violent, yet this man who wanted to live, died because he had health problems. That man didn't get to go back to his house. He probably had plans for next week as most people do, but he died. That could happen to anyone. You need to value your life and not jeopardize it. Suicide is not the answer either.   

I did speak to him about God and it is my hope that he did accept Jesus as His Savior and repented of his sins before he died. God can forgive, if you ask him, regardless of how bad you think what you have done maybe. He can forgive you. God bless you.  

 

January 7, 2003

Monikers

Have you ever noticed when an entertainer or program misspells a word and adopts it as their name, people often have difficulty with the correct spelling of the word thereafter. 

PR

I really donít like the entertainment industry, as you know if youíve read the page. I make no secret of that. There is too much politics and immorality. Iím not into certain aspects of the industry that some view as good or as where the real people spend their time. Itís something my dad always discouraged and rightfully so. Now that I can competently make my own choices, I see the wisdom in what he was telling me. Itís not a good lifestyle and I fail to understand why some people glorify it as though it were. 

Some people are paid to tell their stories to tabloids and sometimes respected publications. Some stories are designed to disgrace others. Getting money in such an immoral manner is wrong. Money like that will never do you any good. 

There are other types of stories as well. I read the PR industry earns 10 billion annually. However, when it involves the entertainment industry, it can become a bit contrived. Arranged appearances, photo opportunities, insincere charity appearances and donations. If you give to charity, it should be sincere, not a tax deductible photo op to evoke sympathy from the public. 

Then there are sensationalized articles that look like layouts for publicity rather than credible stories. I donít believe in playing with the press. Iíve read so many stories in the paper that were clearly the work of a public relations firm or management company, designed to enhance or clean up someoneís image, but ends up doing the very opposite. You can tell when an article is placed. Itís almost like when you watermark a picture before putting it on a web site. There are signs that show it is placed and where it came from. Some stories reek of a publicity stunt, which destroys credibility.    

A part of the problem is often when you or your company are the ones the stories are about, you donít know how it is received by the public. Many people are not able to calculate how the public perceives them. They float stories that end up doing more harm than good to their reputation, which inadvertently loses them some of their public.  

It is quite ironic when they try to repair or enhance someoneís image and end up costing them some of their audience. That has happened quite a few times. Why? because public relation firms and management companies usually do not know what the audience wants, so any fabrication is bound to be in error. They are good for getting a company or artistís name in the paper and garnering them publicity. They are really spin-doctors. Floating stories that put a spin on negative events, which may not produce the desired results. They put out stories that seem like the logical solution in their minds, but to an audience can appear offensive, incredulous and contrived. 

Stories are manipulated all the time. Recently, my friend told me about what happened when she and a few friends met a singer a couple months ago. It was a nice story, nothing unusual happened, but amazingly the story later appeared in a tabloid newspaper and was so exaggerated to the point it was laughable. The story wasnít credulous. The article was placed in the paper. The manager and the singer have a relationship with that newspaper and have given them exclusives in the past. Most companies give exclusives to respected publications, not tabloids, so credibility was lost there.

What about the singerís audience who knew the original story before the one that appeared in the paper? It makes it look like they were used for publicity and itís sad because the whole thing meant a lot to them. 

When there are questions in the press about an entertainer's sexuality, labels and managers sometimes place stories to fix the artist's image. If there are gay rumors, accurate or not, certain reps will place stories of the entertainer sleeping with a model or groupie. Those things don't work especially when the entertainer had an image of being moral. Audiences view it as hypocrisy. 

There are often stories and television show interviews of people who sold their stories about a relationship they had with an entertainer. Some of these stories are true, some of them are not. There is a sordid one that was published this week, which the entertainer is vigorously denying, as it contradicts his image. He has contradicted himself a few times of late, therefore the story is making his audience wonder if the girl is telling the truth about him and it is costing him some of his audience.

I've checked for audience reactions to this and it is never good. It's very sad viewing the reaction from audiences and a bit infuriating as well, because it all could have been avoided. The initial nasty shock they go through when they read these stories, then seeing them hurt and confused at something they read. It's not right and the worst part is, many times it's the label and management trying to bolster someone's image. Ironically, it does the very opposite and costs sales, which is what is most important to most companies in the first place.    

Sometimes, a part of that problem is entertainers pretending to be moral and wholesome when they are not, in order to tap into a larger market. If they do not have integrity, they should spare their audience the speeches about their alleged virtue and integrity because they are setting them up to be sorely disappointed and embarrassed for supporting them. 

As I wrote about on July 2, 2002, some artists lie and say they are single when they are not. They do this for sympathy and to use their looks to tempt their audience by giving them the impression that are available to them in order to rope them into buying their products and to keep buying their products. It's like a callous manipulation. While most entertainers date and marry non famous, normal people, it is not  right for entertainers to lead their audience on like that. It is immoral and narcissistic.  

The worst part is watching the audience suffer and they do suffer when they find out the truth, that the person lied about being single or celibate, due to a journalist seeing them with someone and writing about it in the paper, a photographer taking a photo of them with someone and putting it in the paper, someone selling their story of a relationship with them to a publication or a rep placing a story. It's wrong on entertainer's part and it's a practice that needs to stop. It only ends up costing entertainers their audience anyway.  

People can say anything, but their actions show who they really are. There is a verse in the Bible addressing people's behavior, which reads "you shall know them by their deeds." Meaning you will know them by their actions.

Many people get into the industry for the money. In regards to those people, when you think about it, the audience makes them rich, gives them the opportunity to live their dreams, buy their dream home, their dream car and provide for their family. Therefore, they deserve more than to be disrespected and patronized. It's like spitting in their faces.  

Entertainers need to resist the temptation of getting too absorbed in the industry and become callous in taking things for granted. Singers also should not believe their own hype or surround themselves with yes people, who they unwisely turn to for advice. A yes person will tell you what you want to hear and not tell you when you are wrong even if it could mess up your life. Turning to someone like that for advice is not a good idea. That's not loyalty, that's ingratiation and flattery.    

I saw an interview about a month ago that was supposed to address all the rumors and difficulties a singer had been facing. I did not like the interview. It garnered sympathy, but several aspects of it humiliated the singer and that I didn't like. Sometimes people have problems that I don't want to know the details of. I would rather them get help for those problems and resolve it privately, with the assistance of others if necessary. It's not my way of trying to preserve an image of someone that I had in my head, but trying to preserve that person's dignity. I don't like to see people embarrassed. 

The ratings for that episode of the show were very high. Why do people like to see other people fall? They watch it intently like it's a car accident on the highway. I don't like to see people fall. I think it's sad. 

Melismatics

There is a singer who received a lot of criticism from some listeners who said she couldn't sing. I didn't understand how people said this about her. When I heard her, I thought she could sing and for her to hit the notes she does and sing in the register she does, she had to have been able to sing with a certain level of expertise. 

People in the industry felt she could sing and rewarded her as such. The problem is some listeners want performers over emphasizing and forcing every note and that's not always the sound you want. In many cases it damages the voice. When you sing, you should not have to do vocal gymnastics to prove that you can sing. That is ridiculous. It should be what is appropriate for the song. 

This singer did a show last month that silenced her critics. Ironically, she had to employ melismatics during the performance to shut them up...and boy did she shut them up. It made me laugh. People making all that fuss saying she couldn't sing and a few people did go too far, then she basically embarrassed them with a stellar performance...and it was just the vocal warm up.   

 

January 18, 2003

Have you been writing the correct date or are you still writing 2002.  

Earthquakes

On October 8th, 2002 I wrote about earthquakes and the skyscrapers in Los Angeles in relation to them. I also wonder about the highways as well. In 1994 during the Northridge quake, highways collapsed and resulted in several fatalities. These highways have since been rebuilt. I know there is a lot of traffic in Los Angles, which makes this a bit difficult and overpasses do alleviate traffic congestion, but I never forgot how during the Northridge Earthquake highways pancaked, killing people on the bottom tier. Having highways in earthquake prone areas is very practical, but it seems unwise. I wish they had built more roads or ground level highways in a wider space to accommodate more lanes.

There are buildings in downtown Los Angeles that are over 50 stories high. Could such a tall building withstand a major earthquake such as The Big One. Scientist believe The Big One, an earthquake expected within the next 15 to 20 years, will be magnitude 7.5 or higher. They've even discovered a fault under the Los Angeles Basin that they were unaware of, which covers the downtown area where these skyscrapers are located. So much of the information available is hypothesis because with each quake scientist make new discoveries. So is it that unbelievable to think these skyscrapers could be in danger. 

Richter Scale

8 - Total damage.
7 - Buildings collapse.
6 - Buildings crack and things fall off shelves.
5 - Furniture and pictures move.
3-4 - People feel a rumble and hear noise.
1-2 - Most people do not notice anything.

(Richter Scale courtesy of Scholastic, Junior Scholastic, September 4, 1992).

On to another subject. One of my friends who was pregnant a few years ago was forced to stand on her feet several hours a day because of her job. She could not afford to quit or take time off. As a result of the long hours of standing, she miscarried and medical information strongly points to the extended hours on her feet as the cause. Employers should be more mindful of pregnant employees, especially in jobs that require workers to be on their feet.   

Pregnant female entertainers should also rest as much as possible and avoid long flights while doing promotional work. Studies indicate that flying in the 3rd trimester is unwise and can lead to complications. 

There have been so many disputes in music where people complain about being robbed. This industry isn't as regulated as other types of businesses. There are many ways to defraud unsuspecting people. There are many people who have been robbed of their publishing and royalties in unfair deals. Some artists have been held back and not given what is due to them. It is a common practice. 

Sometimes people do everything they can to follow the rules and make sure they are not a victim, but an unscrupulous person robs them i.e. copyright infringement, but it is something that can be successfully fought in court. 

Some complaints that artists have made are valid, but some are not. Some artists enter into contracts with the intent of breaking them to get a better deal later. They are aware of the terms of the deal, sign anything to get their foot in the door and then make unfair allegations later as a way of getting out of the contract. If the terms of the deal are not what you want, it is best not to sign it. Search for a deal that is more suitable. Record companies vigorously fight claims that are later filed as a deceitful way of getting out of a contract. However, some artists really are duped and are unaware of what they are signing until they learn more about the industry after working in it for a while.

The tension between certain people in the music industry is reaching a boiling point. Reports of shootings and assaults have been in the newspapers. It is sad when things get so serious that people are being assaulted and killed because people are unwilling to resolve their problems in a civilized manner. This has nothing to do with music. Two rappers have already died because of this violence, but still there are people who refuse to learn from the bad things that happened.  

 

January 25, 2003

Earthquakes

Last Saturday (January 18th, 2003) I wrote about earthquakes and their effects on high rise buildings and highways. There were three significant earthquakes this week. The first quake occurred on Wednesday, January 23, 2003 in Colima, Mexico City, an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale killed 29 people. There were reports of 20 story buildings swaying so much that they touched each other. It is the very thing I wrote about last week; the safety of high rise buildings in earthquake prone areas and Mexico City is an earthquake prone area. The mere fact that these buildings swayed so much that they touched each other is proof that it is unwise building high rise structures in these areas. 

The second earthquake in Venezuela occurred on Friday January 24, 2003 in Caracas and measured 4.8 on the Richter Scale. There were no injuries or damage reported. The third earthquake occurred in Jakarta on Friday and measured 5 on the Richter Scale. There were no fatalities, but buildings were damaged. 

Have you ever seen a black person that looks like a white person you know or a white person that looks like a black person you know. 

What's with all these music industry CEOs quitting or being fired. It's a new year and I guess people reevaluate their priorities and make changes, but the multiple resignations and firings are noticeable.  

Over Crediting

Why do management and record companies over credit singers for writing and production work they aren't really doing. Sensible people can tell. This is a common practice among female entertainers and some male entertainers. There's a joke which reminds me of it, which was featured on the program John Hagee Today. The pastor makes the joke about people who want to sing lead in the choir, but "can't find middle C with a blood hound." That was a good joke.

It's a bit similar when it comes to writing and producing, yet the record companies expect people to believe certain artists write and produce songs when they clearly do not display any aptitude in that area, which is most evident by their speech and basic musical abilities. Most people can write lyrics, but most people can't write sheet music and beats. Companies often over credit the music parts to singers to enhance their reputation and credibility, when certain, not all, singers do not know how to write sheet music or beats. If placed with experienced producers and writers they can write and produce songs, but on their own, they cannot. That is the litmus test.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing help in the studio, but don't take more credit than you should. It's not fitting and sensible people can tell. It's better to be humble and acknowledge the help, people would respect that more.

Television Talent Shows

Artists who are discovered through television talent shows have little credibility even when they do have talent. There is a young man who writes, sings and plays the piano. He is probably one of the most talented guys in the Top 20 charts in his country this week, but because he was discovered on a television talent show, it hurt his credibility. He is being categorized with all the people from talent shows who are more about image than talent, no disrespect to them, but they know this anyway. Had he gotten a record deal through a label rep, he would have a lot of credibility now, because he is quite talented.

Sťances

When someone dies, people miss them, but people should resist the temptation of participating in sťances to communicate with the dead. There are Biblical principle that you are not to communicate with the dead. It's a sin and it opens the door for you to be deceived (God can forgive it though, if you ask Him). It can be something as outright as going to a sťance or simply writing a song and trying to invoke a dead singers spirit while working on a song or merely talking to the dead.   

Angels

Another misconception is that people become angels when they die. That is not true. Angels were created long ago. God has His angels such as seraphims. The Devil has fallen angels, which are called demons. People like to use the phrase they have demons in their life to refer to their vices, but demons are actually evil spirits that posses people and lead them to do evil things. Some people are not possessed, but just make bad decisions. However, many believe that many of the heinous crimes that have been committed in history such as the Holocaust were the work of demons who possessed individuals. There is scriptural evidence to support it, such as Judas being possessed by the Devil then betraying Jesus, which lead to His crucifixion.   

Remember to put God first in what you do and read the Bible, it will keep you away from spiritual errors and help you make good decisions. Some people believe in karma, but there is no such thing, that's mislabeling God's work and the principles he put into effect in this world. He said in the Bible that you will reap what you sow. That's what that is, not karma. The mere fact that people who claim they don't believe in God acknowledge karma, says they believe there is a force at work. That force is God. 

 

January 31, 2003

There has been a surge in dog attacks. The CDC reported that in America 4.7 million people annually are bitten by dogs. Many victims of these attacks are children. There are lawyers who's practices revolve around dog attack cases. I've seen quite a few cases on the news where dogs mauled and killed toddlers. 

It's infuriating to think that there are parents who go through the nightmare of knowing their child was killed by a dog, all because a pet owner was negligent. Some people do not take the matter seriously enough and way too many people believe their dogs do not have the potential to attack people. I've seen pet owners with dogs barking at and approaching people in an aggressive, threatening manner, yet the pet owner grins like a half wit insisting the pet is harmless. Some pets are gentle, but some are not:  

CNN reported that 5 year old Justin Taubner died after his family's Rottweiler attacked him, biting him multiple times on the neck and head.

BBC news reported that 5 year old Volkan Kaya was mauled to death by a dog on a school playground. An autopsy on the dog revealed that parts of the child was found in the dog's stomach.

The NC Times reported that 6 year old Genoe Novach was mauled to death by two Rottweilers who escaped through a hole in a neighbor's fence. A neighbor spotted the two dogs chewing on something and went to chase them away and realized it was the 6 year old.

The News Tribune reported that in St. Louis a 10 year old boy was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs. It also reported that a 7 year old girl in Ontario was killed by a pit bull. The coroner found over 80 wounds on the child's body.

The Herald Sun reported that a two year old girl in Melbourne was mauled by a family dog, who bit her on her right cheek and on the back of her head.  

I saw a case on TV where the little boy was so traumatized after being bitten several times by his neighbor's dog who escaped because of inadequate fencing, he could barely tell the judge what happened without bursting into tears. Why? because a irresponsible pet owner was negligent. No money from a lawsuit can ever give a child back that peace of mind such a traumatic experience creates. 

These are just a few of many cases that have been reported. It's bad enough when things like that happen to adults, but even worst when it happens to kids. Those poor children. Things like this ought not to happen. It is so infuriating. What makes it worst is that it is preventable.

I saw another case on TV where a pet owner's dog killed a child and the owner was on TV crying and pleading with authorities not to put the dog to sleep, insisting the dog is not a threat.  Her dog took a life and she has the gall to even open her mouth and utter these things, rubbing salt into the parents wounds. She didn't even issue an apology to the parents on the news, she kept whining about the authorities confiscating her dog to put him to sleep. If that had happened to the owner, it would be a different story.

Why are some pet owners so lax, careless and insensitive. They need to be threatened with jail time, maybe that will make them act more responsibly. If your dog viciously attacks or kills someone, you need to be sued and do some jail time for that life, which you cannot replace. If you want to have these vicious dogs and are irresponsible in maintaining them, you ought to go to jail. It's disgusting that a child or adult for that matter, should die because of someone's dog. That is so unnecessary and could be avoided. 

In my neighborhood, I've seen my neighbor's dog bark unprovoked and incessantly at children walking by, women pushing their babes in strollers or anyone in general it sees. Yet she has this nonchalant attitude as though her dog is so innocent, when her dog is mixed with pit bull. It's bad enough when a dog barks at an adult, but it is inexcusable when a dog constantly barks at children. 

Several years ago, one of my friends was bitten by a group of dogs. Her neighbor was careless and left the gate opened and they attacked her. Her neighbor did very little to stop the attack. That experience emotionally traumatized her. 

Inadequate Fencing

Many of these cases involve improper or inadequate fencing. Too many of the stories I have read involve a dog squeezing under or between a fence. If you have a dog you should at least be responsible enough to put a proper fence around your property and make sure the dog's cage has a sturdy lock. You should also routinely check your fence to make sure it is properly in place.  

SIGNS OF A POSSIBLE DOG ATTACK

DOG ATTACK SIGNS:
Stiffens
Leans forward
Stares
Hair stands up

 

WHAT TO DO:
Stay calm
Back away slowly
Don't turn your back
Don't make eye contact
Keep dog in your vision

Courtesy Of CNN

   

 


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