June 2003

Volume 13

 

June 2, 2003

Funniest Soccer Match

A few weeks ago I watched the funniest soccer match I've ever seen. It was the match between Villa and Celta, which was funny due in part to the ref. 

He blew the whistle so much, I thought he was whistling a song.  

He handed out 2 red cards and 5 yellow cards; it was like he was playing cards.

There was a yellow card for a foul, for inappropriately disputing a foul, for coughing, for breaking wind. I'm just kidding. The funniest one was when he issued a yellow card to a member of the staff on the sidelines for saying something to him (Miguel Lotina Angel). Celta ended up playing with 9 players and eventually lost the match. 

Some of the players did deserve it as they were approaching him a little too aggressively in disputing calls. Players should not violate the ref's personal space or touch him when they are angry in an attempt to get his attention or intimidate him. Discipline is good, however, they most likely will not play effectively when they are walking on eggshells for fear of getting carded.

There were a few mishaps as well. I always thought it looked inappropriate when the men cover their manhood with their hands during the free kick, but for the first time I understood why. During a free kick, a ball missed the goal, but it sure caught a player where it should not have sending him to the ground in what was apparently excruciating pain. When he got up, he started walking funny and had to leave the pitch (field). 

Another player was hit by the ball, right in the forehead. He fell to the ground as well (do you notice a trend here). They had to pour water on him to help wake him up. He just kept shaking his head and walked off the pitch doing a hail Mary.  

Beckham Being Traded To Spain

There's talk again in the British press of Beckham being sold to Spain. I know and understand that players are traded all the time, however, he is one of those players associated with his country in a very patriotic way, therefore trading him is not a good idea. Why is there even talk of trading him now. What will Man U consider selling next? Stonehenge? 

It would be just like Miami trading... oh wait, that's right, Miami doesn't have a soccer team anymore (bitter).

French Open

Well, there are only three Americans left in the French Open and the press is really pointing that out, along with the fact that Americans often have difficulty playing on clay. I think they are being too hard on them. They are not bad on the surface; it's just that the European players have more of an advantage because they are used to playing on clay, therefore that does not equate to bad tennis. It's like having the home court advantage due to the clay - not just the crowd.

If you compare their games, quite a few American tennis players who competed weren't moving like they usually do, almost as if they had lost their confidence for fear of losing their balance.   

There's an old saying "familiarity breeds contempt" - for some, maybe, but for others familiarity breeds confidence. When you are accustomed to and understand something, it breeds a sense of security, certainty and confidence due to that familiarity. You know what to expect and how to adapt if need be, so you feel comfortable, while people often fear and or dislike the unknown and the unfamiliar (as with racism, where people wrongfully have contempt for people who are not like them; people they don't know or understand). 

Basketball: Lebron James

18-year-old basketball player Lebron James was recently signed to a 100 million dollar endorsement deal with Nike. He's being called the next Michael Jordan. That's too much pressure. I saw footage of the poor guy at the press conference and he looked overwhelmed already by people's expectations (did I just call some one who signed a 100 million dollar endorsement deal the poor guy).   

I feel people put too much undue pressure on others to live up to standards set by the people who came before them. Yes, the comparisons are flattering, but they can also be stressful and take away from the person's work and appreciation for what they do, as it does not necessarily make them work harder when they find themselves trying to live up to someone else's expectations and not their own. Other peoples expectations are always the most difficult and sometimes quite unreasonable, while you most likely know what you are comfortable with and what you are trying to accomplish. 

The Bible says we are not to compare ourselves to each other. Different people have different talents. Some have more talent than others, but sadly some people do not use their talents for the right purpose God intended.

Many of you are unfairly compared to relatives, friends and co-workers and it has been the source of a lot of sadness for you. God made you unique and loves you. 


June 6, 2003

Soccer

Playing soccer with streamers all over the pitch? You can't tell what's going on as well as when the pitch is clear of them can you. 

Singer That Ripped Off Contemporary Girl Singer Sued Again

That singer I wrote about on April 10th and May 12th who was sued a few times for copyright infringement. She is being sued again, this time for stealing someone's movie idea they pitched to her.

Talent Show Copyright Infringement Case

A couple years ago a company launched a talent search show in Britain. It spawned a few hit albums and solo careers. The owner of the show renamed it and brought it to America. The show became a phenomenon and made a fortune for the network and its producers. Now there are allegations that the idea for the show was stolen from a man who shopped the project for years. He has proof that he authored the show and attempted to sell the show years prior. He has now filed a lawsuit against the show and it's owners. 

- The entertainment industry is a nasty business; most people don't see that side of the industry. They only hear the songs on the radio and see the music videos that propagate a certain lifestyle. They don't know about the bribery, ugly ambition, women sleeping with people who they think will make them famous or keep their careers going, people getting defrauded, singers becoming drug addicts and alcoholics, rivals trying to destroy other entertainers careers and, not to mention the criminals that are attracted to the business and end up making the industry even worse. While it is a bit much to contended with, you can do well in it without compromising.

I've been reading the details of a landmark case and the judgment that was awarded against a record company and one of its executives for unethical business practices - ranging from copyright infringement to fraud.

I think it's a step in the right direction, but it will not curb certain behavior unless more changes are made. Though it was a landmark case, the behavior in question is not the exception in how many executives operate, it is the rule. 

Judge Perplexed By Rap Lyrics

Remember on May 24th, 2003 when I wrote about an alleged former drug dealers lyrics that I didn't understand and I'm black and had to look it up. This morning I read an article on the BBC about a judge presiding over a copyright infringement case who didn't understand the lyrics to the rap song the case was centered around and had to look it up as well. The judge said he had to do research to understand the lyrics and some words had no dictionary entry. That's because some writers make things up. 

New York Times Controversy

The editor and managing editor of the New York Times have resigned because of the controversy surrounding their writers' resignations. I saw one of the writers in an interview and he seemed very sorry for what happened. The situation is sad, but hopefully people have learned a few lessons from it. 


June 7, 2003

Adolf Hitler

Years ago I realized that certain people becoming famous is not necessarily a good thing for those individuals or the public. It's bad enough when people develop addictions when they become famous due to certain things being readily available to them, more than with non famous people, but it's regrettable when they corrupt others as well through their work and their example. 

Some people handle fame well and use it for positive means, while others do more harm than good. They get out there, behave immorally, promote that image and mislead others as well, who seek to be like them.

In my opinion, one of the most disturbing and dumbfounding cases of the type of influence entertainers wield involves Adolf Hitler, who was greatly influenced by the work of classical music composer Richard Wagner. Please read the following excerpt from "Holocaust Denial on Trail" (text from the Auschwitz web site by Louis Bülow): 

"Then one day in 1905 the pair (Hitler and his friend) went to see a performance of Wagner's Rienzi at the Linz Memorial Theater. This became a decisive event for the teenaged Hitler, as he was to refer to it after he came to power. In Kubizek's biography of Hitler The Young Hitler I Knew, 1953, he recalls how it had a terrifying impact upon Hitler, who left the Theater in a state of trance:

'Adolf stood in front of me; and now he gripped both my hands and held them tight. He had never made such a gesture before. I felt from the grasp of his hands how deeply moved he was. His eyes were feverish with excitement ... Never before and never again have I heard Adolf Hitler speak as he did in that hour, as we stood there alone under the stars, as though we were the only creatures in the world. He now spoke of a mission that he was one day to receive from our people, in order to guide them out of slavery, to the heights of freedom...' "

The influence entertainers and celebrities have on society is undeniable. It is not always a good thing. Some use that influence to enrich themselves, while morally corrupting society. Some celebrities don't want to hear it, as it aggravates their conscience, but it is true. When interviewers pose certain questions to them regarding that, they get upset.  

God holds people responsible for what they do with the influence they hold. It is not something to play with just so you can sell records, movie tickets, books or magazines. He will forgive it if the person asks, but there is a price to be paid for it in this life if what is promoted is wrong. It's best to change for your own sake and for that of your audience.   


June 10, 2003

A Lot Of CDs

You know you have a lot of CDs when you peruse the shelves at the record store and can identify many of the album covers from CDs in your collection.

Tourists and Tans

Why is it when the weather here is not great (yes, it happens occasionally) tourist will give you that "I thought this was supposed to be the Sunshine State" look. Some even asking residents for an explanation for the rain. 

Tourist over tanning...local residents have a normal tan because, well, they live here and it's gradual, while tourists who haven't seen the sun in months (-raspberry-) overdo it and tan until they're red or completely sun burnt.

Speaking of tanning, a joke for you: The wife of England soccer captain David Beckham, said recently: "I love his new hairstyle (braids), but David has already burnt his head in the sun. David has been here all week. Look at him, he is so black."

Uh, she said "he is so black"...you just figured that out, he listens to what is considered black music, dresses like a rapper and braided up his hair the other day. I'm kidding, he's not black, but when I read that, for the reasons mentioned, I started laughing. No disrespect intended with that joke.

New Yorkers In Miami

There are a lot of New Yorkers in Miami, as many have retired to Florida. So, when there's a Heat vs. Knicks basketball game, there is an unusually high amount of Knicks shirts (away team Jerseys) in the arena. Ask one of them in a Knicks shirt where they live and they will tell you...Miami.

- Why do people assume all Floridians like oranges because there's an abundance of them here. How narrow-minded (Aisha hides orange tree in backyard with a trellis). Really, how dare you assume. I'm kidding.

Miami: Little Hollywood

Miami has turned into a little Hollywood. A few months ago, I was minding my own business and as I was going down the street, there was John Singleton and Paul Walker filming a scene from their film that opened last week. You'd expect that in Los Angeles. That's happened to me quite a few times. 

Movie Ticket Prices

While I'm on the subject of films, movie ticket prices have escalated in the last few years. The prices are getting too high (Aisha remembers she is making a film and that the higher the ticket price and the gross, the higher the revenue). Ok, never mind - ignore that last part. I'm kidding. 

Seriously, ticket prices are getting too high. Costs are not necessarily getting higher; well only if you greenlight something that is too costly, that won't recoup and bring in the kind of profits the studios want. 

They need to try to keep ticket prices down. If you have a family of four, you can easily spend $35 on movie tickets depending on the time of day the movie you select is being screened, then the little rug rats, er I mean children will want snacks - you will most likely will want a snack as well, and that could cost you another $30 for a family of four (that's another thing that's too expensive, the food at theaters). After all that you could end up spending over $65 to take your family to the movies. For that price you might as well wait until it comes out on cable - you have to pay the cable bill anyway, well those of you who actually pay for cable that is. 

Well, that statement won't amuse the film industry, but they need to keep admission charges reasonably priced. 

CD Prices

CD prices, that's another thing that is overpriced. $19.99 for a CD - that's too high. I can't remember that last time I paid $19.99 for a CD. I wouldn't pay $19.99 for my own CD, ok I'm kidding (Besides, I get my own CDs for free -raspberry-). 

Once again, seriously, it is overpriced. I think $12.99 to $14.99 is okay. The $9.99 CDs are great...buy it's usually some CD you really don't want haha. I'm kidding. You know, it would be really ironic if I made that joke and then retailers tried to start my CD off at the $9.99 introductory price (-rolls eyes- they better put a 1 before that $9.99). 


June 12, 2003

Rude Representatives

What's with some companies/people trying to act like they are doing you a favor by allowing you to hire them and pay them to do a job. Many of the company's whose services I use send quotes by email, then you can hire them by sending a check through the mail along with the signed contract they faxed or mailed to you. 

Yesterday, I emailed a company to inquire about their fees. Today, I got the email with the answer, but it wasn't your normal price quote. Instead, I got an email with a name and a telephone number to call. 

I called the company this afternoon and the call was, er, interesting. The rep was being very cautious, as she may have initially thought I was a journo about to ask a  question about one of the company's clients (I felt sorry for journos at that point in the conversation). 

Never mind I didn't mention any of her clients, only asking "What's your company's fee and what's included in that fee?" Now, I ask, is that a difficult question. Did I ask her if she smokes crack, no, I asked her a business related question. She responded, "What's your budget?" Like I'm gonna tell her so she can name a higher price than normal…or is that company's fee so obscene that you can't say it out loud.

She wanted to have a meeting with me (if the fee is that obscene, no meeting/sales pitch is gonna justify that) …your office is in Manhattan and I live in Miami, but you want me to fly to New York to ask you to take my money to do a job I'm already questioning your ability to effectively do based on you actually confessing that you don't know that much about the music industry...no (never mind some of the company's clients are known singers). Remember, you work for a company that represents new entertainers and celebrities; you are not one, luv. That's how reps get companies into trouble.    

The next call was normal. When I asked, the rep told me the company's fee and what's included in the fee.

I also had to choose between two other companies regarding something else. One rep basically wasn't being straight with me and I could tell because of the sales pitch, however the second was the owner of the company, he was direct in his approach and I hired him. 


June 14, 2003

Singer Comparisons

When people compare singers to other singers, it is usually critics or journalists using that as a reference point in their reviews to communicate to their readers what an artists sounds like on albums the public has yet to hear, however, it shouldn't be a singer's reference point when recording their album. How often have you heard singers say their album sounds like ______'s album (naming another artist). Why would I buy your record to hear you imitate another artist, shouldn't I just by that artist's album then, instead of yours.   

And what must those management and record company meetings be like? An uncreative team sitting around a table with other artists CDs, photos, videos and press clippings taking pieces from different people to produce their next project - unlawfully rehashing other projects.

- PR firms, I've written about them before, but today I want to write about another aspect of them. Some dislike publicists, namely journos, but celebrities like the more reputable ones based on their ability to control the media and filter out any undesirable questions or interrupt and prevent any questionable responses.

There was an article in the Observer by Ed Helmore about a PR firm in the entertainment industry, which will limit or bar your access to their other high profile clients if a journo writes an undesirable article on one of their clients. Here are two interesting quotes from the article:

"In exchange for access to stars, some editors allow publicists to dictate when and where a story will run, which photographer and writer will be hired, which quotes from the star can be used, which of the star's friends can be interviewed and which questions or subjects will not be allowed. Glossy magazines employ 'celebrity wranglers' whose only job is to liaise with publicists. The result is bland, highly controlled pieces - often in the form of interviews where the stars' responses are pre-planned and insight is discouraged."  

Why do entertainers need such assistance with their interviews/press? Some entertainers aren't that articulate and if left to themselves will issue quotes that would make a journo's day. Sometimes a "no comment" would be more suitable than actually answering. A funny example I wrote:

Journo: What's your full name

Entertainer: Cindy

Journo: Okay then…where were you born?

Entertainer: Earth

Journo:  (sigh) What city?

Entertainer: Oh, California.

If certain journalists got that interview, the article would not be very flattering. Therefore, publicists are good for some entertainers, as they can direct the interview like a director directing a film.

However, when it comes to quotes, sometimes publicists write quotes for their clients where the statements end up being way above the intelligence level of the person it is being written for. How many times have you read a quote issued by an entertainer and thought their publicist wrote that - I've heard them speak and they do not speak that intelligently, therefore that well phrased quote did not come from them. 

Some questions that are asked are totally inappropriate. Some members of the press do not care about the person's dignity or their family who could be devastated by the things that are written. Sadly, quite a few editors care more about their sales than they do about the children of the person they print a questionable story about.

There are also journalists who will stitch you up in order to make their story more interesting. Sometimes, the interviewee will say something that is normal, but it will appear differently in print - out of context, edited and embellished to suit the story they want to promote. Their objective is to sell their publication and some writers don't like what they view as boring stories.

That style of writing isn't reserved to tabloids, as a reporter from a very reputable newspaper was reproved recently for stitching up President George Bush with a quote she included in her article. It's generally not a good idea to stitch up someone whose quotes are picked up by the biggest news agencies in the world, which would refute your story without even trying by merely printing what was really said. 

Those quotes stand out, as you will have three newspapers carrying the same quote, then there will be one publication with the same quote, but a different, inflammatory version of it. 

Some stories go too far. It is especially sad when they cover a story about someone cheating on their spouse that the person's spouse and children read about and end up traumatized. 

When most families go through those difficulties, the children often do not know what happened, let alone the details, but when the parent(s) are famous, it's hard for the children not to know what's going on, courtesy of the press. That must be devastating for a child to read something like that in the papers, not to mention how cruel other kids can be by taunting them about it. 

That's another thing, some celebrities can be really careless and flagrant with their infidelity. They shouldn't even be cheating in the first place and they know the press would love a story like that, but they are still indiscreet anyway. 

Some also think they're invincible and the press wouldn't print a story that would help ruin their marriage (the press has helped to ruin quite a few marriages).  They are also too trusting that the person they cheat with won't sell their story to the press. Many people have sold stories to the press and ruined other people's marriages. However, money like that does a person no good. 

Sadly, quite a few publications (not all) do not care about other people's dignity or suffering. When I hear about certain stories, I wonder how the families of the people involved feel, how the children will cope with the stories. It is so easy for a publication to put out a story and make their money, but not easy for the people involved to put their lives back together. Writers certainly wouldn't want anyone destroying their lives or their children's lives like that, so why do that to others.  

When you think about it, if a fan followed a celebrity around the way some members of the press do, they would be arrested, sued and charged with stalking and harassment. 

Some entertainers dislike the press because they are stalked, harassed, humiliated and treated like they are their property there for their amusement. While entertainers are there to entertain and amuse people, it is supposed to be through their work. They are not there to test how much abuse they can take from the press. Some legal boundaries need to be set.


June 17, 2003

Changeovers

During changeovers, you ever notice the intense look tennis players have on their faces - wouldn't it be funny if we're thinking they are thinking about something really serious like their strategy for the match, when they're thinking about something trivial.

- Yesterday, I saw the match between Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick. He's the one I jokingly called "bullet serve" on April 8th 2003, on the diary page. He certainly used that serve to win yesterday, where he also equaled the record with a 149 mph serve. 

The funniest part of the match was when Roddick scored a point and sarcastically blew a kiss to the lineswoman because of a call she made earlier that went against him (ouch!). After that match they should rename Andy "ace" Roddick for the amount of aces he scored. Agassi did well, though. Also, what did Agassi yell out during the match? It sounded like a foreign language. 

- Speaking of athletes (well, writing of athletes) I've written captions about musicians before - well, I saw some funny pics of athletes and did a few captions for them as well:

Athletes lying down on the job

Martin...The horizontal backhand:

You've heard of Air Jordan...meet Air Andy:

Gustavo "Picasso" Kuerten exploring his artistic side by drawing a heart in the clay after winning his match:

...Then lying in the heart he drew in the clay (hey, he won, the man deserves a nap). It takes a brave, non-dry-cleaning-bill-fearing man to lay down on a clay court - I commend you:

I'm noticing a pattern here (no, not the heart pattern Gustavo drew) more examples: 

Thierry Henry's new sport which combines soccer and hurdles…
(someone call the Olympic Committee and inform them of Thierry's new discovery):

OTHER PICS THAT ARE...

hahahaha:

Aww...Mark Philippousis "rubs his eyes after missing a point" against Mardy McFly, uh I mean Mardy Fish:

Roddick the Rockette (actually he is kicking because he missed a shot, but my caption is funnier):  

Becks in Braids - David Derek:

Thierry, there are people who rob banks dressed like that:

Soccer player Ronaldo auditioning for the Harlem Globetrotters (I'm kidding):

(Pics courtesy of Corbis)


June 18, 2003

A Price Put on Patriotism

Selling patriotism…can you put a price on patriotism? Apparently you can - £25 million pounds (about $40 million). Ha, and they call the Beckham's materialistic.

At a time when his country should be making plans to call him Sir Beckham in the future (though he is young now, he really should be knighted eventually), it is now Señor Beckham, as he has been traded to Spain. 

What about patriotism. Beckham was associated with British patriotism, regardless of who doesn't want to acknowledge it. Even The Queen acknowledged his contributions to Britain, as she put him on the New Years Honors list last week (OBE), so who is anyone else not to acknowledge what he has done for his country.

I've never met Beckham or anyone from Man U and I have no vested interest in this, so I'm being unbiased. This isn't about Britain either, as it was Man U that traded him, not Britain. The situation seems quite unfair. 

I have nothing against England. I love all things English and half my family is from Britain. British culture has been a very significant part of my life since I was a child. I was raised to appreciate and understand many aspects of British Life. 

One of the things I've learned over the years is that Britain is a nation filled with patriotism and tradition. It honors and cherishes its own (well unless you are a product of a TV talent show - haha I'm kidding - still, some of these singers are talented). Therefore, I don't understand how Man U can let Beckham go. 

Four of his prime years have been sold to another country. No disrespect to Spain, as it is understandable that they would want to sign him -all soccer teams do…well, except Man U, of course.

I think the problem was he got too famous and with fame comes influence and some will resent that. However, you can't hold people back. 

Was it about money or was it a matter of Man U putting him in his place - and ironically, his place should be in England. A few years ago he had to leave his honeymoon earlier than he would have liked to report to work, but on other occasions he was benched when he was needed and wanted to play.

Based on what I've read, he wanted to stay and for all that he has done for Britain, Man U could have accommodated him - they really should not have put a price on that by selling him to another country.

And was it really a wise idea allowing Beckham to end up on the same team as Ronaldo. If they play at their best, that will be quite a duo.   

…Also, you know what this means - all the UK tabloids will be heading to Spain more often.

Note to journos: look at it this way; at least you can work on your tans and your Spanish. The likelihood of you finding sticky toffee pudding in Spain, I don't know.

Note to my fellow Americans: Soccer, a sport played with a circular, PVC or leather coated ball - teams are divided into groups of 11, with an anxious, edgy gentleman guarding each goal. I'm kidding.

Note to athletes: never become more popular than your sport or you will be punished for it.


June 19, 2003

NBA Playoff Ratings

The NBA playoffs/finals hit a 20-year ratings low - down 28%. Well, without The Lakers, it's not surprising. But congrats to The Spurs - well done. 

Changing Rooms

I really like interior design and architecture and collect books and CD ROMs on the subject. For years I've watched a British program called Changing Rooms, where people decorate their neighbors homes for £500 with the help of a interior decorator. 

A few days ago they had an episode where the designers had to decorate each others homes and well, let's just say they said they know how it feels when they decorated other peoples homes where the home owners may not have liked their work. 

How can I accurately describe what happened...uh, have you ever seen a before and after where the before was better. When they saw their homes after they had been redecorated, they looked like they wanted to cry...and I don't mean tears of joy, either. It was hilarious.  

Rappers Lyrics

What's with some rappers using stand up comedians jokes in their lyrics/songs. Just like you can listen to their act and poach material for your lyrics, so can your audience listen to their act before you poach their material for your songs. 

Singers Using Sex To Sell Records

Some female singers use sex to sell their projects (some before and behind the scenes) yet ironically the two who have been the most successful this year, thus far, are the two who kept their clothes on and focused on the music instead of the gimmicks.  

Senator's Take On Illegal File Sharing

Senator Orrin Hatch wants the entertainment industry to devise and implement a program that would destroy the hard drives of illegal music down loaders, to deter others from stealing. It's drastic, but it would work (a lot of computers would be in trouble if that happened). Computer businesses would make a lot of money if that bill passed.  

Drub Abuse

I've never taken drugs and have no intention to. Since I was a teenage, I've been hearing stories about musicians who became addicts and always thought it quite sad. 

I can see how it happens, though. Singers sometimes don't feel that great before a show, then someone offers them drugs as the solution, they take it and end up dependent on it. Many singers get started that way. You want to put on a great show for your audience and may not be feeling up to it - if you aren't at your best, I can see how you would be tempted - still, you should resist that temptation, as it will only destroy you. 

Most people feel not so great sometimes, but drugs is not the answer, as they do far more damage than good. Others can't take the pressure of fame and use drugs as an escape, but it only makes things worse. It is not worth it. 

All you have to do is look at other musicians who have created major problems in their lives by using drugs...and some who are not here anymore because of it. How many times have you read a headline about a singer overdosing. Headlines like that always make me sad. 

Yet, there are still certain singers promoting drug use. But to the people out there who have lost someone to drugs, there is nothing good about what you are promoting. 

There are people who have gotten off drugs, you can as well. I remember the story of a singer who spoke of how God helped him get off drugs. I've heard others speak about that as well. Prayer does change things.   


June 21, 2003

House Tips

Most of you are very busy and don't always have the time to do a lot of work around the house. Here are a few tips to help you simplify your life:

1. You can hire a cleaning service to clean the house for you those times you are too busy or tired to do so. Most cities have cleaning services listed in the yellow pages. For a small fee, they will do the cleaning. Make sure you choose a reputable one and it is wise to be there when they clean.

2. There are also laundry services listed in the yellow pages. They are usually very reliable and will sort and wash your clothes with any April-fresh-spring-breeze-cinnamon-lilac-flower fabric softener you choose (you know those names they give fabric softeners and air fresheners to make them sound more appealing). 

3. Use paper plates and plastic cups and utensils when you can if you aren't crazy about washing dishes or loading the dishwasher everyday (I know I'm not - therefore paper plates and plastic utensils are a good thing). That way there will be no dishes to wash.     

4. Don't choose colors for furnishings that are hard to keep clean- colors like white. If you know you are not Martha Stewart, don't choose white carpets, drapes and sofas (like I did - though scotch guarding helps).  

Singers Poaching From This Web Site

Well, if you've been keeping up with the site, you'll know that there are two entertainers I wrote about who stole from my work for their own projects, which flopped. One of those singers, who is a male artist also keeps poaching off of a very well known singer who is upset about it. He knows that singer does not approve of him poaching off his work, but he still keeps doing that - even after the guy publicly expressed his displeasure at him doing that. 

Well, now someone is bent on poaching off that singer's music. Recently, a very well known singer/producer has been doing the same thing to him that he did to that other very well known singer and to me - as that very well known singer/producer ripped off one of his songs for his own CD that was released a few months ago. He even took the album title from a movie that singer always talks about and makes references to on his album. 

However, that very well know singer/producer took the song that he poached from him to #1 in several countries and went multi-platinum with that hit - whereas it did nothing for that other singer's career, as his latest album containing the song that was infringed did not do well when it was released last year. 

It wasn't the only thing that very well known singer/producer poached from that singer, as he wrote and produced a song for a duo that is a blatant rip off of another song from that singer's album. Once again, the song that the producer ripped off from him is doing better for that group than it did for him. He's done this to others and even though it is now happening to him at the hands of that well known writer/producer, it is still wrong.

Questionable Career Advice

Sometimes entertainers take career advice from the wrong people and it causes problems in their careers. Anyone can flop, but it shouldn't be because you listened to the wrong people. I've seen people recommend things to singers and thought to myself, if they try that, their career will suffer, and in each case that they tried what was recommended, it did. 

People who study music or work in the music industry see things differently in regards to it. There are many things people outside of the industry do not understand and probably will not understand if it is explained to them in detail. Why? Because it's a strange industry and learning it is not easy for most. Some people have a talent for it, while others do not. So, you have to be careful of whom you take advice from.

The entertainment industry is not a science, as there is no formula for success. Anyone can miscalculate and release projects that do not appeal to the public. That's why some get desperate and use gimmicks, payola and falsify sales.   

However, this benefits some people in the industry - writers, producer and managers who truly know what they are doing, as they can command high fees because people are desperate for hit songs and proper, proven guidance for their careers.


June 23, 2003

Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame (stars with celebrities names on them) - celebrities getting stepped on when it's usually the other way around.

Songwriters

Some contemporary writers and producers who have been out a few years brag about their alleged skills, when most haven't put the amount of time into learning and writing music as many older composers did. Their abilities and music pale in comparison, yet they are the ones bragging?

Composers like Bach and Stravinsky were talented musicians who continually strove to improve music. You just can't compare them to the people who are popular now. To do so is an insult.    

Yes, sometimes someone comes along and does something great and I'm certainly not one of those people who feels that there will never be anyone better than composers from the past, but not the lot that's out now - especially what's in the mainstream.   

- How can certain people try to dismiss musicians and play up the lyric writing and production side of music, when writing the instrumentation is the difficult part of making music. 

For example, there have been singer/lyricists who were given full writer's credit, when someone else wrote and made the beat (music), gave it to them and told them to write words for it. There's nothing wrong with that, but those singers should not be given full writers credit, as the music is the difficult part of writing music (not the lyrics).

The people who write instrumentation along with lyrics are grossly underrated. If there were no composer, there could be no producer... what would the producer produce? There would be no song to produce. However, writers can exist without producers, as they write the music. The ones that write all the music. If there were no composer, there could be no lyricist, because that would be poetry, whereas a composer can compose an instrumental part or song and have it stand as a viable piece of music.  

A few years ago I had a conversation with an engineer who worked on many albums with a variety of singers. While he was doing some editing, he mentioned a few singers names, some of which were claiming writing and production credit on their albums. So, I asked him: they are writing the lyrics (words), but who is writing the music? And why aren't they getting credit for it? Because I know quite a few of those people taking full credit can't write music, only lyrics.

When I said that, he stopped what he was doing, spun around in his chair and looked at me in shock with this smile. I wasn't trying to shock him, it was a genuine question, and since he engineered many records, I figured he would know what really goes on in the studio in those cases (not that I didn't already know - you know me with those rhetorical questions). I just wanted to hear his opinion on the subject. 

For most, learning instrumentation is not easy - therefore all these people could not be writing everything, as the credits claim. People who do, exhibit certain things and a certain aptitude. 

Some labels word the liner notes/credits in such a way that writer/musicians who write the instrumentation in these cases (the music or beats you hear) are not credited, making it appear as though certain singer/producers are the ones writing everything when they are not.  

The music doesn't write itself. I know this because I've had to do this the hard way by God's grace and actually write the words and music. In order to do that, you would have had to study music or know electronics well. There are quite a few people out there who did neither, but are fully credited for songwriting that they clearly aren't doing - and ironically they are some of the ones bragging that they are not just singers, they are writers and producers as well.

Co-writing and co-producing is another thing that is a bit dodgy for certain singers. Either you are doing it or you aren't. I'm not referring to production teams because they are doing the work. I'm referring to singers who are given writing/production credit in addition to singing. There are several singers who really can write everything, but many who don't and use talented writers and producers as a crutch, while taking far more credit that they should.  

That industry practice spits in the face of every musician that took the incredible amount of time and effort to learn music. There are musicians who have studied music and instruments all their lives, some even going to schools like Julliard and Berklee- yet for the past few years, certain labels in an attempt to pacify certain singers and increase credibility, do not make the distinction anymore, giving them equal and or singular credit with people who actual studied for years and can write music in total (music and lyrics), not just parts (lyrics). 

If you put anyone in the studio with Beethoven to co-write and co-produce (perish the thought), of course they are going to come out looking and sounding like Beethoven. 

However, it is not a reflection of their talent - for all you know, the experienced producer did 95% of the work, more notably the difficult parts, which does happen often in the industry. Since when does improperly telling people what you want done equate to producing - where is the musical ability in that. 


June 25, 2003

Singer's Credibility

How do you go from trying to be Joni Mitchell to trying to singing about another singer's backside and "I'm just a simple girl, In a high tech digital world," "Sell your sin, Just cash in"...isn't that what you're doing. I've never seen a musician change in that direction. Thankfully the rumors you mentioned in your diary on your web site about you rapping didn't happen. The sad part is, you had credibility before. 

Singer's Ripping Off Message Boards

How can a certain singer take something another person wrote on a European singer's message board and use that for the chorus of your third single. That's pretty unethical and it was archived. Your project is so derivative - other people's lyrics, clothes and dance moves - can you get anymore like that singer from Georgia and how is that fair to him. 

- Why did a certain singer use a not so original comeback response they got off of a European singer's message board to insult another famous musician who has been insulting them - Mary Poppins wouldn't do that (besides, it was archived). 

- If you are gonna be unwise enough to rip off someone else's copyrighted words you read on the internet, for a song you wrote, albeit a hard to find song, to express how you feel for someone you know, shouldn't you at least make sure the person you wrongfully, illegally and unethically apply those words to in the song doesn't behave so shamefully that it completely destroys the credibility of the song, turning it into a joke. Since the person it was originally written about actually has character, to profane what was written and dedicated to them by copying it for your own gain was as selfish, contemptible and ungodly, just like all the other documented misconduct you lot have had with other people in the industry. 


June 28, 2003

Female Artists Stealing From Their Peers

- I was reading a web site yesterday where people were complaining about female artists stealing from each other. People even posted pics and info to show the similarities. The main person in question is notorious for stealing other people's looks, samples and ideas for her own projects. She is known for this and has been written up for it by journos and DJs. If you are doing something innovative, don't let her see it, because she will rip it off in her own tacky way. 

She'll see someone with a new look, new hairstyle and she will go to a stylist and rip it off. She will hear a song on the radio and try to rip it off by illegally rewriting it. If someone says they are doing something, she will run out and say she is doing that too, even if she isn't and can't, and regardless of the fact that they put these ideas and music they rip off together so tackily that it does it no justice. That hurts music. Ideas that should be carried out properly become rubbish because the person who rips them off, had to sneakily change aspects of them, sadly into something that destroys it, for fear of being sued by the person who really authored it.  

It's one thing to be influenced by someone but that's taking it way too far. It is copyright infringement and violates the person's trademark. You are taking away from them and from their act. It is not right for artists to go to other artists web sites, watch their videos, listen to their music and then illegally duplicate it for their own projects. It is not right for a singer to look at another singer's pics and try to duplicate them, hear another singer's song, try to rip it off and illegally rehash their interviews and ideas.

That's not what musicians do, that's what uncreative musicians do and it is very obvious that is what is going on among certain artists right now. It is deplorable and the public does notice, as evidenced by that web site I read yesterday.

It's like a well-known male singer's performance I saw the other day. I couldn't believe how much he was ripping off a well-known male artist. I just kept seeing the other singer's act he was ripping off as he performed on stage - it was like I was watching the other singer perform and not him. How do you look wearing the same clothes, doing the same dance moves and singing the same type of songs that you took from him. 

It's like watching a sneaky impersonator. Isn't it usually the audience imitating singers and not singers imitating other singers. I've been studying music since I was a kid and my dad has studied it for over 40 years, teaching me a lot and I can attest that music history does not look upon impersonators favorably.

- Last year I warned a singer about a project he was about to release, as I realized it was going to hurt his career - so I mentioned it in order to give them the opportunity to change it before it damaged his career. 

They probably questioned my motive for saying it at the time, but I was being genuine and didn't want anything from them. I'm not that type of person. 

However, they relied on his fame at the time. They didn't see how it could fail. Why? Because they were paying attention to the hype that was in the press and their past success, so they didn't change it as I recommended. When the project was released, it didn't do well and really hurt his career.

Now, they see I was telling them the truth, but sadly after it has damaged his career. That's the thing with the entertainment industry, many people lack foresight when it's their project, whereas some who aren't involved in it personally can see things clearly without being biased. 

That's one of the weird things about the industry that I learned when I was a kid from watching the musicians my dad knows and others as well. You can be doing really well one year and flop the next. It happens often.   

There are also other difficulties that arise from having an album not do well. A lot of people in the industry will treat you differently, when they praised you before. There is also difficultly securing work, as companies offer less money - especially with touring - some not even wanting to underwrite a tour once an album doesn't do well. Record labels will also give you less money to record your albums. It creates a lot of problems and I was trying to help them avoid that. 

I think the worse part for some is people treating them differently. People who were flattering you, who wanted to work with you, invited you places and offered to do things for you, don't anymore and that's a tough adjustment for many. I've seen it happen so many times since I was a teenager, yet it never cease to amaze me how people believe their own hype and listen to people who aren't genuine.

I guess I'm desensitized to it because my dad raised me in the industry and I saw it happen to so many people, that I forget how difficult it must be for people to experience that. My dad and I have talked about that stuff for years like it is normal, but I guess it is not, especially to someone who is just experiencing a decline in their career.

It's like you know it's going to happen and you almost want to tell them, don't believe your own hype and don't waste your money because you don't know how long your career will last. You tell some people that when they are famous and they feel you are jealous or want something, when what you are saying is the truth and very practical. 

Sadly, some find out it was good advice when they encounter problems in their careers. I'm not saying people who are knowledgeable and listen to advice never have problems in their careers because sometimes these things happen to intelligent, decent, rational singers through no fault of their own. However, some problems can be avoided, as they are basic, known industry problems that you aren't gonna know unless someone in the industry tells you.  

When some people become famous they treat people badly. They make unethical business decisions that interfere with other people's careers. They treat their staff and team badly and ignore their audience who made them famous. You can't do that and not expect that there not be consequences. Fame doesn't protect anyone from reaping what they sow. The things you do to others, will come back to you, so for your own sake, it's best to be careful of the choices you make. 

I don't pay attention to the hype that accompanies many people, because a lot of them do not live up to it and hype does not last. It is best to look at it practically, because with the way the industry works, if a person's career doesn't do well, a year from that decline, it's like they aren't even famous anymore and that happens to many people. How can you really take something like that seriously. 

   

 


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