June 30, 2005

Volume 38

1. Random Thought: Tourists And The Weather
2. Random Thought: Tourists And Tanning
3. Tom Cruise, Matt Lauer and Ritalin
4. Hermes Goes Hermit On Oprah
5. The Police Pluck PETA Like A KFC Chicken
6. Terry McMillan And Husband Announce Divorce
7. Funny How Times Flies....And People Kiss Butt
8. Art: What Is Art
9. Music: Sold vs. Shipped
10. Music: State Of The Industry
11. Music: Madonna Plagiarizes The Backstreet Boys
12. TV: Law And Disorder
13. Business: Money Managers
14. Journalism: Press Manipulation
15. Journalism: Critics And Reviews
16. Employment: Ethics In The Work Place
17. Health: Smoking
18. Sports: Basketball
19. Sports: Tennis
20. Legal File: Michael Jackson
21. Neverland, Graceland
22.
What Goes Around Comes Around
23.
Good and Bad
 

RANDOM THOUGHTS FOR PEOPLE WHO RANDOMLY THINK

Random Thought 1: Tourists And The Weather

Why is it tourists who come to Miami during a time it may be a bit rainy or cool look at locals like it's their fault for not delivering picture perfect sunny, warm weather. That's known as an act of God. Yes, the weather in South Florida is usually great, but there are occasional cold spells and rainy days that locals have no control over. It's in the city's disclaimer - next time read the fine print (just kidding).

Random Thought 2: Tourists And Tanning

Why do tourists over tan. Is it because some of them are from icebox climates. Is it because some of them aren't used to waters that aren't frozen over. Is that why they over tan at the beach. Why do tourists over tan 'til they are red like a melon. Black tourists from cold climates are guilty of this too. Black, white, it doesn't matter. They sit out there roasting in the sun like chestnuts.

Some will ask locals out of sheer unfamiliarity, "What's that spherical yellow thing in the sky" and the local will reply "um, that's the sun." Just kidding.

Tom Cruise, Matt Lauer and Ritalin

Tom Cruise seems like a nice guy. However, I do not agree with Scientology, as it is a dangerous cult like the Kaballah, who have fleeced innocent people out of millions of dollars, terrorized and threatened innocent members of the public, broken into people's property, some of whom publicly spoke out against them for their misconduct and some members of both cults have committed vicious murders, unprovoked. They are a danger to society. Do not be seduced by the celebrity aspect of it.

But on a lighter note...Tom was on the Today Show (ok, maybe that transition wasn't that smooth after all that cult talk).

Tom Jumping On Oprah's Couch

While I did not catch the Today Show interview with Matt Lauer, nor did I catch the episodes of Tom jumping up and down on couches on the Oprah Winfrey Show and The View, respectively, I did see news clips of it and I just have to say...

Ironically, people give their kids Ritalin so they don't go jumping up and down on people's couches.

Tom looked like the "before" picture of Ritalin.

If I were the CEO of the company that manufactures Ritalin, for Tom bashing the product, I would make a commercial with the footage of Tom jumping up and down on the couches and write across the screen, "This is what happens when you don't take our product."

I think if you can avoid taking drugs, do so. The less the better. If you can avoid it, great. However, some people need medicine.

I know a lady whose son was like Chucky and she put him on Ritalin, pronto. Kidding about the Chucky part, but Ritalin helped him. He had behavioral problems that made him a danger to himself and others.

If a rugrat, I mean, child is just misbehaving, then no, I don't think they need medication. However, some kids have serious behavioral problems and need help. There have been studies addressing the risks of Ritalin, however, I do not agree with the anti-medicine stance Scientology promotes.

Tom also criticized Brooke Shields for taking medicine for the depression she suffered after giving birth.

People underestimate depression and the toll it can take on others. Depression is the main cause of suicide. Ironically, another main cause is religious cults.

I wouldn't put down a woman for taking medicine to help with that problem, as many women have felt suicidal after giving birth due to the medical condition known as post partum depression.

Brooke's still here and it helped her. However, sadly she became addicted to the pills she was taking. Non-habit forming medicines are best.

Brooke, however, answered Tom back:

"If Tommy wants to see Chicago, I'll leave him two tickets - one adult, one child." Referring to 42 year old Cruise's 26 year old fiancé, Katie Holmes.

Brooke basically let him have it. Proof that you should never start stuff with a pregnant woman before, after or during labor.

Tom seems nice, but he is misled about Scientology (the aliens they worship the Bible refers to as demons) and prescribed medication - which Scientology probably forbids so its members won't realize they're in a cult.

It is not a religion by any means and it's quite dangerous. Ironically, members have committed suicide and murder when they reached a certain level of Scientology. It was reported, when exposed to the materials in this level, a man shot his wife, then ran across the room and shot himself in the head.

It was also reported that Scientologist John Travolta fell into a deep depression and was on suicide watch when exposed to that same level that man and his wife were. Noooo, not Vinny Barbarino.

Seriously, Cruise and Travolta seem nice, but this cult stuff is no joke. This is not something to convert people to nor is it something to be apart of. I am concerned about them, as I've read cases online regarding things that have happened in these cults and its pretty serious.

However, as with all celebrity cults, as Scientology and Kaballah, through the celebrities in the cult they gain media exposure. Media connections keep undesirable, damaging news from the mainstream public, who would run from it like the plague if they knew the whole truth.

It has been reported that both cults inflate their numbers (of membership) to make people think more people are in their organization than there actually are and they use the media to try to gain more cult members. A practice that is now backfiring due to more exposés being done on these cults.

God is not in Scientology or Kaballah. God is not in anything brainwashing people, trying to fleece them out of their money, nor is He in anything terrorizing, murdering and or framing innocent people. That's the Devil's department.

God says in the Bible, "give with a cheerful heart," meaning if you are going to give your money or anything else, it should be because you want to, not because you are conned out of your money and property.

Both cults have been accused of financial impropriety. It's what damaged Scientology a few years ago and reduced its numbers (in money and membership). It's happening once again, but this time to Kabbalah. It's always just a matter of time.

This week Radar Magazine did a very telling expose on the Kabbalah cult and their deceitful practices. Including the fact that Madonna's Kaballah Center charity Spirituality For Kids has given millions in loans to their friends to flip real estate in black areas of Los Angeles, under the auspices of helping black families, while only devoting $1800 to the cult's school scholarships for kids.

Never mind according to the article they make an "80% profit" from flipping these homes in black areas. How is that helping black people. How can poor black families afford to buy homes when they are being sold in their own neighborhood at an 80% profit. The IRS in America and Inland Revenue in the UK are now reviewing the Kabbalah's tax exempt status.

And Madonna has the nerve to appear on "Live 8" to supposedly help Africans. I think its more to help her publicity.

With several acts you get the vibe that they want to help people with Live 8, but make no mistake, some of them are there for publicity and could care less about Africans.

If Madonna really cared about helping Africans she wouldn't be apart of a so called charity contributing to cutting African-Americans out of affordable housing/home ownership in their own neighborhoods via these inappropriate, questionable looking loans from a charity she is the chairperson of - and she would also stop stealing copyrighted intellectual property from people of part African decent (for more on that last statement click here for the plagiarism and copyright infringement page of the site).

To read the Radar Magazine piece, visit their site @ www.radaronline.com

http://www.radaronline.com/web-only/the-kabbalah-chronicles/2005/06/inside-hollywoods-hottest-cult-iii.php

Hermes Goes Hermit On Oprah

Oprah Winfrey (scan courtesy of Wikipedia)

What do you do if a billionaire TV show host tries to go shopping in your over-priced store? Apparently, you close the door and refuse to let them in. You go all hermit on them because they are black.

While, I don't agree with Oprah on things like gay marriage and what she said in that God makes people gay, as they are purportedly born that way, which is Scripturally inaccurate, I do agree with her in that Hermes is not cool.

Hermes initial response to the major goof was, "We've been having problems with North Africans." Oh, ok, well, now that you've explained it then...(rolls eyes).

Not to perpetuate the callous stereotype that all black people look alike, because we don't, but I wasn't aware that North Africans and West Africans look like a petit black woman dressed in designer clothes. How do you tell that someone is North African. Oprah dresses like an American. And Hermes is supposed to be in fashion and can't tell that?

My guess is they didn't look past the black skin - that's all they saw.

Oprah described it as, "One of the most humiliating moments of my life."

You see, the problem for Hermes discriminating minimum wage staff is that Oprah is not really that famous in Europe. So they didn't know who she was and not to discriminate against a black person who is well connected in the media, who with one non-endorsement can cost you millions in sales.

Never underestimate the influence of a non-endorsement from someone with access to the public who people will listen to due to how poorly they were treated.

That's another thing - why are people who work in these over-priced stores so snobby? I mean, they don't own the store (and even then it wouldn't be okay). They can't afford the things they sell - but they've got these snobby attitudes and treat customers like trash.

The Police Pluck PETA Like A KFC Chicken

A continuation of last month's Sound Off article regarding animal rights groups, and the column from the month before about PETA, who as some of you know, had called for a boycott of KFC. PETA said KFC didn't do chicken right, contrary to their slogan. Just kidding. They didn't use those words.

Now, PETA is a dead dog. Literally. Two PETA members were arrested in North Carolina for killing 4 dozen dogs and chucking them into a Piggly Wiggly dumpster.

For those of you wondering, Piggly Wiggly is a supermarket, not a bacon factory. I guess that was revenge for Piggly Wiggly making a pig part of their logo (and name).

The PETA members said they did it because the dogs didn't have a home. You know, in light of that scary little revelation, I hope their organization only covers animals and not people.

Seriously, Piggly Wiggly could have gotten into a lot of troubly woubly for something they didn't do. Sorry, had a little Elmer Fudd moment there.

Had the PETA members not been followed and caught by the police, instead the story been broke by way of a sanitation company finding the dogs, people would have wondered just what is Piggly Wiggly selling. That wouldn't have been fair. Thankfully for Piggly Wiggly, the Po-Po (Police) busted them red handed. 

Why kill the dogs. Doesn't that encompass cruelty to animals, which PETA and other animal rights groups complain of. Why not find them homes. Why not take them in with the money they've received in donations.

I know the P in PETA doesn't stand for poor. It stands for Piggly (just kidding).

Terry McMillan And Husband Announce Divorce

American Terry McMillan and her Jamaican husband who inspired her book and the subsequent semi-biographical film "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" are gearing up for divorce. While I did not see the film, based on things I've heard about it and the trailer I saw on TV, I take it, it is about an American woman who goes to Jamaica and marries a Jamaican man...and Whoopi Goldberg figures into the story somewhere.

At least she got married to him. Tourists from certain parts of Europe were going to Jamaica and having sex with the men for fun, which according to health authorities caused a noticeable surge in AIDS cases among men in the tourist section of the island (The North Coast).

Terry is divorcing her husband because she says he is gay (I saw a pic of him with her years ago in Ebony and I knew he was too pretty - just teasing). Ironically, homosexuality is not popular in Jamaica.

They are now battling it out, as he wants money from the divorce. I don't think he should get money from her. I don't think it is right.

As I wrote on here before, a few months ago again in fact, regarding Halle Berry and reports that Eric Benet was asking for alimony...I don't think men should get it (well, unless they are unwell and can't work). I didn't like when that happened to Janet Jackson either.

I really don't think some women should get it either. Some sums I've read about in the papers are plain ridiculous, especially for marriages that were short. Then again, when you are unfaithful to your wife, don't be surprised if she tries to take half to punish you.

I do think housewives should get alimony, especially those married for a significant amount of time. Some women are great homemakers. They raise kids, cook, clean and take care of their husbands. Many men achieved success in the business world and were able to have a family as well because of their wives hard work at home. It should qualify as a job (though you really don't want to look at it that way). Why do I say that...   

While I am not married nor do I have kids yet, I do all the cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing and gardening (in addition to writing and sound recording) and help my mom, who lives with me. I thought to myself the other day, then you add kids and a husband to that equation - that's a lot of work. However, kids are wonderful so I'm sure it's worth it.

Therefore, I take my hat off to housewives. It's hard work. And some women have been housewives for so long, that they really don't have the résumé and qualifications to go out into the work force and earn a decent income, especially in comparison to the life they had when they were married. Therefore, they should get alimony/assistance.

In McMillan's case, her husband is able-bodied, therefore he should not get alimony. If she wants to give him something for inspiring her book, then fine, but if not, he should not get half or any of her money.  

I am for prenups - however, I am not for people challenging them.

ART

What Is Art

Really, what is art. Who determines what is art. I've seen paintings that I thought reeked, while connoisseurs said they're brilliant. Never mind I'm thinking, it looks like a spray painted canvas with flies stuck to it.

I've seen paintings that made me wonder what the artist was smoking when they painted it. I saw a piece that made me think, this must be what things look like to people on acid.

I've seen other paintings that made me think to myself, this guy can't draw. Cubism my butt. He needed glasses, that's why he drew everything in squares.

Just kidding. 

But some art experts like to pretend art is so above everyone else's head that they just don't get it, but maybe it is they who don't get it - that some of it really isn't that great.

I am of the belief that people know a good painting when they see it and they know trash when they see it as well. Some paintings are profane and repulsive.

It's about how a painting makes you feel and whether or not it shows real talent. Not a tortured artist with a colorful life story rather than a colorful palette.

Some artists are famous not for their talent, but for their complicated lives and backgrounds. What's that got to do with the painting. 

Then there's the, the older the better premise. Since when. In our youth oriented society old is a bad word. If a car gets old, it gets traded in - but not paintings. In art, the older the better - even if it is not very good.

JUST THINKING OUT LOUD

Funny How Times Flies....And People Kiss Butt

I remember a few years ago a relative told me about a new artist, classing him with acts of noted talent and achievement in music. I thought, really? As I hadn't heard his work due to the fact that he was an underground artist at the time. Fast forward a few years and he's one of the best known entertainers in the world. However, I do remember an interlude where several artists got mad at him for a song he wrote, a few of them even dissing him for it. Now they're the same ones kissing his butt.

Why do people do stuff like that. My thing is, if I thought you sucked before you were famous, I'll think the same after, unless you changed the aspects of your work or personality that made me think that. Therefore, I don't get why some change towards a person just because they become famous. That is weak.

Celebrity is not a permanent fixture that will never change. It changes all the time. One minute you're up, the next you can be down. It happens all the time. Then again, when someone's celebrity changes, certain people do as well. When it disappears, they do too.

MUSIC

Sold vs. Shipped

Shouldn't RIAA record sales and certifications go by the actual number labels sell and not the number they ship. Audiences are always confused by that and it is very misleading. It would simplify it for them if the industry used the number of albums scanned.

Not to mention, some artists and executives abuse the system in shipping a ton of records that never get sold, as it far exceeded the demand, to get a higher certification than deserved. That creates inaccurate records and overblown sales for posterity.

State Of The Industry

Yes, I'm harping on that again. The industry is in need of help. There are numerous problems. Piracy, the most serious right now, is a global problem. In America, Britain, China, Russia, Australia and Malaysia mass pirating and illegal downloading are costing the industry a bundle.

  • The industry worldwide should get the UN's help to make it even more illegal to pirate and illegally download music with new laws and stricter guidelines. All nations in the UN would have to comply and enforce anti-piracy laws. Inexpedience is the problem.
  • Cut out all the red tape rules that enable infringers to continue their conduct.
  • There should be a digital company that does daily searches for all illegal content online with the authority to shut the sites down immediately. Rope in a big search engine for assistance. The digital company should be able to make a snapshot of an infringing site, enter it into a main database as evidence of unlawful conduct, then be allowed to zap it off line like Raid to a bug. Of course, with guidelines listing which sites are not eligible for destruction (um, the record companies).
  • Reform Soundscan and the Billboard charts
  • Truly bring back the single
  • End payola - the more music played, the more variety for consumers, the higher industry averages.
  • Lower CD prices from the high teens to the low teens.

Music: Madonna Plagiarizes The Backstreet Boys

For her new crockumentary, Crackballist, oops, I mean Kaballist Madonna has plagiarized another artist, yet again. This time it's the Backstreet Boys:

Backstreet Boys - "As Long As You Love Me" © 2000 Madonna - "I'm Going To Tell You A Secret" Crockumentary © 2005
I don't care who you are no matter who you are
where you're from where you've come from
what you did no matter what you did

Not only that, what she's written for the plagiaristic crockumentary is the psycho-babble version of other people's sincere writings about changing for the better.

Really, there isn't an original thought in that woman's head, is there.

It was reported recently in Radar Magazine that the Kabbalah cult are a group of plagiaristic, copyright infringers, whose founder, Phillips S. Berg, was sued for copyright infringement for going into the home of a deceased rabbi, stealing his manuscripts and publishing them as his own. The family and friends of the deceased rabbi recognized the work as his and not Phillip Berg's, which resulted in a lawsuit that Berg had to settle out of court.

Much like Madonna ripped off the copyrighted works of deceased artist Guy Bourdin in 2004. However Bourdin's son, Samuel, saw the video on TV and recognized his father's work in Madonna's video "Hollywood."

Grave robbing seems to be a way of life for Kabbalists.

Phillip Berg was also sued by another rabbi for ripping off the preface of his copyrighted book, reprinting items from it in his own book, errors and all. That means Phillip Berg ripped it off exactly as it was printed, even incriminatingly including the printing typeset errors the book printers accidentally put in the book before they shipped it out to be sold.

The Kaballah Center even advertised on Craig's List for ghostwriters. How can you hire a ghostwriter to help you author books about spirituality. That is a clear indicator that you don't know what you are talking about.

You are gonna leave people's spiritual health and advise them on spiritual matters using people you found advertising on a web site. That's highly irresponsible and very unethical.

People use those ads to find things like homes or band members - not advise people through books on something so serious as spiritual matters.

TV

Law And Disorder

Really, what happened to Law And Order. It used to be such a good show. I'd been watching it since my late teens. I used to find it thought provoking. Years ago, I'd stay up until 2AM and watch the older episodes on A&E. Ok, maybe it wasn't such a sacrifice, as most musicians are up late anyway.

In the last two years the show went from profound to precarious. prolific to political. poignant to paranoid. pragmatic to preposterous. The show atrophied.

The endings used to be great. Instead of going ooo at the ending because it's profound, now I'm left saying "what was that?" Before it was suspenseful now you're left thinking "and what's that supposed to mean."

It was a good show. Why did they give it such a spiteful, sardonic leaning that has isolated viewers.

Not at a great time for the network either for that to be happening. NBC was my favorite network growing up. It's hard to believe what's happened to it.

Press Manipulation

Why do owners of certain newspapers and magazines like to use them as an outlet to manipulate and bully innocent people. Why do some like to wheel their publications around like it's the be all and end all for others at the hands of their written word, when there are 98 year olds with better circulation.

For example, there is a paper where the puppet master that owns it loves to do that to aid their agenda. Especially when there is pending litigation against said boss or subpoenas floating around.

A few questions...

Whatever happened to journalistic integrity?

Do publications who utilize this manipulative practice think people are so stupid they can't tell what they're doing?

And lastly and more importantly, do they really think people are afraid of them?

There are some people in life who can't be bribed, bought, bullied, manipulated or silenced. They are going to do the right thing no matter what happens.

Certain publications rely on people being feebleminded and gullible. It's sad when you as a reader have to fact check articles, when the editor of the paper should have done that, but then again, it was deliberate, as they knew their manipulative pieces weren't true.

Critics And Reviews

Ever read reviews after you watched the film? I do that sometimes. I did that again just last month and you'd be surprised at what I found out. I saw this film on TV that was released last year. I thought it brilliant. It instantly became one of my new favorites. Out of curiosity I checked the reviews to gauge what the critics' reaction was to this wonderful little film. Guess what? several critics had panned several aspects of it across the board. However, I loved it. I thought it funny, witty, insightful, well filmed with a great cast. It was none of the things the critics called it. Prima facie evidence that you can't always believe reviews.

BUSINESS

Entertainment Industry Money Management

Bad companies practices - entertainment companies like Warner Bros who withhold pay. As I wrote last month, Cher wasn't paid the $300,000 she was owed for 3 years. At 5% that's $45,000 in interest. Recently, Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson sued Warner Bros for robbing him of $100,000,000 from the very successful films. That's a lot of money in interest. The man brought you 11 Oscars. You could at least pay him what is owed.

However, I read items from books that stated it is an industry practice to hold off paying what is owed to use the money. It is also a practice to hold off payment indefinitely.

Bad accountants - many entertainers have lost a lot of money through their accountants who absconded with or spent their funds. It's not wise to hand over your finances to anyone. They can advise you, but not take control. 

Financial consultants - some are not reliable. Some have given faulty advice that ended up costing people a bundle.

Employment: Ethics In The Work Place

Whether you are in the entertainment industry or not, there are certain rules of business you should follow. Certain conduct is unethical and in some cases illegal.

Withholding Pay - There are employers that withhold employees pay temporarily or indefinitely so that they can use it for their own purposes, some even gaining interest on the money. Whether you are a small business or a conglomerate, it is not a good practice and reflects very badly on you. It will cause people to question the legitimacy of your business.

Underpaying Employees - Minimum Wage varies from state to state. However, paying under it is not a good idea. Not only is it unlawful it is unethical.

Dicey Pay Cuts - There are some businesses that suffer financial setbacks and cut back their employees pay. However, there are unethical ones as well where the owner or a manager decides to punish an employee for whatever reason and dole out pay cuts.

Unethical Reasons For Pay Cuts:

  • Sexually harassed the employee who rejected their sexual advances
  • Were once friends with the employee and now are not, therefore they abuse their position in trying to reduce the employee's pay in an attempt to bankrupt them or make them unable to pay bills
  • The employee won't go along with illegal or unethical conduct

You do any of the above mentioned and you've entered dangerous territory. You are at risk of litigation. People have lost their businesses over such unethical conduct.

Therefore, if you are smart, you will correct your behavior and if you've not engaged in any misconduct, seek to keep it that way, as venturing into such territory is unwise.

If you have a big company, talk to your managers so they don't do this and get your business into trouble. Don't ignore problems and complaints, as some do, then it gets worse.

With responsibility comes accountability and if you go around robbing employees of their pay, unethically withholding their salary and or abusing them, physically or verbally, you are setting yourself up for a fall. If you can't or won't pay employees you also really need to ask yourself some serious questions about your business and its legitimacy.

Abusive Employers - Some people aren't suitable to run a business. It goes straight to their head and they behave very unseemly. Rather than utilize civility, they yell, scream at and and verbally abuse employees like they are dogs, which can get you in trouble by the way. Some people don't seem to understand that you cannot verbally abuse or threaten your employees. They are not your property.

A hostile work environment is a legal liability. One call to OSHA and you could end up being be investigated if your conduct does not meet with their guidelines. Not to mention, some employees will legitimately sue you senseless and its best to avoid that. Being a brute in the work place may make you feel like you are superior for the moment, but you won't feel so superior when it gets you sued and leaves you with a bad name in the business world. People do actually have rights.

Smoking

One of my friends quit smoking when he saw the lung/liver from his mother's autopsy. He said it was black - blackened from years of smoking. After seeing that, he quit cold turkey. That's what I call scared straight.

Smoking is an addiction. It is highly addictive. Just because it's not drugs, doesn't mean there isn't a problem. Some people don't realize or believe that, but there are things in cigarettes that get you addicted to them. There are active agents in cigarettes that create addictions. It's like a chemical dependency. Your body gets used to it and craves it.

If you've seen a person who has gone without a cigarette for a certain period of time, you realize it's a form of addiction. They become jittery, nervous, tense and unfocused. Ironically, people get that way at IRS audits as well...but that's something else (a little joke, there).

Some people started smoking in school cause they thought it looked cool to have a cigarette dangling from their hands. Then they got hooked on smoking. Others started smoking because a favorite character in a film or TV show did. Back then, people didn't realize it was cancerous.

However, that old trick still works on kids today - and some films and TV shows still show people smoking. It would be good if they didn't, as it does influence people, especially kids. 

Second Hand Smoke - is dangerous as well. If you aren't concerned with your health, quit for your family and friends around you who could become sick.

SPORTS

Basketball

Aww the Heat lost to the Pistons. It was a great effort on the Heat's part. They would have won had they not been injured by other players (5 players injured). Things got too rough and that mars everything. However, it was great watching them play. It was the most entertaining year on record for Heat fans.

Congrats to the Spurs. They played well. Stern called them an international team and they certainly are (starters from Argentina, France and St Thomas).

Tennis

Rafael Nadal Wins The French Open :

  

A cool shot of the runner-up Mariano Puerta:

(Pics courtesy of Roland Garros)

Continuing the Nadal theme of the last two months, Rafael won the French Open. He has definitely made his mark on tennis. Some were worried he would have gotten burned out, but he won and hopefully he won't run out of steam. At least he has that achievement to his credit.

I think tennis schedules are too grueling. It would be easy for anyone to get burned out and injured under those circumstances. You play one tournament and then you're off to the next, often without much time to recoup. The strain on the body, coupled with constant travel cannot be easy. But some chose it because they love the sport. Still, it can't be an easy life.

It's like certain recording artists - they're always on the road. I sometimes wonder how and why they do it. You gain a lot, but you give up a lot as well. On the one hand, you are living out your dream of performing, but on the other hand, you're basically a permanent tourist for years.

Legal File: Michael Jackson

 

[1. Michael Jackson (top left) 2. Jackson With Accuser 3. Martin Bashir (above). Scans from Wikipedia]

In the April 27, 2005 Sound Off article I wrote about credibility, incredulous witnesses and the effect it has on reasonable doubt. 

As I wrote in the Sound Off article back in April, credibility is very important. If certain elements of incredulity are there, the jury will not be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. Fast forward two months and they weren't. Michael was acquitted. It's a tough thing  contemplating putting someone in jail for that many years when there is so much shaky testimony and evidence in front of you.

The thing that did it for me was several witnesses seeing the alleged misconduct then walking away to the tabloids instead of the police. The real clincher was when the accuser's mom said she saw Michael Jackson lick the side of her son's face, then she turned around and left the cabin. Had the average mom seen that, they would have beat the person down for doing that. The average mother would have drawn blood at the sight of that (which wouldn't be a good idea).

The mother's past and lack of credibility was not good for the case either. In my opinion, it sunk it. People want to believe a person when they say something happened to them, but things like that don't help.

Best one liner: the feisty lady juror that said in the jury press conference, "Don't snap your fingers at me, lady" in response to the accuser's mother's conduct on the stand.

Once again, the mother hurt the case.

The jury was balanced and thorough. They really tried to give him a fair trial in spite of how things looked. They didn't rely on what the media or legal analysts on TV said, they looked at the evidence and applied it to the case.

Michael should have sold Neverland years ago. It is a liability and expensive. Rearranging his finances and cutting back would be beneficial as well. Most importantly, renewing his relationship with God. Going through something like that had to have taken its toll. I pray that one day the young man will find peace as well.

Many people have had financial set backs. Hey, even Donald Trump, a name synonymous with wealth and comb-overs (just teasing), had filed bankruptcy at one point, but he bounced right back.

It doesn't take much to end up in bankruptcy. Business setbacks, a company laying you off, unexpected expenses like medical or legal fees, renovating an old house. I know about renovating firsthand, as I renovated my home built in 1939, that I later affectionately nicknamed "The Money Pit" after the 80's film. I used to love that film as a kid. Little did I know I would live it one day. This was due to the amount of work the house needed when I bought it.

It was amazing how newspapers like The Sun UK stated that Michael molested actor McCauley Culkin and choreographer Wade Robinson who both said nothing happened. However, The Sun UK stated it as fact back in May, irrespective of that. I saved the article back then for when Jackson would be acquitted and as evidence in my own case against them for copyright infringement. Nothing like irresponsible journalism to bolster a case.

But, back to Michael. Starting in the industry at an early age, he missed out on a lot of his childhood. Neverland is testament to that. An amusement park in his backyard. That's something a kid would do given the chance.

It is clear he has the mind of a child. It's as though he is still a boy and feels that boyish things are normal (for him), like sleepovers, fights with water pistols and an amusement park in your backyard.

It's like he is reliving the childhood he didn't have everyday of his adult life.

His demeanor, his gestures, the simplistic, naive way he looks at things all point to the fact that he is like a big kid.

I noticed that recently. When interviewers brought up the subject of sex to him, he would blush like a little boy asking a parent where babies come from.

The entertainment industry is a cruel one. It craves eccentricities in artists then condemns them for it. You are taught to be different is to be special - then you are condemned for it. It's very easy to get lost in a business like that.

Michael, however, is not a kid anymore and I truly don't think he fully feels that way in his mind. I think his mind is stuck in boyhood - in wonderland. To function in this world, especially the vicious one that is the entertainment industry - that's a liability that will make you a target. Hey, being too nice will make you a target as well.

Michael has been given another chance and he needs to take it. It's time to leave Neverland behind. It's time to leave childhood behind and embrace adulthood. Like a normal, cultless person.

Speaking of that...

The Kid

I think people process their childhoods in different ways. When people go through rough times, they sometimes reminisce on a childhood memory when they were happy, and then they smile for a bit. It's a type of momentary regression that helps them deal with the present.

Some might be watching TV and see a clip from a favorite childhood show and they'll smile briefly and remember how they felt watching the show as a kid.

That happened to me recently. I saw a movie I hadn't seen in about 15 years that brought back happy memories for me (it was also another blatant reminder of how poor the script writing has become in newer flicks, but that's something else...)

Last year, I had written and copyrighted a little review I'd written after I saw the 2003 movie "The Kid." I was waiting for the right moment to post it and I think this is it.

The film was about an unhappy, successful businessman that had shut out everyone in his life and was cruel to people because of trauma he endured as a child. The combination of problems at home and bullying at school made him into a frigid businessman obsessed with success, as though technical accomplishment would make him a worthy human being.

However, he was still unhappy. Then one day a visit from the kid version of himself changed him.

*disclaimer - if your childhood self visits you in the flesh and talks to you - it's time to lay off the drugs.

A little joke there...but the childhood version of himself was a metaphor in the movie for who he was as a child in contrast to who he had become as an adult - an unhappy, pessimistic, cold person.

He'd achieved success in business as an adult, but destroyed and damaged people along the way. He was also cruel to the people he presently worked with.

He was a success and a failure all at the same time. Oh, and you can be both. Don't Kid yourself (pardon the pun).

The funniest line in the movie is when the boy version of himself checks out his adult life in the future and says, "I grow up to be a loser!" (it's priceless the way the child actor delivers the line). Technically, he wasn't a loser. However, his view, his definition of success and priorities had changed for the worse.

The boy version of himself viewed having a family and a dog as being a successful life.

The adult version of himself viewed having money at any cost as a successful life.

How ironic and profound at the same time - but that's the way some people think. That money at any cost is happiness, no matter what you have do to yourself and others to get it. While others value the simple things in life like love. Those people are always happier.

Sometimes people end up differently from how they started. They started with lofty ambitions and ideals, then compromised and became corrupted along the way.

Neverland, Graceland

It seems to me that if a celebrity names a house something ending in the word "land" it brings them problems. Just an observation.

I think when people choose to isolate themselves from the world too much, they lose touch with it. I'm not saying be worldly, but be in touch. Know who you are and where you're going. Realize that fame and wealth never makes you, but it can break you if you let it. 

What Goes Around Comes Around

King David was one of God's greatest kings, but a lapse in judgment and temporarily forsaking what was right cost him dearly.

David committed adultery with Bathsheba and she got pregnant. To cover his sins when all the other schemes he tried failed, David arranged to have her husband Uriah murdered. Biggest mistake of David's life. Rather than face the music for the things he'd done, he told one of his people to allow Uriah to be killed by abandoning him. He was then slaughtered by the enemy.

David thought he'd gotten away with it and that all his problems were solved. Little did he know they were just beginning.

You see, God was watching and was angry. Uriah was an innocent man who served God. Every life is valuable, but even more so an innocent person's. When you take innocent blood, you pay for it with your own. Sometimes that means the person who committed or commissioned the crime loses their own life. However, in David's case your own meant his own bloodline.

God told David through the prophet Samuel that for the sin he committed in killing Uriah, an innocent man, his son with Bathsheba would die - in addition, God told him that he would "raise up evil" against him within his own family. That evil showed up in the murder of his other son Absolom who'd turned on him much like he'd turned on Uriah years prior.

David's son Absolom became a little terror, which ultimately destroyed him. David's son betrayed him, slept with his other wives, stole his throne and tried to kill him. Much like David had done to the innocent man Uriah years prior.

Then David's son was murdered in the same manner he had Uriah murdered, by the hand of an enemy. David's son was killed by one of his own men, who was his son's enemy in that he did not agree with the way he'd betrayed his dad. Just like Uriah, who was one of David's men, was killed by another of David's men. David's sins had come full circle.

Some of you plot illegal things against other people, thinking if you try to harm or kill someone or their family members it will solve your problems, but you have God's solemn word it won't. God promises it will increase your problems and the same thing you dished out to someone else's household will return to your household.

God says, "you reap what you sow." Meaning if you go around killing innocent people and their family members, God will bring that same evil back to your household. It's a tough concept to stomach for some, but history has proven it to be quite true.

Another example, there was a criminal that was written about in the news about 15 years ago. He committed some really flagrant crimes. Left a lot of bereaved mothers crying for their innocent sons and family members that he murdered because they got in the way of his criminal enterprise and illegal money schemes.

Not long after, the same bereavement he brought to other people's households in the form of killing innocent people, came to his own in the the form of his own son being killed. He was furious when it happened, but it was the same thing he had done to other innocent families. He suffered back the same fate he'd dished out to other innocent families. He died shortly after as well.

Those stories are not to encourage violence or revenge. Those things happened in ways that were not prompted by vengeance.

My point? Do your best to live a good, clean life because you can't escape your deeds in life. You can only ask for forgiveness for them, which God will grant. However, the consequences of unethical deeds do not disappear. Just because the law doesn't catch up with you doesn't mean God won't. He always does. It is not that He is out to get you, but He has a responsibility to victims of crime. He only gives each person one life on this earth and it is not for someone else to take it. Murder is wrong. Every life is precious to God.

You've gone too far in life when you get to a point that you are thinking about killing or having another human being killed, as they aren't suited to your purposes or misconduct.

To those of you thinking about committing crimes against people and their families or having someone else do the dirty work for you, you need to think very carefully about those stories. They are completely true and a very real principle God put into play and maintains in this universe.

Not to mention, you reap what you sow - some sins you commit in life can inadvertently end up costing you your life as well.

The pain you cause in life is the pain you'll have to endure.

Good And Bad

I always tell people in life there is good and bad in everything. Meaning don't stereotype and don't slander. Not everyone is bad. People tend to look at others by their race, sex, ethnicity or nationality. People look at you by your job, your relatives, your family - when you are your own person. Each man is responsible for his own deeds.

When the bad happens don't succumb to the temptation of labeling everyone the same as the person that wronged you. That's something I always keep in mind when people don't behave ethically. Look at the person, not their profession, ethnicity or anything else about them that would unfairly encompass others as well.

Whoever you are don't think or say all lawyers are the same or all doctors are the same or all black people are the same.

Remember, there is good and bad in everything. Don't lump everyone in together. Look at people for who they are individually.

   

 


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