May 31, 2005

Volume 37

1. Human Duck Interest Story
2. Famous For No Reason Segment: Society Columns, Paris Hilton
3. Random Thought: Why Do People Talk To Their TVs
4. Random Thought: Catching A Film Half Way Through
5. Random Thought: Why Are We Ticklish
6. It's Raining Doo Doo
7. Warner IPO
8. Madonna: Serial Movie Killer
9. Madonna Copyright Infringement And Plagiarism Lawsuit Number 1,353,277
10. Gwen Stefani
11. Mariah Carey
12. Eminem
13. American Idol
14. Piracy
15. Feds Shut Down Illegal P2P site
16. Kylie Minogue
17. Breast Cancer Awareness
18. Ageism in the entertainment industry
19. Josh Duhamel
20. Press And Paparazzi Making Life The Pits For The Pitt's
21. The Po Po Pulls Over Ollie: Oliver Stone Arrested
22. Alex The Great Update
23. Follow Up: Law And Order
24. Basketball: Steve Nash
25. Basketball: Miami Heat Fashion Trend
26. Basketball: Miami Heat, Damon Jones
27. Basketball: The Grass Is Redder On The Other Side
28. Baseball: The Marlins
29. Soccer: Chelsea won! (whyyy!), Liverpool, Man U Sold
30. Tennis: Nadal, French Open
31. Tennis: Solution To The Clay Crisis
32. Tennis: Roddick, Rome Masters
33. A Good Sport
34. Animal Products
35. Global Warming
36. Gambling
37. Weaning Off Liquor
38. Premature Aging
39. Viagra Causing Blindness
40. STDs Via Hair Removal Products
41. Recovering From Rape
42. Legal File: Confidentiality Agreements
43. Telling you What you Want to Hear, Elvis
44. Is A Celebrity's Life Worth More Than A Non-Famous Person's

Human Duck Interest Story

Mallard Ducks (Photo Credit: AP)

A family of ducks have been chilling on the White House lawn and swimming in the pool (ok, so it's not a pool, it's a fountain). It's a mother Mallard with her baby ducks walking and wading behind her. Now that's what I call having your ducks lined up.

Ok, yes, that was a corny joke. But sometimes corny can be fun.

Famous For No Reason Segment

Society Columns

Ever read a society column and thought to yourself, "who are these people?" and "am I unhip for not knowing them?" More importantly, am I unhip for using the word unhip.

Paris Hilton

More Paris Hilton accompanied by a little dog by the name of Tinkerbelle stories in the news again...

Apparently Paris Hilton, the woman named after a hotel (how ironic) and Nicole Ritchie, daughter of Lionel "my wife hit me and my mistress with a frying pan" Ritchie (just teasing Lionel, you're a great musician), have fallen out.

Paris is not saying why, only a, "Nicole Knows What She Did."

In light of what you did it makes me wonder could it be any worse than calling the race of people she is apart of "dumb nig*ers" as you so distastefully put it, and without apology, Paris.

What, did she shoot Tinkerbelle or something.


Random Thought: Why Do People Talk To Their TVs

Recently my mom was watching Rocky and saying to the TV, "Hit him Rocky, hit him." Me being the smart aleck I am said, "Mom, he can't hear you." Ok yea, she wanted to hurt me, but the joke was worth it (joking).

But other people talk to their TV's as well during engrossing programming. For example, saying "look behind you" during the suspenseful part of a drama when a villain suspiciously and sneakily approaches the lead character. Or actually crying during a film (wimps! just kidding, I've done that during happy portions of films).

I guess it's the trademark of a good film. That people relate to it, understand it and like it enough to comment on it...even if it's via talking to their TV or crying.

Random Thought: Catching A Film On TV Half Way Through

Isn't it annoying catching a film on TV that you wanted to watch, only it's half way through and you have to force yourself to wait for another showing. Unless you decide to watch the last half now and the first half another time, which is just annoying.

Random Thought: Why Are We Ticklish

Why are we ticklish. Was that God's way of saying, I'm going to make them laugh even if they don't want to (kidding).


It's Raining Doo Doo

If you're an environmentally conscious rock group, what do you do? Your tour bus driver hits a lever and unloads tons of doo doo unto unsuspecting riverboat tourists under the bridge. No, not the Red Hot Chilli Peppers (get it, pun on their title Under The Bridge), I'm talking about the Dave Matthews Band. However, their bus driver was the one who actually did the doo doo dumping.

Now that's what I call a load of doo doo. In all fairness to them, they said they didn't know. Well tough doo doo (just kidding).

That story was hilarious, well, unless you were on the riverboat, then it was just disgusting.

Seriously, can you imagine if you were on that boat tour and that happened to you (LOL).

Gwen Stefani

Why does Gwen Stefani's "Holla Back Girl" sound so much like "Oh Mickey" mixed with another song...For once I must say, the critics are No Doubt right - that whole album sounds like other songs. It should qualify as a covers album.

Warner IPO

Last week, according to numerous reports Warner Bros' initial public offering fell flatter than Madonna's notes. Not good for the industry. Another sign that things are not well. I foresee some bad times ahead for the industry and it's partly due to its practices.

One, piracy is a major problem. You'd think with all the piracy going on that the industry would revise its practices, but they stubbornly stick to their ways regarding monopolizing certain services and areas of the industry that should be available to anyone by law. They shut out small labels from the charts with rules and regulations specifically set up to work against them and monopolize radio in favor of their major label artists getting way too much airplay.

Audiences get annoyed by hearing the same song too many times. No song should be played 1 million times for the month. And no song is that popular that it necessitates 1 million spins on the radio for the month.

What's even worse, certain songs go to number one on the charts with very little or no sales behind them, solely based on airplay - when airplay can be manipulated by payola. What that amounts to is a number one bought and paid for, which is rubbish.

With artists like Elvis, the Beatles and Michael Jackson, you know they sold truck loads of records and got the radio station requests because people went nuts for them.

However, with some artists their numbers ones were NOT achieved through sales and fan radio station requests, but trough payola pushing the song to #1, which isn't right or legal. It creates undeserved number ones and faulty records for posterity in the history books. Can't be proud of a career built on that.

If you are a small label, sometimes even a mid-size one, it really doesn't make sense sending your CDs in for airplay consideration. The following article will help you understand what's going on with payola (pay for play airplay). It's available on and sheds light on why you keep hearing the same songs every 5 minutes.

It's a bad system that's in place and with rampant piracy abounding, it doesn't help. In fact, it's a liability. The industry isn't giving consumers enough variety. It's always the same 20 artists being pushed in your face, in high rotation all the time. At least the film industry gives you some variety.

The mainstream music industry is so manufactured, very little of it is real anymore:

  • Payola
  • Chart rigging
  • Planted PR articles
  • Padded record sales
  • Way too much schmoozing and butt kissing

Madonna: Serial Movie Killer

 Speaking of the serial movie killer Madonna...I read an article in the Belfast Telegraph about a documentary where the journo comically wrote:

"If any film I'd sweated over had been complimented by Madonna as "incredibly thought-provoking and inspiring" I think I would have resorted to a High Court gagging order to shut her up."

Madonna Copyright Infringement And Plagiarism Lawsuit Number 1,353,277

spasmic dancing courtesy of Madonna (pic from the cover of the Toronto Sun)

Madonna has been sued yet again for stealing people's songs. She's averaging a lawsuit a month now for theft and misconduct. Well, at least it can be said she's consistent, even if it's theft and wrongdoing (rolls eyes).

Last week it was announced that she's being sued by a write named John Acquaviva in Belgium for stealing his song, which he'd written 5 years before she ripped it off. Madonna had met his producer years after he'd written the song and is identified as the source of access to the plaintiff's work. His song was written and copyrighted in 1993. Madonna's was written and copyrighted in 1998.

The song she stole from him was placed on the Warner-Bros-Grammy-award-winning-vocally-challenged album "Ray Of Light," for which she was also sued for stealing the music video for the title track "Ray Of Light" by Salvatore, a video director from Italy who had shot and released the video far before Madonna did. The video was actually a hit in Italy for a local band.

Salvatore made the common mistake of submitting his work to Madonna wanting to work with her. Rather than applauding him for his inventive directorial work, she stole it. Much like she stole the Hollywood video, for which she was also sued by the family of the late French artist Guy Bourdin.

Madonna's lawyer Fabienne Brison gave the most incredulous and incriminating response to her 1,523,345th lawsuit for stealing other artists' work. Brison said and I quote:

"There are certain artists who hear songs on the radio, see that they are very successful and say to themselves. Why shouldn't I try it on"?

You shouldn't try it on because that is illegal, fraud and copyright infringement, which willfully violates numerous international laws established by many countries, including the U.S. and treaties set forth by the United Nations.

He even "insists the suit is motivated by a desire for Madonna money."

Um, don't you mean the lawsuit is motivated by the artist's money, which she also stole when she ripped off his song. You need to stop playing dumb. When you steal someone's song as she commonly does, you steal their royalties.

Royalties is a synonym for the word money.

Therefore you are stealing people's money when you steal their songs and films, which is very unbecoming.

She needs to stop playing dumb and trying to make herself out to be the victim, when she's disrupting people's lives and well being by stealing their works. She's done it so many times now.

Anyone would be rich if they went around stealing everyone else's great songs and films - collecting other people's royalties. However, such conduct is illegal.

Madonna's sitting on a lot of artists' money/royalties for their songs and film works she willfully stole, hence all the lawsuits. Royalties for the copyright infringing song "Frozen" by Madonna have been, um, frozen by court order until the case is tried.

Elvis, The Beatles and Michael Jackson are considered the most successful, best selling artists of all time, penning many songs, yet none of them have the disgraceful history of copyright infringement and plagiarism Madonna does. Therefore, that rubbish of people trying to take advantage of her because she is famous is a lie.

Warner Bros knows about Madonna's thieving habits, but they look the other way in favor of profits. You don't get sued several times named as a co-defendant with the SAME ARTIST for stealing people's work THAT MANY TIMES and not realize you are dealing with a thief. But they are making money off her stealing, through record sales and publishing royalties, so they look the other way. The music publishing rights for Madonna's so called songs, a catalog filled with copyright infringing songs, is published by Warner Chappell Music, a division of Warner Bros. A lot of innocent artists are being defrauded. Well, what do you expect. They didn't even pay Cher the $300,000 in royalties they owed her for four years.

This recent case by the Belgian songwriter is another reminder of something I noticed the other day with all the stealing she does, which she keeps getting sued for. I noticed recently that all the people she's stolen from, with the exception of publisher Judith Regan, are foreigners who are lesser known indie artists. She does this so mainstream American audiences, the biggest music and film market in the world by far, won't know where the rip offs came from.

How many people in America or even England, are gonna know about a great underground tune playing on the radio in Belgium (however, she met the songwriter's producer). How many are gonna know about an innovative video playing in Italy (however, the director sent the video to her office in Los Angeles).

Her infringing songs reflect foreign styles by indie artists. The music sounds different, ethnic, yet with Madonna purporting to have written it. Even the tune Frozen - that song sounds unusual. Like it came from another place (well, it did, Belgium).

She doesn't make a habit of stealing from mainstream artists, as then everyone would know where the alleged queen of reinvention gets her rip offs. It's always unknown or moderately known artists with unusual, inventive works.

I guess the logic behind that is no one in America would know, as the stolen works come from artists from other countries whose work is in low rotation and mostly in foreign countries.

America is the number one music and film market in the world and widely considered the most important music market. This is where 90% of the trends and innovations in music begin. It sets the standard for the music markets of the world.

She can't steal from a Whitney, a Sheryl Crow, or a Britney Spears because then everybody would know. They are established stars that many people know. However, stealing from foreign acts with strong songs, she can bring it here and most wouldn't be the wiser and hail the thief a genius.

  • Guy Bourdin, French, his family sued her in 2004 for stealing his works for her Hollywood video.
  • Ingrid Chavez - Mexican American, initiated litigation in 1992 regarding Madonna stealing "Justify My Love," which she'd honestly written with Lenny Kravitz.
  • Stefano Salviati, Italian, sued her in 1997 for Madonna stealing his already released video in Italy for use as the concept in her "Ray Of Light Video." That video made the album a huge hit.
  • Peaches, a German indie artists, Madonna was accused of stealing his video imagery for her own videos, by the well known and respected American company Muze that catalogs music from artists all over the world for their database used by thousands of record stores around the world.
  • Malcolm McLaren - a British indie artist. Madonna stole "Vogue" from his track he released a year earlier titled "Deep In Vogue." Go to to hear the track and compare.
  • BB Mak, British, publicly accused Madonna of ripping off their video, which was released in Britain before her subsequent rip off "What It Feels Like For A Girl."
  • D'Onofrio v. Madonna, Italian-American, sued Madonna in 2002 for ripping of his remake proposal of the foreign film "Swept Away."
  • Now, Acquaviva, Belgian, sues for Madonna ripping off his song for her track "Frozen" released years after he wrote it. She has met his producer.

And then there's the copyrighted works she's stolen from me, a Jamaican American click here. All the above listed projects whose copyrights she's infringed are by indie artists and contain projects with ethnic themes.

Her team constantly puts a spin on her disgraceful conduct by stating that people are after her money, when it is she who is after other artists' money when she deliberately steals indie artists' music all the time.

She won't steal from a Sheryl Crow or a Mariah Carey that the mainstream public knows, because then everyone would call her a fraud. She steals from indie artists that aren't celebrities yet. That way the masses won't know where she stole the innovative works from and she knows that most lawyers aren't willing to fight Warner Bros, the label she records for, because they basically own the media (and people complain about Microsoft being a monopoly).

It is a common industry practice for managers, record label executives, record company CEOs, A&R guys and sometimes singers with labels to scour clubs, talent shows and the underground music scene for the next new stars in music. That's their job, with the intent to sign new artists, many of which have been discovered that way.

Clive Davis has been scouring the industry for unknown talent for the last 45 years, but rather than destroying emerging artists careers by ripping off their works as Madonna commonly does, he signed numerous people who at one time were unknowns. Nobody knew them. They weren't famous. I know it's hard to believe that there was a time when some of your favorite artists were unknowns, but they started like that. By all accounts he signed artists, he didn't steal their work.

Clive Davis discovered and signed the once unknowns:

  • Whitney Houston
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Janis Joplin
  • Pink Floyd
  • Billy Joel
  • Annie Lenox
  • Kenny G
  • Santana
  • Alicia Keys

Like I said, Davis is known for signing great new talent. But think about the flip side of that common industry practice of scouring the industry for the next new stars. What if you do the unethical like Madonna does and rob new artists.

Think about it. If your team scoured the industry for the latest music and trends and you were able to snatch them from indie and unknown artists before their careers took off, you'd be quite rich and very famous for hits you didn't author and trends you didn't come up with.

Hypothetically speaking, say there were 6 new artists looking for deals this year. I'm going to use already established acts to help bring home the point to you. After all, every singer has to start somewhere. There was a time when Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Sheryl Crow were all new artists that no one knew about. I'm going to use factual information from these artists' careers in the hypothesizing. This is also how managers, labels and A&R guys looks at potential signings that they are evaluating for inclusion on the label's roster.

Ok, hypothetically speaking, the six new artists are:

  • One's from New Jersey, her name is Whitney. You heard her singing studio back up sessions with a demo with some songs on it, one called "How Will I Know" and the other called "The Greatest Love Of All."
  • One's from New York and you got her demo from her friend whose trying to help her get a deal. On the demo there are the songs "Vision Of Love" and "Someday." The girl's name is Mariah Carey.
  • The next one is a music teacher from Missouri looking for a deal with a demo with some songs on it, one's called "All I Wanna Do."
  • Another's from New York, named Alicia Keys. She wrote some tracks on her demo, two of the songs titled "Fallin'" and "A Woman's Worth."
  • Another's called Beyonce from Houston with a demo with the songs "Crazy In Love" and "Baby Boy" that she co-wrote.
  • Another artist is from Louisiana. Her name is Britney Spears. She's got a demo with the songs "Oops, I did It Again" and "Sometimes" on it.

If you as an established female artists ripped off the songs "How Will I Know," "The Greatest Love of All," Vision Of Love," "Someday," "All I Wanna Do," "Fallin,'" "Woman's Worth," "Crazy In Love," "Baby Boy," "Oops I Did It Again," and "Sometimes" and performed those songs yourself, you'd become one of the most famous singers in the world - albeit with numerous lawsuits and a career that would taper off in disgrace.

Not to mention you would have defrauded the unknowns Whitney, Mariah, Sheryl, Alicia, Beyonce and Britney, robbing them of their hits and stealing their place in history while advancing your own. .

Well, there have been copyright infringement lawsuits and allegations against Madonna for all of the following songs that became hits for her that came from indie, not mainstream artists, who had copyrights for their songs, videos and other works way before she ripped them off for her projects and ran to the mainstream with it, passing them off as her own:

  • Like A Virgin
  • Vogue
  • Justify My Love
  • Deeper And Deeper
  • Human Nature
  • Bad Girl
  • Frozen
  • American Life
  • Ray Of Light music video
  • What It Feels Like For A Girl music video
  • Hollywood music video
  • "Sex" book - It was written in the book "Madonna" that it was stolen from a then employee at a publishing company who is now the biggest independent book publisher in the world, Judith Regan.
  • Swept Away movie
  • Material Girls movie

Just look at that list. That's most of her hits. That's most of her career. Then again, anyone could reinvent themself with an oddly diverse string of hits, if they had the illegal luxury of stealing other emerging artists' copyrighted works that showed great promise.

Most of Madonna's biggest hits have a copyright infringement and plagiarism lawsuit and or allegation thereof attached to them, accusing her of ripping it off from indie artists that are not known in the mainstream.

You'd be surprised to learn how many artists are crying foul over Madonna stealing their work. I've even had people writing me telling me of what she's done to them in that regard. I got another one just last week where a woman complained of Madonna defrauding her in the entertainment industry. She said she was inspired by what I had written and that I had the guts to do it, so she wrote me.

Other entertainers have described Madonna's disgraceful conduct:

Elton John referred to her as a "culture vampire" with her "ear to the ground."

The Band Gene Loves Jezebel received a call asking if they wanted to remake a Madonna song and they said, "no, she's crap" (it's a practice some older artists do in an attempt to say hip with younger audiences, while other practices include calling up successful young artists and asking them to say a good word about them for planted articles to youth audiences).

But the label offered the band so much money to do the Madonna remake they said yes. However, they were very candid in their description of her unethical practices in a Yahoo article they did, they even alluded to the fact that the song "Frozen" was a rip off by Madonna (little did they know they were right, as the interview was conducted in 1999):

When asked why he's not a big Maddy (Madonna) fan, Aston says he's turned off by her sheer blonde ambition. "She represents everything non-spiritual. You have to have that part of you that wants to be that famous, to have that insecurity that deep in you, to push like she's pushed to become famous. Sure, that takes a lot of business savvy and whatever else it takes to promote yourself, to get 11-year-old girls to wear suspender belts. I don't think that's a great feat, personally. She's successful in those terms. Just because you're selling millions of records, just because you're all over the television, doesn't make me respect you. She's very clever, though. When she started, she came from Detroit, just this ordinary-looking cheerleader girl, and she just hopped onto the scene that was the real '80s in New York, which was a very underground scene, and just stole whatever she could. And she's done the same thing ever since, in my opinion.

"We don't respect that kind of success, "Aston continues. "I think you should be successful as an artist. I think time shows that people who produce great records live on much deeper in the public's conscious in the long run. People like Nick Drake or Miles Davis or the Rolling Stones won't be forgotten; they'll still be remembered."

Ironically, it was Aston's disdain for Madonna's alleged lack of spirituality that led Gene Loves Jezebel to choose "Frozen" for their Virgin Voices cover song. "We said, 'Let's do the song where she pretends to be spiritual!'" quips Aston sarcastically. "A very sub-Enigma type of song she ripped off. And we did a brilliant version of it."

- 4/30/99 Launch Music

Mariah Carey

"Take me seriously as a songwriter. People can understand that Alicia Keys writes because she's got the piano in front of her most of the time and that's her thing and people relate to that. And if they see Melissa Etheridge with a guitar they get it, but they see me being very diva and they're like 'Oh, that's all she does,' but really the writing, to me, is more than half of what I do."

- Mariah Carey

The thing is people equate songwriting with writing lyrics and music, rather than only lyric writing. By all accounts, album credits and industry definitions, artists who write words to songs are lyricists. Songwriter is the term the industry commonly reserves for musicians who compose both lyrics and music (lyrics and instrumentals you hear in the background that the words are sung over).

There is nothing wrong with being a lyricist, but it is a different industry classification.

The music is a big part of the song. The most difficult to write, requiring the most skill, therefore it's assigned more credit and acclaim.

In Carey's case, Walter Afanasieff and in some part, Narada Michael Walden, defined Carey's sound with the lush instrumentals they came up with for her tracks. Their skill and expertise shaped those records that were among her biggest. Collectively, they have a very developed ear for music and applied that very skillfully to her records. They are a big part of her success.

Afanasieff in particular gave her a sound. He greatly helped to define her musically, in a genre/style reminiscent of the classic pop that Narada Michael Walden did, who is a buddy of his. They are two gifted producers and as a lyricist, Mariah benefited from their talents.

I heard Mariah's new album. My friend bought it and I have to say, despite some stating it's her best or most revealing record, I disagree.

There are 3 likable songs on the record and she usually averages higher than that. Much of it doesn't fit her, as it's too trendy for her. Not to mention, she's cussing on the record and singing about getting high. The songs sound like trendy R&B stuff that's on the radio now, which her previous work is better than. Mariah has a good voice. Singing is what she does best. Following trends should be left to the talentless singers like Madonna.

Mottola did know what he was doing with her career. Say what you want about their marriage, and people sometimes do, (one that ended his previous 20 year marriage with a woman that fought hard to keep her family together) but straight out the gate he cut all the red tape and gave her promo and resources that only proven artists get. It was reported that other artists and label employees complained about the preferential treatment Carey reportedly got at Sony, however, her best work came under his tenure. No question. I think "Mariah Carey" "Emotions" and "Music Box" were her best records.

While I do not know Tommy Mottola, it is evident the direction he took with her career was a sensible one. Wearing sensible clothes and singing sensible music would give her and the label the kind of recognition and sales they all wanted. And it did. He was a big part of her success.

Another thing, what some audiences don't get is that there's a lot more to the music industry than music. The music industry is about 20 percent singing and 80% what I call the four P's, music industry politics, procedure, publicity and pr (well, we'll call payola, publicity for now).

You get an artist out of obscurity, so to speak, but it doesn't matter how well they can sing, it's gonna take a lot of work. The music industry became incomprehensibly complicated starting in the early 80's.

And just because you can sing doesn't mean you'll be a hit. It's a business and operates as such. There's a lot of unnecessary red tape and schmoozing.

Of course, quite a few new artists don't believe that. Artists sometimes need to feel it's about them, but it is seldom so with many careers. New artists believe their newfound celebrity will stay with them, when that is also often not so. The industry and celebrity often fools people into believing that. You'd be surprised how quickly things can change.

Very few artists do it all. Most can't, so they get help. There's nothing wrong with that. But it becomes wrong when you play down the help.



Holding Court: Eminem in court in a suit looking like a responsible adult

Recently Eminem won a case brought against him by a bully that used to torment and beat him up in school. The bully used to beat Eminem, real name Marshall Mathers, so badly that he fell into a coma once. Now the bully said Mathers defamed him in writing a song about him.

Ok, if you beat someone until they are unconscious, I think they pretty much earned the right to talk about it. While I don't agree with Eminem's lyrics on most of the songs I've heard by him, you cannot shut someone up from talking about the bad things you did to them.

That's what I don't get with some. They do bad deeds, but panic and sue when people decide to talk about it, thus embarrassing them.

The best thing to do is to seek forgiveness from God for the things you'd done to others.

It's amazing how bullying can traumatize people. A lot of people suffer the lingering effects of childhood bullying. Right now, some of you are probably thinking about the bullying that happened to you when you were younger.

However, it is something your mind and emotions can be healed from. The best thing you can do is forgive them for your own sake and don't dwell on it, as it will only upset you.

A girl used to pick on me in junior high. I was really quiet and withdrawn. But not so quiet that I didn't tell my mom. Anyway, mommy didn't take it too well. She went with me to the school bus the next day, asked me which girl it was that was picking on me and told her to leave her kid alone or she was going to report her.

Amazingly I wasn't embarrassed. I should have been (hey, at least she wasn't wearing rollers when she went on the school bus). But you know what, it worked. The girl never bothered me again and the bullying didn't have any long term negative effects on me, as there was a resolution. Actually, when I think about it now I laugh.

However, unresolved bullying can have lasting effects, partly due to the fact it happens at a time when your mind and psyche aren't quite developed yet.

American Idol

Based on the clips I've seen on the news, I'd have picked the dude to win. Apparently I'm not alone in that opinion:

Miami Herald columnist Howard Cohen wrote that the winner's victory:

"Defied polls all day Wednesday that had predicted a victory instead for Bo Bice, the more experienced and affable rock musician from Helena, Alabama."

"Carrie, often criticized for giving wooden performances, was nevertheless the pick from the start for judge Simon Cowell who said in March she would not only win, but would sell more records than any previous idol. (Fox won't reveal how many votes any of its contestants received)."

Another thing many critics noted - the call in voting was faulty at different times. On one show, it was reported that the 800 numbers for all the contestants were displaying the subsequent winner's 800 number to viewers who where hearing impaired. So anyone they voted for their vote ended up going to the person that has now ended up winning the whole competition.

Lastly, most industry experts thought Bice would win. Oh dear.

Regardless, as a winner coming off a TV talent show about making an idol hurts an artist's credibility. Artists who struggled, did shows and shopped their demo to labels, sort of see it as a novelty in rising to fame from a TV talent show. It's just different. Not to say these contestants aren't talented, because they clearly are, but there are credibility issues that exist coming from such shows.

I do not agree with the concept of creating an idol. It goes against the Bible. In addition you're supposed to be a singer or musician and that's all it should be. Setting out to become an idol, to be worshipped and mimicked, takes the focus off the artist and their work.

I did however watch the Corey Clarke expose on ABC regarding the show American Idol. I believe him. However, Paula seems like a nice person and it was sad that all of that dirty laundry was aired about her by Clarke. I didn't agree with that, as she seems like one of the nicer people in the entertainment industry. If it had happened to a meanie celebrity...

It goes to show how people will react when people tamper with their careers (not Abdul). Clarke alleges that the producers from American Idol went around the industry interfering with his career after he'd been booted from the show. He says they emailed Jive records, who'd signed him to a record deal, causing them to suddenly drop him from the roster. He didn't take that well. No artist would.

They should have left his career alone after he was booted off the show, as all of this ensuing mess with the tell all wouldn't have happened.

50 Cent is another example of that. While I do not have anything personal against 50 Cent or Irv Gotti, by all accounts, Murder Inc, Gotti's label, interfered with his career when they were in a position to do so. They got him kicked off the Jennifer Lopez remix for "I'm Gonna Be Alright," which would have given him a lot of exposure and they allegedly stabbed him outside of the Hit Factory recording studio in New York, among other things. That hurt his career for a while (must have hurt too getting stabbed). However, he kept trying and broke through with his 2003 debut. That set him up as the top entertainer that year and he basically let rip about what had been done to him in attempts to sabotage and destroy his career. Much like Clarke let rip about what happened to him.

It's never a good idea to tamper with an artist's career, because make no mistake, they will let rip about it and audiences will think less of the perpetrator for doing that to someone just coming up. It comes across as an abuse of position and influence.


Another reminder about piracy. While compiling a retailer list I noticed just how many of the smaller retailers had gone out of business as a result of piracy. When I called the number for almost two dozen randomly chosen record stores around the country, for many of them the telephone would ring a few times, then a standard phone company message would play stating the number you've dialed has been disconnected. Businesses don't do that without a forwarding number in those messages. They only do that when they go out of business.

Feds Shut Down Illegal P2P site

Continuing our my theme of piracy from last month's column...

Last week, the Feds shutdown a web site that was hosting the new Star Wars film the day before it was released. They actually had the movie the day before it was released. How bumptious.

The Feds shut down the site and seized their servers. It was very encouraging news for the entertainment industry, as it needs this kind of help and swift action from the government to combat the illegal activity.

Kylie Minogue

I want to wish Kylie Minogue the best in her battle with breast cancer. Be optimistic and hopeful. Faith can get you through it. God bless.

Kylie pic courtesy of imdb (Steve Granitz)

Breast Cancer Awareness

It is important to catch it early. Ironically, this column's health segment I wrote at the beginning of the month, was about breast exams and mammograms, as my mother had one done a month ago and got back great results.

Minogue is only in her thirties and often times people associate cancer and breast cancer with women of a more mature age. It can happen to anyone, even men. It's important to:

  • Do regular breast self-exams
  • Note all changes in your breasts and body
  • Get regular screenings

For people with cancer, a positive outlook is very important. Stress can only aggravate cancer, as it is believed to be the cause of some cancers as well.

Last week, I read an article in the Telegraph that stated studies indicate that frequent flying maybe a factor for some forms of cancer. I take it that is from being exposed to x-ray/security scanning machinery more frequently than others who do not fly as much. The article also stated the prostate cancer gene in men can translate into breast cancer for daughters. The same article reported Minogue's father had a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2001.

For more information on breast cancer read the following informative article:

Ageism In The Entertainment Industry

Many of my favorite artists are, well, dead. I like a lot of older music.

Sadly many mainstream artists in their teens and twenties don't have much substance. They were signed based on their looks, not their talent.

It's weird how the music industry thinks if you're over 35, you're over the hill. However, the artists over 35 often have the most talent.

But it must be said, some artists don't know how to age gracefully. It's not advisable to go on stage doing flips and cartwheels when you are in your forties, then run backstage for the Ben Gay after.

A lot of singers fall victim to the vapidity in the industry they helped to create.

Madonna for example. A career built on showing her body and not showing talent. When you aren't 21 anymore that just doesn't work any more. Her music was based on catchy tunes that anyone could sing and her stripping all the time. Now that the youth is gone, so are the sales.

She ushered in the era of the female artist who could not sing. Before her it was unprecedented.

I read an article that featured well known British musician Jools Holland, who said "There are some artists such as Madonna, who have said that they wanted to be famous, and thought: "How shall I do it? I know, I'll do it through music!' But other people just come out of the music because that's what they do. That was Ray Charles."

It's true. There are only two types of musicians (and it's a stretch calling some musicians). The ones with talent who are in it for the art and the ones who are untalented, publicity stunting, attention seekers who just want to be celebrities.

I saw a commercial for this show the other day remaking 80's artists. The singer featured on it did well in the 80's and is a great vocalist, but I guess in these trendy times, that just isn't of importance anymore.

Up to the end of the 80's, you had artists of all ages on the charts. How times have changed. Music has become too youth oriented, which is particularly bad since the younger artists are the least experienced and with the current lot in the mainstream, the least talented.


Josh Duhamel

You ever heard the phrase someone is so good looking they could stop traffic. They had to be talking about Josh Duhamel. I saw him in a film recently and he absolutely owned the screen. He has those kind of throw back good looks that old time movie stars did. You don't really see that much anymore except for guys like Denzel, Paul Walker and Shemar Moore. You know...those people in life who are so unbearably good looking to the point that other people can't stand them for it. You know, sort of like me hating on Halle Berry (just kidding).

Press and Paparazzi making life the pits for the Pitt's

Wow, certain members of the press and paparazzi sure are making things tough for Jennifer Aniston in printing some really not so kind stuff about her separation from Brad Pitt. A little kindness would be in order under the circumstances.

The Po Po Pull Over Ollie: Oliver Stone Arrested

I was feeling a little South Centralish today, hence the title. Po-po is slang for the po-po. Seriously, it's slang for the police.

Back in the January 15, 2005 edition of the column, I wrote "Stoned, Oliver Stone Sounds Off." The title turned out to be prophetic as he was arrested on Friday (May 27, 2005) for driving while intoxicated and and for drug possession. Well, that explains Alexander The Great (just teasing).

In all seriousness, I hope he gets treatment, as the longer you have drug and alcohol addictions, the worst the effect it has on your health. Mr. Stone is 58.

That's the problem with addictions. It's difficult to start quitting. It's so much easier to continue the habit. If only it were that simple. But it's not. You've gotta take care of yourself.

I know I joked about him a few months ago in the January 2005 Column (it's only because of the anti-Christian remarks he made, blaming us for the box office failure of Alexander The Great, when we didn't even go see it) but in all sincerity I hope he gets better soon. He's a talented man and he's clearly been through a lot in life.

You've got a lot to live for. Get well soon, sir.

Alex The Great Update

Speaking of Oliver Stone, it was reported that the recently released DVD of the film "Alexander the Great" was released without the gay scenes. For more on that read last month's Sound Off Column regarding people protesting Alexander being portrayed as gay in the film when he was not (click here). 


Follow Up: Law And Order Trippin' Again

Back on January 15, 2005, I wrote about the television show Law and Order in this column:

"They borrow from other sources way too heavily. It's even getting them sued. But more on that later."

In the last Sound Off article on April 27, 2005, I wrote about filmmakers and studio executives taking liberties with people's lives, defamatorily rewriting history for the sake of cinema.

In a recent episode of Law And Order, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was slurred and spoke out about it a few days ago. He slammed the show for what they'd written about him.

In 2004 a lawyer, Ravi Batra, sued Law And Order for $15,000,000 for a defamatory character they based on him for the television show. The show's producer is Dick Wolf. Through his rep he claimed "it was fictional," but it's a little too close for comfort. You judge for yourself:

  • The lawyer's name is Ravi Batra, while the character's name is Ravi Patel
  • The lawyer is an Indian-American and so is the character
  • The lawyer is bald with a beard and so is the character

I reiterate that's a little too close for comfort. The attorney stated in his lawsuit that their conduct has caused him professional injury. That's an arguable point, considering they made up a character clearly based on him, but made it such a horrible one.

He has cause for concern, as which potential client would hire a lawyer that a nationally televised show portrayed in such a bad light, as taking bribes, fixing cases and "selling consultancies and appointments to judgeships." Would you trust a lawyer like that?

Not to mention, his current clients, family and friends watching the show seeing the similarities and wondering the worst about him.

Another aspect of Law and Order up for scrutiny is it has a liberal slant. It is evident to any honest person who watches the show. People with morals are cast as uptight, self-righteous and hypocritical. While liberal behavior that is sometimes questionable is portrayed as brilliant and free thinking. Not all shows are like this, but Law And Order has got one of the worst biases on television. Don't expect fairness or accuracy in their often defamatory depictions of characters that are lazily based on real people. While they have the right to be liberal, they don't have the right to defame people, as that is a litigable offense.

If someone does something bad and it's portrayed as such in any media or public forum, that is not slander (spoken), libel (written) or defamation (inaccurate portrayals/statements that besmirches a person's name and character) - as long as they stick to discussing or portraying the bad the person did (and providing the story of wrong doing isn't fabricated).

However, when you take it upon yourself to play with someone's name, when they hadn't done anything wrong or worthy of such a depiction, then you have a problem on your hands.

What if a filmmaker made a film casting the show's executive producer Dick Wolf as a spouse beater, thief and killer. You can be sure that a lawsuit would follow within days, along with cries of moral outrage from him.

That's happened with others already in cases that certain industry execs did everything they could to have a film or TV project destroyed because it was too candid about an executive's behavior behind the scenes.

However, Wolf is one of a handful of producers who continually takes liberties with real people's lives for the sake of television and cinema, causing them real damage, embarrassment and sometimes humiliation. That is not right.

I ask you who read this column, how would you feel if a filmmaker or TV producer decided he was gonna use your name, image, life and likeness for a show or film and cast you as a murderer or pedophile when you are not? How would it make you feel? Wouldn't you be angry? Wouldn't you have a right to feel angry? It's tarnishing your name, image and legacy.

If the things a few directors and producers did to others were done to them, they would hit the roof. Ironically, God guarantees that you reap what you sow in life, meaning what goes around comes around.


Basketball: Steve Nash

White Men Can Jump! Steve Nash jump shot (pic from his web site).

Steve Nash won the MVP! Wow, I didn't know there were white people in the NBA. Then again, maybe he's just a pale black man. I demand a DNA test! Steve, you sure you're not mixed? (kidding).

The Larry Birdian one did quite well. It's about time the NBA stopped holding the white man down.

(haha I'm kidding)

Basketball: Latest Sports Fashion Trend In Miami

If there's one thing Miamians have learned from the many New Yorkers who live and vacation here, it's how to be a smart aleck. The latest sports fashion trend in Miami comes courtesy of Miami Heat fans.

The fashion trend, you ask? T-shirts emblazoned with the words, "Thanks Kobe." Never let it be said that we are ungrateful (LOL).

For those of you who didn't get that joke, here's the background on it. There were stories in the press that former L.A. Laker, current Miami Heat player Shaq, was traded to Miami at Kobe's request due to their disputes. Kobe, however, denied this story.

Now the Heat are doing better than the Lakers, who've already been relegated, and many are pointing out the irony.

I think Shaq made the Heat feel like they are a world class team, due to him coming from a team that won so many championships. He helped to bring out the best in them that was already there. Some people are good at that. Everyone has pitched in, contributing something to the Heat's current success and it's showing. The name for that is team work. The Lakers lost that towards the end.

Basketball: The Heat: Damon Jones

Isn't Damon Jones hilarious. On the local news the other night he questioned People Magazine's decision to name his teammate Dwayne Wade one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" for its annual issue. Jones stated that, "if Dwayne is Top 50, I know I'm at least Top 5."

Is it just me or doesn't Damon (left) remind you of Michael Bivins (right) from New Edition:


Basketball: The Grass Is Redder On The Other Side

As I was passing the arena in downtown Miami, the home of the Heat, I couldn't help but notice that the grass was dyed red in support of the team (red is the Heat's primary color). Wow, the guys at the arena really went all out, didn't they. I'm just glad that the grass was actually red. For a minute there I thought I was seeing things and did a double take.

Baseball: The Marlins

The Marlin's owner has been threatening to relocate the team if the city doesn't cough up the money to build them the new stadium they promised.

The Las Vegas Marlins isn't gonna fly! Please give them the stadium. You mean with drug dealers about you can't arrest one of them, seize their money and build the new stadium (LOL). It would put the money back into the community, as it was based on unlawfully getting members of the community high, anyway.

If this does happen and the drug dealer gets ticked off, for the record, I disown that idea! (kidding).

Soccer: Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Man U Sold

Chelsea won the premiership. I'm not amused. I wanted Arsenal to win. How could Chelsea win. That's a girl's name!

Just kidding. No internet hooliganism, please. However, Arsenal won the FA Cup and even sweeter, beat Man U, their top rival, who've been sold.

Manchester United have been sold to Tampa Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer, much to fans dismay. They are concerned about his takeover practices with past franchises and are worried about the future of their team.

In other news, Liverpool came back from behind to beat AC Milan in the UEFA Cup final in Turkey. That match was another reminder that you should never give up until the game is truly over.

Tennis: Nadal, Roddick, The French Open

A little follow up. I read an article in USA Today dated May 17, 2005 that stated Rafael Nadal plays soccer in his spare time. Makes sense now, as I wrote in the previous Sound Off Column on April 27, 2005, that he plays tennis like a soccer player and has the instincts of one. Now we know why.

By the way, check out USA Today's interesting description of Nadal:

"With his shoulder-length hair, white headband and trademark white clam digger shorts, looks like an island warrior swept in off the high seas."

To the journo: you been watching Pirates Of The Caribbean or something (joking).

Some are concerned that he will get burned out, but irrespective of that, he has made quite a mark in a relatively short space of time. I think that's what most athletes and entertainers strive for - to make some sort of positive, lasting, talent oriented mark on their chosen profession.

Speaking of Nadal...

The French Open is underway. The incident during his match against Grosjean was regrettable. I felt sorry for him. He was booed for 10 minutes for a disputed line call that was correct. He only speaks Spanish, and everything going on around him was in French and some English. He must have felt disconcerted. However, he obviously focused it into the match and a victory.

Solution To The Clay Crisis

While I'm writing about the French Open, none of our guys made it through. Ah, it's okay. At least they tried.

- Aisha in mad scientist mode -

This year, once again, I think I've found a solution to the clay crisis. Soccer cleats with metal spikes. If that doesn't stick you to the mud, um, I mean clay, nothing will. You can get some good traction with those shoes! (kidding).

A Good Sport

Andy Roddick was a good sport in his match against Fernando Verdasco, allowing a point that he could have claimed by not correcting the judge. The judge called the ball out. Andy told him it was actually in and Verdasco got the game turning point. Roddick lost the match and was out of the Rome Masters tourney.

I just don't know what to say. Aisha gently slaps Roddick on the back of the head, "What were you thinking?" -Aisha remembers people are watching-. Oops! What I meant was, your noble act of sportsmanship was commendable -cough- loss provoking, but commendable. Just kidding. Well, I guess if you have to lose a match, it's better that you lose playing fairly.

Being a good sport is very important. Things like letting go of a point that you could have won if you felt it wouldn't have been fair, overlooking a slight, being gracious in the face of a racial or xenophobic slur, keeping your composure in racially charged environments like some soccer players routinely have to for their job.

Winning is great, but sportsmanship is more important -cough- that's what losers say (just kidding).

When Animal Products Attack

That was a pun on the phrase/TV show segment "when animals attack," which is about animals attacking humans. While I'm not for animal cruelty, as they are living things, I believe in taking a rational approach to things. It's good to keep things in perspective. There are so many things we use that are made from animals/animal products:

  • Weaves (animal rights groups just lost many black women with that one)
  • Toupees (animal rights groups just lost countless men in Hollywood with that one)
  • Cosmetic surgery fillers (animal rights groups just lost countless women in Hollywood with that one)
  • Computers (animal rights groups just lost me with that one)
  • Roads (well, unless you can naturally fly or walk on grass all the time...)
  • Cosmetics: make up, make up brushes, lotions
  • Tires
  • Brake fluid
  • Several Soaps
  • Furniture, Rugs
  • Magazines
  • Clothes
  • Glue on postage stamps in all countries
  • Instrument parts (strings, drum heads)
  • Toys, crayons
  • AIDS and Cancer research
  • Vaccines
  • Pesticides
  • Gelatin
  • Bubble Gum
  • Beer
  • And of course, let's not forget...meat (ok, bad joke)

Therefore, we have to keep things in perspective. I think animals are beautiful and I do not agree with cruelty to them, but they have become a big part of the way society functions in what they are used to make, from the roads we use to the computers we type on.

My mom brought up a very interesting point the other day. She said, "What about the food chain?" When she said that at first I didn't get what she meant and wondered, "Is it time to put you on medication" (I was kidding when I thought that). Then it dawned on me what she meant (hey, it's her fault. She doesn't like to elaborate her points, like I can read her mind).

What she meant was animals eat other animals, hence the food chain. Animal rights groups don't interfere with that.

You think if I see a ferocious lion about to chow down on another animal I'm going to intervene. Ha, I don't think so. I'd say to the lion, "look, I'm gonna get out of your way and go behind the tree. It's not that I'm scared or anything...ok yea, it's cause I'm scared, so I'm just gonna go behind the tree." Just kidding.

Global Warming

I saw these pics on CNET recently, thought them interesting and wanted to share them with you just in case you hadn't seen them. They reflect the effects of global warming - literally. One is the before pic of a glacier, while the other is the after pic decades later. I jokingly thought, maybe it melted cause it's summer? As you can see, a substantial portion of the glacier has melted (um, where is it).

Before After


I saw a feature recently on CNN about the dangers of gambling. It said if you do something once a week it's a habit. The show placed concern and rightfully so on the trend of kids gambling, as it is setting them up for serious problems as they get older. The show cited the popularity of such games as Texas Hold'em as a source of concern.

There are many people who've lost it all through gambling. It's not a pretty habit when it spirals out of control. It is addictive and can become quite costly.


Weaning Off Liquor

This is for recovering alcoholics. I read that when the health of the late Princess Margaret was fading, she stopped drinking alcohol and the cook would make her ginger based alcohol free drinks. The ginger being the substitute for alcohol and its taste (and ginger is actually good for you).

Premature Aging

Nothing ages you faster than stress. Letting everything worry you, even things that are out of your control.

Continually plotting unethical deeds and stewing in anger is another cause of premature aging. Ever notice how dictators always look older than their age. It's because they are always plotting something unethical and are paranoid about everyone else, due to how they think and the bad stuff they know they'd do if they got the chance. They think everyone else is out to get them because they're out to get everyone else. Ironically, there are people like that in the business world as well (LOL).

People who are optimistic, kind and diligent in maintaining their stress levels age better.

Hard living can also prematurely age you. It's done that to many an entertainer. If you constantly put your body through a lot via drinking, drugs, experimental drugs, smoking, partying and not sleeping enough (improper sleeping habits), it will prematurely age you. 

Viagra Causing Blindness

A report was released last week stating Viagra has caused blindness in consumers. People had previously speculated for a while that it was a source of blindness in certain age groups taking the drug, due to the reports they'd received from different people. There currently are no plans for a recall.

STDs Via Hair Removal Products

STD's have been referred to as the gift that keeps on giving. I saw a segment on Channel 4 in Miami about a woman who contracted Herpes from waxing. The salon used the same pot of hot wax for everyone, which transmitted the disease.

You know those over the counter electrolysis kits available in stores...I've wondered how safe they are for a few years now, as I remember seeing someone attempting to buy one once, that from the look of the packaging had already been opened (possibly used then returned). It was clear from the look of the packaging and the loose tape on the box that it had already opened. You don't really want to take a risk with something like that, as it's a machine with a fine metal tip, sometimes a needle, that goes into the pores to remove hair. I advised her not to buy that one and request one that looked like it was factory sealed and she did.

There are other things you need to be careful of as well. Unlicensed doctors, dentists, manicurists and beauticians who do not sterilize their equipment properly. People have gotten sick that way.

Recovering From Rape

Rape is a cruel crime. It's been a problem for hundreds of years and it's still happening. Many women have been raped. There are regularly reported cases of it on the news.

While some women lie about being raped, many are not lying and the deceitful ones are making it difficult for the real victims out there.

Rape is inexplicable and devastating. It's left many women feeling so despondent. Some men will hear the word no and back off, while others just won't. Some men convince themselves that a woman is playing hard to get, when she is not. They then feel it's their job to force her, which is wrong. 

People have this misconception that rapists look a certain way. A lady once said to me that sometimes rapists are handsome men. She had a point. Some believe that rapists are unattractive and can't get a date, so they rape women. However, there are good looking rapists as well. Ted Bundy was a good looking man...who raped and killed several women.

That good looking man with a bad temper who always hears yes from women because of his looks, but is told no by someone who genuinely isn't interested, then decides rape is the way to get what he wants...

Some men don't know how to accept the word no. In their own mind they are so attractive, how could this woman not want them. And as mentioned above, others convince themselves the woman is playing hard to get and cruelly use force.


1. You really have to be careful of who you go out with and the places you go as well. In all fairness, some women have been raped in situations that didn't look dangerous. 

However, having written that, if a guy is knocking at your door at 12 AM, it's best you don't answer it. Because if you do get raped, the first thing some are gonna say is, why was he in your house at 12 AM. It's no excuse for rape, but some will think that in an attempt to be fair to both parties in finding out what truly happened. 

2. Don't go by a person's looks or job. Just because he is good looking and or rich doesn't mean he is safe and won't rape you. It'll just mean he'll have more money for a good lawyer to defend the charges.

3. Beware of stalkers. Some women think it's flattering, but I don't. If a man is following you about a bit too much, be careful. Stalking is not normal behavior and if he is doing that, he obviously thinks it's okay and who knows what else he thinks is okay (that's not).

Now, I don't mean someone coming up to you in the mall or in some social setting trying to talk to you. I mean be careful if the same stranger keeps coming up to you in different settings.

Reporting Rape

Some talk about it, some don't. I'm not gonna insult anyone's decision in not reporting it. I can't fathom what women must go through in mulling over the decision on whether or not to report rape. That's gotta be tough. I know it's not the politically correct thing to write, but some women are left so devastated after rape that they don't want to face anymore trauma. However, reporting it is the best thing to do though, because it could stop someone else from being raped by the same person.

Recovering From Rape

It is possible to recover from rape. Many women have. The first thing is to not blame yourself. Victims always blame themselves and wonder why it happened to them. Don't do that to yourself.

A therapy group conducted by a professional - therapy with people who have been through the same struggles you have can be a great source of hope. Knowing that others are recovering from the same things you went through can encourage you as well.

Prayer - try to work past the anger and blaming God for what others did. Realize that there are some very cruel people in this world. But you have to focus on getting better. Pray for the grace to recover.


Confidentiality Agreements

Recently in England nanny Abbie Gibson broke the confidentiality agreement she'd signed with the Beckhams and sold her story to the bin bag tabloid the News Of The World, sister to the even more revolting Sun Newspaper, especially that copyright infringing Bizarre column. 

Should people be allowed to break confidentiality agreements without serious consequence. First of all, it's pretty low. Someone has you in their life and their home or business and you sell their secrets. That's very dishonorable.

News Of The World keeps stating the story is public interest, but I disagree. What goes on in people's homes is not public interest, that's invasion of privacy, especially when you disgustingly take it upon yourselves to print it. Printing information obtained from paying someone to break a confidentiality agreement to dish secrets from people's homes is disgraceful.

The public can help in not buying these questionable issues of magazines and newspapers that do these things to people.


Telling You What You Want To Hear; Elvis


I saw an E Hollywood special recently (you know those, they make you think to yourself, hmmm maybe I don't want to be an entertainer after all - just kidding). It was about the last days of Elvis' life.

What struck me the most was not his addictions, but the fact that a number of the people he had around him kept telling him what he wanted to hear, helping to usher him slowly to his demise. Not everyone around him was like that, but some were and sadly those were the people he listened to the most.

Some fear not being in that person's circle anymore, so they lie to and pacify them. It's not that they mean harm, but it doesn't help.

I just couldn't do that to people. I would have no peace in my soul if I did. You can't claim to care about someone and lie to them about stuff they are doing that is blatantly wrong and dangerous.

People need a dose of reality, not a dose of drugs.

It may hurt to hear it. It may shock them. They may not want to talk to you for a while, but if it ends up saving their life, it's more than worth it. And if it is a rational person, they will soon see what you did in telling them the truth was for their own good and by God's grace saved their life.

Sometimes it's good that people have the benefit of not knowing how bad things could have been.

It's better to have someone upset at you for telling them the truth, but it pricks their conscience in such a way that they change and it saves their life, rather than be in good graces with a dead friend. One that you lied to or encouraged in destructive conduct. That's why parents really need to watch who their kids, both young and adult children, call friend.

People often don't want to hear the unpleasant things about some aspect of their life that isn't right, but if you say you are someone's friend and lie to them about or encourage them in destructive behavior, you are not really their friend.

I mean, what's the difference between you and the Devil in that person's life if you lie to or encourage them in destructive conduct.

A good friend would tell you when you are going wrong. A good friend wouldn't encourage you to do wrong. A good friend wouldn't encourage you to hurt other people.

Certain lifestyles, if you don't stop, will stop you dead in your tracks - literally.

Graceland - was a nice looking place, but it was no longer a refuge, but rather a den of iniquity. Graceland became like a little prison for Elvis.

Of the many people that were closest to him who were interviewed there weren't many to tell him no. Some of them even admitted it. One interviewee said Elvis wasn't accustomed to hearing no, especially from doctors supplying him with illegal drugs.

Priscilla had already left, as she had taken all she felt she could. Sometimes we take people for granted - and make no mistake, some will reach a point that they feel they have to leave for their own sanity and safety. Being a celebrity doesn't make anyone exempt from pushing people to their limits with their conduct.

When a parent dies, a child sometimes loses their footing. That clearly happened to Elvis. He was raised by his mom and they were very close. When she died he lost his bearings and flew off the rails. Some can handle grief over time, but when you are very famous with too many people around you telling you what you want to hear, that can spell bad news.

When a person is angry or grieving, they often aren't thinking straight. Some even feel suicidal. Some plot crimes in that state.  The last thing you need is someone agreeing with every bad thought and idea you run past them in that state. You want a sympathetic ear, but you don't need ingratiatory speech.

Elvis got to a point where he was in a bad way, and loads of people were telling him his every idea and whim was brilliant when some of it was dangerous. Like wanting to kill the man his estranged wife was seeing.

By all accounts, the drugs had turned Elvis into another person. It can do that. You'll do things you are ashamed of and later regret.

Elvis didn't need a dose of drugs, but a dose of honesty. Someone honest enough to tell him he was about to destroy his career and life with what he was doing. But it seemed as though people were scared of upsetting him.

Sometimes tough love works. It can serve as a wake up call. It may seem harsh in the beginning, but if it gets the person to wake up and get back on the right path, it was worth it.

Another point. Elvis was on drugs, there was a reason he was acting irrationally, but some celebrities are not and make some really reckless decisions anyway. I don't know if it is self-sabotage because some can't deal with things going well or just not appreciating what you have. However, in some cases people take things for granted.

People sometimes break the law for celebrities doing things they know they ought not to that often ends up getting them into trouble as well. Never do that, because at the end of the day you'll end up in that jail cell as well and the star struck view you had will disappear along with your freedom.

Sometimes people need to hear the word no. Not to intentionally burst their bubble or be sadistic, but to remind them to be mindful of themselves, their limits and others.

Is A Celebrity's Life Worth More Than A Non-Famous Person's

When a celebrity dies, commonly there is a lot of fanfare and a big send off. When a non-famous person dies, there usually isn't. Is a celebrity's life worth more than Bob's down the street? Of course not.

God evaluates each life by our deeds, good and bad, not how many magazine covers a person's done or how many autographs a person's signed. There are many non-famous people who do great things in life and on a local level that doesn't make the front page of the newspapers, but nonetheless, they are still doing great works, often times works of greater significance than celebrities.

People often equate celebrity with talent and being gifted when many celebrities today are neither and quite ordinary by choice, not by default. Some live for the latest trends rather than what is important in life - God, family and friends (and in that order).

Trends will not get you into heaven when you die and for some death comes unexpectedly, leaving little or no room for change. However, your deeds in life can keep you from heaven if you don't change your ways and the alternative is not that pretty to put it mildly.

Your life's worth is determined by the good you do. Not celebrity. At least that's how God weighs a life and at the end of the day that's all that matters.

Then again some things that people deem good are not so in God's sight. It's about God's standards, not ours.


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