Monday, August 26, 2013

My, Oh My

As I had stated on Friday, I was looking forward to the VMA's.  Usually feeling too old to watch or care, this year it was heavy with Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars, so I sat down at 9pm to watch the extravaganza.  For the first time, they were live from the Barclay Center in Brooklyn.  Made the event very interesting on the red carpet outside with Brooklyn brownstones lining the walkway on all sides.  New York kids lining the barriers screaming for their favorites.  At 9pm the show went live beginning with Lady Gaga singing one of her new songs, her "comeback" so to speak.  I couldn't really concentrate on the song.  All I could watch was her 4 costume changes during the song and her dancing.  She looks fantastic and showed almost all of herself by the end of the song.  

I know that I'm too old when One Direction and Selena Gomez win a VMA award, but I still had so much hope because Justin Timberlake was going to be honored with the Michael Jackson Vanguard award.  Bruno Mars was still to come, but to get there....

Miley Cyrus.  My, oh my, seriously.  She was classless, disgusting, and made it uncomfortable to watch.  She performed her new hit song, We Can't Stop.  She bumped, grinded her butt, her genitalia every which way.  She simulated sex with another and alone.  Shocking, distasteful.  Will Smith and his family were agape with their jaws dropped open.  Miley, you are trying too too hard.  I know you want to distance yourself from Hannah Montana and Disney, but Miley, really?  Do you really think you have to explode onto the stage with your tongue hanging out in a very disconcerting way?  You aren't Gene Simmons (for the record, that tongue situation also made me feel uncomfortable).  After she sang her song, she ripped off what was left of her clothes and was wearing a gold-ish bra and panty and sang Blurred Lines with Robin Thicke.  It was worse than her first performance.  Far too sexual.  A young person in my midst said how did Mrs. Thicke feel about that?  Too much.  All of it.  Miley, there has to be a more subtle way for you to find your new path to adulthood.  Justin Timberlake came from Disney.  He never had to be shocking to be a hit.  Taylor Swift went from teenager to adult without simulating sex on the stage.  Miley, you're not Madonna.  You're not Lady Gaga.  Find your own true path.  I don't think this is it.  This feels like your are shoving your tongue down our throats to accept you as an adult.  Not working.  Not authentic.  And if I'm wrong and this is your true path, your career won't last long.  Yuck!

So, after showering from that, at 10pm the star and highlight of the night, Justin Timberlake was introduced by Jimmy Fallon.  He performed for almost 20 minutes with a much anticipated reunion with 'NSync.  He was outstanding.  His performance was stellar and he didn't disappoint after all the hype.  He received the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award for his career.  He's won a lot of VMA's over the years as both a boy band member and a solo artist.  Justin Timberlake is the real deal.  A true talent.  They seem few and far between but wow!  What a thrill.  Almost made sitting through Miley and Robin worth it.  

Other performances were Kanye West singing/rapping in the dark. Seriously, silhouette all the way. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis singing their VMA award winning Same Love.  A very important anthem to human rights and love equality.  Fantastic.  Katy Perry closed the VMA's outside with the Brooklyn Bridge as her backdrop.  I didn't connect with the song, but visually it was artful.  Kevin Hart was on twice to entertain the audience.  He reminded us a lot that he wasn't the host.  Awkward that they shut him down unceremoniously on his second stage appearance.  Had to rewind to see if it was as bad as it seemed.  No one is talking about it so far, but he was censored/cut off.  The other stand out performance was Bruno Mars.  Always flawless and gives you 100%.  He won two VMA's!  

So all in all, I think that I'd watch again next year, but...Miley ugh!

Sidebars:  Very sad to learn over the weekend that the once incredibly great Linda Ronstadt is fighting Parkinson's and can't sing anymore (though I thought she hadn't been able to sing her glorious self long ago).  The magnificent Julie Harris died over the weekend.  A remarkable talent that if she were a young actor today probably wouldn't stand a chance in the superficial world of entertainment.  A five time Tony Award winner.  The blowhole is spewing again...D****d Tr**p is getting airtime on NBC, no self promotion there.  He is being sued for $40Million for fraud by the New York State Attorney General for promising and not delivering at Tr**p University.  It's not a university; it is a seminar and lecture series.  Hubris at its worst.  

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Sing Out, Louise

It's the VMA's on Sunday night, August 25th.  I am very excited to watch, but often the excitement easily turns to disappointment when the live singers are lip-synching or auto-tuned to death.  It's a bait and switch situation.  Fooled many times.  Live doesn't mean live anymore.  It's live on tape, tape delayed, mouthing the words, etc.

Did you see the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom?  If you love music, singing, talent, this is well worth the time to watch it.  Not that I didn't already know how flawlessly talented by back up singers are, this tells the story and highlights the lives of four back up singers.  Thrilling, exciting, moving, and impassioned.  One of the studio engineers pointed out how often today's talent is auto-tuned.  Probably more than you'd like to know, really.

I want the sound engineers to turn off all the auto-tune for a night.  Let's show the lucky, pitch challenged, for whom they really are. So much of today's talent wouldn't cut the muster or even be able to make the cut on American Idol, The X Factor, America's Got Talent, or The Voice, but they are making tons of money, selling lots of songs, and selling out arenas.  Have you heard Britney Spears Vegas performance when the sound engineer turned her auto-tune off?  It was shocking and horrific. I think that it was taken down because I haven't found it for years.  Hearing that proves how much many of today's singers depend on the sound engineers to make them sound good.  It used to be the other way around.  It used to be the singers that recorded had such a deep well of talent the engineers just hit record and released it.  

I don't really understand why using auto-tune has become so rampant.  Okay, for those of you who don't really know what it is, it won't make you a great singer if you can't sing at all, but it helps with those pesky sharps and flats that many singers tend to hit.  So Sunday night, I will sit with wild anticipation and, per usual, be disappointed by many of the "live" performances.  The only one that hasn't disappointed me on awards shows  consistently is Bruno Mars.  

Sidebars:  I have been behind on everything this week.  Pretty much have been feeling behind for the month of August.  My baby dog, Chloe, had her other eye removed this week and is now home recovering.  She will be fine, but always hard to see the ones you love in pain or discomfort.  The Yankees have been on a tear these past 10 days.  Pre-season football is happening and I am not there at all.  CBS and Time Warner are still in a pissing match so still no CBS and Showtime.  Ridiculous.  It's time for the adults to make a deal.  Enjoy the weekend.  It will be great weather in the North East.  To all the firefighters in the West fighting the out of control blazes in five States, be safe and thank you for all that you do.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

The Jeers of a Clown

So, did you hear about the Missouri State Fair clown who mocked and ridiculed the President of the United States?  One of the rodeo clowns was wearing a mask of Obama and the other clown tried to play with his lips.  The announcers helped promote and encourage the humor and silliness, except for one very important thing...the humor was racist. It was a dog whistle, seemingly innocent, yet fully racist.  Many in the crowd seemed to find it hilarious.  One brave man took the video and made it public.  This happened last weekend and almost a week later there is still much discussion about this event.  Peggy Noonan, former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan didn't see the harm and thought Obama should have put out a statement as if it's no big deal. Really, Peggy?  Would it be so simple to roll off the back if it was anti-Semitic?  Anti-Christian? Homophobic?  Can you imagine what the Right would have done if the clowns mocked Christ?  Heads would have rolled, but to mock the African-American President of the United States...get over it.  It's just good clean fun!  So not true.  It was pointed. Offensive. Indefensible.  

Sometimes, I think that the people who are so vehemently on the Right should tape their conversations and play them back.  Can they really believe the things they say?  Do they really understand how it sounds to others?  I have bemoaned racism multiple times since Obama was elected.  The rise of racism is palpable though still trying to disguise it for the believers/racists/ignorants, but so clear.  Was racism always here all these years?  Yes, of course, but it was dormant, in hibernation. Now, it's everywhere. It's on television news talkers, newspapers, rallies, town halls, everywhere.  For those of us sensitive to it, it's incredibly prevalent.  Now that the genie's out of the bottle, will it be different once Obama is out of office?  Doubt it.  So what's the lesson here?  I really don't know.  There are so many uneducated people in this country that don't have the opportunity to travel outside their small radius.  So how do things change?  How do we fight the people that are promoting ignorance and misinformation?  I don't know.  I don't have answers, just tons of questions.

Sidebars:  The battle between ARod and MLB/New York Yankees is getting uglier day by day.  ARod got pummeled by a pitch last night during the Red Sox game.  He didn't charge the pitcher, he let his game speak for itself.  He helped raise the New York Yankees to a win against their nemesis. :-)   Lindsey Lohan's interview with Oprah covered all the things that she needed to cover, but will her sobriety stick this time?  It will be incredible if she can make it back.  It's been so long since she did any quality work.  Basically, she was still a minor.  So much water under the bridge, but hope that she makes it.  I didn't think she would 6 months ago.  

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Despicable You!

So far, far away from NYC, there is a hamlet called San Diego, California.  There is a man that runs the town, Bob Filner.  He was elected by the people.  They felt that he was the best man for the job and so they took their precious vote and voted him to be Mayor.  What has unfolded in the past couple of months is the tale of a very disturbed man.  This man has touched multitudes of women in inappropriate ways in the work place.  He took a trusted position and denigrated many women.  Only recently have the women come forward in droves.  It's contemptible.  And the stories have just gotten worse.  He crossed the line with female soldiers that were part of a support group that were sexually assaulted in the armed forces.  Despicable!

So where did he go when the heat got too hot???  Some two week program to try to correct his behavior!!!  Seriously?  And worse, only made it one week.  He has dug in his heels and won't resign voluntarily. So the good people of San Diego are stuck with a demoralizing Mayor.  What can be done?  San Diego-ans can spend tons of money on a recall election.  Why should they have to?  There should be a mechanism in place that you can be forced to resign if you do the following things while in office...list to be determined. Since this isn't a criminal offense, there would have to be morals clauses and understandings that elected officials would have to follow.  I know that is a slippery slope, I know. This is different than an extra-marital affair, hiring a prostitute, tweeting your penis, etc. This is sexual harassment in the workplace.  Where women get up every morning to go to work, expect a modicum of respect, get their jobs done, and go home at the end of each day.  They do not expect to be inappropriately touched or addressed.  There has to be a mechanism.  The citizens of any town, city, State, or Country, shouldn't have to pay to have an elected official removed if the people in charge don't know office decorum.  

I am sure that the list of women will get longer.  This isn't a new behavior, just the allegations are new.  Filner was in Congress, no way there aren't more stories there.  In any case, this "man" needs to do the right thing for the first time in his life.  He needs to stand up in front of his fellow San Diego-ans, take full responsibility, and resign.  The people shouldn't have to raise money to send him out of office.  Not for this set of offenses!

Sidebars:  The State of New York announced new fraudulent proof driver's licenses.  Black and white photos instead of color.  AND the most stunning change?  If you are ages 16-21, your license/ID will be vertical not horizontal.  Simple brilliance.  I can't believe it isn't nationwide and it took this long to come up with this idea.  How much easier for ID checkers.  No math!  Watched the Democratic Mayoral debate last night.  It is the most lackluster group.  Haven't seen anyone on the Republican side either.  Dullards.  Doesn't mean that one of them might not make a good Mayor, but I fear another David Dinkins.  Gorgeous and cool in NYC.  It's mid-60's and no humidity. Fantastic!  

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Say It Ain't So

Okay, so today is the day.  After MLB has been flexing their "muscles" and bloviating for weeks, Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for a ridiculous amount of games.  As William Rhoden wrote last week in the New York Times, who would've thought that ARod would be the injured party.  That's unbelievable, but with Bud Selig's bullying for weeks and threatening suspensions every other day, that's what has happened to me.  Bud Selig is such a hypocrite.  Bud Selig has sat in the commissioner's seat for a long time.  He sat on the sidelines when Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa brought baseball back from a disastrous strike.  The fact that they were allegedly on steroids didn't matter then because money was needed and being made hand over fist. I have repeatedly felt that MLB and the team owners were the organ grinders and the players, the monkeys.  As long as the organ grinders were making money, they didn't see or hear anything.  

Every few years something would happen and it couldn't be ignored.  Scandal would shake the core of baseball, but not too much.  They didn't want the money flow to stop.  They'd negotiate some sort of drug testing to keep the sports writers, Congress, and the fans "happy."  I don't get it, never have.  If steroids and human growth hormones are such an issue to the integrity to the game, then make it scheduled testing.  MLB has tons of money.  They could have daily, weekly, or monthly testing.  If MLB saw dollar signs, they could own their own lab. There shouldn't be any mystery about testing.  That's how trust would be rebuilt. The Players Association would have to support it, I know, but now it's all a bit iffy and shady. 

I find Bud Selig and his cronies absolutely too rich to be believed.  Everyone keeps throwing out how much money Alex Rodriguez is paid and due.  Is that his fault?  The Yankees organization made the deal.  Now they are stuck with a player that has had trouble producing in games when it counts, has been on the disabled list for a season, and now they see a light at the end of the tunnel.  They want to get rid of him no matter what, because they made him a ridiculous deal in 2007.  They paid him 275 million dollars for 10 years!  Is that his fault?  They desperately wanted him in pinstripes.  Now they'd like him in jail stripes.  Anything to get out of paying him the 100 plus million dollars due.  Anything.  

Not that I care or believe in Alex Rodriguez, but the Yankees, Bud Selig, and MLB are flexing their muscle and pushing, pushing, pushing to get ARod out.  Everyone has an angle.  Everyone has something to gain.  Everyone.  I hope that ARod's appeal of his suspension reveals every last stitch of evidence that MLB has.  So far, Bud and company haven't had to reveal much of anything other than their storyline. I want facts, just the facts.

Sidelines:  Watching television twice last week, once on TNT and twice on USA, the word bullsh*t went out over the airwaves.  Even the closed caption, ** it out.  Is it now okay?  I couldn't care less, but was thoroughly surprised.  The Time Warner/CBS fight is hilarious and ridiculous.  First of all, bad time of year for this contract battle to occur.  Not missing a lot of key television. Golf, Big Brother, Dexter, and Ray Donavan. That's really it.  You can watch repeats of golf on the Golf Channel.  You can read about Big Brother on  And undoubtedly, you can find Dexter and Ray Donavan on your computer somewhere.  If this was happening in the Fall, there'd be a louder outcry.  Now, people are out and about, not caring, not screaming, not yet. The Bachelorette ends its season tonight.  Last week's episode was painfully interminable and that's coming from a loyal viewer.  So who does Desiree choose tonight?  I am guessing no one.  

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