Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was a pre-teen with a mission. I wanted to be a teenager so I could go to Philadelphia and be on Dick Clark‘s American Bandstand. My mom was pretty good about not bursting my bubble as we lived far away from Philly, I was years away from the age requirement of I think 13 or 14 to be on the dance show, and hundreds of kids lined up daily to be on the show and mostly the “regulars” from Philly the “dancing stars” I watched daily after school, were the only kids that actually danced on the show. But she would routinely say things like; “you’re a really good dancer and could do just as well as those kids.” Nothing like a mother to instill confidence and keep the dream alive.
When American Bandstand went national on ABC in 1957 with Dick Clark, it was on weekdays after school and the favorite part of my day. The couples on the show became stars by virtue of how well they danced, how cute they dressed, how cool they looked as a couple and how much we liked their hair styles. I got to know these dancers on a first name basis as Paula and Ritchie who won the Mashed Potato (dance) contest or Bunny who was the best at the Pony or Justine and Bob who everybody loved. I learned how to do the Stroll, the Hop, the Twist, the Locomotion and if I needed a partner my mom filled in. She taught me how to Jitterbug and once in a while when my dad came home from work and I would be showing him some of my new steps, he would grab my mom’s hand and “show me real dancing.”
Dick Clark gave so many singers a start on his show and it was always about the music. I watched Paul Anka, Fabian, James Brown, The Jackson 5, Connie Francis and even one hit wonders like Edd Byrnes, from the popular 77 Sunset Strip TV show. Hard to believe now but his popular song ”Cookie, Cookie Lend Me Your Comb” which he sang with Connie Stevens, also from the TV show, was a hit. What I liked most about the music on Bandstand was the variety. When no one paid attention to what diversity was all about, Clark was busy practicing it. He brought us singers, acts and bands from all walks of life and acted like it was normal–because it was. He was way ahead of his time in realizing all music was to be enjoyed by everyone and never pidgeon holed certain music or musicians to certain segments of the population. As many teens have said over the years on Bandstand when rating a new song, “it has a good beat and you can dance to it.” Those words were certainly my mantra as a kid. Thank you, Dick Clark.
Image via Wikipedia
This is my 100th blog post. And while it isn’t the same type of milestone as say, my first bra or my first marriage it is still something I did 100 times and so could more than qualify for habit status. World of Psychology says that a habit can be formed in as little as 18 days on up to 254 days. The average they claim is about 66 days. While I am now in the habit of blogging, I feel like it is more of a necessity so that bloggers can inherit the earth.
We all know the meek are not going to inherit the earth no matter if God or anyone else says so. Lately the geeks have gotten in on the act and are pushing for the geeks to inherit the earth, just because they think they are so smart–and geeky. That’s not going to happen either because the geeks might be high-tech bastions of computer/internet/whatever knowledge but many lack that ability to relate to the masses.
So that leaves us bloggers. The obvious reason that bloggers should inherit the earth is that we write about everything on earth. We dispense information like big-pharma dispenses pills–only better and faster and for free. We make people think, laugh and cry– often in the same post. We report on the news and more importantly on reactions to the news. We instruct people in every conceivable subject matter from baking, sewing, crafts, art, health and cooking to photography, writing, marketing, social media and affairs of the heart and soul. We bloggers are walking encyclopedias (quite an old word I know) of knowledge in our respective niches and whether that is useful or useless knowledge is not for us to say–our readers will let us know.
I started blogging because I could pick my poison and write away. I was in the news business for years and of course, we had stringent guidelines to adhere to and other than my newspaper columns, my articles were void of opinion just as news stories should be (what a concept, huh). Blogging is very similar to writing a newspaper column with the potential to reach many more eyes. The WordPress platform is perfect for me because I’m no geek and the technical side is easier than other platforms but I do plan on self-hosting in the future (I suppose I’ll need a geek to help me). Since my blog focuses on current news rants and raves (rarely raves) comments aren’t always agreeable but that’s okay. Since I’m very opinionated I would expect my readers to be also. Controversy is just one step closer to inheriting the earth–and I need to be ready.
Image by compujeramey via Flickr
If someone hacked into my computer or cell phone the entertainment value would be nil. Sure there is that fully clothed photo of me on my sexy pink scooter (woo-hoo) and then all the how-I-spent-my-vacation photos depicting various family members, dogs and scenic highways and byways. It’s the run-of-the-mill stuff that would surely disappoint hackers looking to make a few bucks on blackmail or a quick sale to a rag magazine. But of course, I don’t live the life of Scarlett Johanssen, Jessica Alba, Miley Cyrus, Mila Kunis, Vanessa Hudgens or Chris Brown. I’m not in their age group and aesthetically, I appeal to a much older crowd.
Now, all these stars mentioned and about 50 more, have recently or in this past year, had their cell phones and/or computers hacked into and had nude or some type of compromising (to them) pictures stolen. The photos either ended up on the internet or in the hands of people who evidently had plans that didn’t involve keeping them for their own secret stash. These stars are absolutely “shocked,” have expressed they are “victims” and of course the FBI is now involved in the mystery-of-the-hacked-photos-caper. Evidently a “ring” of hackers are involved in this type of cyber crime according to the FBI. Putting this type of stuff on your cell phone or computer isn’t quite as stupid as filming a private video of your escapades as some stars have done over the years–but it is a runner-up to stupid.
Nothing involving the internet is iron-clad private. Nothing involving wireless is private. If as a celebrity, you don’t understand that your nude picture is worth way more than a thousand words then you should probably stick to taking photos of your pets or shoes. Stars are hounded everywhere they go, why would they not be smart enough to think they might be hounded in cyber space? I don’t get it. Where are their business managers and security people to mention; “oh, by the way, if you are ever inclined to take compromising pictures of yourself, even in private–don’t, it could come back to haunt you.” But, then again maybe the “stars” only surround themselves with like-minded people.
According to the L A Times, the FBI has been investigating allegations of the phone hacking of multiple celebrities since 2010. A victim, according to the dictionary is one who is harmed or made to suffer from an act, circumstances, agency or condition (such as war) and also a person who has been tricked, swindled or duped. I keep thinking of all the real victims in the country that the FBI could be probing for instead of wasting our tax dollars on celebrities that evidently don’t have a clue . I feel duped.
Image via Wikipedia
If “reality” TV is supposed to be real, then why did I get the distinct impression that the final episode of The Bachelor was a bad made for TV fictionalized movie? I admit I’m not a big fan of the show but I have seen enough episodes (including last nights final ) to cast aspersions on the whole finding-true-love-in-a-few-weeks-on-TV thing. I mean, come on–get REAL.
Evidently 13.5 million of us were glued to our sets last night waiting with bated breath to see if the two-time bachelor participant and (his first time around he picked nobody) bar owner from Texas , Brad Womack would pick Chantal or Emily. With many of us knowing that it didn’t really matter who he picked because most likely he and his pick-of-the-litter are not going to be riding off into the sunset anyway. Smart people usually don’t get on the bandwagon of finding true love in eleven weeks with a production crew in tow. No matter how many exotic locales no matter how many hot tubs.
Such is life in this reality pick-me, pick-me saga as a bunch of women vie for one guy (who didn’t seem like any prize to me) and then wallow in grief and/or self-pity as they are cast aside for a newer or shinier or more glib model. Kind of like picking out a new car only with less thought. I am amazed that the producers of the show still find attractive, professional and seemingly smart women to sign up for this gig. Most of the women I have viewed on the show seem to show all visible signs of finding themselves a mate in the traditional way but they of course, wouldn’t have a shot at reality TV stardom if they just met someone at the grocery store, health club or bowling alley.
Womack said on the agonizingly long three-hour show that he knew early on that Emily was “the one.” Well, if that was the case what was the point of stringing Chantal and a few others along? It was for TV ratings of course. Seems cruel to me but men have been stringing women along for centuries and vice-versa without the aid of TV cameras. Now that Emily and Brad are in the real world sans cameras, she has said that she is not ready to marry him and she and her daughter are not ready to move to Texas (where his business is). I guess even though the show promotes shallowness, at least some of the participants are smart enough to realize that the 11 weeks of filming and airing might not quite be enough time to build a solid foundation leading to real love in the real world. Me, I’m a total skeptic. I give them a few months tops and he will be the ex-two-time Bachelor player that will still be playing.
The nine voting panel of this seasons Survivor crew definitely outwitted hated player Russell Hantz. As it got down to the final three tonight with Russell, Pavarty and Sandra, he got no votes. Sandra, was voted the surprise winner. Russell was so hated by the players, but it never dawned on him that his hateful, devious, spiteful ways would turn into no votes.
Parvaty won the second most challenges in Survivor history yet the voters felt she had aligned herself with Russell to get to the end, and that lost her the million dollars. Sandra has never won a challenge in any of her Survivor games, and didn’t really do anything extraordinary but the voting panel seemed to think she was loyal and nice. Kind of like a default vote. The panel seemed to be voting more against Russell and anyone in alliance with him than for someone. Sandra made her dislike for Russell well-known from the beginning so whether she outlasted, outwitted and outsmarted anyone it really didn’t matter. Hating Russell was her ticket to the million.
On the first half of tonight’s show Russell won an immunity challenge and so Jerri, Parvarti and Sandra were vying for inclusion in the final three with Russell. He originally was going to have Jerri and Sandra go as the final three with him. He told Sandra that no one would vote for her because she didn’t do anything. He decided Jerri should be voted off because she would then vote for him to get the one million. (what a joke). This is the second time that Russell has gotten to the finals and has not won. I wonder if he gets it yet?
Now that the viewers have anointed Dancing With The Stars number one in its’ time slot for the past three weeks over American Idol, I notice a lot more PR tricks of the trade being used. There is a lot of innuendo floating around and not just about Pamela Anderson’s physical attributes. Pro dancer Cheryl Burke has been flashing around a large ring, and last week showed off a diamond pendant and she says both were given to her by her partner Chad Ochocinco. She coyly said it was for putting up with him and working so hard. When asked if the ring had any hidden meaning she was pretty much mute and just smiled.
So now of course, rumors abound about the couple and every one is buzzing about a possible romantic connection. I would lay pretty hefty odds that this “buzz” is exactly what the DWTS producers want and promote regardless if there is a budding romance or not. Kind of like a “give the people what they want” blitz . A gimmick? Sure, but it seems to be working.
Another romance rumor making its way to the tabloids and beyond is between Erin Andrews (the ESPN reporter) and her pro partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. I think his ego is bigger than the show itself but the couple is doing nothing to confirm or deny a romance. A good ploy for viewers to see if they can spot “true love” amidst the Tango and Two-Step.
I notice that the head judge Len is getting a lot more air time and sprucing up his usual stodgy appearance with colorful shirts and ties and the whole judging team seems to be “putting on the dog” for the viewers more than they used to. It is still a fun show even if you catch their obvious ratings boost attempts and overuse of the double entandre’.
While I (and many viewers I think) tune in for the dancing, this season I hope the technically best dancers don’t win. I think Nicole Scherzinger (from the Pussy Cat Dolls) and her partner Derek Hough are probably the best dancers but with a pro-dancer and a pro-entertainer I don’t feel it started out as a level playing field. A few weeks back when they got chastised by the judges for a bad performance Scherzinger was show in tears stating “But, I’m not like all these other people, I’m a performer.” I thought to myself, how nice of her to separate herself from the crowd of “other people” (the dancers) . It was then and there that I decided that the couple with the best personality that tried the hardest and was the least offensive (arrogance wise) should win. It’s not always just about the dancing.
The last truly infamous book that Oprah Winfrey plugged on her program called “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey, turned out to be a million little lies and though dubbed non-fiction it was fiction through and through. Oprah and many of her viewers were upset at the fraud perpetrated by Frey and she apologized to her viewers and he apologized to her viewers and spent part of a show having Frey back on explaining why he was a liar.
So now, on the day before another infamous book comes out Nov. 16, Oprah is going to have Sarah Palin on her show, presumably to plug “Going Rogue: An American Life” which was written by a ghost (I mean ghost-written) and although it falls in the non-fiction genre many people are somewhat skeptical. Palin as you may recall was a high school basketball star, went to five colleges, was a beauty pageant contestant, was once governor of Alaska, and was John McCain’s running mate in his 2008 presidential bid.
The 400 page tome reportedly took only months to write and the term “rogue” is one of the top googled words in the country. The reason being? No one can quite figure out the connection between rogue and Palin. We were all busy thinking she was a maverick, so it kind of threw us.
The Oprah show press release is billing Palin’s interview as a “world exclusive interview” and I don’t have much more to say on that subject other than, I am not joking that is exactly what they have written in the press release. Now I know November is the big sweeps time for the networks but Oprah has swept all her competitors under the rug for the last 23 years, so that can’t possibly be the reason for the big PR blitz. It is known she got a lot of flak for not having Palin on her show while she was a candidate but Oprah was publicly backing Obama and made the decision to have no candidates running for office on her show until after the election.
Well, I guess this is after but I just don’t get the entertainment value or the news value, or the inspiration value, or the “what can we learn from her” value that Oprah’s guests typically bring to the table or the couch or the chair. Palin doesn’t sing or dance, either doesn’t read or can’t remember what she reads, can’t write (thus the ghost writer), has shown time and again a lack of speaking ability and even less command of the English language, left Alaska high and dry by quitting her governor post and appears to not have a good grasp of politics, foreign affairs etc. But, I guess if you are a “rogue” all this doesn’t really matter and that makes you fodder for Oprah’s talk show. and sales of pretty darn cheap books, Palin’s book is currently selling for $9.00 on Amazon.com , and yes that is the hardcover. Gee, I wonder if Oprah can see Alaska from her Chicago high rise?