Category Archives: entertainment news

Trump, Cruz and Rubio are all small men after all

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As I was watching  the Republican Primary (grade school) debate Thursday night I felt like I was watching a Saturday Night Live skit or maybe not even that good, more like a bad circus act. I figured pie throwing would be on the agenda at any moment. My mind could not comprehend that these were indeed real honest-to-goodness potential presidential nominees and bore no resemblance to what I grew up thinking was democracy in action. The antics of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were like the school yard bullies yelling “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” I’m leaving John Kasich out of the fray because he basically played nice. Boring but nice. In his case though boring was like a breath of fresh air on the political debate stage that can only be described as a circus.

While Trump kept calling Rubio “little Marco” and once again the size of Trumps hands and lower appendage came up (Rubio has claimed Trump’s hands and other “things” were small). Trump claimed he was fine in “that department” I found myself astounded that this was being discussed in a political arena (TMI). This debate was supposed to be about issues that are important to the American people that pertain to the economy, jobs, climate change, health care and more but our issues were secondary  to the circus clowns verbally knocking each other down as they told each other to stop talking, stop lying and at one point Cruz telling trump “breathe Donald, breathe.” This, as they all talked over each other just as children are inclined to do. A more stately sight would have been any man, woman or child anywhere across America or any of the “uneducated poor” (Trumps quote) with manners and class that the potential nominees lacked.

I guess I was embarrassed and couldn’t imagine Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or a host of other past presidents (some that I didn’t even like) acting like bottom feeders in a frenzy to get our vote and doing it on national TV. The office they are trying to attain somehow seems tainted by the mere fact that they are clawing for that brass ring that they have tarnished. None of these guys are presidential material. It is extremely hard to think of the word President in any kind of context that includes their names. These three clowns are all small men in every possible sense of the word.

 

 

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March 5, 2016 · 9:55 am

Black Friday; Who Coined This Term And Manufactured Chaos?

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(This photo was  taken last year on Nov. 28, at a Chicago Target)

We need to start our engines earlier and earlier each year to participate in what has become the madness of Black Friday shopping. Some folks are barely getting to cut that pumpkin pie or grab a second helping of Thanksgiving stuffing because they are running  out to Walmart or Target or some other wondrous place that allows hundreds of people to stand in line for a store allotment of 10 made-in-Taiwan big screen TV’s or like a few years ago, $2. waffle makers that held the promise of lasting 24 hours.

Black Friday is considered the single biggest shopping day of the year for retailers.  While the name Black Friday may conjure up images of the stock market crash or a power outage, this unofficial U.S. holiday, which falls the day after Thanksgiving, has been traditionally the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season. But, what used to be a kinder and gentler shopping day filled with excitement, fun and Holiday spirit has given way to the spirit of greed as shoppers battle each other for made-in-China crap and last years leftover merchandise along with helping themselves to other people’s shopping carts.

So where did the name Black Friday originate? How did the day after Thanksgiving (and now taking a bite out of Thanksgiving) become the biggest shopping day of the year? In the old days of hand-kept accounting records, red ink indicated a stores loss, and black ink signified a profit. The holiday shopping season is believed to be when stores move from the red to the black. It is said that 20-40 percent of a retailers annual revenue is generated in November and December.

Just like Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer, Thanksgiving, and later in history, Black Friday signify the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. It has been this way since 1924, when Macy’s held its first Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. For the past 89 years Thanksgiving has been uniquely associated with shopping and consumerism. The holiday parade is a Thanksgiving tradition, but it is also a three-hour advertisement for Macy’s.

The name Black Friday has other meanings also, and it is often hard to decipher fact from fiction. It is said that in the 1950s, people working in industrial factories referred to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday because so many people didn’t show up for work. Whether these people were out bargain hunting or simply sleeping off too much holiday fun, remains a mystery.

The term Black Friday, however, didn’t gain mainstream  popularity until the 1960s, when Philadelphia police used the expression to complain about streets jammed with shoppers, pedestrians and motorists on the day after Thanksgiving. The phrase was first used in an article in The American Philatelist. By the 1970s, the Philadelphia area was using the expression Black Friday to signal the beginning of the holiday shopping season, and the term caught on.

I used to go shopping on Black Friday when my daughter was young but we didn’t really shop much. We would have lunch somewhere (crowded of course), mingle and mix with the (then sane) crowds and check out the cool Christmas decorations. We thought it was fun to be out and about on Black Friday. But now that retailers have answered the call- of- the- wild- consumers wanting a feeding frenzy of deals and steals, I stay far away from stores on Black Friday and the entire week-end.  The retail outlets, of course, are touting this extravaganza shopping-or-bust day to combat online shopping which takes a good chunk of consumer spending away from brick and mortar stores. But, at least I know if I stay home and shop on my computer I won’t get maced by a “mad” shopper.

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Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Was My Dancing With The Stars

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.

Someone gave me this book on Dick Clark and American Bandstand a number of years ago. Whenever the nostalgia bug hits me I skim through it;  http://amzn.to/1n1NRtj  As an Amazon affiliate I make a tiny commission if you click through my site to buy it but I’m sure you could find it used somewhere on the internet as well. Great memories.

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The National Anthem: The Pro Singers Just Don’t Get It

 
American Idol 's Katharine McPhee performs the...

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Last Year at the 2011 Superbowl, with millions of people watching, Christina Aguilera decided to add her rendition of The National Anthem to the archives of flubs by trying to make the song “her own” with a few change-ups and an entirely missed line.  Her viewers and listeners were less-than-thrilled with the Grammy winner’s performance but her “people” blamed it on nerves. This is a woman who is used to performing at sold-out venues of thousands, so nerves is unlikely. Not being well-prepared and/or messing around with a perfectly good melody and not-quite landing the notes shows more at work here than “nerves.” Tons of internet polls said Aguilera’s botched anthem was an unforgivable mess.

http://www.sportsgrid.com/nfl/christina-aguilera-sings-national-anthem-super-bowl/

More recently, rock singer Steven Tyler , frontman for Aerosmith, decided to take-on The National Anthem a few days ago at the Ravens-Patriots football game. He didn’t change many lyrics but somehow I don’t think America was quite ready for the “Screeching Star Spangled Banner.” You could hear the boos of the crowd over the screeching and he has received non-stop criticism since the event. But, I ask you? Why would they ask a rocker to sing the anthem anyway? It’s not exactly like the guy has a velvet voice to begin with.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/celebritology/post/steven-tyler-sings-the-national-anthem-is-his-rendition-the-worst-in-recent-history-poll/2012/01/23/gIQAWRaWLQ_blog.html

There is of course, a long history of less-than-perfect National Anthem performances from American Idol winner Scott McCreery to Cyndi Lauper. But perhaps the worst of all anthem performances was back in 1990. Rosanne Barr (a comedian) who put on the worst non-funny performance by a non-singer and is oddly still alive to talk about it. It actually hurt her career because she was basically making fun of the National Anthem. She now lives on a farm in Hawaii, presumably far out of earshot of humans, thank God.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=x1-jWl0O34U&NR=1

I can’t sing a note, but my hearing is so far, well within the average range. I might not understand the nuances of tone and range, but I do know the average American does not want singers altering the lyrics and melody of their National Anthem. They don’t want a “stylized” version of it, they don’t want a new beat and they generally like to have it sung with feeling and heart. Just like this version sung by a young high-schooler from a Chicago suburb, who is not a professional singer–but undoubtably will be, because she gets it. This is how the National Anthem should be sung:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrQeDcMVHec

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Bloggers Shall Inherit the Earth–My 100th Blog Post

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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.

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Keeping nude or lewd pictures on cell phones or computers–stupid?

Cell Phone Cameras

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.

(If you want to hide underwater and take pictures;  http://amzn.to/1mzllP5 this Intova waterproof video digital camera will do the trick. No one can see you unless your dumb enough to put the pix on your computer or leave you camera laying around for anyone to see. I am an Amazon affiliate so I do get a tiny commission if you purchase through my link. I had mine for years and used it when snorkeling, then I kind-of dropped it off a boat.  I keep hinting to family members whenever I get yet another dumb gift.)

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The Bachelor: Finding Real Love on “Reality TV” in 11 Weeks

The Bachelor (TV series)

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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.

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Survivor’s villian Russell so hated he gets no votes

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?

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Dancing With The Stars not always just about the dancing

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.

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Oprah show bills Palin the rogue as “world exclusive interview”

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?

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