Celebrity Scene Leaves Questionable Impression

I am not one to rag on celebrities. But for some reason, this fall is shaping up to be one of the worst "OMG! What happened?" seasons in recent memory. Case in point: Rebecca Romijn. Is it just me, or is there something seriously wrong here?

I think marriage to Jerry whatshisname is simply not agreeing with her. That, or she's been out in the hot California sun too long. Rebecca, hon, didn't your dermatologist warn you about the aging effects of the sun? Or do you just miss Uncle Jesse real bad? That stint on Ugly Betty may not be the best career move in light of this development.

So, this may be one time when a little dab 'o botox'll do ya. Or anything else that may be laying around the doctor's office.

Emmy Awards After Party

Comment on these pastel painted little piggies
Someone hot in Hollywood wore these strappy sparklers on the red carpet of an Emmy Awards after party. I don't want to give it away, but she isn't known for her sense of style. Recent subject of gossip and name linking, she's also getting a hot tempered reputation around Tinseltown. Can you guess whose shoes?

Squelching Debate

Perhaps second-tier presidential hopefuls could learn a thing or two.

Have a funnier caption? Something you'd like to spew? Make my day.

Magna Move Foreshadows End of Maryland Preakness

While the blowhards down in Annapolis are busy examining bigger and better ways to gouge Marylanders out of their hard earned dollars, a far more serious matter has reared its ugly pock-marked head.

Um, Mr. O’Malley, I realize this whole tax and spend thing has you and your cronies deliriously giddy with thoughts of government subsidies dancing in your heads, but could you please take a good hard look at this development? A devastating storm is brewing on the horizon.

I’m referring to Magna Entertainment Corporation’s recent announcement of its decision to acquire all outstanding shares of the Maryland Jockey Club. This business essentially controls the Maryland horse racing industry. Since the inception of its "plug in a leaky bucket" deal with the DeFrancis family, former Maryland Jockey Club majority owners, Magna reserved the option for complete control of the business. Now, when it is apparently most cash-strapped, it will exercise that option, a move most certain to heap even more red paper on the Canadian conglomerate.

Is anyone else scratching their heads thinking what's wrong with this picture?”

Marylanders have the shortest memories in history. Only two slight years ago the Annapolis pols were jumping up and down screaming, “Pass the slots bill or risk losing the Preakness!” Slots died in committee, Governor Ehrlich lost his bid for re-election, the Dems had a big group hug, then everyone went home for coffee and donuts. Now the O’Malley camp is rumbling about a special session to balance the state budget and the citizenry is grumbling over the hole in their pocketbooks.

People! Pay attention. You’ve lost focus. The timing of this Magna announcement is a very big deal. Can’t anyone else see the clouds of a perfect storm?

If Magna looks crazy on paper, I say the company is crazy like a fox. Call me crazy, but the coming and going of this announcement with very little fanfare leaves me baffled.

The Preakness takes place in Baltimore, Maryland each May after the Kentucky Derby and infuses the State with a boatload of cashMaryland racetracks have been and continue to hemorrhage money hands over fists. They cannot compete with racing purses offered by neighboring states who have long seen the wisdom of bringing slots to the masses. These gambling parlors are traditionally combined with existing betting tracks, allowing neighboring states to offer fatter racing purses. With the high moral ground continuing to oppose legalized gambling in Maryland, our horse racing industry, a once glorious way of life and source of revenue, is all but certain to die. With the death of the industry, so too will come the razing of our racetracks.

How soon we Marylanders forget a nefarious move perpetrated under cover of darkness resulting in the loss of our beloved football team, the Baltimore Colts. Once Magna obtains complete control over the Maryland Jockey Club, what’s to stop it from shutting down Pimlico and doing the same thing with our beloved Preakness?

The Preakness, people! Baltimore’s own little Mardi Gras. A tried and true traditional excuse to party. Weeklong events have been built around this baby. Make no mistake, as outright owner of the corporation controlling Pimlico racetrack, Magna could and likely will move the Second Jewel in the Triple Crown to another venue.

Unless those tax and spend animals down in Annapolis start quickly putting together these puzzle pieces and legislate a way to claim Preakness as the property of Maryland, I’d say all bets are off.

Chris Crocker Viral Meme Rocks YouTube

I'm finally starting to get this whole viral video fad. One video strikes a chord, then everyone claws for a piece of it. They tweak, they change, parody, and spit. Each time a new short goes up, someone decides they can do one better, or different, or in some cases, not anywhere near as good, but perhaps still funny.

Let's all pile into that phone booth, now. Ready, set.....oooomph!

Chris Crocker is a male Tennessee teenager who idolizes Britney Spears. He lives with his grandmother.Such is the case with Chris Crocker, latest Internet phenom, direct from his ItsChrisCrocker channel on YouTube. Yes, happy little Chris is ditching the Internet (or so some vloggers hope) for bigger and brighter places: your television set. Poor computer deprived or otherwise oblivious people have no idea what television nimwits have lying in wait. In the interests of time, rather than try to describe how Chris's fifteen minutes came into existence, feast your eyes on my Cette Semaine du Spewed Videos feature below. There, you will get a condensed version of the Chris Crocker After School Special. Next stop, the Hallmark channel.

Sweet Chrissy is fielding a lot of flack for uploading videos faster than Britney Spears can spit out children. Mainstream vloggers are up in arms over the amount of viewing time Crocker videos and their progeny receive. They actually blame Crocker for diverting attention from their "regular more homey" videos.

I suppose these bad feelings have something to do with the content of Crocker videos or the acting. Serious vloggers have panned them as blather. While somewhat entertaining, in all honesty, I have to agree. The same thing that makes drivers rubberneck at a traffic accident makes Internet users watch Crocker vids and virals.

But could it also be that Chris's blatant homosexuality and obvious emotional problems rub mainstream vloggers the wrong way? If so, then I'd have to say more is brewing over at YouTube than the emergence of a new Internet celebrity. The folks in charge would be wise to keep a tight lid on the uploads before some members become known as the "YouTube Six."

My first thought was to catach the viral wave and upload my own Crocker meme, but then, reality set in. I'm a grown-up with real grown-up responsibilities. I don't have time to produce such nonsense. Besides, the outbreak is about done. There is no variance on the meme that hasn't been done before, or at least one hopes. For once, I agree with the cute little mouse puppet. "It's over. It's done. Move on!!"

Still, the virals keep slogging in. I had to cut off my playlist at ninety-nine. In the history of YouTube, I think that's the most any video has ever viraled. If anyone knows of another, I'd love to hear about it.

I have decided to link the virals to this article, just in case someone wanted to watch the full length feature movie. If you manage to catch the anti-Chrissy vids, let me know whether you think the YouTube mainstream are spinning off their crocker.

Bronson Pinchot

Bronson Pinchot is an actor best known for his role as "Balki Bartokomous" in the ABC family sitcom Perfect Strangers from 1986–1993. Pinchot was born on May 20, 1959 in New York City, New York with the birth name Bronson Alcott Poncharavsky.Although born in New York, Pinchot was raised in southern California. After graduating from South Pasadena High School, he headed back east and attended Yale

New Contest for Desperate Niche Seekers

Neophyte bloggers are so newbie. They conjure up images of scarf-headed bundle-toting old country immigrants trudging bleary-eyed across Ellis Island as they try to carve out a meager existence in the Brave New World. Color me newbie.

Almost three full months after starting this site, I'm still trying to beat a recognizable path through the blogosphere. Fortitude, gumption, whatever it's called, I got it. I just want to be sure it's not in my underwear.

A will to succeed is not enough. What this blogger needs is a good mentor. Can I reach the promised land if I'm flying solo, or will I forever wander in the foresaken desert, doomed for all eternity to remain without a clue?

Don't answer that. Please, don't. Oh fine...go ahead ... if you must.

To date, no one has offered to take me under their wing or even thrown me a bone. Plenty of bloggers shelling out tips I managed to learn myself, but no one offering the kind of information this blog needs to take off. I suppose I shouldn't expect charitable advice from perfect strangers, but then again, it's not so unreasonable to try, is it? Well?

I network. I join. I submit. I e-mail. I return favors. I comment. I basically do all the things the experts say to get noticed, but nothing seems to work... at least not the way I would expect things to work after two and a half months of shameless self promotion.

Someone needs to write a book. I mean it. The definitive book on everything bloggers need to know to survive in cyberspace. Call it "The Bloggers Essential Survival Guide," and include chapters on networking, communities, SEO, design, the whole shebang from A to Z. I swear, whoever could publish a book like that would make a fortune. Especially if they could price it at $9.95 or less. Anyone with daily access to a computer has ten bucks to spare, right?

Dang, if I wasn't so busy spewing my guts out in this blog, I'd write the darn thing myself. Of course, with what little I know, no one would read it. But why should that matter? Plenty of people hold themselves out as experts when they are only capable of flying under the radar. Just take a look at our president. Sorry, Dubs.

Yesterday, I spent a ton of time networking on one of my favorite sites, MyBlogCatalog. This is a great community. Easy to navigate, no heavy duty rules, lots of good people on board, and plenty to do. Bloggers seem to hang out there 24/7. Plus, the site is a wonderful resource tool for people who want to do more than hobby blog. I finally figured out that anyone can post a discussion thread and each time a member responds to it, the thread goes viral. So very cool, I almost had to wear a scarf. Not.

But getting back to the point of this article. The reason I bring up the viral discussion threads at MyBlogCatalog is because I decided to start one myself. Nothing major. Just a little contest to entice people to post about successful niches. If you don't know what a niche is, you have no right reading the rest of this article. Go take a look at my Stompt the Spew feature. It's much lighter fare with a little kicker at the end -- a rating tool for this blog at MyBlogCatalog. Make sure to use the tool when you're done. Better yet, go use the tool now.

How do I get off on these tangents?

About the contest. I liked the idea of running a contest for great niche ideas so much that I decided to set up the contest here as well. Spewker's new contest feature design is somewhat lame, I know, but in my defense, I didn't feel like shelling out the cash to upgrade. So what if the wording at the top of the shoutbox makes me look like a complete idiot. I'm a newb. Experienced bloggers almost expect my blog to look like an amateur. I think they might even feel threatened if the blog had an immediate professional look. I know I would.

Please don't be shy. Anyone can post a short blurb about a terrific niche. It doesn't even have to be a niche you use. It can be one you saw somewhere else. The idea just has to be impressive to be a contender. Also, don't worry about copycats. Good niches were meant to be tweaked not duplicated.

Coffee, tea, or tweaked? I'll have coffe and a touch of tweak, thank you. Better throw in some Splenda for good measure.

If a niche is so vulnerable to duplication, it's really not worth posting about anyway. Sooner or later, people are going to find the little bugger and copy it. That's just the way things seem to happen online. Good people, let me reassure you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by posting a good niche idea. Go to my shoutbox and do it now!

Who knows? Once I've gathered enough information, I might officially stop being a newb. My goal is to use all the posted responses in an article about my contest and its results. As stated, I intend to give the winner a prominent mention on The Spewker, and a permalink to the URL of choice. A cash prize is still in the works, but may not be in the cards. I'm very open to the possibility as long as I get posts with hot ideas.

Hey....why didn't I think of this sooner. A blog about the outcomes of contests. How cool is that? Somebody...anybody...please digg this lightening bolt. I'm so ready to pack up and call it a night.

Update: About two weeks after this article posted, I took the shoutbox down. No one was interested in sharing niche ideas. In fact, people seemed afraid of sharing niche ideas, like I would copy them or something. Today's date is Super Tuesday, 2008. As of today, I've personally seen at least two other celebrity sites start to copy some of my format, and at least one other site publish more content about celebrity politics. These were all sites I had followed early on and monitored, so I know their changes came after mine. I'm not accusing anyone of actually copying The Spewker, mind you. I'm a firm believer of copying being the highest form of flattery and great minds thinking alike. I'm only saying that no one on the Internet has a monopoly on ideas and anything good can and will be copied. Get used to it. And help out your fellow bloggers. You never know how and when they may be able to repay your act of kindness.
Call me a sucker for sweets! SWEET, New York City’s Largest Dessert Party Ever, Takes Manhattan on November 16.

Manhattan’s sweet tooth will be satisfied like never before on Friday, November 16th at 9:00 pm, when the nation’s pastry elite descend upon the ultra chic Waterfront (269 11th Avenue between 27th and 28th Streets) to celebrate SWEET, a deliciously decadent evening with a charitable outcome to end hunger. Guests will sample the mouthwatering creations of New York’s premiere pastry chefs, chocolatiers, confectioners, bakers and fromagers, including such notable James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef award winners as Le Bernardin’s Michael Laiskonis (2007), Jean Georges’ Johnny Iuzzini (2006) and Karen DeMasco of Craft (2005). Also participating in the festivities will be Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Duff Goldman, Cat Cora and more. Desserts will be complemented by selections of outstanding wines, Champagnes and spirits from the Southern Wine & Spirits, NY portfolio.

The evening will be co-hosted by Share Our Strength, Food Network’s official charitable partner and one of the nation’s leading organizations working to end childhood hunger in America, and Food Bank For New York City, dedicated to fighting hunger in our own backyard.

Tickets can be purchased at www.nycwineandfoodfestival.com and are $200 each, exclusive of tax and service charges ($150 of which will be tax deductible).

Yum! Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to start covering some of these events soon, so we can chat with some of the celebs who are participating!

Nebraskan Senator Ernie Chambers Mocks American Justice System

And I thought the Maryland General Assembly was a hunka bad. Compared to certain Nebraskan state legislators, however, our Annapolis representatives are a collective breath of fresh air.

I’m referring to none other than Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers. This noble champion of cornhuskers, entrusted to preserve the integrity and dignity of the powers bestowed upon him by our nation’s forefathers, is protesting the injustice of frivolous legal proceedings by filing his very own frivolous lawsuit in a Nebraskan state court. At issue is whether the court has the power to permanently enjoin “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants.”

Oh yeah. I left out one tiny detail. Senator Chambers filed this dilly of a lawsuit against none other than God.

Yeah. God. Anyone got a problem wit dat?


A quick glance at this loony tune’s picture indicates he may very well be past his useful shelf life. Fuhgeddabout his ridiculous justification for filing the lawsuit and proclamation of proper jurisdiction over the defendant. Yes, God is everywhere. So what? That doesn’t mean anyone with an ax to grind can haul His holy rump into court.

I have a better one for the Honorable Senator Chambers (hey, that has a funny ring to it, like “Senate Chambers” and the like). How does the esteemed state senator intend to legally serve this little bundle of blather? Saint Peter?

Speaking of old Peter, I wonder if he has anything better to do than stand at the pearly gates greeting process servers. Who’s to say he has a direct link to God, I mean, do we mere mortals actually know? Taking a mighty big chance entrusting a lawsuit and summons to that wily old angel, if you ask me.

This story is too new, too fresh to pin down all the details. I have to believe there’s more brewing behind the scenes than meets the eye. Otherwise, I might be compelled to advocate Senator Chambers’ immediate ouster from public service. No matter how well intentioned, clogging the court system with blather so frivolous it borders on incendiary is not only irresponsible and foolhardy, but a mockery of our entire justice system. Even more so when the putative plaintiff is a state senator charged to uphold the laws of his home state and nation.

Dude. WTF?

Please do us all a favor. Next time you have a yen to make a point, hold a public protest rally instead. You’ll earn more brownie points with the media, as well as the undying admiration and respect of your colleagues.

Besides, doesn’t organizing a protest rally sound a lot easier than trying to serve God?

Update: On or about October 15, 2008, the trial judge threw out the case saying God could not be served. Wow! Sometimes my insight and analysis is scary.
Wow, it's been a long time since I've written. I hope you all had a great summer and did something fun and exciting and hopefully donated some time to a volunteer cause. Let me know if you did, I'd love to hear it!

I finished a book of mine that's coming out in January (more on that later, but it relates to the blog!) and of course did my mom duties to my three kids. My older daughter and son volunteered for their local church to help out at the camp with the little ones. It's nice seeing them start to understand the importance of volunteering. We're working on more things they can do. I know my older daughter is anxious to volunteer at an animal shelter when she's old enough.

I'll be back with more news about your favorite celebrities are doing. I have an article on Doug Christie coming very soon (it was supposed to run a few months ago, for those of you who are keeping tabs you didn't miss it!). I'll have some other news more organizations that need our help as well. If you know of something that a celeb is doing, let me know, okay?!

It's great to be back!

So what's been going on so far?

1) On Friday, October 5th at Santa Monica beach, some of LA’s most successful women join Oxygen CEO Geraldine Laybourne, Cathy Benko, managing principal of talent and leader of Deloitte's Women's Initiative (WIN), and Debi Picciolo, President of the LA North Division of Time Warner Cable, to walk and mentor local young women. Oxygen, the only cable television network owned and operated by women, is bringing together high-profile women leaders from a variety of fields to walk‒ and talk‒ for LA’s first Oxygen Mentors Walk, part of the network’s successful national initiative, Mentors Walk: Bringing Along the Next Generation. The mentor list is a veritable who’s who of successful LA women, including: Marcy Carsey, Carsey-Werner LLC; Leeza Gibbons, Leeza Live; Rikki Kleiman, Court TV; Jamie Lee Curtis; Actress and Author and more!

2) A nice gesture by Colin Farrell!

3) Elton John AIDS Foundation's 6th annual An Enduring Vision benefit was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on Tuesday, September 25, 2007. Visit www.ejaf.org to find detailed information about EJAF's mission and history and to make secure, tax-deductible, online donations in support of their work.

4) What are you doing for Make a Difference Day? Make A Difference Day is the most encompassing national day of helping others -- a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Everyone can participate. Created by USA WEEKEND Magazine, Make A Difference Day is an annual event that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October. The next event is Saturday, October 27, 2007. For more info, check out http://www.usaweekend.com/diffday/aboutmadd.html#whatis

More posts coming!

Jodie Sweetin

Jodie Sweetin is a former child actor best known for her role as Stephanie Tanner on the family sitcom, Full House. Sweetin was born on January 19, 1982 and broke into acting at age 4. In 1986, she appeared in an Oscar Mayer hot dog commercial. She later had her first TV acting role in a guest spot on The Hogan Family as the niece of the next-door neighbor, Mrs. Poole. These early roles led to

Kanye West Sucks Stronger & Harder

Kanye "George Bush Does Not Care About Black People" West has just released a new album called Graduation.


Alan and I both have watched the video, and he has documented the following errors:


That's pretty funny. Some of it seems to make sense, but it is all written in katakana, which is rather hard to read, especially as it flashes by so quickly. It is also sort of like reading a children's story written for preschoolers, who would not be assumed to be able to read kanji. Somehow the "baby talk" style of writing clashes with the "tough guy" image of the video.

Sometimes katakana is used to convey a robotic style of speaking, though.

I was initially optimistic that the katakana flashing on the screen might make some sense, since one of the first ones appeared to be ストロンガ which is in fact the transliteration of "Stronger," the name of the tune and this is flashed on the screen when Kanye sings the word. But my optimism did not hold out long.

This was followed by ヨリナガク which is the katakana version of より長く or the translation of "longer." This is not quite right because "I can't wait much longer" is sung, and the grammar doesn't match in context. And it seems odd that one of the words "stronger" would be transliterated as if it were a name, and the other word "longer" would be translated.

The first katakana bit in the video コセロ [kosero] at first didn't make any sense. It is flashed when the lyrics "that which don't kill me" are sung, so I can only assume it is supposed to mean "kill" but this would be 殺せ [korose] and would be written コロセ [korose] instead of コセロ [kosero] in katakana. So evidently they had some editing problems or a dyslexic typist. Anyway, the katakana doesn't match the lyrics because 殺せ is the imperative form, as in the order "Kill!"

The next one isn't too bad. He sings "right now" and イマスグ appears. This is the katakana version of 今直ぐ, which is in fact a good translation of "right now."

Then we see イマオマエガヒツヨウダ (ima omae ga hitsuyou da = 今おまえが必要だ) which is a good translation of "I need you right now."

But things went downhill from there. Some bits like ガンバレ (ganbare) are presumably supposed to be real words in Japanese, but this is misspelled so that it actually reads ガソバレ (gasobare), which makes no sense. I also can't see why it appears there.

Other katakana looks just like gibberish, but it flashes by so quickly I can't read it properly. The single characters (ne), (gi), (te), (za) and (yo) appear for seemingly no reason.

At one point I saw キガクルウ (ki ga kuruu = 気が狂う) or "to go crazy" which seems to match the lyric "go ape."

I am mystified by some bits like タツセイシロ (tatsuseishiro). What is this supposed to mean? Is this an error for タッセイシロ (note the small )? If so, it would be 達成しろ or "achieve it!" (But achieve what?) This mistake of using instead of ッ appears to be typical of typing by a non-Japanese typist that cannot tell the difference.

Another bit オレハコロサレナイ (ore ha korosarenai = 俺は殺されない) appears when the lyric "don't kill me" is sung, but the Japanese literally means "I cannot be killed." It is followed by …ハオレヲツヨクスルダケダ… (...ha ore wo tsuyoku suru dake da... = は俺を強くするだけだ) which does mean "... will only make me stronger..."

The lyric "I need you to hurry up" is appropriately accompanied by イマスグイソグンダ (ima sugu isogunda = 今直ぐ急ぐんだ).

In one scene, the nurse looks into a room and screams and "タスケテ!"appears as a sort of subtitle. This is a literal translation of "Help!" the phrase usually used where someone is captured and needs to be rescued -- the damsel in distress's classic cry. But it seems a bit incongruous for a professional nurse to call for security this way.

One bit レダケオマエヲ (re dake omae wo) seems to have been part of a longer phrase with both ends cut off for some reason.

The subtitles for the security guards' lines -- ウゴクナ! (ugoku na! = 動くな!) (Don't move!), トマレ! (tomare! = 止まれ!) (Stop!) and ナンダコレハ…? (nanda kore ha...?) (What the...?) -- appear to be fine, except that the typist continues to confuse with . So ナンダ [nanda] actually is the nonsensical ナソダ [nasoda].

Anyway, overall it seems like they did actually have a real translator translate some bits, but probably they gave the translator only extremely short bits of text to translate, which were translated out of context. And then they had a non-Japanese typist create the titles, so additional errors were introduced at that stage.

By the way, I like Daft Punk's version of this song much better than Kanye West's.


And I like this version as well.

Christian Groups Angry Over Kathy Griffin Remarks

Kathy Griffin makes unkind remark about Christianity at 2007 Creative Arts Emmy AwardsDid plastic surgery enhanced Kathy Griffin really say, "Suck it Jesus, this is my god now," then kiss her new Emmy and walk off the stage? Apparently, this did in fact happen last Saturday at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

The national news media didn't give this outburst too much attention and network execs plan to edit her comments out of the upcoming Primetime Emmys. I suppose the driveby news media thought if they didn't report it, it would just go away like it never happened.

Well, they'd better think again. As of today, word of her malapropism is being broadcast from all the right wing talk radio stations. I'd say by some time tomorrow, after the deluge of e-mails, her agents are going to strongly suggest a public apology.

Did Kathy go too far this time? Why should the politically correct police exempt Christians from their purge?

Click to see Spewed Videos du Jour.

Bart Wants You to be Happy

Last night Nancy Cartwright gave a very moving presentation at the Alex Theater in Glendale on the subject of The Way to Happiness a common sense moral code written by L. Ron Hubbard.

The Way to Happiness has always been one of my favorites but now it's even better, with the production and release of 21 short public service announcements -- one for each of the precepts in the book.

This booklet is non-religious, so any group can use it and help raise the moral standards and happiness of their fellows. It's been used in schools all over the US and in other countries, and kids have participated in essay contests where they work out for themselves how to live more moral lives. It's used in jails and prisons to help inmates reevaluate their lives and decide, on their own, to reform. It's been used with drug lords in Columbia, with gangs on the streets of LA and streets of Lagos, Nigeria. And everywhere it is used it meets with incredible success because it contains so much truth.

Last night's event was a treat, but it is just the start. Nancy Cartwright announced that her group, called Happy House plans to distribute a million Way to Happiness booklets in San Fernando Valley to combat crime, improve relationships and help the people of the Valley live better, more decent and happier lives.

I've frequently heard David Miscavige talk about the importance of The Way To Happiness as a means to help people on a broad scale, and I agree it's a terrific means of reaching out. Anyone can do it.

After all, don't you want other people to be happy too?

A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard

Sixth Memorial Anniversary of 9/11

A Clear Crisp Morning Sky

Under the clear crisp sky
on the morning of September 11, 2001,
I drove my car to the Jiffy Lube express.
The orange jumpsuit refused to change my oil.
All systems down, he explained,
but I was welcome to wait inside.

The customer lounge overflowed
with the smell of freshly brewed coffee and people awake at the crack of dawn.
Proximity to the nation's capitol
had stopped all lubing and changes of oil.
My world suddenly screeched to a halt
as I glimpsed the tragedy transfixing the room.

The Pentagon breached by billowing flames.
Co-workers broken and bent.
Green earth in Pennsylvania
instantly transformed,
a searing black hole in its stead.

It's the end of the world as we know it, I mused,
but somehow,
I didn't feel fine.

For a few liberating moments,
their bodies stretched over the sky.
Touching down only for an instant
before their spirits continued to soar.

I can't shake their free falling images.
Facing off with death,
they chose to breathe what was left
of the clear crisp morning sky
before silten ash covered lower Manhattan
like an overstuffed ominous plague.

My thoughts turned to home and family
as I bid the orange jumpsuit a shaky goodbye.
My car would still run on dirty oil
but not America.

Never again.

Now, a clear crisp morning sky
always reminds me of the spirits who soared 9/11
while the rest of the world watched in horror
as the towers came tumbling down.

Copyright 2007. Cheryl Snyder Taragin

Jason Dohring Shares a Secret

Jason Dohring, a native of Glendale and a television actor, plans to attend the Way To Happiness Foundation’s premiere Monday of the “21 Ways to Happiness” public service announcements at the Alex Theatre.

Each video condenses one of 21 core principles outlined in author and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s 1981 book, “The Way to Happiness.” The video of the house-cleaning boy depicts the principle: “Honor and Help Your Parents.”

The 21 precepts these illustrate appeal to Glendale resident and television actor Jason Dohring, who said he grew up with “The Way to Happiness” in his family library.

“The principles are not preachy at all, which is key,” he said. “I don’t think anybody likes being told that they must be moral.”>>

A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard

Gary Glitter

Gary Glitter (born Paul Francis Gadd) is a flamboyant English rock and pop singer and songwriter who had a number of song chart successes in the 1970s, including Rock and Roll parts 1 & 2, I Love You Love Me Love, and I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am). Glitter was a renowned pop star, but he was supposedly hiding a dark and disturbing secret, a love of child pornography and molestation.Glitter

Feeling the "OPEC Squeeze" at the APEC Summit

What is the APEC Summit and why should you care? Soon enough, everyone will be talking about it. Then you’ll be glad you took the time to read on.

A brief aside: Honestly, does MSNBC have to include commercials with its videos? Can’t they find another less annoying way to stay afloat? Pretty soon, some computer genius will find a way to view the videos without the product plugs, call it CiVO, and rake in millions. At that point, all the MSNBC bigwigs will be back to square one while little people like me will have become so fed up, our viewing business will be conducted elsewhere. Why give computer geeks another entrepeneurial opportunity? Don't executive drones realize the inevitable logical conclusion of this dastardly income grab?

Back to APEC: The 2007 APEC Summit is currently going down in Sydney, Australia. APEC stands for "Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation." The coalition of member nations seeks to create greater opportunities for international trade and investment, develop strong partnerships with Asian-Pacific businesses, reduce trade barriers, and stomp out global terrorism. Lofty goals, no doubt, which any normal global citizen would endorse.

Somehow the United States, situated so far outside the target territory they might as well change the name of the summit to the "WEC," became a participating member nation, as did other oddly situated countries such as Mexico and Canada. At least the good old U.S. of A., which includes the Aloha State, can feign a legitimate vested interest in APEC. I wonder what excuse the Maple Leaf politicians invented.

President Bush pictured at the 2004 APEC SummitAnyway, at his most recent APEC appearance, President Bush let slip one of the most horrendous gaffes of his presidential career. He took the stage, thanked John Howard for inviting him to speak at the "OPEC Summit," then tried to make light of his mistake like the amiable good ‘ol frat boy we all know he is. The rest of his message was completely lost.

Sorry Dubya, this doozie doesn’t fly. The citizens of America are crying in their milk, so sick of the big lie they are ready to elect a Democrat - any Democrat - in 2008, even one so unqualified as Hillary Clinton!

President Bush. Your unbelievably stupid Freudian slip serves to confirm what the majority of Americans have known all along. That you, your cronies, and your whole oil loving family are in bed with the Saudis, keeping the price of oil artificially inflated, discouraging discoveries of alternate fuel sources, single-handedly strong-arming the U.S. economy into charging higher and higher prices for goods and services, while all of you sit back and play golf at your country clubs, clucking your tongues at average Americans. In the process, you are squeezing the middle class out of existence and giving liberal nut jobs the fuel they need to turn this great nation into a socialist republic. No socially conscious citizen wants to see our poor and our hungry starve out on the streets. But when you fix the game as badly as your administration has, the possibility for constructive solutions cease to exist.

Thanks a bunch.

I should send the White House a copy of our current food bill. I pay at least $25.00 more per week for groceries than I did last year. Anyone want to lay odds I’m not the only one feeling the OPEC Squeeze?

Dad At Comedy Barn

Holy cow! Viewed over six million eight hundred thousand times and still going strong. Favorited more than twenty-four thousand times and probably on its way to an all time record. More than fifty-one hundred comments, the last one made eighteen minutes ago when I checked.

What Internet phenomenon is shooting off into the stratosphere, you may ask? Why, it's none other than Dad at Comedy Barn. Who is Dad, pray tell? He's none other than "Doug from Memphis, Tennessee." And by the time I get done writing this, more people are going to hear Doug laugh than probably the entire amount of people who have ever heard Doug laugh in his whole life (which seems to have been kinda long judging from the looks of him).

You heard me. The Internet is viral. So viral that Doug is more popular than anything playing on the WB. Okay, maybe not. Unlike television, there really is no way to know whether YouTube's numbers include repeat views from the same viewer. Perhaps Nielson should consider an expansion, taking its little survey business over to computer users and conducting its incessant polling via some insidious tracking device.

Ahem. You read it here first.

These days, it seems like everyone is desperate to laugh. Why else would I try so hard to make this blog entertaining? Informative, always, but have to admit, the entertaining part does not come easy. So, when I come across something as viral as this, I have to ask myself, does it deserve to be spewked? My resounding answer...yes.

At first, I was relunctant to view. What could be THAT funny? Even more cause for pause, why would I want to sit and watch something that clearly lasts for eight plus minutes? Hoping it would get to the actual joke rather quickly, I swallowed and clicked.

I'm a tough nut to crack this early in the morning, but Dad at Comedy Barn made me crack a smile, and to my surprise, a small chuckle also escaped my coffee smeared lips. The joke will come early enough, I promise. For everyone who truly wants a break from the rat race, have a gander at this latest Internet phenomenon.

Luciano Pavarotti Gone to Great Opera in the Sky

Luciano Pavarotti has passed on after going ten rounds with pancreatic cancer. He was an otherwise active 71 years of age. I'm not a big fan of opera, but I know a giant when I see one.

It's comforting to know he was surrounded by family at the time of his death, although, from what I hear, his domestic life suffered a lot of turbulence over the years. Still, I know many fans will be saddened by the news of this loss.

ESPN & Matt Roth of Miami Dolphins

Dustin Chinn of Comedy Central (All Hail to Jon Stewart) spotted this giant (spring) on ESPN's website.


Neither of us understood what ESPN's intention of plastering this particular character on their site, especially when Spring is NFL's offseason.

After reading the site, the only I can think of is the "haiku" theme. Even with that, why didn't ESPN just use ?

Later Stacy emailed me this photo of Miami Dolphins' Matt Roth.

larger view

According to a 2005 interview with Pro Football Weekly, Roth claimed "I got some Chinese writing — my last name."

Roth is correct about they are simplified Chinese characters, however I really doubt his last name is .

Fundamental Parent Rights of the Mentally Disabled Can Be Terminated

Are we really having this debate? Mentally disabled parents. Healthy newborn. Concerned grandparents. Understaffed and overworked state agency employees. Political correctness. Is this a recipe for anything other than disaster?

Yes, the mentally disabled should and do have rights. I’m just not sure they include the right to toss a newborn baby around like a pigskin and shake him like a Polaroid picture. Perhaps if they’d had enough sense to equip tiny dancer with some protective gear, none of this would have happened. Then again, I don’t think they make football helmets and shoulder pads in size 0- 3 months.

R.I.P. Baby Seth MosleyBaby Seth Mosley is dead. His mentally disabled parents, Richard and Giovanna Mosley, and their houseguest, Daniel Reilly, are behind bars, charged with second-degree murder and first-degree child abuse resulting in death. Jesse Stacy, the child’s maternal grandfather, and Denise Joseph, his paternal grandmother -- the only characters who appear to possess a lick of sense in this horror story -- wanted social services to intervene from day one and continued to press that agency and Child Protective Services for more oversight. Problem is, social services claims their hands are tied in such situations because state agencies must respect "fundamental parent rights," even if the subject parents are mentally disabled.

Umm. Yah. Right. Does that mean the Free State must implicitly compromise the safety of helpless newborns and do no more than periodic oversight until a mentally disabled parent actually requests help or a concerned citizen lodges a complaint of abuse and neglect?

Did somebody forget to draw the line here?

According to Lauren Young, Director of Litigation for the Maryland Disability Law Center, yes. "It shouldn’t be assumed that having a disability and inability to parent are things that co-exist. There has to be a vigilant analysis, not focusing on disability but the parent’s conduct that needs to be examined. They have rights to have families, too."

Well, what about when the parent in question is mentally disabled, say mildly retarded, ADD, and schizoaffective? Wouldn’t one or two surprise home inspections reveal such a person’s inability to effectively parent? I mean, for crying out loud, we’re talking about a mother who has never held a job, is unable to do simple tasks like write a check, and didn’t even know she was pregnant until prodded by a relative. The father, a brain-damaged car accident victim prone to violent outbursts, is likely similarly disabled.

Assistant State’s Attorney Bruce M. Smith so much as admitted the deficiencies of the two state agencies charged with Seth’s care. They couldn’t obtain regular oversight of the situation precisely because of the father’s violent outbursts and, according to the local rag, "an inability to reach the family for four weeks."

Ohhhhkaaay. That about sums everything up for me.

As soon as state employees knew or should have known they did not have adequate oversight of little Seth Mosley, they should have filed court papers to determine whether he was a child in need of assistance. A court proceeding would have given the grandparents a chance to testify, and perhaps set the ball in motion to terminate parental rights.

A 2002 decision from the Maryland Court of Special Appeals,
In re Adoption/Guardianship No. 36
, does not require automatic deference to fundamental parent rights of the mentally disabled. In that case, numerous instances of discrimination against Mr. F, the mentally disabled parent, were readily apparent. The court also discounted testimony from the State’s expert witness. Tests to measure intelligence quotient and adaptability levels were not conducted due to "serious intellectual impairment." A social worker observing the home testified Mr. F could learn necessary parenting skills. The "clear and convincing evidence" needed to terminate parental rights never materialized. Ultimately, the court reinstated Mr. F's parental rights because social services never provided programs tailored to his particular needs. The court did not, however, go so far as to reinstate his right to custody. Notably, Judges Harrell, Raker, and Wilner issued a scathing dissenting opinion.

Contrast this decision with the one issued by the same court in 2006, In re Adoption/Guardianship of Harold H. The boy’s mother, Mojisola A., was severely brain damaged by a medical condition leaving her with an IQ in the "mentally retarded range." She exhibited obvious cognitive impairment, inability to make judgments for her own care, and could not work. Coupled with her long-term diagnosis, these factors clearly justified termination of Ms. A.’s parental rights. So, too, might have been the outcome for Seth Mosley had anyone recognized the need for immediate court intervention.

It’s a shame, really, Seth’s grandparents were so ill informed. Ironically, his grandmother works in a division of the office of the public defender. Perhaps some advocacy group should make it their mission to disseminate information about third party rights in situations of suspected child abuse or parental mental impairment. Certainly, citizens armed with such helpful information would not rely solely upon government to gain control of an obvious train wreck.

Unfortunately for Baby Seth Mosley, this train has already left the station.

Julliette Lewis Taking her Licks and Giving them Out

I love Julliette. She is a natural born killer.

Watching her take BBC's John Sweeney apart was one of the highlights of the whole escapade, for me.

She's doing great with her band, The Licks, and here's an article
on how she's doing.

Juliette Lewis does just fine as a leading lady, thank you very much. ('Natural Born Killers,' anyone?) But the actress-turned-flamboyant punk frontwoman isn't too shabby when it comes to supporting roles, with which Lewis says she and her band the Licks are more than battle-tested.

"We've been together four years and we've played some of the toughest opener slots," Lewis tells Spinner. "We've opened for Turbonegro. One of the ways to earn your stripes is to open for that band 'cause their audience is very territorial. They're very much like a 'We'll beat you up after school' kind of audience -- which I love. Those shows were really exciting and we won that crowd over.">>

Wishing her the best of luck!

A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard

No Reason to Hate Catherine Zeta-Jones

Catherine Zeta-Jones is a superstar. So proclaims Jeanne Wolf in "A woman you’d love to hate," Parade magazine, July 15, 2007. Can’t articulate why I delayed posting my reaction to this shameless plug, but knew I would do so eventually. The eagle has landed.

photo courtesy of allyoucanupload.webshots.comCatherine Zeta-Jones may look good in a mask and a tight flirty dress. I agree she deserved the 2002 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as Velma Kelly in the movie version of Chicago. But superstar? Come on. When was the last time the current Mrs. Michael Douglas opened a blockbuster or lined investor pockets by starring on Broadway? Anybody?

Certainly, no one can claim her current film, No Reservations, will be anything more than a modest success. Haven’t seen it and after perusing reviews, don’t plan to. She’s not exactly the first actress who comes to mind when I think about Hollywood heavy weights.

The point is, Parade's piece of fluff goes so far overboard it’s treading open seas. Talk about pandering. This doughboy achieves a whole new level of obnoxious.

"I Never Expected This Life," gushes Catherine in the hard copy headline. If average folk like myself believed everything we read, we would sell our souls to the devil to trade places with her. "Charmed" does not do justice as a descriptive adjective for the life of Ms. Superstar Zeta-Jones.

Naturally beautiful. Two gorgeous healthy children. Amazing body. Paid millions to work in a career she loves. Married to a Hollywood power player. Crazy in love. Close relationships with parents and in-laws. Four luxury homes. Spends most of her time on the family’s Bermuda estate.

I could go on, but if I do, I may have to satisfy an irresistible urge to stick my finger down my throat. That would require stuffing my whole fist in my mouth, a feat I have yet to accomplish.

I hate this woman!

Not really. The truth is, I think Zeta-Jones is very talented. Generally, I enjoy her performances. I just can’t get over the level of envy this article engenders. No one’s life, not even Santa Clause's, is that blessed. Surely, she must suffer some degree of problems. Surely, she must put on her Manolo Blahniks one very luscious leg at a time. Surely, Ms. Wolf didn’t omit juicy tidbits alluding to the less than fab aspects of Catherine’s existence because there aren’t any.

For those who are similarly minded, look no further. What follows is my own inimitable conjecture gleaned from between the lines:

1. The relentless flash of American paparazzi left her with no choice but to plant her children in Bermuda, far away from the Hollywood buzz. As evidenced by her latest flick, being out of the loop prevents her from landing roles of substance.

2. Although her husband, Michael Douglas, is still very attractive, he looks like her grandfather and is probably older than her own father. That has to be a big turn off in the bedroom.

3. At age 62, it’s unlikely her children, ages 7 and 4, will have their father to guide them through the majority of their adult lives. Catherine will likely be single or remarried when the time comes to spend holidays, birthdays, and special occasions with any grandchildren.

4. I've never see her pictured with stepson, Cameron, who I hear has a drug problem. She also has to contend with ex-wife, Diandra. Family functions can’t be very pleasant.

5. She’s too famous to live in Great Britain, her native country. The large distance between her places of residence and the residence of her parents, with whom she says she is very close, has to at times be painful.

6. She is "always thinking something could happen" to her children when they engage in normal activities like climbing or jumping. Most famous people are also on guard for kidnappers and stalkers. She must worry every time her children are out in public or just plain out of sight.

7. The life her family leads is not in any sense “normal,” even though that’s the kind of life she says she wanted her family to have.

8. Her own husband says she’s a nightmare in the kitchen (to Wolf’s credit, the article briefly suggested as much).

9. She fights with people who cross her. This means there must a lot of people who don’t like her. I never hear about the Douglas’ friends or people who regularly hang around. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure Cat and Michael have oodles friends. I just can’t help but think hers are of the phony persuasion.

10. "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." After describing a litany of fears primarily concerning her children and Michael’s driving, she emphatically declares, "I don’t live afraid." Hah! Having signed a prenup paying more in the event Michael cheats, along with other valid concerns, I’d say she has plenty more to fear than the average bear.

Giovanni Ribisi playing Einstein!

This just in: Giovanni Ribisi gets to play Albert Einstein in a yet-to-be-titled project expected for release in 2009. Meanwhile he is busy, busy, busy: with two movies out already this year, an appearance in the hit TV series "My Name Is Earl" and four movies in production or pre-production!

As an aside, I really enjoyed his performance in the 2004 hit, "Flight of the Phoenix". I thought he played a great nerdy, odd, kookie sort of guy who eventually saves everyone's butt.

Carina Ricco - Viaje Personal

Carina Ricco has a new album and is touring to promote it. "Viaje Personal" is Carina’s third album. It was produced by well-known Spanish engineer and producer Rafa Sardina (a ten-time Grammy Award winner), and it’s co-produced by Argentinean musician Cheche Alara, who has thrived in both the Hispanic and English markets.

Many talented artists converged to create this project, most notably David Campbell (Beck, Alanis Morissette, Train, Rolling Stones, et. al) who arranged and conducted string. Campbell is a 33-time Grammy winner and two-time Oscar winner. On keyboards, you will find Patrick Warren, of Fiona Apple fame.

You can find out the latest venues and more at her My Space site: Carina Ricco

A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard

Marc Price

Marc Price is a former child actor best known for his role as über-dork Erwin "Skippy" Handleman on the hit 1980s sitcom Family Ties. Family Ties was a breeding ground for washed-up celebrities (e.g., see Brian Bonsall and Tina Yothers), and Price was certainly no exception to the rule. Price was born on February 23, 1966 and is the son of stand-up comedian Al Bernie. Price broke into acting in