Kid Rock Says It's Okay to Steal

Kid Rock speaks out on illegally downloading music and other property
Money is getting tight. Just look at the stock market. Better yet, listen to the grumblings of the Screen Actors Guild. Don't think those puppies won't go on strike, throwing a monkey wrench in the fall TV schedule like the writers did last holiday season. You know things are bad when supposedly filthy rich actors try to squeeze every possible penny from a handful of greedy studio heads.

Looks like the bad economy may be causing an increase in intellectual property theft. Even with a Justice Department crackdown, the problem festers. People want their cake and to eat it too. So what if they've maxed out their credit cards, at least their iPods are stocked with the latest tunes.

A penny saved is not a penny earned when it's stolen from the pockets of artistic talent. Artists are able to live off money generated from the sale of their intellectual property only because law abiding citizens actually buy it. Is a lousy dollar too much to ask for a single download?

Apparently so. Folks who rationalize illegal downloading as harmless behavior don't equate such activity with stealing. That's why the FBI is up to its neck in this type of sting operations. Someone has to stop the leeching.

But wait. Someone else is stepping up to the plate.'s....Kid Rock? Yep, that Kid Rock, Kirstey's Alley's fantasy boy toy. Who would have known that a scuzzy looking party maniac was such an intellectual? Smart enough to expose the fallacy of illegal download rationalizations by taking them to their logical conclusion. Why not steal everything else in sight too?

(WARNING: This video contains objectionable language. Play only if you are over the age of 18 and not easily offended by colorful idioms)

Makes sense and I love it. Finally, the ruin unleashed by unethical behavior explained in terms even a moron could understand.

Thanks, Kid.

New Feature Shines Spotlight on Spew

Hey, it's Tuesday morning and the start of a new month, so we're trying something new here at The Spewker. In an effort to shine attention on those who lavish us with affection, we've decided to start a Tuesday morning spotlight feature. What or who will be spotlighted? Why, you, of course.

Sure, things will be slow at first. We'll have to tug on some old links and do our darnedest to make anyone passing by complicit in the madness. But slowly, slowly, I expect more than just a few will succumb to the irresistible urge to bask in our glow, even if all we can offer is a platform in a frequently updated blog with a hankering for spew.

Don't be shy. There are no rules, really. Well, maybe just one. Write about anything you like, but somehow mention The Spewker in the body of your article and link to this blog. We don't care how you do it, just do it, although blatant flames will decrease desirability. Note how I didn't say "disqualify."

Sigh. Yes, reluctantly, we'll consider blatant flames for the winner of our weekly award. For now. But don't push your luck.


No he didn't just diss MKO!

After Mary-Kate's David Letterman appearance last week, The Hills Spencer Pratt is speaking out about her comments toward his bad temper on the soccer field while they were in high school together.

The reality villian had this to say:

"I don't really get why she'd use my name to get press for her little indie film that no one's going to see...She should probably focus more on not getting dressed in the dark than on me...I know I've made it in Hollywood when a famous troll is talking about me on Letterman...I forgive her, though. She's had to go through life as the less cute twin, which must be tough."

- Erin Dustin

Searching for Gypsy Girls in The Mohawk Song

Future Stars with freshly cut mohawk converts at Venice BeachAn enterprising crew out of California is gunning to imbue summer of 2008 with the boom boxing beats of "Hawks." Make no mistake, those hair-raising spikes and soft fades are making a definitive come back with a catchy new anthem leading the way.

The Mohawk Song, recently released in a collaborative video, is more than steamy grind and rhyming jibber jabber. It's distinctive rap with a cool stomp, the kind of song that could easily heat up the clubs. Mix in Ellen DeGeneres and soon we could be up to our ears in shaved heads and spiky extensions.

Not that I would ever become a convert, but mohawks rock. They're edgy, in your face, somewhat out of place, punky, and distinctively cool. Like waving a big flag over your face and announcing to the world, "Who cares what you think of me or my hair." A kind of shove it where the sun doesn't shine attitude capable of diverting unwelcome stares to a body part within one's control. Got to admire a hairdo with that kind of clout.

But recently featured Amanda, Bianca, and Erica are nowhere to be found in the viral video contender. After an earnest search for their "Mohawk Girls" video turned up squat, some caring soul fingered "The Mohawk Song" as their possible debut. Sad to say, but if these fresh-faced young souls thought "The Mohawk Song" was their ticket to fame, they got gyped (sorry, no pun intended). Either this isn't their video or Future Stars left the girls on the cutting room floor.

Either way, my search for their tube continues. Links welcome.

Kung Fu Panda Kicks Chinese Behind

Kung Fu Panda breaks records at Chinese box officesSince we can't seem to retaliate against the Chinese for poisoning our toys, tainting our pet food, and hacking sensitive computer operations, let's make 'em scream at the box office like a little girl. I'm talking a good old fashioned American patootey whooping.


Over the protests of loyalists and nationalists, Chinese audiences turned Kung Fu Panda, Dreamworks latest animated feature film, into one of China's biggest summer blockbusters, grossing more than $12 million in a little less than two weeks. Chicken feed for Hollywood but big bucks in a country rife with piracy and anti-American sentiment. The movie is showing in various cities throughout the Communist regime, including the recently devastated Sichuan Province.

I don't know what's more idiotic, trying to exact retribution against Steven Spielberg by boycotting his production company's fluffy entertainment piece or withdrawing from the Beijing Olympics in an attempt to pressure the Chinese government to end genocide in Darfur. As if.

Look, I applaud the efforts of Spielberg, Mia Farrow, George Clooney, and everyone else trying to end the horrific Sudanese tragedy, but mixing politics with a world sporting event, or for that matter a benign cartoon, is a at best a symbolic effort making not an iota's worth of difference. The arts end up taking the brunt of the beating, a sad casualty of well-meaning but misguided efforts to rid the world of government oppression.

Just look at what they did to Harvey Weinstein. You tell me that isn't tit for tat.

Happy Birthday Dear Spewker

Giving myself a small pat on the back because The Spewker is officially a year old. Yay! For about two hundred some days of the last three hundred sixty-five (oh, whatever), I have managed not only to find worthwhile material, but also blog about it. For someone like me that's huge.

What do I mean someone like me? Well, I'm not exactly prolific, in case you didn't notice. I just like to follow controversial stuff and mouth off about it.

I gotta be me. Just like you gotta be you. We all gotta be somebody. My somebody just happens to be an attention craving opinionated street urchin seeking to reinvent herself after wallowing away in a life sucking profession with no socially redeeming value. Not the most endearing combination of characteristics, but nothing to apologize about either. If it helps me carve out a niche in the blogosphere, so be it.

Of course, the challenge of discovering how the person who is me can most creatively entertain the ubiquitous masses who are you is not such a simple task. The many facets of me - mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend, freelancer - leave very little time for much else, let alone engaging blogging.

The way I look at it, anyone who knows how to work a computer can blog. Only by developing an ongoing two-way interaction can a blogger consider themselves a success. Obviously, I'm not quite there, but I feel like I'm in the vicinity

And just in case The Spewker's appearance for the past two weeks has anybody wondering, I'm not ready to throw in the towel. Far from it. In fact, I may just be hitting my stride.

Margot at the Wedding: A Movie Review

Abusive parenting. Inappropriate relationships. Absence of personal boundaries. Fractured personalities. Budding adolescence. Stunted personal growth.

Good foundations for an hour and a half exploration of the human condition, especially during a pivotal milestone such as a sibling’s impending nuptials. Even more so when a good chunk of the plot unfolds at the point of origin, her waterfront childhood abode. Unfortunately, these building blocks don’t coalesce into a believable movie going experience, making the storyline from this fascinating cast of characters a futile mishmash of gestalt.

Margot is in the midst of a life crisis, much of it her unconscious undoing over which she has very little control. To make matters worse, she wreaks havoc on the lives of those around her, some of them quite vulnerable and unable to defend against her insidious nature of attack. This has always been her modus operandi, but coupled with her personal dilemma, her gears seem to have switched into overdrive. Her sister’s unemployed fiancé isn’t good enough for her. Her son is becoming too angular. She goads dinner companions to test their seemingly normal son for autism, and viciously scolds her estranged husband when he transports an injured animal from the highway to the hospital.

Margot is not a monster, just showing a pair of horns. Her exploits are more palatable because she frequently changes her mind, and Nicole Kidman’s attractive physical exterior helps explain why she still has an inner circle of love and support. But the sum of these parts isn’t enough to buy into the dichotomy of Margot at the crossroads. And with a cast this good, the movie ends up being a terrible waste of talent.

So much of Margot at the Wedding is extrapolating the meaning between the lines. If it didn’t emphasize the climax with pictures, the laborious ending would be a complete waste of time. Come to think of it, much of what happens here is an eh, who cares?

The real problem is the story doesn’t make much sense. Her tweenage son should be trying to distance himself from a mother slowly going off the deep end. Instead, he clings to her for dear life. Her sister feuds with neighbors over a tree she envisions in her wedding, then makes her fiancé cut it down on the day before the ceremony. These essential plot movers are more like Claude screaming at the top of his lungs between moving trains than the signposts of life going bad. With a family this dysfunctional, I want to fully immerse myself in the angst and pathos. For much of the movie, Margot and her loony bin kept me at bay questioning the swirl of disaster from outside.

Go rent Margot at the Wedding for a touching debut from child actor Zane Pais. Great movie making from writer/director Noah Baumbach will have to wait for another time.

George Carlin Gone to that Great Comedy Club in the Sky

There will be so many tributes to the great stand-up comedian George Carlin this morning, I don't feel as compelled to add my voice to the din. Besides, I have a date with destiny, aka the dentist, in about half an hour. Who has time?

George Carlin. Gone at 71. Complained of chest pains last night. Dead of a heart attack this morning. I'm suddenly feeling a need to check out Lipitor.

What can I say? In honor of a true pioneer, someone who dared to go where others would not, the best I can do right now is free association and YouTube.

Dark Side of the Moon. Strobe lights. Love beads. Seven forbidden words. Something lit. Incense. Lava lamps. Flairs. Frank Zappa. LMFAO. Men in pony tails. Lenny Bruce. Richard Pryor. Mood rings. Here comes the judge. Spin the bottle. The beep line. Late night runs to Taco Bell. Slam books. Cheech and Chong. BH. The Groove Tube. Smoke on the Water.

Carlin, man. Carlin. The world is now a more somber place. R.I.P.

The Key to Harmony

I went by a local Blockbuster store today to rent There Will Be Blood (good character development, a bit slow for my taste, could've be an hour shorter) , and saw this plaque in the garb section:

The first two characters and are correct, but I don't know why the character for "key", , is referred as "harmony".


Tom Cruise is still #1

According to Esquire Magazine, Tom Cruise is the most bankable star in Hollywood and another Scientologist (John Travolta) is eleventh.

Tom needs to stay on his toes though, his close friend Will Smith is catching him up. With 28 movies under his belt, Tom scored 27 points on the Esquire "Box Office Power" system, while Will scored 24 on only 15 movies.

Read the article here: Who's the most bankable star in Hollywood

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

Michelle Stafford - Another Emmy???

Tonight is the night! Michelle Stafford has been nominated seven times for Emmy Awards and has won twice. That is an amazing achievement. So the burning question is ... will she win again, tonight at the Daytime Emmy Awards?

Tune in tonight at 8pm on ABC and find out.

Best of luck Michelle!

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

JL Spears Welcomes Maddie

The stork has arrived, Jamie Lynn Spears is a mother! She gave birth to a little girl, Maddie Briann just this morning, weighing in at 7 lbs., 11 ounces. The whole family, including Britney and dad Jamie, were by her side in Mississippi to be with the new mom and her fiance Casey Aldridge.

- Erin Dustin

Beyonce and Jay-Z Play Gossip Roulette

Don't know about you, but I have no patience for celebrity cat and mouse. I'm starting to notice a trend of leaked falsities and clear as day realities denied, the latest a Nicole Richie Joel Madden hoax. My frustration goes beyond whether Beyonce or any other celebrity du jour is pregnant.

Oh how I long for the days of dependable celebrity gossip (yeah, right). We'll all know in good time, my pretties, all in good time.

Taking John Waters to Task for Backlash Against Honfest

Once a year, the Hons take center stage here in Baltimore. Hampden, to be precise, home of the Miracle on 34th Street," is also Hon capital of the world. Hon ground zero, if you will. The annual Honfest hit the ground running this past weekend and attendant fireworks didn't disappoint.

But before we get to the persnickety controversy, let's get one thing straight. The celebration of Hons is a time honored tradition in these quirky parts, a dubious distinction Baltimoreans proudly wear on their sleeves.

This Baltimoron is no expert on Hons, having grown up in the vicinity of the now mammoth Sinai Hospital complex and world famous Pimlico Racetrack, later becoming a faceless mass in the white flight to suburbia, but I do know a thing or two about visceral affiliation with hometown identity. Los Angeles is inextricably linked with all things Hollywood, Wisconsin with cheese, San Francisco with streetcars and the Golden Gate Bridge, Detroit with Motown, Washington D.C. with the business of politics, and Baltimore with hons and crabs.

Is that a faux pas? I'm just speaking from the heart, hon.

No, seriously now, the distinctive accent, fixation with spirited birds, crab a la everything, Nipper the phonograph dog, Natty Boh, marble steps, Bromo Seltzer Tower, Preakness, and Honfest distinguish Baltimore from its more tony neighbor down I-95, although as far as the cartographers are concerned we might as well be one and the same. Ever notice how Washington, D.C. is prominently featured on every map and Atlas but Baltimore barely cuts the grade? Do you have any idea what it's like to live in a town with a combined population approaching two million (Baltimore City and Baltimore County are governed by different municipalities but are essentially the same area) and forever be lumped into the same locale as a place that couldn't be more different if its survival depended on it?

Yes, I'm talking about D.C. Twin cities we are not. Siamese twin polar opposites is more like it.

Just like the Preakness and pro sports teams named after birds, Honfest is uniquely Baltimore. The history of Hons, so I'm told, began with the hard-working woman of World War II. When the GIs returned, these enterprising young ladies continued to work. Hey, Baltimore is not a town of Ritz. I imagine back then money was just as tight as it is now. These second incomes helped support an upwardly mobile but modest lifestyle during the boomer age. You can't fault women for wanting better lives for their families.

As the story goes, women didn't work in executive positions, they took hard scrabble jobs. So on weekends, they liked to get dolled up and party. And Baltimore being the kitschy town that it was (and is), dolled up meant tight outfits, massive jewelry, appalling makeup, and hair piled high to the sky. Think New Jersey south of the Mason-Dixon. Beehive hairdos were all the rage and nobody wore them better than east side Baltimore. The higher, bigger, shinier, and stiffer, the better. Believe me when I say John Waters didn't have to think long and hard when he thought up the title to Hairspray.

More about dear John later.

Anyway, these dolled up, tight laced, beehive wearing, red lipped, smoking ladies eventually became known as Hons. It must have something to do with the way Baltimoreans talk because I remember being called Hon quite a bit on the streets in and around the racetrack. Even now when I venture to the Inner Harbor some gum cracking waitress will shout out a Hon or two. A term of endearment really, just an abbreviated "honey" with the glory of Baltimore "OH" lovingly wrapped inside.

Ever been to a sporting event with Baltimoreans and notice how they scream in unison "OH" when they get to the "Oh say can you see" part of the Star Spangled Banner? It's all connected I'm telling you, in an Oriole birds and "dem O's" quirky kind of way.

When Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood decided to reinvent itself as the suburbs of City rather than a dingy mill section of town, Mom and Pop businesses moved in like crazy. Today, a stroll down The Avenue is like walking around New York's TriBeCa, there are so many unusual shops and restaurants to see. Not to mention a liberal dose of second-hand store gold mines. Hampden is one of a kind because it's uniquely Baltimore, much like Fells Point but without the water.

Some time ago, CafeHon -- the jewel of Hampden -- began a one day neighborhood gathering to celebrate Baltimore fashion and culture, affectionately christened Honfest for those who dare to be kitsch. The annual event has since morphed into a two-day festival with an anything goes mentality, many abandoning all form of reason in their quest to become Hon chic. These people have their hair done in beehives, wear obnoxiously loud clothing and stilettos, don so much makeup they look like Kelly Osborne on Halloween, and enter Hon competitions for the chance to be crowned "Miss Baltimore Hon."

I know. I know. It sounds like an Iowa corn festival and maybe in some respects it is. Baltimore is a big city comprised of little neighborhoods. There really is a hometown feel, an indescribable slice of life you can't get anywhere else on this planet. Honfest has the potential to transform into a monumental party on the same scale as today's Mardi Gras (but definitely NOT Mardi Gras before Katrina -- that would be stretching the build up too far).

Okay. I've done my best to describe Hons and Honfest. Now we get to dear John. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan, a huge fan of John Waters, his brand of entertainment, and his take on life. If it weren't for Waters, Edith Massey would never have become "The Egg Lady," there'd be no such thing as front lawns decorated with pink flamingos, and Divine would have been just another drunken whore stripping for tips down on The Block. Waters savored these seedier spawns of Baltimore and in doing so made them mainstream. The magnitude of his success is a little shocking considering his film making origins. I mean honestly, back in the 1960s, he was the probably the first person to film a transsexual devouring dog crap. Steaming dog crap. With a hint of lemon.

As a native Baltimoron who wears her Honness as a badge of honor, I have no qualms taking Waters to task for his recent statements against Honfest. For the record, he lambasted the celebration saying the Hon image was so overused he would no longer utter the word or use the idea in any of his scripts. Not only that, he urged the City of Baltimore to stop supporting the event, claiming people who now participate do so to denigrate Hons.

Yup. The native son and one who paved the road for unbridled madness now turns his back on the monster of Honfest, professing lack of authenticity mars the luster. Reminds me of Dr. Frankenstein and monster remorse, although in that story the monster tried to kill anything in its path and wreak mayhem.

In contrast, Honfest is a harmless lovable fuzzball, a chance to bond with homegrowns giving Baltimore a distinct flavor separate and apart from that political metropolis down I-95. The fact that the idea caught fire with so many out of towners is all the more reason to revel in all things Hon, don't you think? Waters really missed the mark and that's a low down dirty rotten shame.

Seriously, hon, we're talking two days. Two days of blissful merriment and bustling business for tiny Hampden. Waz all de fuss har?

End of Tony Soprano Parallels Hillary Clinton Finale

Stop the presses. Talk about the unexpected death of Tim Russert throwing a nation into shock, this update from virtual Jersey has me reeling.

Tony Soprano got whacked in The Sopranos finale. So says a ridiculously long in depth scholarly analysis of the HBO mega hit. Why am I always the last to know? The author published this dissertation on May 11, 2008. May freak'n 11th!! Curses on all of you who've been nattering behind my back ever since.

With all the Sex and the City: The Move hype, I recently published my own secret longing for a Sopranos reunion movie. Boy, do I feel moronic now.

If you've got the time and the patience, slog through this stuff. It's logical, analytical, and well researched. Of course, those of us with short attention spans prefer the Cliff Notes:

Positioning of actors in Holsten's restaurant: Location, location, location. Even in a fictional TV show, location matters. If you don't believe me (or the tomb), re-watch the final scene of the final episode. Make a map of every character sitting in the restaurant. If you do it correctly, the analysis shows how third person camera shots and point of view (POV) camera shots conclusively establish Tony's murder. POV shots are seen through Tony's eyes. Tony sits in a restaurant booth facing the entrance, blocking his view of certain patrons. When the camera cuts to these patrons, Tony isn't seeing them, we are, making them third person shots. This blows the "Tony lives with paranoia" ending clear out of the water. Tony is not paranoid. The audience simply doesn't understand the underlying meaning of the camera angles.

POV sequence/blackout: Building on the POV camera shots theory, the author notes a telltale pattern. A cowbell attached to the restaurant entrance rings whenever a patron enters or exits. When Tony hears the cowbell ring, he looks up at the door. When he looks up, we see what he sees. To prove the point, the author notes a third person shot of two new customers, two black men, in the restaurant. We do not hear the cowbell or see them enter because Tony is distracted when they arrive. This shows the importance of the pattern established with static POV shots. In the scene's final minutes, we hear the cowbell. Going with the pattern, we should then see someone entering or exiting the restaurant. Instead, we see and hear nothing. The scene goes pitch black. There is no sound. This tells us that Tony's POV is pitch black with no sound, dead as a door nail. Never saw it coming. I say give Tony more cowbell! Where is more cowbell when you need it?

Man in the "Members Only" jacket: The only track shots in the final scene are when Tony enters the restaurant and when the Man in the Members Only jacket (don't ask me why, but the author abbreviates the reference to "MOG") goes to the bathroom. We get a view of MOG that Tony does not get which is him looking back at Tony. That's how we know it's a track shot. All other camera angles are either third person or POV. MOG is hazily framed in many of Tony's POV shots. He's in Tony's view, but Tony isn't seeing him. Also, MOG is the only patron shown behind the door before he enters. He doesn't register with Tony because AJ is directly behind him. Tony waves to AJ and ignores MOG. Clearly, MOG is the hit man. Tony should be paying more attention, but he is relaxed and happy to be with his family. We never see MOG leaving the bathroom because Tony never sees MOG leaving the bathroom. Carmela and AJ never see MOG leaving the bathroom because they are too interested in studying their menus. The hit happens suddenly behind Tony's back with a gunshot to the head. Makes perfect sense.

Never heard it coming/flashback: The author details several episodes where Tony discusses the life of a mob boss: death or jail. "You probably never hear it coming" and the like is often repeated in the last nine episodes. Significantly, Tony flashes back to a scene where the phrase is said. This foreshadows that when the end comes, Tony will never hear it coming. Don't Stop Believing will be playing on the jukebox and then everything will go completely dark. Sad, when you think about it. On a more positive note, I heard they recently found a new lead singer for Journey.

Dispelling the "nothing happened" theory: Antithetical to all of David Chase's work throughout the series, the author details many plot lines with satisfying build ups and endings. Having such a big build up to a nothing ending makes no sense, violates the show's basic structure, and therefore is not credible.

So, there you have it. The author further analyzes the meaning of Tony's death, Holsten's as symbolism, the parallels between the show and The Godfather, terrorism and the Iraqi War as keys to the finale, miscellaneous fun David Chase stuff, and the influences of The Public Enemy and Goodfellas on the show.

Exhausting. They'll have to study this work of art in classes about mythic television.

For my money, there is one interesting parallel the author either missed or chose to ignore: Hillary Clinton using the final scene as a parody ad for her presidential campaign. "Everybody wants to know how it's going to end," says Bill as they bond over carrot sticks. Hillary sits at the restaurant booth just a bit too relaxed, her perceived feelings of entitlement clouding her ability to run a top notch campaign, the lure of a stronger candidate fuzzily out of focus. In the end, she too took a symbolic bullet to the head. The parallels are glaringly obvious, but why polarize everyone before the convention?

Just want to sit and bask in David Chase's extraordinary brilliance.

Celebrity House Gawker Inspires Drool

Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld home in East Hampton New York
When my friend Brian forwarded this amazingly well written article featuring the 10 most beautiful celebrity mansions, I couldn't resist copping a link.

Opulent and architecturally exquisite, these monoliths punctuate the reason people like myself become transfixed by celebrity fare. Most of it is out of this world, the stuff of Fantasy Island. Average folks long for access to the perks of the rich and famous.

Feast your eyes on the Seinfeld mansion in East Hampton, NY. Its annual tax bill costs more than the purchase price of an average American home.

Wonder what the monthly utility bill runs?

And Speaking Of The Olsens...


I hear the two fashionistas have been spotted in Tennessee, in town for the Bonaroo music festival in Manchester.

Can you believe that it's been over 21 years since they first made their debut on Full House? Crazy I must say!

- Erin Dustin

Nancy Sinatra Walks Those Boots Down to Capitol Hill

Remember the days when aspiring musicians and record studio bigwigs begged and bribed radio disc jockeys to promote certain songs on the airwaves?

Everyone fantasized about befriending Wolfman Jack, DJ extraordinaire, immortalized in Harrison Ford's film debut, American Graffiti. DJs like the Wolfman used to sit high and mighty, not because their bosses paid such exorbitant salaries (traditionally they did not), but because of extravagant entertainment perks associated with their positions of power.

As with most good things, those days have outlived their useful lifespan. The music industry as a whole has become more techno savvy in the way it reaches the public, using the Internet for its music promotion. Once online music sampling became a firmly entrenched public listening habit, the resulting backlash against DJs and radio stations became inevitable. Just as eBooks have to some degree sidestepped the publishing industry, today's musicians and record labels can now sidestep the DJs.

This week on Capitol Hill looked more like a golden oldies concert than private citizens convening before lawmakers. Hendogg from The Sugarhill Gang and Frank Sinatra's little 69-year old girl Nancy testified before a House Judiciary Subcommittee in support of The Performance Rights Act, a bill currently pending before both the House and Senate. Its counterpart, The Local Radio Freedom Act has its share of supporters on the other side.

I'll try to boil down the gist of the bill so that even a Yahweh doomsday cultist could understand. Radio stations have always paid a fee to songwriters and composers for the privilege to play their songs while musicians and record labels received bupkus. The privilege of having their music played was somehow deemed enough.

But the times, they are a'changin'. The Performance Rights Act would do away with this lingering inequity, leveling the playing field between radio, Internet download sites, satellite music stations, and cable music channels. Under the bill's provisions, radio stations would pay a flat yearly fee to compensate performers and record studios for their intellectual property. Some believe such compensation is way overdue.

Don't think broadcasters simply turned over and played dead. On the flip side, they lamented radio industry struggles, claiming financial burdens of the record industry aren't their problem. They also claimed performers are conferred benefits of air time in exchange for music play, and that Congress shouldn't rely on foreign law to decide the outcome because those laws are not analogous.

Sure hope Nancy got her collagen enhanced lips out of the way when those broadcasters came out swinging. Has anyone else noticed it's no longer her boots that do the walk'n?

Anyway, I'm with the performance artists on this one. If radio stations don't want to pay, they have no right to play. So what if changes in the law sink their business models? Create a new format, for crying out loud. The free market will eventually decide where people go to discover new music. Actors wouldn't dream of playing a part without entitlement to residuals. Why should performance artists suffer from an outdated form of corporate welfare?

FYI, in the interests of full disclosure, I'm still carrying stock in Sirius Radio. Never once did its piss poor performance influence my opinion for a fair outcome in this matter.

July Issue Time!

If you haven't noticed by now that I have a slight obsession with the Olsen twins, well then, I do, but more importantly I know that MKO graces the July cover of Elle. Check it out, the photos are really fab. of her!

Photo Credit: Elle, July 2008

- Erin Dustin

Izzie Out Of Emmy Running

Due to the lack of a great storyline for her character in this past season of Grey's Anatomy, Katherine Heigl feels she should not be included in the choosing of Emmy nominees. The blossoming actress won last year for best supporting actress.

She says, "I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention."

Oh Iz, always putting others before yourself. I hope this doesn't hurt you at all though within Greys, it's a kinda sorta subtle slap in the face to the writing staff.

- Erin Dustin

Ode to a Cleaning Service

Reflections in My Bathroom

Please don’t judge me by my bathroom

Malodorous molotov cocktail of putrid human debris and psychotic stench
where dust drifters roost in sticky swills of bacteria-laden goo
Cowering undercover miscreants they are,
having no sense of shame or belonging

Each nook and cranny seethes with stubborn caked on stains of mortal refuse,
demanding their due in an increasingly unmanageable score
The sheer inundation of invading infectious microbes reminds
we too are but flecks of dust
Discombobulated fragments of purpose seeking gatherers
forging a unique path
in an unwieldy universe

When did I fire my cleaning service?
Judging by the proliferation of shower mold, it must have been a lifetime ago
I suppose it is time to throw in the towel
Wave the white flag
and give my neighbor's maid a try

Me and my bathroom
We have a lot more in common than I’m willing to admit
Perhaps that is why toothpaste stains and dried up spittle saturate its glass
Dull white blotches of what might have been
in a window of limitless potential

My bathroom may be a crud-infested wasteland, but it doesn’t reflect who I am
A factotum for hire is just a phone call away
I, on the other hand, claim the power within
to cleanse myself of detritus and detractors
rather than marinate in the muck

Please don’t judge me by my bathroom
The clean one is just down the hall to your left

The Battle Of Brad's Girls

Watch out October 24! Two of the biggest Hollywood gals are hitting the big screen on the SAME day. And they both happen to have a little something in common.

Mr. Brad Pitt.

Brad's current leading lady, Angelina Jolie stars in Changeling while Brad's ex-flame Jennifer Aniston plays in the romantic comedy He's Just Not That Into You.

May the best lady win.

- Erin Dustin

Quote Of The Day

"I don't consider myself sexy...I'm kind of a nervous person in general. I'm socially awkward. I'm not tall and sensuous. I usually wear sweats everywhere I go. Oh, and I burp a lot." - Carrie Underwood tells all in the July issue of Cosmo.

Photo Credit: Cosmopolitan, July 2008

- Erin Dustin

"According to Jim" Best Seen Live

Me in the shadow of a Studio City walk of fame plaque for My Three Sons
Going to L.A. without seeing a live television show is like traveling to Arizona without seeing the Grand Canyon. It shouldn't be done. So said I to the girls during our California adventure, reduced to mere memory after rejoining the rat race. Have we really been home for more than a week?

Sadly, yes. The weather is hotter in Baltimore, the air more humid, and gas now approaches the price seen at Culver City gas stations. I shudder to think of the going rate there today. Must be way past $5.00 and rapidly closing in on $5.50. No wonder everyone wants to rip apart the oil executives.

But getting back to the taping, all three of us had tickets to see According to Jim, that whacky sitcom starring Jim Belushi. It was just about the only thing taping during the last week of May, so I figured why not. I've always been a fan of Courtney Thorne-Smith, Jim Belushi is SNL connected (big fan of the deceased brother, but I'm sure Jim hears that all the time), and thought it would be fun to watch the production of a weekly sitcom.

Girls pose at walk of fame outside studio of According to Jim
The girls were actually going to join me until some attendant at the ABC studio garage told us the taping wouldn't be over until 10 p.m. He also said we couldn't leave early. That set the girls in a tailspin because the show was set to begin at 6:00 p.m. and they had plans at 7:30. Why they would prefer galavanting about town with tony teenage friends over a sitcom taping with me, I have no idea. All I know is the thought of being held captive by a television program for almost four hours coupled with the loss of their cell phones (no cell phones or cameras allowed in the studio) was more than they could bear.

Once again, they had their friends pick them up at a designated spot and I was left to fend for myself. Not a bad deal since I'm used to being on my own, just annoying because everyone else in line had a buddy to talk to during the lags. Yes, I tried the friendly, personable lone person in line routine, talking to people nearby, finding out where they were from, etc., but that got old fast. I can chat forever if given the chance, but I don't think other people appreciate it. Like when you're traveling on a train or plane and the single person next to you natters incessantly until you think you're going to go out of your mind. I just hate being that person.

And so, as the conversation of nearby people began to wane, I took that as a hint to stop yammering. I even tried moving away as they began seating us in the audience, but it didn't work out. An usher verbally removed me from my prime seat in the first row saying they were reserved for "special" people, a group to which I couldn't lay claim. As luck would have it, they placed me in an open seat next to the people I had over chatted while waiting in line. Great. No one to talk to for over four hours. If the show wasn't funny, guards or no guards, I'm out of there. No one would force me to compromise my sanity for some half hour sitcom.

As it turned out, the show was rather funny. Larry Joe Campbell, Jim's overweight brother-in-law Andy, is a riot. Jim is the perfect foil for his zaniness, though I suspect Larry could play funny man against anyone.

The episode entitled "The New Best Friend" involves finding a pal for Jim's wife, Cheryl, who rambles on about poop and swatches without realizing she's as boring as a lecture on the history of paint. When her best friend moves out of town (probably to get away from her), Jim is stuck as her new listening patsy, a role he can't handle. The men concoct a scheme to get Andy's girlfriend to bond with Cheryl which involves a whopper about another girlfriend coming on to Andy and, well, you'll just have to watch when the show airs. Christmas decorations permeated the set, meaning all things being equal, the episode should run some time in December '08.

Overall, a good time was had by all although I found it difficult to laugh at the same jokes when a scene taped more than twice. Every now and then they would change the lines to spice things up, but for the most part, the dialogue remained the same. How many times can you genuinely guffaw when Jim takes multiple beers out of the fridge in anticipation of a late night wifey gabfest? After the first take, okay it's funny, but then the gag loses its luster. Man, we were troopers of an audience. Not many of us left when the show wrapped (as it turns out, you could leave the taping early, darn that garage attendant), and those who hung in managed to laugh convincingly at the multiple takes.

Truthfully, I attribute the success of the taping to the show's MC, Michael Burger, a comedian extraordinaire in his own right. Michael's style is a mixture of Don Rickles, Jerry Seinfeld, and Henny Youngman. He had people in the audience laughing like mad, competing for prizes, and telling stories about themselves. I especially enjoyed the couple from Nebraska married for over fifty years, you bet. At one point, Michael even allowed some sisters in the audience to get up and sing. These women had truly amazing voices that wowed the audience. Seriously, somebody needs to hire an agent.

In the end, the cast rewarded our efforts by taking questions from the audience and signing autographs. Michael said a full water bottle with Jim's autograph like the one pictured below was auctioned on eBay for sixty-five bucks. I was so thirsty I drank mine, but did manage to snag the autographs of Jim, Larry, and Michael. For now, the bottle sits with the other autograph crap we have on display. Maybe one day when the show is out of production, I'll consider selling. Of course by then the value will probably drop to nothing on a dime.

No one had any questions for Jim which seemed like a waste of a perfectly good celebrity. That's when I playfully threw out "Jan or Marcia?" as a query, but nobody so much as chuckled. Not only that, Jim had no idea what I meant, professing to be raised without television by Albanian alcoholics. Michael to the rescue, he knew it was a reference to The Brady Bunch and added "Along the lines of boxers or briefs, Jim." Whew. I wouldn't be known as the crazy chatty lady sitting all by her lonesome after all.

For the record, Jim did answer "Jan." Atta boy, Jim. You're my kind of guy.

And Baby Makes Two

Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott now have the perfect little family with one of each, a boy and a girl. The happy couple welcomed little Stella Doreen McDermott on Monday in L.A. Congrats!

- Erin Dustin

J Lo and Family

I've seen a lot of discussion on whether JLo is or is not a Scientologist. I don't know whether she has studied any Dianetics or Scientology but I know one thing. She's sure a beautiful mom with two pretty incredible little babies!
A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard

Congrats Goes Out To The Warrens!

Jessica Alba and hubby Cash Warren are parents to a baby girl! The two welcomed the little one, Honor Marie Warren, on Saturday June 7 in L.A. Congrats!

- Erin Dustin

Not Linking to the Mohawk Song

Once again, being brief due to lack of time. Yes, believe it or not life is very busy here in the Land of Pleasant Living. But getting back about a week ago, in the land of chill, the MTV Movie Award Show was over, and we little people were exiting the building so to speak.

Yello haired mohawk guy caught my attention, but couldn't get him to give me a pass to the after party. Not only that, his girlfriend freaked when I asked if I could take their picture. Even saw who I thought was Edgar Winter with long flowing white hair (sorry, I don't do autographs he responded when I asked if it was really him). And then, I came across the Mohawk Girls. Aren't they cute?

Poor things could not get in to see the show. I felt sorry for them hanging around at Universal, nothing to do or see, although one of them did say they caught a glimpse of a big celeb as he/she walked on to the property.

I have looked high and low for Amanda, Erica, and Bianco's video, The Mohawk Song. Honestly, these girls are so famous that yellow mohawk guy recognized them from more than twenty feet away. Me, on the other hand, no clue.

Will somebody please send this yodel a link? These girls were so nice and personable. Really would like to review their video, tell about our short encounter, you know the deal.

J.K. To Harvard

"We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already." - Author J.K. Rowling's words of wisdom to Harvard grads this past Thursday.

- Erin Dustin

Barry Williams

Barry Williams (birth name: Barry William Blenkhorn) is a former child star best known for his role as "Greg Brady" on the hit early 1970s family sitcom, The Brady Bunch.Williams was born on September 30, 1954 in Santa Monica, California. He grew up near actor Peter Graves. As a young child, he constantly asked Graves for show biz advice. At age 11 Williams changed his name from Barry William

Shout Out To Us Weekly!

Check out this amazing spread in the upcoming issue of US Weekly. Looks like this took a lot of work and is very appealing to the eyes. Props!

Photo Credit: US Weekly, June 16, 2008

- Erin Dustin

Opposites Attract (I Mean, Look At Their Shirts)

Blake Lively and Penn Badgley hit the streets of NYC again to do a little shopping and moseying. (How come I never see them around?!) Also along for the day was Blake's cutie of a dog Penny. Although I can't get my Monday fix of Gossip Girl, these two lovebirds are keeping the chemistry alive for the summer. Thanks guys!

- Erin Dustin

Celebrity Censorship Establishes Dangerous Precedent

While we were sunning and funning in L.A., the world definitely took leave of its senses, at least that's my sorry conclusion after viewing this segment of Howard Kurtz's Reliable Sources.

Talk about a mixture of celebrities, politics, and media, here are nine plus minutes of informative topical banter leaving me convinced more than ever of too much media power in the wrong hands leading to unhealthy consequences, specifically self-censorship, something freedom lovers everywhere should recognize as a treacherous slide down a slippery slope. Change effected today is free expression squelched tomorrow, meaning we can't have our cake and eat it too. The opinion you suppress today may one day be your own.

Remarks of columnists Ray Richmond and Sharon Waxman are illustrative. Richmond pretty much bashes Oprah Winfrey, blaming her recent dip in ratings on media overexposure rather than her endorsement of presidential candidate Barack Obama. Inexplicably, he also takes credit for making Oprah politically active. Waxman and Kurtz go in a different direction, pointing to the endorsement as a key factor in the alienation of Oprah fans, but citing other unrelated factors as the possible cause for her rating woes.

But the most disturbing part of the segment was the Rachel Ray ad campaign for Dunkin Donuts. Corporate pulled print ads of Ray wrapped in what appeared to be a kaffiyeh scarf, a symbol of Palestinian terrorism in parts of the free world. I am by no means a terrorist sympathizer, nor do I support Islamic fascism. But honestly, a scarf as political statement in print ads for doughnuts? Get real. Ray has horrible taste, yes, but to label her a terrorist sympathizer through a media blitz which eventually forced the company to censor its own ad campaign establishes a very dangerous precedent.

What's next? Shows like The Sopranos are never produced because they offend the sensibilities of Italian-Americans? Ads with actors draped in orange and black can't be shown in New York because they're too reminiscent of The Baltimore Orioles? Where do you draw the line?

And then there are unintended consequences. We'll never know whether Oprah's early endorsement of Obama was instrumental in gathering necessary support from the African-American community or in gaining enough superdelegate support to cinch the nomination. What we can probably expect in the next election are endorsements from only the most devil-may-care celebrities willing to put their ratings or popularity on the line for a particular candidate. This kind of self-censorship is not necessarily a positive development.

Isn't it better to know the political viewpoints of a celebrity before becoming their biggest most devoted fan? I, for one, would rather know which way a celebrity leans, expressing support or displeasure with my pocketbook and letting the chips fall where they may.

Clooney Larson Dirt on the Fly

The return trip from L.A. was difficult.

Not because of the turbulence or the fifty minute layover in Philly. Not because we left our el Lay hosts at 8:45 a.m. and didn't deplane at BWI until 10:00 p.m. Not even because of the change in weather, which after nothing but blue skies and sunshine made the light spring sprinkling a welcome respite.

No, the difficulty had more to do with leaving a carefree life of celebrity-like luxury and returning to a ho-hum lackadaisical existence of every day reality, if you catch my drift.

For a blogger like me, the fantasy of catching celebs on the fly was pretty exhilarating. I'm not a news maker by any means, but still managed to catch a tidbit here and there.

For instance, while hanging out on Rodeo Drive I talked up a security guard who became rather chatty. Turns out he had spotted a party for George Clooney within the past few months, one involving an appearance by Charlie Sheen. Of course I was more interested in the Clooney-Larson break up. The guard confirmed Sarah had been pressuring George for an engagement. "George is a man" is the expression he used, meaning a man who wants to stay single will stand his ground against anyone, even the perfect female compliment as I have heard Sarah described. She's been going around portraying George as a lout, but the guard thinks he kicked her out before she could concoct a scheme to get pregnant. At least that's the word on the tony streets of Beverly Hills.

Can't dig up this kind of dirt in Baltimore, hon.

Yeah, so, that's why I'm now struggling to regain my bearings. Reduced to just another blip competing with over 70 million blogs for breaking news, if you believe this video.

Now when my mother-in-law asks me about my "pom" I won't have to explain for the umpteenth time about blogs and how they operate. I'll just email this link. Dear thing, has no idea why they call it a blog, nor why I bother to pen one. How's that for a confidence builder?

Lost Soul Tribal Tat

Alan points me to one of the latest photos in BME:

The caption suggests this is a tribal style tattoo, however it is not true. This is just another ill-informed individual got quasi-Chinese gibberish tattooed on his arm.

Interesting enough, this same tattoo design has appeared before. We are not certain if it is the same person who likes to flaunt his tat or great minds (or lack of) think alike.

And the Designer Of The Year Goes To...

Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein for Womenswear Designer.

Tom Ford for Menswear.

Tory Burch for Accessory Design.

Yet another glamorous NYC event went down last night. The New York Public Library held the annual CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) Awards, (basically the Oscars of fashion) and well, as you can see the fashionistas were out. From MJ and Posh, classic icon Ralph Lauren and designer Michael Kors, to AFO and Hilary Duff, there really never is a dull moment in the Big Apple.

I thought that this pic was kinda funny, look how much taller model Karolina Kurkova is compared to Ashley Olsen! She may be on the shorter side, but what an impact she makes! More power to us! (obvs. I'm a bit on the short side as well)

Jason Lewis is popping up everywhere these days, but believe me, I don't mind!

- Erin Dustin