Monday, September 10, 2007

It's Britney Bitch! A Comeback to the end.

We had heard that little miss train wreck Britney Spears would kick off the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards at the Palms Casino and Hotel in Vegas last night. There were also thoughts that she would flake out and not show. She did show up, sort of anyway. Britney has given us memorable moments over the years on this very awards show. The Kiss with Madonna, and the Albino Python she wore during her hit single 'Im A Slave For You' were the two biggest live shows of her career. This however was a flaming mess.

She looked out of shape and almost fell during her first dance move. I use the word dance loosely. She was always a better dancer than singer, yet I have seen low level Drag Queens move better. Of course she was not really singing, and could not even keep her lips moving in line with the track. At one point her dancers look like they are trying to slow down to keep up with her. A minute in to the song and she has given up it appears, just going through the motions and trying to stay on her feet. That was a feat all in itself given the combination of pills I am sure she was on.

The crowd of actual stars looked mortified at what they were seeing. I could only imagine what Justin Timberlake was thinking. This was supposed to a comeback to a once bright career. Brit never really had great vocals, but she sounded good on a record and was a entertaining live performer. She has had two children and was married a gutter rat who ran through her fortune and drug her down to his level. This was her shot that not many washed up stars get. She had to clean up, tone up, and show up. The first two were lost on her I guess. If she looked fit and at least danced well, she would have been considered a success.

The song itself, entitled 'Gimme More' is not bad. It is what it is. It's a studio mixed pop track that even Paris Hilton can pump out. Still, we love these songs and do not care if the artist can not really sing live. We come for the dance moves, and stage theatrics that are given in place of vocal talent. Britney was once a master at this. I really wanted to like her again, sadly she must take a little pride in herself first. This might be the end for her music career. The intrigue of what she would look like if she made a comeback is now over. We know, and we laughed. Only a few months until the return of another mess of an ex superstar. We will be pulling for you Whitney.

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

A new take on Matthew Shepard

I was only fourteen when Matthew Shepard was murdered in his hometown of Laramie, Wyoming in 1998. Over the years I have learned about the crime and the trial. I did not know about his life before the attack however. This is what has touched me over the past couple of days. I watched the made for TV movie that aired on NBC in 2002. The movie stars Stockard Channing and Sam Waterston as Matthews parents. I suggest you make your teenage children watch this movie as well as the Laramie Project.

Matthew was so much like myself that it scared me. His story was almost unwatchable at times. While in Europe for school he met his first love. That is also the place where he was severely beaten and raped by a group of local men. He was never the same after this attack according to his friends and family. He suffered from ADD and struggled to be comfortable in his own skin. He went through more verbal and physical abuse because of where he lived then most of us could even imagine. He was always looking over his shoulder, wondering if that those guys walking on the other side of the street would cross over to attack him. Through all this pain, he had a great capacity to love and accept others.

What happened to him on that October night in a small Wyoming town was beyond unfair. It was beyond murder. It was an ugly and cruel end to a wonderful life that was just beginning to take shape. As unfair as his death was, it was not in vane. The following days after the attack, while Matt lie in a Colorado hospital room all but brain dead and with his family by his side, something amazing was taking place outside. For the first time on a world wide stage, the nation saw the anatomy of hatred towards this wonderful young man. They saw his parents and friends heartbroken. They saw a group armed with signs and megaphones celebrating his attack and eventual death.

All the sudden people had to look in the mirror and ask themselves tough questions. The head Doctor that was treating him received hate mail and death threats for treating him and for tearing up when he had to give the news of Matthews death to a giant press corps and people gathered outside the hospital. Matthew gave this nation a lesson in the crime of hate. He also showed us the power of love through his friends leading a group of Angels to block out the hate mongers gathered outside the courtroom. His parents gave us a lesson in mercy and forgiving when they gave their son's murderers a pardon from the death penalty.

A piece of all of us will always remain tied to that fence in a Wyoming field Matt. We will not forget that through your life of struggles, you gave us love. Through your untimely death, you gave us so much more. The next time you think of hurting someone through words or worse because of who they love and the way they were made, think about the the young man, that child of god that was left tied to a wooden fence to die alone.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

19 Action News and The War On Crime

Here in Cleveland we have the usual big four television stations. It is the local CBS post that has turned itself into a news story in itself. 19 Action news, honest, fair and everywhere is their tag line. The ratings were low and two or three years ago they did a complete overhaul. They have new fast paced action themed graphics, and a crazy hyper traffic reporter up in the sky. They have weather people that hype a little rain and make a sunny day seem like a boring proposition. The anchors use words like punk, thug, gang bangers, creep, and loser when describing the people in the news. They also insert their own opinions way to often.

They do outlandish investigative reports with a team of so called reporters now headed up by the Cleveland legend Carl Monday. That would be the same Carl Monday seen on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for his series on a teenager jerking it on a local library computer. The most well known anchor is the outspoken diva herself Sharon Reed. She is famous for her report on a local artist in town to do a nude picture of over a thousand people. She became part of this story and did her report naked on the late local news. While her dream of a regional Emmy was dashed, she was a guest on David Letterman and sassed him up when he flirted with her.

The station has been responsible for the last mayor Jane Campbell being voted out of office and they do not like the current mayor any more. They have represented everything that is wrong with todays journalism. Their current cause is however a much needed one. They have started a war on crime called taking back our streets. Sharon Reed was in Boston last week and Chicago this week. She talks to reformed gang leaders and black priests about what they did to slow violent crime in those cities. She does this in her trademark borderline ghetto fab style. They blast the city of Cleveland and the mayor for three hours a day. They are hosting a town hall meeting next week they know the mayor will not attend because of their reputation. The drive to impeach Frank Jackson has begun.

From Cleveland to Chicago

I have been in the city of Cleveland for a little over a year now. I moved here to have more to do and find better work. My partner and myself have decided to abandon the sinking ship while we can still breathe. This city has wonderful things about it including a great theater district and my favorite pro sports teams. It also has huge issues and no ideas on how to fix them. The crime and poverty rates are sky high and the mayor is a disgrace with no clue. We no longer feel safe in this once great city that I still love.

We have decided to move to the midwest mecca of Chicago. This is not a shot in the dark move by any means. Frankie has a long history with the city as he lived and thrived there in the nineties. We were recently able to take a day trip there on my birthday and I got my first taste of this cultural and entertainment haven. Needless to say that I have fallen in love with the idea of living on the north side area of the city known as Boystown. We have some loose ends to tie up here in Cleveland as well as some more money to save. The move is scheduled for the beginning of next summer.

This is what I have always wanted for myself and I am thrilled to be doing it with someone I know and love so much. I feel that once I get there my life will finally take off in the direction that I always dreamed of. I know there will be more obtacles in the journey west, but I also know we will be much better off in the long term. I was born and raised here and will always be an Ohio boy at heart. I can't wait until this time next year, when I am sitting in the bleachers at Wrigley Field in my Cleveland Indians cap.

Life has a way of moving up a level once you reach for what you want.