Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Basketball Commissioner swings the Pete Rose bat; Sterling banned for life

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced at a press conference
today that Donald Sterling is banned for life!
(photo credit:  Elsa/Getty Images)

It’s really too bad Donald Sterling and a Philistine named Samson couldn't have talked, but they were separated by hundreds of years.  Samson and Delilah could have been the modern day Donald and Vanessa.  How ironic that both of these powerful men were brought crashing down by women who happened to be outside of their own ethnicity.  Today NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Sterling is banned from basketball “for life.”

This all stems from a leaked recording, which no one admits to leaking, of an argument between married Sterling, 80, and his lady friend Vanessa Stiviano, 38, on April 7th.  Sterling was disappointed and embarrassed that people had called him regarding a picture Stiviano had posted of herself, basketball legend Magic Johnson, and another woman on Instagram.  The three were fully clothed and innocently smiling at the camera.  But what infuriated Sterling was that Stiviano had posed with a black man.   During the phone conversation, Stiviano calmly led Sterling down a yellow brick road of admitting he sees blacks as the “enemy” and asking Vanessa not to bring them to his games.

Of course the late night talk show hosts were all over it.  Last night Jimmy Fallon said that even Mel Gibson told Sterling, “hey man, that’s just going too far.”  The ban for life means that Sterling can no longer have an active role in the leadership of the Los Angeles Clippers or any NBA team ever again.  In addition to the ban, Silver announced that the commission has fined Sterling $2.5 million.

As of right now, Sterling still retains ownership of the Clippers, but it has been reduced to a mere ceremonial title.  He cannot make any money or brand affecting decisions regarding the team.  But the story doesn't end there.  It takes a two-thirds majority of all of the NBA team owners to vote out another owner. Commissioner Silver is in talks with the other owners at this time to see if they want to move in that direction.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Donald Sterling; Magic Johnson, "Take his team"; Donald Trump, "She set him up"

Donald Sterling and his girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano, pictured on his left.
(photo credit:  Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

This weekend TMZ stunned basketball fans and players alike when they leaked a profanity-laced recording of a phone argument between the legally married Donald Sterling, 80, and his girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano, 38.  On Sunday night Magic Johnson, who was personally named in the phone call, appeared on ESPN stating in no uncertain terms that Sterling should give up ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.  See the video of Johnson’s response here.

The April 7th argument was sparked when Stiviano posted a picture on Instagram of herself and another woman with basketball legend Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson.  Sterling objected to Stiviano posing with black people whom he called the ‘enemy’.  In a surprising twist that reads like a three-way love triangle, it was revealed that last month Rochelle Sterling, Donald’s estranged wife, filed a lawsuit against the girlfriend claiming that Stiviano preyed upon extremely wealthy older men.

Sterling, as many men with mistresses do, has lavished Stiviano with luxuries.  Among some of the goodies Stiviano has received are a Ferrari, two Bentleys, and a $1.8 million duplex.  Stiviano’s attorney says these trinkets are merely gifts, freely given and gratefully received.  But now there are some wondering whether this whole leaked phone conversation fiasco is a big set up designed to shake down Sterling for even more money.

One looming question is that there were, supposedly, only two people participating in the phone conversation, so how was it ‘leaked’?  Both Sterling and Stiviano have denied publicizing the call.  Was it an anonymous crazed telephone operator randomly intercepting conversations and making them public?
Another curious factor is the stilted, almost scripted pace of Stiviano’s side of the conversation.  Listen to the audio tape here.  Not many people agree with Sterling’s comments, but they do have a ring of authenticity. He is passionate and he is angry.  He means what he is saying and it is obvious that he believes this is a conversation that will remain strictly between the two of them.

In contrast, Listen to the way Stiviano continues to carefully guide the conversation back, time and again, to matters of race.  And then she constantly repeats what he says about black people.  Hardly anyone fights this way unless you’re in a marriage counselor’s office and they are having you mirror what the other person has just said to make sure you heard them properly.  Sterling even asks her at one point “why are you saying this?”

And then of course is the basic question of who records conversations unless you think you might need it for evidence, blackmail, or something in the future?  It will be a long time before this dies down.  Without a doubt Sterling has some antiquated views of race relations.  But wrong though he may be, it may turn out that it was a girlfriend scorned who was responsible for publically clipping his wings.  Real estate mogul Donald Trump has come out in Sterling’s defense calling the girlfriend a terrible human being who was baiting him.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

"Show and Tell" gone wild; teacher gives student lap dance at school

Felicia Smith was charged with improper relationship with a student after
giving a boy a lap dance at school
(photo credit:  gadailynews.com)

The headlines have been teeming recently with stories of teachers having illicit affairs with underage students entrusted in their care.  What they all have in common is that these rendezvous are shrouded in secrecy.  Not so in the case of Stovall Middle School teacher Felicia Smith, 42, who gave a whole new meaning to hands on learning.  On Thursday Smith was charged with improper relationship with a student after giving a 15-year-old boy a lap dance in front of the whole class.

Smith put a chair in the front of the classroom on February 26 and the students urged the birthday boy to go up front and have a seat.  Music started playing and Smith proceeded to give the child a full body lap dance.  Someone filmed the entire performance, which lasted almost four minutes, and the video is now in the custody of the Aldine (Texas) Police Department.

According to authorities, Smith sat down on the student’s lap and began grinding.  She then stood up and danced for him while rubbing all over his body.  As the other students cheered her on, Smith knelt before the young man and placed her face between his legs.  After the music ended Smith embraced the student and said, “I love you baby.  Happy Birthday.”

Smith’s defense is a classic case of pointing the finger.  She told police that she only gave the child a lap dance because the other students urged her to do it for the boy as a birthday surprise.  The student told police that he did slap her on the behind a couple of times as she was bent over dancing in front of him.
School officials reported that Smith has been removed from the classroom while the investigation is ongoing, but did not say whether she is on paid or unpaid leave.  It is safe to say the students will not soon have another ‘show and tell’ period like this during their stay at middle school.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Girl to First Lady Obama: my dad's been out of work three years

First Lady Michelle Obama embraces Charlotte Bell after the girl
handed Obama her unemployed dad's resume.
(photo credit:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Usually it’s the parents who take care of the children, or provide for their needs.  But one spunky little girl may have just gotten her father’s foot in the door somewhere.  Forget LinkedIn, CareerBuilders and all the others.  Charlotte Bell, 10, went straight to one of the highest sources of influence in the land.  Today, a young girl put her out-of-work dad’s resume right smack into the hands of First Lady Michelle Obama.

The surprising, but loving gesture took place earlier this morning in the East Room of the White House.  As a part of Take Our Sons and Daughters To Work Day, executive staffers were allowed to bring their children along to get a glimpse into what their parents do in the normal course of a day’s work at the most well-known employer address on Pennsylvania Avenue.

As part of the program a question-and-answer session was scheduled with First Lady Obama.  It is highly likely that Bell’s mother or some extremely close relative is one of the White House staffers in order for her to have been among the group of children granted exclusive access to this event.

If it is true that opportunity only knocks once, Bell did not hesitate to open the door.  During the meet and greet session, she got up from her seat and handed First Lady Obama her dad’s resume.  She explained that her daddy had been out of work for three years.  According to ABC News, the “first lady seemed taken aback,” and it was a rather “somber” moment.  For her courage, Bell received a gentle embrace from the first lady.

The other kids noticed the quiet exchange and started asking questions about what was going on.  However First Lady Obama told them that it was a private matter and managed to steer the discussion back to less personal issues.  Witnesses reported that at the end of the session First Lady Obama turned back and quickly grabbed the resume off of the table and took it with her.  No promises he will get a job, but if she writes the dad a letter of reference, odds are he is almost guaranteed to get at least get one interview, maybe two or three.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Steve Harvey blasts Mimi Faust sex tape; tells her to act like a lady

Mimi Faust sex tape drawing negative backlash from big stars
(photo credit:  Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for BET)

Mimi Faust was considered by many to be one of the closest things to a role model out of all of the ladies on VH1’s hit reality show Love and Hip Hop Atlanta (LHHATL).  She was portrayed as a struggling single mother who drew sympathy from viewers when she tearfully told philandering Stevie J (the father of her only child) that “you have hurt me to my core.”  That was before she sold a video sex tape, filmed with on and off again boyfriend Nikko Smith, to Vivid Entertainment for $100K.

Faust’s rival for Stevie J’s affections, who is now his wife, Joseline Hernandez was among the first of Faust’s LHHATL cast mates to respond to the tape.  Every season Faust would deride Hernandez for her promiscuous behavior.  Hernandez, an admitted former stripper turned singer, couldn’t hide her glee at the latest turn of events.  She took to Twitter making all kinds of comments about the much older Faust’s tape, even calling it “granny porn”.

Now Faust is drawing attention, but not the kind she wanted.  She is getting recognition from people who could further her career, but may now have no interest in doing so.  Radio and talk show host Steve Harvey aired his thoughts on the situation and he was not on Faust’s side.  Harvey is the author of relationship books Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man (which was later adapted into a hit movie) and Straight Talk, No Chaser. 

Harvey opened up on The Steve Harvey Morning Show this week about the sex tape situation.  He let Faust have it for being a mother and doing something that will be a part of the legacy she will leave her daughter.  He says that money, while important, is not worth your image, reputation, and brand.  He says God gave women a precious jewel that should be cherished and not splayed about for the entire world to see.  You can listen to Harvey’s frank and sincere open letter to Faust here.

Pres. of S. Korea blasts ferry captain; says actions 'tantamount to murder'

Recovery efforts continue in tragic sinking of S. Korean Ferry, Sewol
(photo credi:  Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

"You must've said, 'Daddy, save me,'" wept one father.  His shout and the cries of other mourners were so chilling, that in a CNN news video, police guarding the recovery area of the sunken South Korean Ferry were seen wiping tears from their own faces.  Last Wednesday the ferry, Sewol, sunk while carrying high school students on a field trip.  Today, South Korean President Park Guen-Hye bluntly lashed out at the ferry’s captain and crew, calling their actions as the tragedy unfolded “tantamount to murder”.

English.news.cn is reporting that as of today 87 are confirmed dead, 174 have been rescued, and 215 still are unaccounted for.  As details begin to unfold, investigators are alleging that Captain Lee Joon-Seok made several errors in judgment.  The ferry made a turn without properly slowing down.  When the ferry started going down Captain Joon-Seok was not actually at the wheel of the ship.  He had given the helm to a third mate who’d had no prior experience sailing rough waters.

Joon-Seok has defended his actions saying he felt if he’d ordered evacuations, it would have been worse for the students because they would have been spread out in the waters, and there were not many ships in the vicinity to assist with rescue efforts and lift the kids out of the water.  So he ordered the passengers to remain in place until further notice.

President Guen-Hye was furious and dismayed because despite ordering others to remain onboard, Captain Joon-Seok and some of the other crew were among the first to leave the ship when the rescuers came, instead of staying behind and tending to the welfare of the students entrusted in their care.  Captain Joon-Seok was arrested after the accident on multiple charges to include negligence and abandoning ship. Over the weekend several more of the crew were arrested, bringing the total to seven.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mommy and Me: Tears of Joy

Mommy, LouEllen Stephenson Noble had my back from birth to graduation and way beyond.

My mommy and me. I miss you dreadfully and painfully, but that is overshadowed by the joy and thankfulness I have to God for choosing you, with your abundance of love, to be my mother. What a blessing.  You made me laugh so much. lol
2008, Daddy had just passed March 21st. I never would have imagined that the other shoe would drop so quickly and so hard. My beloved Mother passed away on April 19th. I post these pictures today in memory of LouEllen Stephenson Noble, so kind, gentle, loving and true. From before I could walk until I walked across the stage on graduation day, you were there cheering me on. As the eldest daughter, I tried so hard to be strong for my sister and brother, when like them, I was dying inside. But I will forever be grateful Mommy and Daddy for the most valuable gift you ever gave us. My earliest memories are you telling me bible stories before I could even read. How did we make it through losing you? Why are we still here after losing a part of our hearts? I'll share with you the words of a song that embodies what Mommy taught me on how to make it..."If you ever needed a friend who sticks closer than any brother, I recommend Jesus, Jesus, because He's that kind of friend." Remember that facebook family, whatever you may face in this life. Thank you Mommy. I love and miss you so much!

Friday, April 18, 2014

'Scandal' season finale recap; death of a child, birth of a lie, daddy's home

Kerry Washington plays Olivia Pope in ABC's hit drama 'Scandal'
(photo credit:  Kerry Washington via Facebook)

Spoiler alerts:  Let’s dissect last night’s awesome Scandal finale.  Episode 18 was ‘The Price of Free and Fair Election’ and the price was terrible and costly.  Aired Thursday, April 17, 2014.

First, we can all exhale after wondering whether Rowan (Daddy Pope) had survived the shanking Maya (Momma Pope) had given him at the end of last week’s episode.  Momma Pope tells Liv that if she had truly wanted Daddy Pope dead, he would be, and sashays out of the hospital room.  Liv and Daddy Pope have an actual father/daughter talk with Daddy Pope showing more tenderness than he has in all three seasons.
Just when it looks like Cyrus is about to have a change of heart, Jake makes sure the news gets out that there is a bomb set to go off in the church.  Alas, the bomb goes off anyway just as they are finishing the process of evacuation.  Unbelievably, evil Vice President (VP) Sally escapes unharmed.  She is about to be whisked away in her waiting limousine when public relations guru Leo convinces her that they must take advantage of this opportunity (televised of course) to show that she would put her own safety at risk to help her fellow Americans.

Taking cunning to a new level, Leo begins smearing ashes all over VP Sally’s face and makes sure the camera sees VP Sally tending to the wounded strewn willy nilly in the church parking lot.  She Florence Nightingales her way gingerly through the crowd, making sure to assist the victims with the most blood splash for the benefit of the TV cameras.  When the network cameras switch from President (Pres.) Fitz’s speech to focus on VP Sally, Liv fears all hope for them to win the election is lost.

But the camp refuses to give in and vows to fight to the end.  So the whole family shows a united front and is there to back Fitz as he makes his biggest campaign speech yet.  While he is speaking Mellie screams out behind him.  Their son Fitz IV is going into convulsions with blood coming from his mouth and nose.  Pres. Fitz dashes from the podium and in what has got to be one of the top three most poignant moments in the show, cradles his son like a baby and carries him down the stairs.  The pained look on his face was pricelessly real.

To everyone’s surprise, especially the viewers, the son dies.  We did not expect this at all.  Many Scandal groups on Facebook and Twitter had been debating all week about who would die.  Would it be VP Sally, Harrison, Quinn, or Leo?  No one ever dreamed that it would be a child.  Shonda Rhimes, master of plot twists and turns, had stunned us again.

Suddenly it was Cyrus and Liv sitting in the hospital waiting room.  They discussed how the death of Pres. Fitz’s son could turn the tide and win the election with a sympathy vote.  They chatted a few minutes about what monsters they must be to even be thinking about political strategy when Pres. Fitz had just suffered the death of his son.  But they brace themselves and convince Fitz that he can win.  Before they leave the hospital Fitz gets word that his son’s death was no accident and that a vial (supposedly under lock and key) of the particular strain of meningitis that his son died from had been reported stolen.

Everyone immediately knows that it had to be Maya (Momma Pope), and the search is on.  Daddy Pope limps down the hospital hallway and gives his condolences to Fitz.  He says that all differences aside, he is a father too.  He says he knows Fitz wants Momma Pope’s head on a platter and he is just the man to bring that platter to Fitz.  Then it’s revelation time.  Fitz tells Liv none of this (politics) matters.  He just wants them to move to Vermont and have babies.  Liv tells him that Mellie needs him because Fitz’s father raped Mellie.  And that as much as she loves him, if he left Mellie at her most vulnerable, he wouldn't be the man Liv loves.

Fitz is shocked.  First his son dies and now this.  How much more can one man take even if it is a finale?
Fitz opens the door and for the first time ever we see him touch Mellie with pure compassion.  He is so sorry for what his father did, as Mellie finally is able to stop crying in a drink, and lean her head on Fitz’s shoulder for a good cry on him.  This is the second of the most poignant moments in the season.  She assures Fitz that she’d tried to fight off her father-in-law, but that she’d done a DNA test to be sure and their dead son was Fitz’s
In the third of our most poignant moments, Fitz is alone in the oval office.  He, the most powerful man in the free world, walks in, shuts the door and drops.  He is not felled by an assassin’s bullet, but the crushing weights of his son’s death and the betrayal of his wife’s rape by his own daddy drop him to his knees.  He is alone on the floor of the oval office weeping as one without hope.  Fitz more than earned an Emmy in this episode alone.

Momma Pope is captured, handcuffed and stuffed into the back of a car, but she is smiling.  Somehow Harrison realizes that things aren’t making sense and traces the missing vial of bacteria back to Daddy Pope.  He confronts him while we are still fighting to digest this news.  Momma Pope has always been presented as the anti-Christ and Daddy Pope was seen as the only prayer to hold back her evil reign of terror.  In an instant everything we think we know about human nature is turned upside down.  It turns out Daddy Pope orchestrated the death of Fitz’s son.

His justification was that he’d promised Liv that he would never harm a hair on her beloved Fitz’s head.  And he didn’t, he just took out the son.   Poppa Pope has checked himself out of the hospital, against his doctor’s orders, and, surprise, is now back in command of B6-13.  He cajoles Liv to go away with Jake and remove herself from the dirtiness of this business.  Poor Live is just demoralized.  She feels everything is her fault and everyone she loves gets hurt.  She says, “I am the Scandal.”

Cliffhangers:   (see video recaps here)

The season ended with Liv and Jake flying off on Daddy Pope’s private plane.  Will they be back?  Fitz calls Liv, she looks at the phone, and then hits ignore.

Mellie was raped by her father-in-law and had an affair with Fitz’s old friend VP candidate Andrew.  Sure the test said the baby belongs to Fitz.  But why did we see a big envelope of money changing hands at  the DNA laboratory last episode?  What are they hiding and what did they change?

Years ago Huck’s family was lost when B613 threw him in the hole.  Quinn and Charlie find out where the family is and Quinn shows Huck the house.  Huck knocks on the door and his wife opens it.  The scene cuts away just as recognition is dawning in her eyes.  It’s interesting that the wife is being brought back in just as Quinn and Huck are tearing everyone’s eyes out with their animalistic mating rituals.  Is a love triangle in the future?

When Harrison learns that Daddy Pope is behind the murder of Fitz’s son, his first inclination is to tell Liv.  Daddy Pope can’t allow that and the last thing we see is him turning towards Harrison raising a gun.

And finally we see Daddy Pope looking down into the dreaded hole.  Momma Pope, weave still glamorously layered in place, looks up with a coy smile through the bars as Daddy Pope closes the top down on her.  What is with this smile again?  When we first met Momma Pope she was chewing her own wrists to the bone in order to escape.  Now she’s sitting in the hole smiling like she is at a tea party.  Something is amiss.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Real life 'Scandal'; actor charged with threats to murder wife and kill himself

Columbus Short at NAACP Image Awards, February 2014
(photo credit:  Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for NAACP)

Roughing up his wife, fighting in bars, and now threatening murder-suicide; these are not scenes from another thrilling Shonda Rhimes script, but the actual life of actor Columbus Short, a cast member on her hit ABC series ‘Scandal’.  Just yesterday Short’s wife, Turee Tanee, filed for divorce from him for the third time and has also been granted a restraining order.  There is a laundry list of accusations, but the shocker is that Tanee alleges that Short held a knife to her throat and threated to kill both of them.

Fans had already stirred up a social media frenzy about the highly-anticipated ‘Scandal’ finale tonight, but now many are riveted to see what the outcome will be for Short in real life.  Rhimes reportedly ordered Short to straighten up his act after he was involved in a bloody fisticuffs in a bar on March 15th.  She made it clear that the show “will not tolerate negative press”.

Short and Tanee have been married since 2005 and are the parents of a 2-year-old daughter.  This isn’t the first time Short has been in the news.  There was a huge controversy when Short, a former much-in-demand backup dancer, admitted to having had a fling with his then boss Brittany Spears in 2004.  He was a dancer and choreographer for her Hotel Onyx Tour when tales of them kissing on tour fueled the breakup of his first marriage to Brandi, pregnant at the time with their now 9-year-old son.

Tanee alleges that this latest incident occurred on April 7th, with Short coming home drunk and ended with her barely managing to escape.  She was only able to flee a short distance because she says Short had flattened her tire.  The judge immediately ordered Short to leave the home.  There is a hearing scheduled on May 8th to determine if the restraining order will become permanent.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

'Bandits' booted from Boston Marathon 2014

VP Joe Biden was among the dignitaries yesterday commemorating the 
one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon
(photo credit:  Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

These are not the bandits seen in old westerns, handkerchiefs over their faces and hats pulled down low, pushing their horses to the limit to plunder the stagecoaches.  These bandits are unregistered marathon runners, and due to security concerns after last year’s bombing, they have officially been ousted from participating in the prestigious Boston Marathon 2014. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) first made its intentions known regarding bandits February 26, 2014, but reiterated it today in light of the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Bandits were never encouraged to participate in the Boston Marathon, but neither were they prohibited from running.  Some of the official runners and watchers of the race were a bit bothered by them over the years because it was felt that allowing them to run wasn’t fair to the people who had put in the blood, sweat and tears to train hard enough to actually meet the rigorous qualifications.

On the other hand, the bandits just tagged along towards the back or joined friends and family who were authentic participants; popping in and dropping out at any point along the way.  They were more like mosquitoes at a barbeque; annoying, but not enough of a disturbance to shut down the party.
Some of these stowaways actually pounded the pavement with good intentions.  They used the race as a way to raise donations for their charity of choice.  One group of regular bandits through the years has been students from Boston College.  They ran in the Boston Marathon as a way to raise money and awareness for a special-education school.

Boston Marathon officials are tightening security this year and no unofficial runners will be allowed.  Every runner must wear a bib and number issued exclusively by the BAA.  This will make it easier for spotters (officials sprinkled throughout the race) to pinpoint those who are suspicious or don’t belong.  You can find a full listing of where to watch live online streaming and television broadcasts of the Boston Marathon here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

When the physician can't heal herself; mentor to girls commits suicide at 22

Karyn Washington, CEO and founder of For Brown Girls
(photo credit:  Karyn Washington via Facebook)

In a cruel twist of irony, it was reported yesterday that Karyn Washington, 22, CEO and founder of For Brown Girls, has committed suicide.  Washington was known for battling the stigma sometimes attached with being a dark-skinned young woman in today’s society.  She wrote pieces and reached out to her fans and followers encouraging them to be the best they could be and to be true to and proud of themselves because there is beauty in all of us.

Upon founding For Brown Girls, Washington said that her purpose was not to discriminate, but to empower and uplift all young girls and women, especially those often singled out.  And according to the posts and comments of thousands of the followers of her Facebook page, that is exactly what she did.  She created For Brown Girls in response to rapper ASAP Rocky’s comments in an interview saying that dark girls shouldn’t wear red lip stick.

One of her friends, writer and editor, Ty Alexander, shared yesterday some emails they’d shared a mere six months ago.  Even though her own mother was battling cancer, Washington reached out to Alexander when Alexander’s mother passed.  They continued to check up on each other.  Washington was apparently suffering from depression and difficulty in coping with the loss of her mother.  Blogger Aliyah, a childhood friend talked about how even when they were little, Washington was drawn to help those who seemed lonely or lost.

Sometimes the strongest warriors also carry the burden of the biggest pain hidden inside.  When the masses look to you for help, it can be easy to be so busy that you don’t have time to take care of you.  By all accounts, Washington was aware of her depression and was doing all the right things (seeking help, attending grief groups, etc.) in an effort to get assistance.  No one but Washington knows what finally made it all too much.

For those young girls and women that remain, if you or anyone you know even hints that they cannot take it anymore, please share with them the National Suicide Prevention 24-hour hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  They can also be reached at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Man down situation, 'Scandal' recap, killers in fly coats

Daddy Pope's reunion with Momma Pope has tragic consequences
(photo credit:  Joe Morton via Twitter)

Episode 17:  “Flesh and Blood”, aired Thursday, April 10, 2014.  Spoiler alert has been issued, so please do not read any further if you don’t want to be shocked.  Between Ms. Shonda Rhimes (show creator) and Ms. Debbie Allen (episode director), we knew this episode would leave us gasping.  Right away, let’s just go ahead and give the quote of the night award to the President’s wife.  The advisors are gathered around telling Fitz that a lot of people out there want him dead.  A three-sheets-to-the-wind Mellie pulls her nose out of the vodka glass long enough to mumble “and not just out there” just loud enough for Fitz to hear. 

We left off last week with Jake waving a gun in one hand to keep the gladiators at bay, while the fingers of the other hand were in a death grip around Liv’s neck.  This week opened in the same office, but all of the major players have been called in.  In one room we see arguably the most powerful people on the planet trying to figure out where in the world Momma Pope has disappeared to with her bomb.

In the midst of this “business” discussion, Jake makes it personal.  The bruises from Jake’s choking have barely faded from Liv’s neck when Jake accuses her of sleeping with him to get information.  Even killers, if they are gentlemen, know not to kiss and tell.  Oh the shame.  Jake blurted this out in front of Fitz, Cyrus, and Daddy Pope.  Maybe it was a male ego thing because they were there desperately trying to stop an international terrorist, but Jake had to let President Fitz know that he too had been there and done that, in regards to Liv.

For the first time, two men are vying for Quinn and she is reveling in her glory.  With Huck’s superior tracking skills, they locate Dimitri, and bring him to Pope Central to squeeze out of him the whereabouts of Momma Pope.  To Liv’s shock, Poppa Pope says that Dimitri is no simple work acquaintance.  Momma Pope and Dimitri were in love before she even met Poppa Pope and continued an affair for years after Momma and Poppa Pope tied the knot.  They get Momma Pope on the phone and she doesn’t so much as flinch as she hears Dimitri’s voice pleading in the background for his life.  She says kill him because what’s love got to do with it?  She is Rick James cold as ice.  The gladiators drag a screaming Liv out, as Poppa Pope shuts the door and puts a permanent end to Dimitri.

Leo, Vice President Sally’s PR person/campaign manager sinks to his lowest point yet.  He corners this high school girl behind the bleachers at the school and asks her to do what she must to get a “donation” from President Fitz’ son for a DNA test.  While most girls would be demanding tickets to see Luke Bryan, smart chick agrees to do it for guaranteed acceptance into Harvard or Yale.  She does it, Fitz Jr. does it, and it’s all delivered in a nice paper bag to Leo.

Meanwhile Quinn and Huck have one of their licky sticky smooch sessions.  They are not the most romantic kissers in the world.  While all of this muck and mire is going on against their car in the garage, Momma Pope sashays right past them into the office and sneaks up on her bird of prey Poppa Pope.  Huck and Quinn finally come up for air, and find a distraught and crying Liv on the floor clinging to Poppa Pope.  We don’t know whether the weapon of choice was a gun or knife, but Poppa Pope is splayed out with blood streaming from multiple chest wounds. Apparently neither hell nor high water could save him from Momma Pope’s wrath.  But that creek may not be completely dried up because previews show him in the hospital next week.  Which begs the question did she attack him because of the bomb or because he killed Dimitri?

Cyrus finds out from Jake that Momma Pope murdered a senator so that President Fitz would have to deliver the eulogy, the bomb is actually planted beneath the church and they need to evacuate.  With music and words “smiling faces tell lies sometimes” playing in the background we see Cyrus’ satisfied grin as he decides not to make the warning call to evacuate the church, but, instead just delay Fitz’s arrival at the church.  He is sure all of his troubles will be over because Sally, Andrew, and Leo are all already arriving at the church.  Never mind the possible collateral damage to the innocent church members.  Stay tuned for next Thursday’s explosive finale at 10p.m. on ABC.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's no fairytale; Imagine Dragons tie with Lorde for 12 Billboard nominations

First time Billboard nominees Imagine Dragons tied with Lorde for the lead
with 12 nominations each.
(photo credit:  Theo Wargo)

The Billboard Music Awards, set to air May 18 on ABC, broke the names of the 2014 nominated artists just a few hours ago today.  Imagine Dragons and Lorde lead the pack with a whopping 12 nominations each.
Top Artist
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Imagine Dragons
  • Bruno Mars
  • Katy Perry
  • Justin Timberlake
Another newer, less traditional category which many artists covet is the social media category, indicating how well the performer is reaching out to and interacting with the masses.  Almost better than just straight stats and numbers, this category shows to what extent an artist has become ingrained in the minds of listeners as a relevant part of their personal and social lives.
Top Social Artist
  • Justin Bieber
  • Miley Cyrus
  • One Direction
  • Rihanna
  • Taylor Swift
Another sign of the changing times is that it’s not just about the amount of albums or CDs sold, but more and more artists are vying for having their music streamed the most.  It is a sure sign of your popularity when fans constantly crave your music and want it streaming through every techie device in their homes and cars.
Top Streaming Song (Audio)
  • Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams – “Get Lucky”
  • Imagine Dragons – “Radioactive”
  • Lorde – “Royals”
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton  - “Can’t Hold Us”
  • Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams – “Blurred Lines”
Here’s a fun treat to hold you over until the big show.  Take a quick trip down the musical memory lane and compare the big winners of Billboard Music Awards 2013 with today’s list of nominees.  The big winners and who’s not even nominated this year may just surprise you.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Move over NCAA; Steve Harvey just made the Hall of Fame

Steve Harvey, pictured with wife Marjorie, was inducted today into the NAB Hall of Fame
(photo credit:  Mark Davis/Getty Images)

Next to the late, great James Brown, Steve Harvey may be the hardest working man in show business.  Harvey, who started as a stand-up comedian in the late 1980’s, has gone from playing small-town juke joints where there were more hecklers than audience, to obtaining one of the most coveted honors a broadcaster can achieve.  Congratulations are in order because just a few hours ago today Steve Harvey was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Hall of Fame.

Harvey proved he had that special something when he served as one of the longest running hosts of “Show Time at the Apollo”.  Currently, he is host of one of the most-loved game shows “The Family Feud," has a popular daytime talk show “The Steve Harvey Show," and eases the morning commute for millions with “The Steve Harvey Morning Show”.  In May 2013 Harvey was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Harvey joins some illustrious company with his induction into the NAB Hall of Fame.  Past inductees include Jack Benny, Paul Harvey, Orson Welles, Ronald Regan, Wolfman Jack, Tom Joyner, and Betty White, among many others.  A complete list of past inductees can be found on the NAB website.

And Harvey has no plans to slow down.  Be on the lookout for part II of his hilarious book-turned-move “Think Like a Man II”, scheduled for release June 20, 2014.  You can get a sneak peek at the trailer here.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Teen shoots father dead, takes off on joyride with friends and weapons

Zack, lower left, actually pulled the trigger killing his father Robert J. Blanchard
(Photo credit:  Tracy Glantz)

Teens are known for getting into mischief.  It’s a natural rite of passage into adulthood.  We’ve all heard of kids egging houses, or spiking the punch at the prom.  But there is a new breed of teens out there now, and they are deadly.  Four teenagers were arrested Friday in Newberry County, SC, after a leading police on a high-speed car chase.

The teens refused to pull over and police threw out a device to disable the tires.  The driver of the van lost control, and the kids jumped out and ran into a nearby wooded area.  The authorities rounded up the suspects and, upon searching the van, found an arsenal of lethal weapons.  According to Newberry County Sherriff Lee Foster, “weapons recovered included an AK-47 assault weapon, long guns, a shotgun, and about 200 rounds of ammunition.”

The teens (three boys and one girl), ages 15-17, are facing charges of first-degree murder, possession of a stolen vehicle, and possession of stolen firearms.  The victim is Robert J. Blanchard who was found murdered in his home.  Police believe that one of the four teens arrested, his 16-year-old son Zack Blanchard, is the one who actually shot and killed Robert J. Blanchard.

The teens are awaiting extradition back to Tennessee.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

"Scandal" recap: Mellie said knock you out!

Mellie and Fitz come to blows
(photo credit:  abc.go.com)

Aired Thursday, April 3rd, on ABC, Episode - “The Fluffer

Well to get the medical miracle out of the way, Harrison seems to have recovered rather quickly from his sleep-inducing injection last week and is back in tip-top Gladiator suit form.

Liv, still hurt from President Fitz’s harsh “I’m talking to my wife,” rebuttal last week, tries to play the icy dead-eyed stare game and calmly asks Fitz “what service am I billing you for today?’’  Wow!

Fitz shows his hypocritical side with a fierceness when he orders Liv to “make it stop!”  He brazenly asks his own mistress to make sure the vice presidential candidate stops sleeping with Fitz’s wife, Mellie.  The nerve.

Of course Liv, the strongest woman in D.C., but weak for Fitz, goes straight to Andrew and tells him he has 24 hours to decide whether he wants to be vice president for the next four years, or does he want to pleasure Mellie for the next three months which, according to Liv, is about how long it will be before Mellie gets bored with him.

Andrew protests that this is about love, not politics.  However as he watches Liv and Fitz interact for the cameras and how smoothly she lays on the role of the loving, touchy-feely wife, he begins to doubt if what Mellie feels for him is any realer than the act she puts on for the press.

Later that evening, Mellie sidles up to Andrew and gives him the come hither smile.  Andrew says he doesn’t think it’s a good idea for them to continue sleeping with each other.  Without another word Mellie spins on her heel, marches into Fitz’s office and reaches back from Louisiana to the Gulf of Mexico with a roundhouse slap heard around the world!

Fitz almost goes down, the people he was meeting with are speechless, and the secret service agents (Fitz’s supposed protectors) don’t make a move.  She accuses Fitz of not letting her have anything.  Taking Andrew was apparently the last straw.

Then there was the Hallmark family dinner moment…not.  For the first time ever viewers were treated to Momma and Daddy Pope at dinner with their beloved Livvie.  Momma Pope wasn’t invited, but that’s never stopped her before.  Where most families reach for each other’s hands to grace the food, these folk were grabbing for knives and making threats.  Momma Pope stayed just long enough for Liv to get the phone call that Claire (one of Momma Pope’s operatives that was sneaking info to Liv) was dead, and then sashayed off.   Notice how everyone ends up dead in the streets on this show?  Poor Claire sprawled in the street with her throat sliced open.  Always outside.

Just when we thought Liv was going to give in once again, she grew a backbone and stood up to Jake’s begging, refusing to let him into her apartment.  Then she showed up at his apartment and went way above and beyond the call of duty.  Let’s just say she worked him out, put him to sleep and snuck the data off of his phone.  What that woman won’t do for her country.

Super Quinn and Charlie and Team Gladiators all find out around the same time that Momma Pope has a bomb.  Liv tells Huck to shut down the communication system, and he does, but in the process Momma Pope gets away and no one knows where she is going.

Out of the blue Jake bursts into the office and (horror of horrors) grabs Liv around the throat and slams her against the glass-paned door…hard!  Before crazy Huck and the other Gladiators can make a move, Jake whips a gun in their faces and waves it back and forth, keeping them at bay.  Believe it or not, that’s the kind of stress Shonda Rhimes (creator of Scandal) left us under.  She’s a great writer, but her episodes are not at all blood-pressure friendly.  But we love it.

Oh and the previews next week left us with a glimpse of President Fitz speaking and a bomb underneath the stage.  Not necessarily saying that the bomb was ticking under the same stage Fitz was on, but that’s all we were given.

Be sure to catch the next episode, Thursday, April 10th at 10:00pm on ABC.

Friday, April 4, 2014

TV shows likely getting the ax; was one of these your favorite?

Is your favorite show getting axed?
(photo credit:  ramblingbeachcat.com)

You know the routine.  You try to resist as hard as you can.  But finally all of the coming-this-date or starting-that-date advertisements get the best of you and you fall in love with and can’t miss yet another “favorite” television show.  Well brace yourselves because the “Wall St. CheatSheet” has leaked the names of the 14 shows that will most likely not be back next season.  You can click there and read all about the intricate details and numbers these things are based on, but in the meantime here’s the skinny on the shows likely to be cancelled:
  • 1.     Betrayal, ABC
  • 2.     Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, ABC
  • 3.     The Neighbors, ABC
  • 4.     Trophy Wife, ABC
  • 5.     Enlisted, Fox
  • 6.     Rake, Fox
  • 7.     Dads, Fox
  • 8.     Almost Human, Fox
  • 9.     Hostages, CBS
  • 10.  Intelligence, CBS
  • 11.  The Mentalist, CBS
  • 12.  Dracula, NBC
  • 13.  The Carrie Diaries, The CW
  • 14.  Beauty and the Beast, The CW
Fans of The Blacklist, Scandal, Revenge, and Nashville (cue big music) you are safe.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Love mystery romance suspense? My thriller is on sale for three days only.

3-Day Sale: Kelly learns the hard way all that glitters isn't gold in "Handcuffs and a Pyramid of Satin"  Be sure to use coupon code EH35C when checking out to get 50% off now!  Please share.

Excerpt from “Handcuffs and a Pyramid of Satin”:

Flight from Reality

Room 222 was a hilarious high school sitcom back in the early 1970’s. But there was nothing at all funny about the series of twos in Kelly Cavenaugh’s life.  Kelly thought about her current situation and breathed a pathetic sigh as she sat waiting in the airport for her connecting flight. She had been married for exactly two years, two months, and two days and already she knew she’d married the wrong man.

Kelly slid over on the blue attached seats in the airport waiting area to make room for a frazzled mother to fit in with her three active kids. Kelly couldn’t help but smile as the head of the smallest child bumped her elbow. The little girl glanced at her mother’s stern face and immediately burst into tears.

“I’m so sorry,” said the mother.  “Please excuse her.  I’m trying to keep them still.”

“No problem,” said Kelly, rummaging through her purse for a tissue to catch the drops of coffee dribbling down her cup.  Thank goodness the lid hadn’t come off, she thought.  Hot coffee would have splashed all over this child’s face.  Once the mother had the kids momentarily settled and sharing a pack of fruit Mentos, Kelly returned to her thoughts.

Jeff had seemed so perfect on paper...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Grieving hip-hop star shot multiple times; nephew charged with attempted murder

Benzino, 48, is recovering after being shot multiple times by his own nephew.
(photo credit:  TMZ.com)

So much for naysayers who believe all reality TV drama is scripted phoniness.  Too much of the madness is real.  Sadly, the unbelievable happened Saturday in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” star Benzino (real name Raymond Scott) was shot multiple times as he was on the way to his mother’s funeral.

Benzino, 48, is one of the former owners of Source Magazine, a colorful hip-hop monthly that prides itself on dishing the latest rap, music, celebrity and political news.  Since 2012 he has been, and is currently, one of the stars of Mona Scott’s breakout southern reality show Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, which chronicles the lives, loves, ups and downs of a group of newcomers (as well as trying-to-make-a-comeback rap stars) whose lives heavily revolve around the rap/hip-hop music industry.

The grieving Benzino, who had recently posted a message on Instagram saying he didn’t know how he would go on after losing his mom, was driving in his mother’s funeral procession when his very own nephew, 36-year-old Gai Scott, pulled up alongside the vehicle  Benzino was in and brutally fired shots, hitting his uncle Benzino.  Benzino managed to get out of the car and a passerby rushed him to the hospital where he is recovering.

The rest of the family proceeded to the church and laid Mary Scott to rest without further incident.  Benzino later said that he had a bad feeling about going to the funeral due to growing family tensions.  He paid his respects to his mother at a wake the night before and believes that she stepped in and saved him, and he is just glad to be alive.

Gai Scott has been taken into custody and charged with attempted murder.