Monday, May 31, 2010

A Memorial Day Salute to All of Our Fallen U.S. Soldiers. And to the Legendary Clint Eastwood, Who Turned 80 Today.

On one of our most important American days of commemoration, it seems fitting that the great American icon Clint Eastwood would become the country's newest octogenarian today (link to story below). Born May 31, 1930, Eastwood was a kid during World War II and was pushing 40 during the height of the Vietnam War. The war era with which his life as a young man did coincide was that of the Korean War. Eastwood was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950, where he served for four years with the Army Special Services at Ford Ord, California. It was during that period that he met several established motion picture and television actors (also serving in the Army), who encouraged Eastwood to move to LA in 1954, following his Army service, to pursue an acting career. And the rest is history...

Eastwood is my all-time favorite motion picture actor (and dude can do a bit of directing as well, if you'd never noticed). Here's a countdown of my Top 10 favorite Eastwood films (which I found very difficult to compile, since I limited myself to just ten):

# 10: Dirty Harry ("You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?")

# 9: Escape From Alcatraz ("There's always the possibility that some a$$hole will be offended, isn't there?")

# 8: High Plains Drifter ("A lot faster than you'll ever live to be.")

# 7: Pale Rider ("There's a lota sinners hereabouts. You wouldn't want me to leave before finishing my work, would ya?") (BTW, one of my favorite words, "leastways," comes from Eastwood's dialogue in this film)

# 6: Bronco Billy ("Are you for real?" "I'm who I want to be.")

# 5: Heartbreak Ridge ("My name's Gunnery Sergeant Highway, and I've drunk more beer, and banged more *****, and pi$$ed more blood, and stomped more ass than all of you numbnuts put together.")

# 4: Fistful of Dollars ("I don't think it's nice, you laughin'.")

# 3: Unforgiven ("I've killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you did to Ned.")

# 2: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly ("I've never seen so many men wasted so badly.")

# 1: The Outlaw Josey Wales ("I guess we all died a little in that damn war.")

(Honorable mention, just outside my Top 10: Two Mules for Sister Sara ("The least you can do is take off your hat!" "Haven't got time for that.")). (And Caveat: I have Gran Torino on DVD, but shame on me for not yet ever having watched that film. From everything I've read and heard, it probably makes my Top 10 -- if I ever get around to watching it, "leastways").

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Episode 8 (Season 1 Finale) Tonight of "What Chilli Wants" on VH1: Will It Be Bill or Farmer D? Or Neither One?!

Episode Nutshell: In the final episode of Season 1, as a part of Tionna's "Project Intimacy," Chilli goes on overnight dates with the two men who've really garnered her interest -- Bill (the pretty boy white guy, second picture above) and Farmer D (Daron Joffe) (the dude on the tractor, third picture above). And only one emerges and survives as Chilli's real interest going forward into the future.

Segment 1: With the series winding down, and Tionna preparing to head back home to Brooklyn, Tionna and Chilli, along with T-Boz, head to Intimacy Lingerie Shop to pick out a going away present for Tionna. T-Boz tells an Intimacy sales associate, "We have some gigantical breasts to fit, and I know you guys custom." Tionna is then shown shakin' her stuff as she tries on Intimacy bras for Chilli and T-Boz to see. The conversation then turns to Bill and Farmer D, with Chilli and Tionna agreeing that Chilli can't go wrong with either of them. Tionna says that the goal of Project Intimacy is to get business pickin' up for Chilli, who likes to take things very slow with guys. For example, the first kiss is a huge moment for Chilli, and she likes to take her time before allowing it to occur. Chilli comments that "even Tionna does not kiss early." Tionna admits this, saying that she's "not a kisser period," but she also says that she does like to give guys a little taste just to wet their beak prior to that first true romantic interlude. Says Tionna, that may consist of giving the man a little "flash" of her big boobs or even a smack up side the face with one of them, just to let the dude know that things will be pickin' up soon.

Next, Tionna separately meets up with Bill and Farmer D, helping them prepare for their overnight dates with Chilli. Bill is looking to pick out a dress for Chilli, while Farmer D is going to cook a meal for her. Tionna tells Bill that while he's very funny and nice, he really needs to "knuckle down" for this date and get romantic and close to Chilli. Tionna tells Farmer D that he tends to be reserved and that he needs to get more aggressive. She also notes that Farmer D is not exactly the biggest talker in the world, and so she suggests that he write down his feelings about Chilli and read those to her during their date.

Then Bill & Chilli's overnight is ON! Bill takes Chilli to a rental home in the countryside during the day. They have a nice horse ride around the estate, and Chilli says that she likes how she can joke and have fun with Bill all day long. They then lunch in the brick shell of what appears to be a former farmhouse. Bill tells her, "I just want to make you smile," and he gives her the red dress that he picked out with Tionna's input. They share a hug and Chilli feels that they "had a great day" (as we see Chilli carrying Bill on her back as they clown around in a field). And now it's on to the evening...

Segment 2: Chilli and Bill sit down at a restaurant for dinner. Chilli is wearing the red dress, and Bill says that he's "speechless" at the sight. After dinner, back at the house, they sit together on the couch in front of a fire, where the romantic embers start smoldering. Chilli tells Bill that "you have been so sweet and have really sparked my interest." Bill then gets down to brass tacks, telling Chilli to "look in my eyes." "One small request," Bill says, "I would like to kiss you." (My comment here: DUDE, never ask permission -- If the time feels right, then lean on in there and start smoochin'!) Chilli reacts by saying, "I love to kiss, but I would like to make sure." She says that she wants to get to know him just a bit better and observes how she always likes to take things slow. Bill seems to really respect and understand that, and the two share a big hug as the last scene that we see from their date.

Then Farmer D's up to the plate: Farmer D and Chilli also start their date with a daytime opening salvo, this time at the Fernbank Museum. Chilli comments off camera that "there's something special about Farmer D," and that she "can't ignore that." And this is important: She also notes their prior "spirituality issues," i.e. the fact that her Christian faith is at the center of Chilli's being, while that's simply not the case for D. Anyway, near the end of their time at the museum, the two stand atop a high balcony, where Chilli (and this is very close to my heart, because I'm exactly the same) tells him that she's afraid of heights. She says that as long as she looks down at the floor, she's fine, but that once she looks straight ahead, that fear kicks in. (In that regard, she and I are different, because if I'm at heights, the last thing I want to do is look down, or look anywhere for that matter -- asks the folks with me when I actually mustered up the nerve to cross the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado -- but I digress). Chilli comments that D really has her "feeling some kind of way," is really steppin' up his game, and that she's very looking forward to the night time portion of their date.

Segment 3: To the Night with Farmer D: D's also commandeered a house for the occasion. He starts in cookin' them dinner, which is very impressive to Chilli, who finds a man in the kitchen to be very sexy. Off camera, Chilli compares and contrasts Bill and Farmer D, calling Bill very straightfoward, while D's more reserved and mysterious. They sit down for dinner, and D gives Chilli a present, which appears to be an organic variety of lip balm or lipstick (a product which, truth be told, I had no idea one could buy in an organic version!). Farmer D then trots out his written expression of his feelings towards Chilli (meaning he took Tionna's advice earlier in the episode). He reads it, and it emphasizes how beautiful of a person, inside and out, that D views Chilli to be. It also thanks her for sharing that beauty with D. My impression of Chilli's reaction to D's words is that she was absolutely melted thereby. As soon as D is done reading, Chilli immediately lunges to him to kiss him on the cheek.

After dinner, Chilli and D engage in a prolonged session of I guess what I would call, "Which One Is It," asking each other various either/or questions such as "Poor in Love, or Rich & Not," "Long & Skinny or Short & Fat," and "Back Rub or Foot Massage". On the latter question, Chilli chooses back rub, and D immediately gets to work ("I've got those Farmer hands," he spouts). "Not too hard, not too soft," Chilli implores, and D does an impressive job. "That felt good" is the Chilli verdict. The very romantic moments just keep rollin' from there, with Chilli telling D that he's "so cute," followed by her jostling his hair. Then Chilli tells D, "there is something so special and beautiful about your spirit -- I really, really like it." D asks her if there comes a moment when she signals to a man that he's become her exclusive man, and Chilli says it's the first kiss. Next, Chilli & D are in the kitchen, standing face to face with both of their faces afire. D tells her that he'd like to give her a kiss goodnight, but unlike Bill, he doesn't wait for a response and just goes for it. Chilli is receptive, but tilts her head ever so slightly so that another cheek kiss is the result. Says Chilli, "We'll save the lips for a later time. You don't mind, do you?" Farmer D doesn't mind and tells her that it's cool. They then have a big hug, and that's the last we see of their date.

Going into the final segment, here were my views: That both Farmer D and Bill were both still very much in the game. Both had very successful overnight dates with Chilli, and I fully expected both to be carried forward into Season 2 of What Chilli Wants. Further, it was my very distinct impression that while the Bill date went well, the real feelings and real romantic fireworks were much more present in the Farmer D date. In short, the Bill date went great, but you could really feel something from the D date. With those thoughts in mind, flash forward to the outcome...

Final segment: Chilli & Tionna are in the ATL, preparing for Tionna's departure back to the Big Apple and back to Tionna's man. Ironically, Tionna and Chilli discuss how, over the course of this series, Chilli's notorious Chilli Checklist (of attributes that any man of Chilli's must possess) has been very much reduced in size. Chilli says that she's realized that the most important things on her checklist are that the man be family-oriented, loving, into kids, and be a great person. Note: I didn't hear any mention of religion or spirituality on that new short list.

So Chilli & Tionna get down to the Bottom Line, i.e. whether she feels that either Bill or Farmer D might have the potential to be Chilli's husband and a permanent mate. Chilli tells Tionna that there is "a guy" with whom she really "has a connection." Chilli then reveals that such guy is Bill! Tionna starts doing handstands (well, I'm exaggerating there, but she is very happy) since this means that Tionna's matchmaking role has ultimately been successful because Chilli has met someone who purportedly might be her new serious man. Chilli then proclaims the series to be a success. She and Tionna next profess their girlfriend love for each other, and Tionna goes on her way. In the closing credits, new scenes are shown of Chilli meeting up again with Bill and again allowing him to kiss her on the cheek. END OF SEASON 1.

Final observations: Throughout my coverage of this series, I have been very even-handed, just reporting the black-and-white (no pun intended) letter of what's occurred on this series, with very little commentary. But not tonight. Sorry, but I'm just not buying this outcome. In my opinion, Chilli very much stringently applied her checklist to these two dudes, and since Bill ruffled no feathers on that list (purporting to be a very devout Christian), and since Farmer D honestly told Chilli that he just hasn't developed that level of connection to the Christian faith, Chilli went the Checklist-safe route of siding with the dude who more met the strict Checklist definition. Nevermind that it seemed obvious that Farmer D got Chilli's fire burning a fair amount hotter than Bill did.

Bottom line: I think Chilli went the way that she felt to be the safe route. So much for following her heart just as much as she follows her head. But alas, these are just my humble observations: It's Chilli's life, and I hope she and Bill truly do work out, because despite the checklist, I've found both Chilli and Tionna during the course of this series to both be very personable and genuine folks (so much unlike what you typically see on these reality series). My only last parting shot to Chilli: Keep Farmer D in the game in Season 2! There's no reason why he shouldn't still be in the game!

Future Content Note: Be sure to return to this blog for not only a weekly episode recap of What Chilli Wants Season 2 (whenever Season 2 airs), but also be sure to check out my weekly episode recaps of the hot new VH1 reality series You're Cut Off, starting June 9! Should be fun, as always.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Arkansas Dem Senator Blanche Lincoln "Besieged on All Sides": She's the Next Prominent Partisan Politician Who Should Turn Independent.

As reported in today's (story link at bottom), labor unions, and others on the far left "progressive" extreme of things are beating up democrat Lincoln for not being leftist enough (e.g., her opposition to a public option in Obama & The Dems' health care monstrosity -- a bill for which she ultimately voted in favor under intense political pressure) . Meantime, the right-wingers (including right-wing democrats, which they actually have in the Arkansas political culture) are pounding Lincoln for voting with the Senate dems too often.

As Politico reports: "She barely edged Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in the May 18 [dem] primary, falling well short of the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid [a] June 8 run-off, and is now slipping in the polls and being outspent by her opponent and his labor allies." Doesn't this sound all too familiar? It's very similar to the situation Charlie Crist faced in his Florida Senate run immediately before he turned from republican to Independent. And turning Independent is precisely the move that Lincoln should seriously consider. Her far left-controlled party does not want her, and the republicans certainly would not welcome her.

Hey Blanche: You should at least consider it. (Heck, think about it as you watch tomorrow night's season finale of "What Chilli Wants" on VH1.) Even if you turn Independent and ultimately lose, at least you will have done so without being saddled by the need to kiss the behind of a loony far left with whom you are obviously not very comfortable. And you would still maintain the freedom to blast the assorted craziness of the deranged right-wingers amongst both the dem and repub parties in Arkansas. In short, you wouldn't be beholden to anyone or anything except for your own conscience and the best interests of the people of Arkansas. Not a bad spot, if you ask me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Slow Rise of Centrist Republicans? Yeah Right. They're "Centrist" Right Up to the Time When the Far Right & the Tea Party Starts Tugging at Them.

An article in today's (link at bottom) discusses what it describes as the quiet and slow, but steady, rise of "centrist" republicans on the national political scene. The author is Lou Zickar, editor of The Ripon Forum, a "centrist journal published by The Ripon Society." Zickar says that the "comeback" of centrist republicans has taken a hit with tea party successes and Charlie Crist's decision to turn Independent, but Zickar also points to several prominent examples of republican politicians that he views to be centrist, such as Scott Brown and current Senate candidates Linda McMahon, Jane Norton and Meg Whitman.

Although I disagree with a basic premise of this article, as explained below, Zickar does make some good points touching upon how the two political extremes incessantly try to marginalize more-centrist candidates and politicians, and how the growing number of American Independents are the ones who ultimately decide elections:

"For centrist Republicans, it is the best of times and the worst of times. It’s the best of times because, across the country, the number of independents is growing. Polls reveal that at least 40 percent of Americans now say they are at the political center. But it’s the worst because, in Washington certainly, it seems like the political center is being marginalized by the extremes."

"In Washington, Crist’s decision is widely viewed as a loss for centrist Republicans. But it is also viewed as a win for the tea party movement — which propelled Rand Paul to victory in Kentucky last week and is forcing candidates from Arizona to New Hampshire to run to the far right. This rise of the tea party seems to further marginalize centrist Republicans. But to the extent that the tea party is pushing Republican candidates across the country to the right, it is also pushing many Washington Republicans to realize something they’ve overlooked in recent years: The GOP has to remain connected to the political center if it is to build an electoral majority."

"Government is broken. The federal bureaucracy is dysfunctional. And people are angry as a result . . .Centrist Republicans understand this. This is one reason why — despite today’s focus on the extremes — centrists are making a comeback. The comeback is quiet and slow — but steady."

I agree with a lot of those points, but I disagree with Zickar's view that partisan politicians turning Independent is a bad thing. I think it's a great thing. It frees them from the shackles of the two extremes that control our two political parties. A republican or democrat may truly be a "centrist" at heart, but yet will always veer towards the extreme of his/her party (whether it be while in office or when seeking re-election) when enough pressure is exerted by the progressives or by the tea partiers or other conservative powerbrokers. Frankly, I trust a "centrist" republican or democrat to represent the Independent mainstream of the country about as much as I would trust a heart surgeon with the yips.

The answer to our broken political system does not lie in efforts to bring the two parties towards the center, because that is simply not going to happen. Complete waste of time. These parties are what they are, and the only way in which they've ever changed in my lifetime is to become even more extreme-controlled as time has passed. Nope, the ultimate answer lies outside these two parties, with viable Independent and third-party candidacies. We need more partisan politicians to make the very same decision that Charlie Crist made, just like we need more good reality shows like "What Chilli Wants."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oh, Mr. President:
I Have a Few Questions...

(Update: See at bottom for initial thoughts on today's presser). Obama today will reportedly be appearing in person for his first White House press conference, in front of the entire White House press corps, in 10 months (the first since the infamous presser last summer in which Obama, without a grasp of the facts, accused Cambridge cops of "acting stupidly" in arresting a Harvard professor). It's unclear whether this will be a full-blown press conference, or whether Obama will only be taking very limited questions. I suspect it's going to be more Obama prepared remarks than anything else. But regardless, he will reportedly be taking at least a few questions, and today's posits the seven questions that it would ask at this event. Feel free to read those at the link at bottom -- I didn't read them, but instead came up with my own list of seven questions off the top of my head, which are as follows:

1. Is there any truth to the repeated allegations of Joe Sestak that someone inside the White House offered him a job in the federal government if he would drop out of the Pennsylvania democratic senatorial primary race?

2. Are you really that big of a fan of quail eggs?

3. You say today that the BP oil spill has been successfully capped, but what about the massive amount of oil that's still floating out there and that's reaching land -- Do you intend to continue to follow the course of allowing BP to head up responsive efforts by themselves?

4. What has been the reason for the delay from the federal government in authorizing Louisiana to construct barrier islands off its coast to protect itself from the oil spill?

5. How do you respond to the comments yesterday from James Carville which were highly critical of your administration's efforts with respect to this oil spill and which noted that "we're dying down here"?

6. Have you watched any episodes of the VH1 reality series that all of America's been talking about -- "What Chilli Wants" -- and do you intend to catch The A-Team movie set to arrive in theaters on June 11? (Yes, I realize that's a compound question).

7. Have you read the new Arizona immigration law?

If he hasn't read it: Don't you think it would be important to read a relatively short statute that has garnered the attention of several high-ranking officials in your administration, who are now saying that the federal government will likely sue Arizona over the new law?

If he has read it: As a former constitutional law professor, what is your analysis of the constitutionality of the new law? (Follow up: Can you tell me the precise language of the statute upon which you are relying for those opinions?)

Stick me in the press corps, baby! I'm on a roll!

POST-PRESSER THOUGHTS: I only caught a portion of today's press conference over lunch hour, but also looked at a couple of media accounts. On Sestak, Obama took the same sort of "take our word for it" tone as earlier taken by Robert Gibbs, claiming that "nothing improper" occurred without any further explanation. He also promised that an "official response" from the White House will be coming soon. Why not today, Mr. President? But I think the most outrageous thing I heard from Obama today was his claim to not "know the circumstances" involved in today's resignation of Elizabeth Birnbaum, the head of Obama's Minerals Management Service (which oversees offshore drilling). Please. All in all, most of my above-listed questions were more or less covered, at least in general, as Obama was also asked about the Arizona law and extensively about the oil spill (predictably making his best effort to try to heap a portion of the blame on Bush, of course). However, it is at least a bit concerning that there was not so much as one question from the press corps about quail eggs, "What Chilli Wants," or The A-Team movie. Talk about your missed opportunity.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lifestyles of the Rich & Leftist: How I Forked Over 17 Grand, and All I Got Were Some Quail Eggs & This Crummy Picture with the President.

I noticed today's account of an Obama fundraiser this week for Sen. Barbara Boxer in San Francisco at the "Getty Mansion" (yes, the mansion of Big Oil's Getty family). Eighty people attended this event, at $17,600 a head (or $8,800 an ear, if you're The High Plains Drifter). That payment bought attendees a quick pic with the president plus a dinner consisting of the following menu, which I warn you is largely incomprehensible unless you happen to be a gourmet chef or a bona fide aristocrat. Check it out:

-Starting hors d'oeuvres: "Quail egg with caviar and salmon ceviche with jicama and avocado on a tortilla chip."
-Salad: "Spring onion-asparagus tartlet with Meyer lemon vinaigrette-dressed frisee salad."
-Main course: "Braised Kobe beef short ribs with potato puree and a salsa verde-topped spring vegetable ragout."
-Dessert: "Buckwheat crepes with roasted cherries and almond ice cream."

I guess, to some, the "celebrity" pic with Obama might be kind of cool, but what about them eats? I'd be pi$$ed if I'd shelled out that kind of jack, only to receive that meal. Is there something wrong with garden variety chicken eggs? And what the hell's a "ragout"? Or a "ceviche with jicama," for that matter? "Buckwheat crepes"? Blah. Give me a few White Castle sliders or a tasty bacon, eggs & grits plate any day over that zany menu (just don't give me those things on a daily basis because, with the exception of grits, they are chock full of saturated fat).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ruling: Teacher Free to Curse Up a Storm in Class -- Just So Long As It's Sex-Ed Class!

This from the Big Apple (first link below), where an 89-year-old federal judge has ruled that the city department of education wrongfully suspended teacher Faith Kramer (pictured at left) -- an apparent Ellen Sussman wannabe -- "for discussing vulgar words for sex acts and parts of the anatomy with students in her sex education class." The suspension had followed the teacher getting busted by parents who had read some of the vulgarities in their kids' class notes.

Post-ruling reactions? As noted by the Post, the teacher kept her response to the ruling G-rated -- "I was really happy with the judge's decision; I feel vindicated" -- although I'd like to hear the swearing she might have done if the ruling had gone against her. Chimed her lawyer: "The words [she] used are a frequent part of our language and the language of schoolchildren."

I'm trying to imagine how one of this lady's classes might have gone. Perhaps something like this (based on pure conjecture, obviously): "Alright class, here's today's lesson: Sex is a term synonymous with many words and phrases in our language, and so let's go through the entire laundry list because it's very important for you to hear this and I want you to write down everything I say." Then she breaks into her best impersonation of George Carlin's "7 Dirty Words" routine (second link below), and the expletives really starting flyin'. At the end of the routine, with the class bell sounding, Ms. Kramer sends the kids on their merry way with a few gratuitous parting cuss words -- just for good measure. But the foul language doesn't stop at the bell. Not in Ms. Kramer's class, leastways. As one student is slow in gathering up his class notes after the bell, Ms. Kramer gives him a "you heard me, get the F*** out of here" blast. She's even heard spewing some profanities under her breath as she makes her way towards the restroom after class. Just another day in the life of the Notorious Cursin' Kramer!

But seriously: This ruling definitely does not seem like the right one to me. I'm quite open to the use of curse words in appropriate settings (and use them plenty myself), but that doesn't mean that foul language has any place in a high school classroom. And it's certainly possible (since I know it occurs in schools across the country every day) to teach a sex-education class without needing to use the vulgar versions of such words and phrases as sex, oral sex, penis, etc. Now, I don't know that Ms. Kramer's immediate suspension was necessarily warranted, but a warning and/or reprimand certainly would have been.

Final thought: The lawyer's quote above was choice. Basically he's saying that since all the kids know and use curse words outside of class, teachers should be able to spout them in class. Huh? Talk about a disconnect in logic. How about since many high-school-age kids have sex outside of class, let's permit teachers to bring their significant others to class and have sex in front of the students? Purely non-sensical, as is most everything in this very strange story. BTW, the Post reports that Ms. Kramer has now been reinstated to teach her class, so let the swearing start anew!

Monday, May 24, 2010

This One Just Smells Like It May Have Legs: The First Serious Charge of Actual Criminal Illegality in the Obama White House?

This story has been simmering just below the surface for months now, and it's starting to smell more and more like it's gonna boil over sometime soon. Dem Joe Sestak (pictured at left), who last week defeated incumbent PA senator Arlen Specter in the dem primary, has repeatedly claimed in recent months that someone at the White House tried to offer him an illegal bribe in the form of a job offer (perhaps a cabinet post) if Sestak would drop out of the PA senatorial primary (allegedly in order to grease the wheels for a Specter primary victory).

Today's (link at bottom) discussed how republicans have been trying to push this issue for several months, requesting that Obama's Justice Department appoint a special counsel to investigate Sestak's allegations. Today, the Justice Department officially rejected that request, even though there is absolutely no indication that the Justice Department has made or intends to make any internal effort of its own to look into these allegations.

The White House has apparently successfully put the kibosh and muzzle on Sestak, who's no longer talking about his prior allegations. As to its own position on those allegations, the White House has been stuttering and stammering around for months, finally resulting in press secretary Robert Gibbs' self-serving and conclusory statement recently that "nothing inappropriate occurred." Gibbs and Obama's White House refuse to say anything else.

Now, while it should be clear that Gibbs and the White House would have every motive in the world to try to downplay and avoid these allegations, precisely what motive would Sestak have to fabricate his allegations? He had a motive to publicly disclose these allegations (i.e. so that he could use them against Specter), but a motive to completely fabricate them? Please. I'm certainly no partisan and have no dog in this fight. But this thing is really startin' to stink to High Heaven, which leads me to my conclusion expressed at the top that this one may well have some actual legs going forward. Stay tuned...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Episode 7 Tonight of "What Chilli Wants" on VH1: Tionna Storms Out on Chilli in What's Being Called the Notorious "Bread Incident"!

(If you're not familiar with this show, try this primer:

Episode Nutshell: Chilli has second meetings/dates with Bill and Farmer D, with one going better than the other, but also with both dudes still remaining in the field of play. But as Tionna tries to set up a more intimate date between Chilli and both of those men, the conversation breaks down into an argument, and the bread starts a flyin'!

Segment 1: Chilli is at home with her son Tron. Chilli notes that things are going well for her, with both Bill and Farmer D recently sparking her interest. Then Tron (a pre-teen) asks how old he needs to be before he can have a girlfriend. Chilli's immediate reaction is age 17! Tron, in contrast, is more thinkin' 13. Chilli advises him to just focus on being a kid right now (great advice) and they will deal with this issue as it presents itself in the future. Chilli comments that she loves Tron's innocence, with "no walls up," and hopes that she can get back to that sort of state of mind in her life.

Then Chilli has her second meeting/date with Bill at the Uptown Comedy Corner in the ATL. Bill's excited. He asks Chilli what she's been up to, and Chilli says that she and Tron had a recent WWE Night where they attended a WWE event together. Bill loves Chilli's fun-loving side and the fact that she's pumped about pro wrestling (BTW, appreciation for pro wrestling is a very cool attribute in a lady, and one rarely found!). Bill also tells her that he can't look at her with a straight face whenever she looks at him with one of her sexy looks. Chilli finds Bill to be a "silly man," which is a big turn on for her. Then they head into the comedy club, where Chilli worries whether Bill will be comfortable given that most of the audience -- as well as the comedian, Aries Spears -- is African-American. Aries recognizes Chilli and immediately starts in on roasting Bill over his "whiteness", for lack of a better description. Bill is a good sport and has a good time with it, which impresses Chilli. Outside, at the end of the date, Bill tells Chilli that he'd like to see her again, then they share a hug, and it's obvious that this was a very successful date from both of their perspectives.

Segment 2: Now it's Farmer D's opportunity for his second meeting/date with Chilli. With Tionna also in attendance, Chilli and Farmer D meet at an event that is showing off Chilli's handbag line. Farmer D has shed his "farmer" clothes and is dressed up this time, with Chilli being very impressed with how good he looks. Farmer D is also very helpful in assisting Chilli with arranging the display of her handbags for the event. Farmer D then gets to meet some of Chilli's friends and family, with Chilli's sister Justice trying to give D a pretty good grilling (with questions touching upon such areas as D's "real age", whether he wants kids, and his thoughts on heaven and hell). Tionna, thinking after awhile that D has probably had enough grilling, intervenes on his behalf to draw a close to Justice's "cross-examination."

After the handbag event, Chilli and Farmer D sit down for a meal (appears to be Chinese cuisine, but not entirely clear if it's lunch or dinner). D tells Chilli that he's inspired by her. He tells her that he really likes her pleasant and easygoing personality, coupled with the fact the she's a bona fide "rock star" (very accurate observations, BTW).

But then BOMBSHELL!! Chilli asks Farmer D about the topic of his religious practices, and D reveals that he in the past has considered himself an atheist, and that even currently -- while he does consider himself to be a spiritual person -- he does not consider himself to be "very religious." This is some trouble, because Chilli's Christian faith is first and foremost in her life, and stands at a very high position on Chilli's Checklist of attributes that any man of hers must possess. Farmer D does say that while he doesn't know whether he would willing to "convert" to an actual religion, he is willing to "embrace" a religion if he gets to know more about it and feels a connection. Chilli is clearly disappointed with the fact that D is not an avidly religious person, but much to her credit -- and as a result of her recent pledge to try to follow her heart as much as she follows her head -- Chilli says that this isn't the "deal breaker" that it normally would be. She says that's gonna try to follow her heart and that she's not prepared to let Farmer D go over his current religious viewpoints (and good for her!).

Segment 3: Chilli & Tionna meet in a lunchtime setting at the ATL's Intermezzo. Tionna reveals her "Project Intimate" to Chilli, involving overnight trips for Chilli with both Bill and Farmer D. Tionna tells Chilli that she wants Chilli to increase the intimacy of her dates with both gentlemen. Chilli is very reluctant, noting that she does not feel comfortable enough yet with either man to go off on an overnight date. Chilli eventually relents and reluctantly agrees, but says that there's no way that she will be staying in the same room with either dude. Tionna is agreeable, noting it's not her goal or desire for Chilli to hook up with either guy on these dates, but instead Tionna wants them to have a more intimate setting in which there might be a little more huggin', kissin' and touchin' than has occurred so far. Then it all goes to hell in a handbasket! (and I'm not speaking of Chilli's handbag line!):

Chilli changes the subject and, given how well she and Bill have connected, asks Tionna (who identified Bill at that prior Braves game, but did not have Chilli meet him at that point) why Tionna did not have Bill & Chilli meet earlier than they did. Tionna explains that after the way Chilli treated Dolvette (a "nice guy," as Tionna puts it) at the Braves game, Tionna felt it better to hold Bill in reserve for later. But Chilli does not accept that explanation and continues to question Tionna about her decision. Chilli comments, "You're the love expert," implying that Tionna screwed up by not having Bill & Chilli meet earlier. Tionna is immediately taken aback, stating, "Don't go there!" Off camera, Tionna says that she was very offended by Chilli questioning Tionna's relationship expertise after all the effort that Tionna has given to try to help Chilli meet the right man. On camera, Tionna then boils over, sweeps their bread basket right off the table and on to the floor and storms off, stating, "Enjoy the rest of your day; Have a nice life." Out in the parking lot, as Tionna prepares to get into her car, Chilli follows her out to try to quell the situation. Tionna exclaims, "I can take my ass back to Brooklyn, and you can still be alone."

Final segment: The verbal altercation continues out in the Intermezzo parking lot. Tionna is looking to drive the hell out of there, but has trouble finding her ("where the F*&% are my...") keys. This gives Chilli an opportunity to come up the car, where she tries to implore Tionna to calm down. Tionna comments that when she gets mad like she just did, she finds that the most positive thing for her is just to walk away from the situation for the time being (a sentiment and course of action with which I can completely identify, BTW -- why sit there and get even madder, when you can walk away and calm the heck down -- I know precisely what she's talking about right there).

Anyway, Tionna does calm down a bit, and apologizes for going quite that far in public (i.e. The Bread Incident), but also expresses to Chilli that she (Tionna) was very offended by the questioning of her expertise after all that Tionna has tried to do for Chilli. Chilli seems respectful of that, but also notes that the two of them need to be able to open and honest with each other with respect to all criticisms that each may have as to the other. The two then depart each other's company, and while they haven't totally made up, it's clear that cooler heads will likely prevail in the end (which I predicted after last week's preview of this episode, since Tionna & Chilli do seem to have a very real connection and friendship). Finally, off camera, Chilli comments that Tionna has helped her to find 2 guys whom Chilli really likes, and so -- as Chilli admits -- maybe there is a "little method to Tionna's madness" after all!

Preview of next week's Final Episode of this exciting new series: Chilli follows through and goes on overnight dates with both Farmer D and Bill. Both dudes try to give Chilli that "first smoocheroo," and it appears that at least one of them is successful! (Stay tuned...)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Boob Who Just Won't Go Away (Thanks to Dems): The White House's Mid-Term Election Strategy Reportedly to Focus on Bush, Bush & More Bush.

Today's (link below) reports that Obama and his minions at the White House intend to make George W. Bush (who else, right?) a focal point of their rhetoric as they campaign for congressional dems prior to November's mid-term elections. But is this really such a smart strategy? As Politico reports:

"It's not clear that voters still want to hear it. 'If you're the leader of a large corporation and you're in power for a year and a half and you start off a meeting with your shareholders by blaming your predecessor, that wouldn't go over very well,' said Merle Black, a political science professor at Emory University. 'This is a very weak approach. And I can't imagine it having an impact on these very swing voters.' Some Democrats would like Obama to shift his argument."

Hear hear. For many of us Independents, the "blame Bush" rhetoric and constant "we inherited this mess" blasts got old from this president around February 2009. And it sure as hell ain't gonna resonate this summer and fall. Instead, at least for me, every time I hear that stuff, I'm reminded of the moment in the 1984 presidential debate when Reagan famously told Walter Mondale, "There you go again" -- since that's exactly how I feel about this type of tired and almost mindless rhetoric. In short, big yawn, big turnoff. As I've commented in this space previously, dems will probably still be blaming Bush for this, that and the other long after all of us alive today have passed on to our just rewards. And it will be just as "weak" (to quote the Emory prof) then as it is now.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm Not Asking for Very Much. Just a Taste. Just Enough to Wet My Beak!

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! That's apparently the smart tact taken by reality star and glamour model Kendra Wilkinson (wife of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Hank Baskett) in the wake of news that Vivid Entertainment had obtained a Wilkinson sex tape (to be released May 28, with the title, as pictured above, "Kendra Exposed") (link to story at bottom).

It seems that Kendra and her handlers have negotiated a deal with Vivid to whack up the profits, such that Kendra will receive 50%. Kendra's maneuver strikes me as rather shrewd. More of these reality show stars and other celebrities should follow the same tact, rather than trying to legally fight the release of such tapes (which I can't recall ever working). After all, the damage has been done, the tape has been shot, someone's gonna release it, and none of that can be changed. So why not ask for a piece of the action in exchange for waiving all possible legal claims against the distributor? Seems to me like it makes the best of a bad situation.

And "bad situation" is not exactly putting it lightly. Far from your garden variety sex tape in which the star is shown hooking up in a private session with his/her significant other, this tape reportedly involves (1) multiple actual sex tapes put together into one tape, (2) Kendra featured with a woman named "Taryn," and (3) "multiple partners . . . featured as having intimate relations with" Kendra. On the bright side, Kendra's take from all this ain't exactly gonna be peanuts: There's already talk of a sequel, and the linked story says that Kendra's haul will be "seven figures, easy." How easy? Well, as the story blasts: "In fact, the only thing easier than earning this money: Kendra herself." Ouch. But at least she'll be taking a nice fat paycheck.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Putting the Cart Before the Jackass: Republicans Reportedly "Scheme About Committee Chairmanships They'll Hold If They Win Back the House."

(Link to story at bottom). Tell me something: Shouldn't republicans actually go through the little "formality" of actually winning back the House before spending too much time worrying about politicking for committee chairmanships? Talk about countin' your chickens before they're hatched! Hey, I've predicted as recently as yesterday in this space that the repubs will likely take back the House in November, but that result is far from assured. Frankly, I think this type of arrogant behavior by House repubs is pathetic. Just as with the democrat party, it's always about politics and very little (if anything) else in nearly every single word republican politicians say and every action they take.

If you (unlike me) happen to live in a congressional district with a repub incumbent who is one of those identified as maneuvering for a chairmanship before the House is even won, here's my best advice for you: In November, vote for a third party candidate or even vote for the dem if you feel you must. Feel free to kick that repub incumbent to the curb and teach him/her a lesson about taking your vote for granted. That's what I would do. As much as I believe that a measure of power balance between these two nonrepresentative parties must be restored to DC (and thus I hope the repubs do take back the House), even that very significant interest is trumped, in my view, by arrogant politicians who simply presume that they'll win re-election and that their party will take back control of the House. Politicians like that, regardless of party, deserve to get their walking papers.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's Good to See the Overconfidence of the Dems & Their Media Following the PA 12 Election Last Night. This Will Make November All the More Fun.

The linked analysis takes much the same tone as I'm seeing from dems and their media today; that is, that last night's victory by dem Mark Critz over his republican challenger in the Pennsylvania 12th District's special election (to fill the House seat of the deceased John Murtha) shows that November really won't be that bad for DC dems in the House and Senate.

Problem is, PA 12 is not your typical congressional district, and the race that Critz won was just as atypical. PA 12 is a district in which registered dems outnumber repubs two-to-one, yet the district voted for McCain in 2008. Why? Because a lot of the dems in this district are pretty damn conservative, truth be told. That's why Critz basically ran on a republican platform (which I suspect was likely very disingenuous on his part), such that the tone of the race much more resembled a republican primary than the typical general election congressional race. Obama himself got nowhere near this race, because that would have been distastrous for Critz. There was also no incumbent involved in this race. Given these various facts, are dems really going to try to tell me that this race was typical of the ones that will be occurring nationwide this fall? Please.

But make no mistake: Repubs are just as delusional about what's going in the country right now as the dems are. There is not some massive wave of non-republicans looking to join the repub party. Repubs are not much more popular now than they were in 2008. Instead, what you have now from a huge swath of the electorate, including massive numbers of Independents (the ones who decide elections) and even many of the conservative tea partiers, is a two-pronged sentiment that is a major nightmare for DC Dems and incumbent republicans alike: (1) Intense fear of the dem-controlled federal government and far left direction that Obama & The Dems have been trying to ram down the throats of an electorate that largely wants no part of it; and (2) Distinct distaste for both of these parties, their current officeholders, and the broken political system over which they preside and gatekeep with an iron fist.

The result of this sentiment come primary time and come November may be the biggest sweeping away of incumbents (of both parties) of any congressional election in my lifetime. No incumbent dem or repub is safe (which I think is wonderful, by the way). So what's the bottom line from the massive kicking to the curb of incumbents this fall? Well, there will be very significant republican gains in the House and Senate, since dems hold the big majorities and will therefore be impacted most by the anti-incumbent fervor. I went on record a month or two ago predicting my belief that dems will likely lose the House but not the Senate. Absolutely nothing's changed. And we Independents continue to look very forward to November. Stick that in your Critz and smoke it.

I'm Onboard With the DC Dems For a Change As They Push for Passage of a Beer Resolution

Colorado democrat Rep. Betsy Markey (pictured at left) is sponsoring the resolution, which extolls the virtues of entrepeneurship and job creation in the American microbrewery industry (link to story at bottom). Works for me. Now, if the DC dems would just introduce a bill establishing Universal Beer Access (i.e., access to beer for those who cannot otherwise afford it), they'd really have something brewin' in the beltway!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Who Is She, Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Nancy Pelosi Supporters Say She Will Only Grow More Powerful in Defeat!

This story ( link below) immediately reminded me of the original Star Wars movie and the scene in which Alec Guinness' Obi-Wan Kenobi character squares off in a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader. During a break in the action, Kenobi tells Vader, "You can't win, Darth -- If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." (YouTube link below).

Pelosi supporters are making a similar claim, opining that as long as the dems keep a razor-thin majority in the House following the November elections (allowing Pelosi to remain House Speaker), it won't matter if dems lose dozens of seats. In fact, they claim, it will actually be a good thing for Pelosi if dems do lose dozens of seats. They say that most of those lost seats would be "moderate" dems who can tend to be a thorn in Pelosi's side, and that the more-streamlined remaining majority would consist predominantly of ultra-far left progressives of Pelosi's ilk. Thus, they say, her grip on power (i.e. the Speakership) would actually be enhanced by dozens of dems losing (just so long as the repubs don't take a majority).

Nice theory, I suppose, presuming that the November losses predominantly kick only "moderate" dems to the curb and not any of the truly loony left-wingers. Frankly, I'll believe that when I see it. In the meantime, expect a lot more of this type of spin from dems in the months to come; that is, spin concerning how the almost certain republican pickups in November won't be that big of a deal or are actually a good thing for dems. Just realize that it's spin. No more, no less. BTW, no word yet as to whether republican wins in November will also give Pelosi the new power of being able to communicate with people from the grave -- the power that Kenobi gained when he permitted Vader to strike him down at the end of their duel.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Don't You Dare Express a View Not in Lockstep With the Anti-Arizona Immigration Law Folks! Or Else They'll Show Up in Droves to Protest You at Work!

That's a lesson being learned tonight by LA Lakers head basketball coach Phil Jackson, who in comments last week had the unmitigated gall to suggest that NBA teams should not be in the business of requiring their players to wear uniforms containing political messages (like the ones the Phoenix Suns recently wore to purportedly protest the new Arizona immigration law). OH MY GOD Phil! What were you possibly thinking! So the folks who are against the law have organized a large protest outside tonight's Lakers game in LA (link to story at bottom).

For the record, Jackson's opinion is not only entirely reasonable, but it happens to be right. Just imagine the uproar from the far left if some NBA team tried to force its players to wear a uniform trumpeting support for the Arizona law? And such a mandate would be equally wrong. NBA teams are not government entities, and so there is no First Amendment issue here. But doesn't the thought of a business or employer forcing employees to adopt and sport certain political views on a uniform (regardless of what the individual employee's own views might be) strike you as entirely overbearing, inappropriate and over-the-top? That's certainly not an employer for whom I would ever want to work. And that's precisely the point at which Jackson's recent comments were, at their core, getting. He certainly did not say, "This is a wonderful law and we need to support it!," although you wouldn't know that to see this ridiculous LA protest tonight.

Final thought: How about the snide little comment at the end of the linked story by USA Today writer Tom Weir? He closes by stating, "If [Jackson] had followed his own advice on not mixing politics and sports, there wouldn't be a protest scheduled tonight." In other words, Weir feels that Jackson should have either expressed an unqualified opposition to the Arizona law or else should have completely kept his mouth shut, and since he failed to do that, he's just gettin' what he deserved! Nice objectivity, there, Weir. That's as pathetic as this LA protest tonight, by the way.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Episode 6 Tonight of "What Chilli Wants" on VH1: Business Is Picking Up! Enter the Remarkable Farmer D (But Don't Count Out the Other New Dude, Bill)!

(If you're not familiar with this show, try this primer:

Nutshell Synopsis: Through the organizational efforts of relationship specialist Tionna Smalls, tonight Chilli meets two men with whom she genuinely seems to be a enthralled (Farmer D and Bill). Tionna sees some very positive signs here, especially after Chilli makes a rare admission that she "was wrong." But not all is rosey in the ATL, as the previews of upcoming episodes indicate that another volatile Tionna-Chilli blowup is on the horizon!

Segment 1: The episode opens at the AQUAKNOX bar/restaurant in Atlanta, with Tionna meeting with a number of Chilli's lady friends (including Roxanne and Chilli's fellow TLC member, T-Boz). Tionna gets their sign-off on Tionna's idea of a "poker mixer" night at which Chilli can meet various men at the informal setting of the poker table (and in which Chilli's friends can also meet and talk to the same men). Additionally, Chilli's friend Christal has a stand-alone date suggestion -- Male calendar model Keston.

Next the scene changes to Chilli's date with Keston, involving a bike ride in the park. Chilli's first impression of Keston is that "he's really pretty." Chilli confides to him that it has been years since she's introduced any man to her son Tron. Then the conversation turns to relationships. Keston says his last relationship lasted over a year, but that fireworks erupted in that relationship when he did not feel comfortable calling the gal his "girlfriend," even after a year of dating. He explains that he's not big into the "label" thing, such as the moniker "girlfriend" apparently. His lack of ability to call his former gal "girlfiend" even after a year is clearly off-putting to Chilli, and she comments to him that she "feels sorry" for that lady. Keston twice comments that he thinks that Chilli tends to see too many things in "black and white" (meaning in absolutes). The date ends decent enough, with a hug and Keston telling Chilli that he will be in touch. After the date, Tionna and Chilli discuss it. Chilli says that Keston is "truly eye candy," but that she has some huge reservations about him because she feels that he had trouble being committed to a lady.

Segment 2: As mentioned above, "poker mixer night" has now arrived! Chilli proceeds to meet myriad men as 1 or 2 at a time sit down to play poker with her. First up are Spider (a basketball player) and Jason (a graphic designer who attends Chilli's church). After these dudes finish their poker with Chilli, they get the full-court grillin' from Chilli's friends (after all, that was one of the goals of this event). Next up at Chilli's poker table are Brandon and Reggie. Brandon makes an immediate impression on Chilli, because she finds him very funny (and he's certainly no ugly duckling either). Reggie seems nice but has trouble getting in on the Chilli-Brandon conversation. Reggie suggests a Push-Up Contest between he and Brandon. The two embark upon said contest, but predictably, all of the other men there to meet Chilli also join in on the contest. Brandon wisely breaks out of the contest to continue talking to Chilli. But when he reveals that he graduated high school in 2002, Chilli comments, "Oh Man." That puts him at around age 26, which Chilli clearly views as too young (Chilli is 30-something and is lookin' for a 30-something man).

Then Bill enters the picture -- the next man at Chilli's table. And the following facts are very important to future episodes: Tionna off-camera reveals to the audience that Bill was a dude she first encountered early on in the series when she was looking for potential Chilli dates at a Braves game in her luxury suite interviews of potential suitors. Tionna also reveals that she's been holding Bill in reserve, apparently for just the right moment to spring on Chilli (and there's no time like the present, since Chilli has simply not been connecting with the men that Tionna has arranged for her to meet recently). Like I said, remember those facts.

Anyway, Chilli immediately warms up to Bill and thinks he's cool because he's "not reserved" in the least. He's also 6'2", has no kids (not even one baby mama), and is a Christian who loves to go to church. All of those attributes coincide with Chilli's notorious "Chilli Checklist," of course. But what truly endears Bill to Chilli is that he's the only dude all night to actually pay her a compliment, telling her that "you are beautiful." They end their poker game with a big hug.

Segment 3: OK, so perhaps Bill is a serious candidate, but in this segment, Get a Load of Farmer D! Farmer D, real name Daron Joffe (and pictured above), is quite the accomplished businessman -- the founder and president of Farmer D Organics in the Atlanta area (a retail organic garden center). The segment begins with Tionna driving Chilli out to Farmer D's farm. Chilli has grave reservations about this one, noting that "I've never dated a farmer before." Clearly, Chilli expects to be meeting some dumb, boorish redneck out on this farm (Hey Chilli: Nice and intelligent men can come from farms, small towns and rural areas!, but I digress, especially since you were about to come to this realization on your own).

So they meet. Chilli is sporting a black cowboy hat, about which Farmer D immediately comments that he likes. Chilli's initial physical reaction is that Farmer D is most handsome, and the two ride off into the farm on Farmer D's tractor for their date. Chilli reveals off-camera that she's a "Georgia girl," and therefore is not really out of her "element" on a farm. Farmer D shows Chilli a bee hive, which has Chilli runnin', but it quickly emerges that she and Farmer D have "alot in common," which is impressive to Chilli. For example, they both eat raw milk and raw cheese. Chilli's off-camera assessment at this point: "He's just cool."

Then it's time to head back to the head of the farm, and Farmer D allows Chilli to drive them back on his tractor. As she toils along on the tractor, Farmer D comments that this probably isn't quite like most of Chilli's first dates, to which Chilli says, "This is the best one." Back at the head of the farm, as Chilli disembarks from the tractor, her posterior accidentally waves itself rather close to Farmer D's face. She apologizes for her "butt" being "all over your face," to which Farmer D responds, "Not like I'm going to complain." They then head indoors for lunch and grasp hands in prayer before they eat. Chilli's final comments on this date: That Farmer D was not all what she was expecting -- "Farmer D is pretty amazing," she says.

Final segment: Tionna and Chilli talk about the Farmer D date. Chilli observes that Farmer D is "really smart," is a "good age" at age 33, is "laid back cool," and that she really "felt a connection." Comparing her initial reluctance to go on this date with her ultimate impression after meeting Farmer D, Chilli then confides to Tionna that this date has taught her not to judge people and situations "so quickly." Then comes a moment reminiscent of true old-school "Happy Days" Fonzie stuff (recall that Fonzie, whenever he desired to admit that he was wrong about something, would lapse into, "OK, I was wr-wr-wr-wr-wr-wr-wr-wr -- OK, what I'm really trying to say is, I was wr-wr-wr-wr-wr..."). Because apparently (according to Tionna's comments), Chilli is not one to admit error very often (although, aren't so many of us human beings the very same way, truth be told?).

So, Tionna comes right out and says, "I was wrong" (not even stammering or stuttering around like Fonzie would) when it came to her first-blush reluctance to go on a date on a farm with a dude named "Farmer D". Tionna views this admission as a "real breakthrough," together with the fact that Chilli met two dudes this episode, in Bill and Farmer D, to whom she really appears to be open to a relationship. Tionna's closing remarks of this episode: Things are definitely "getting warmer," although Tionna still needs "it to be hot!" She tells Chilli that Tionna's just waiting for Chilli to "jump her little behind of top a somebody and tongue 'em down!" "Tongue 'em down?," asks Chilli.

Red Hot Preview of upcoming episodes: Even despite how well this episode went, not everything is exactly all studs and muffins in the ATL! In the episodes to come, it is revealed that despite the Farmer D-Chilli fireworks, Bill is still very much in the picture and he and Chilli have what Chilli describes as the "perfect date." Chilli then confronts Tionna over the reason why Tionna did not bring Bill into this picture earlier (since Tionna did not immediately hook up Chilli with Bill after Tionna first met Bill). Says Chilli, "You're the love expert, right?" Tionna responds, angrily, "Don't Go There!" Yadda, Yadda, Yadda, Tionna storms off after swiping their table of its contents. The argument continues in a parking lot, with Tionna shouting, "I could take my ass back to Brooklyn, and you will still be alone!" So Stay Tuned!

Final observations: When Chilli said "I was wrong," following her connecting very well with both Bill and Farmer D on this episode, the words "real breakthrough" came into my mind even before Tionna uttered them. And I'm hopin' one of these two dudes is going to turn out to be, finally, The One for Chilli. As for the upcoming verbal alteration between Tionna & Chilli, I have a fair amount of confidence that they will be able to patch things over afterwards, because the two of them really do seem to have a very genuine friendship. As for Chilli's questioning of Tionna holding back on Bill for awhile, my immediate reaction is: Chilli -- You've really connected with this dude Bill, and so why are you even worrying about when it was that Tionna first connected you to him!!! Be Thankful and Glad about the Connection Itself! Oh well. It is a reality series after all, and therefore we do need our fireworks!!! ;)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Creature Pelosi: Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

On Friday, dem House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (second in the line of succession to the presidency) announced that she's going to start cracking down on Congressional travel perks, forcing members to start flying coach and not permitting them to take along spouses on the government's dime (first link below). This from an individual who racked up $2.1 million using Air Force jets in 2008 and 2009, including (1) $101,429.14 for in-flight expenses for alcohol and food and (2) 31 trips in which Pelosi family members traveled along (second link below). Who does this person think she is, anyway? A monarch? A dictator? Because that's most certainly how she acts on a daily basis. If you happened to need a weekend dose of "p-a-t-h-e-t-h-i-c," there you have it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Get a Load of This Loony Lineup Topping Tonight's! Here's a Question: Who's the Biggest Nut of This Bunch?

Politico's story (linked at bottom) concerns how Sarah "Sister Sledgehammer" Palin (Politico's nickname) is targeting a number of female and male dems nationwide for defeat in the 2010 House and Senate elections (with her primary focus on the House). So what about my question -- The Biggest Nut of this Bunch?

Actually, I don't know a great deal about the three pictured dems (pictured above from left are dem House members Betsy Markey of Colorado and Debbie Halvorson of Illinois, followed by Palin obviously and then Missouri's dem Secretaty of State Robin Carnahan, who's running for U.S. Senate) -- Carnahan is the only one of the three dems whom I've even heard of before. As a result of my ignorance, My Biggest Nut in the Bunch prize will have to go to Palin.

Make no mistake, nothing I've sporadically seen or heard from Carnahan has ever impressed me, and the odds are that Markey & Halvorson are, at a minimum, your typical garden variety lock-step DC liberals or, at a maximum, part of the hateful, leftist progressive movement that controls the dem party. But since Palin is the only one of this motley crew with whom I'm overly familiar, she gets my vote for biggest nut.

And it's a well-deserved honor. Over the last year-and-a-half, without the reins of the McCain campaign muzzling her, Palin in my view has become an increasingly nutty, zany, high-pitched, cartoon character of a deranged right-winger, and most certainly not someone for whom I could ever vote for president. Sorry, tea partiers, but she is simply not presidential material: I've recently been prone to calling Obama's behavior non-presidential, and so you can see that I have absolutely no problem calling it both ways. Now, I still very much respect Palin's (1) hot appearance, (2) smalltown background, (3) over-the-top ability to reduce the progressives' playbook to first-grade-style playground insults, and (4) shrewd ability to become rich off her own name. That's Stuff's America, Baby! But I could never vote for her, as expressed.

And a final comment: I didn't much care for Palin's rant yesterday warning republicans not to move to the center to try to win the Independents, because (she says) the Independents will move to the conservatives if only conservatives strictly adhere to their doctrinaire, totem-pole ideology. Sorry Sarah: While many of us Independents may vote republican at the federal level in November in order to restore a much needed measure of power balance to DC, we ain't lining up to join your party or your ilk anytime soon! I think Aerosmith said it best on this front: DREAM ON!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Missouri Missing Crisis? Big 12 Commish, Member Schools Aim to Confront Missouri, Nebraska About Their Desire to Stay in the
Big 12 Conference.

Big 12 Conference Commish Dan Beebe is talkin' tough, indicating that Missouri and Nebraska officials (who have not so quietly been looking into the possibility of a jump to the Big 10) are in for a real grilling next month at the conference's annual meeting in Kansas City. Said Beebe to 810 WHB radio over the past day: "I think we need to come to terms with that when we meet in Kansas City. I think we need to have a very frank conversation about where we’re going and who’s going to be on the plane when we take off. I will be very direct."

Could Missouri and Nebraska be in for an Adlai Stevenson/UN/Cuban Missile Crisis-style ambush (pictured above) at next month's meeting? That's in reference to 1962, during the height of that crisis, when Stevenson (US Ambassador to the UN), on the UN floor, directly confronted the Soviet representative on whether the Soviets were placing missiles in Cuba. One can envision an exchange that might go something like this for Missouri athletic director Mike Alden:

-Beebe: "Alden, do you deny, Sir, that your university has every desire in the world to bolt from this conference and join the Big 10?"
-Alden: "I'm not in a position to comment on that subject."
-Beebe: "Do you deny, Sir, that Missouri has been making every effort to impress the Big 10 and to garner an invitation to that conference?"
-Alden: "I had difficulty hearing that question. Can the secretary read it back?"
-Beebe: "No, no! Don't wait for my question to be read back. You heard me. You answer 'yes' or 'no'!"
-Alden: [Shakes his head, refusing to answer.]
-Beebe: "Sir, I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over!"
-Then Beebe trots out some surveillance photos showing Alden entering a Chicago restaurant with the Big 10 Commissioner, and things only deteriorate from there...

Should be a fascinating meeting next month. (BTW, the entire Stevenson/UN incident upon which the above is based is very well depicted in the 2000 motion picture Thirteen Days, with actor Michael Fairman in the role of Stevenson).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pot Meet Kettle: Top DC Dem Steny Hoyer Accuses GOP of Being Pushed Too Far to the Right. A Dem Accusing Others of Extremism! That's Choice.

As linked at bottom, today House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) (second in command to that wonderfully "Nice Lady," Nancy Pelosi) purported to provide a little friendly advice to his adversaries on the right, warning that the Tea Party Movement could be doing harm to the republican party (of course it wasn't intended as advice at all, but rather was just the latest left-wing blast against the tea partiers). Said Hoyer: "I think the Tea Party folks are pushing the republican party to an even narrower base, which I ultimately think will not be something that the Independents believe is a good thing for the country . . . I think the republican party now has the narrowest base that I have ever seen for the republican party."

Of course, Hoyer at least comes within a mile or two of an ounce of truth in those statements. There is little doubt that the tea party movement is a conservative-dominated movement, which has resulted in many Independents (such as myself) having no desire to get involved with them despite a fair amount of substantive common ground on a number of issues (at least within the economic realm). But are the tea partiers so off-putting in their conservatism that Independents are just being repulsed by them or by their close connection to the republican party? In a word, No. That's what dems like Hoyer want to ultimately accomplish with statements like those today, but it's simply not occurring. Poll after poll for at least 9-10 months now have demonstrated that Independents who voted for Obama & The Dems in 2008 have been running from that side faster than the University of Missouri from the Big 12 Conference. And frankly, I don't see that changing too much between now and November. If anything, that trend will only accentuate.

Final thoughts: The unmitigated nerve of one of these top-dog dems to accuse any other party of being too extremist and as having a tiny-tent base is like a Mississippi $hithouse accusing an Alabama $hithouse of forgetting to use its deodorant. Hoyer: You are a part of federal dem machine in DC, controlled by far leftist progressives, that has driven the federal government farther to either extreme (by far) than I have ever witnessed in my almost four decades on this planet. You insult the intelligence of the American people with your statements today. And as I first said on Sunday Bloody Sunday, and have oft-repeated since -- we Independents will see your ilk come November.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ENOUGH ALREADY of Political Clowns Like Obama & Schwarzenegger Joking Around & Making Light of the Very Dire Arizona Immigration Situation.

(Link below to the latest -- Schwarzenegger's crass & unfunny attempt at humor). Feel free to have bona fide concerns with the language of Arizona's new immigration law. From what I've read, I have concerns as well (although, as a non-Arizona resident, I have not bothered to spend the time to actually try to read and digest the language of the new statute -- Tell me something, have you?). But for prominent politicians like Obama and Schwarzenegger to try to tell trite little jokes about Arizona's immigration situation completely makes light of and mindlessly ignores what has become a very serious situation there with widespread illegal immigrant-related murders and kidnappings, not to mention Arizona very quickly and alarmingly transforming into the most porous border for illegal crossings amongst the border states.

Are Obama and Schwarzenegger making any real attempts to find solutions to these problems, such as a two-pronged approach of (1) stiffening up on illegal border crossings and (2) finding a reasonable solution and path to American citizenry for the illegal Mexican immigrants who are currently within the United States? Of course not. Instead, they're just laughing off the situation.
P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C! Not that I'd expect much more from Obama, but Schwarzenegger really disappoints me here.

OUCH! "Kimbo Sliced" Last Weekend? The Notorious Mixed Martial Artist Gets His A$$ Kicked Yet Again: Just a Few Observations...

(Link below to story about Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson being dominated by lightly regarded MMA fighter (and former NFL'er) Matt Mitrione this past weekend). First I say that I rarely tread into the world of sports commentary, because the guys & gals who inhabit that realm are completely devoted to that world and absolutely know their stuff (much more so, in my experience, than all the blowhards out there who try to comment on political issues), whereas I'm just a rabid, yet passing observer, of the sports world. That said, I have been fascinated by and have casually observed the Internet sensation that has been known as mixed martial artist Kimbo Slice. After all, Americans love a supposed bad ass. And Kimbo made his beans street-fightin' in Florida and only losing once amongst all of his various street fights, as very well documented on YouTube (although I've never watched one -- read on...).

I personally grew up absolutely loving the over-the-top bombastic world of professional wrestling as well as the sweet (yet very brutal) science of boxing. But I've never warmed up to mixed martial arts. Simply put, I don't much care to watch the sight of a man who has been knocked down having another man jump on top of him and pound the living daylights out of his skull. Frankly, I find the same rather repulsive and sub-human. But that's just me. I fully realize that MMA has a HUGE audience nationwide, and I'm cool with that, even if it's not my cup of tea. But as indicated above, as a dude who does enjoy a certain amount of violent sport in his life, I am (just like so many Americans) capivated by image and reputation of the alleged bad ass.

And so it is that I have followed Slice's "career" from the written word. I frankly have not cared to watch even one of his street fights or MMA matches, but I have followed his results. What I see is a man who is now 36 years old and is suddenly trying to transition into the world of MMA. In case you haven't noticed, the top-of-the-line MMA fighters are amongst the true bad asses of this world -- Not only extremely tough and violent men, but highly trained in fighting and defending against multiple fighting styles. As much as I do not care for watching their sport, these men are true professionals, most of whom have labored day-in, day-out, all day long, in their endeavor for many, many years. That's a tough world to hack your way into for a 36-year-old street fighter like Slice. And so I don't find it surprising that he has very much struggled trying to enter that world at his age. But might there be another way?

Although again, I've never watched any of Kimbo's "work" and instead have only read about it, I would assume that his exemplary street fighting record was largely a result of the fact that he's very heavy-handed, as they say, meaning dude can really throw a punch. As such, perhaps he should try his hand in the world of professional boxing, where it seems (if you can swat), you're never too old to have that famous "puncher's chance" in any given fight. The Immortal George Foreman was perhaps the best illustration of this principle. So I think, now that Kimbo has been officially given his walking papers from the UFC, he might want to consider boxing while his name can still garner a bit of jack and publicity. That window will totally close before too long, after all. And I can't imagine he wants to return to the street fightin' scene, since I think he's garnered about as much as one human being can from that world.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Episode 5 Tonight of "What Chilli Wants" on VH1: Chilli Absolutely Bares Her Soul to Try to Find the Right Path.

(If you're not familiar with this show, try this primer:

Nutshell synopsis: In the most emotionally charged episode yet, Chilli (at Tionna's suggestion) visits a professional therapist and, following a heart-wrenching session, Chilli really seems to have gotten at the core of why she's lacked success finding a man and puts in place a new action plan for going forward.

Segment 1: Following the blow-up between Chilli and Tionna at the end of last week's episode, the two meet at Chilli's house the next morning for a workout. Chilli indicates that she's still a bit pissed, but also says she's open to re-evaluating her dependence upon her "Chilli Checklist" (her stringent list of attributes that her man must have). Tionna thinks that Chilli could benefit from seeing a professional therapist, and Chilli seems agreeable. There will be no more dates for Chilli for now, says Tionna, since Tionna concludes that Chilli should focus on her own issues first. Then they start their workout (with Chilli indicating outside Tionna's hearing that since Chilli is still a little mad about the previous night, Chilli's really "gonna work her out"). First jumping jacks, then light weights, then pushups. Both Chilli and Tionna are working hard. Then Chilli says, "So let's get to the workout." Tionna observes, "That wasn't it?"

The segment then switches to a TLC photo shoot with Chilli and T-Boz. This brief opportunity to get away from the regular events of "What Chilli Wants" seems to be a refreshing change for Chilli. She vents a bit about Tionna to T-Boz, noting that Tionna's "ass is 25" and complaining about Tionna "pissing [her] off" at the end of the last episode. Chilli confides in T-Boz that she has agreed to Tionna's suggestion for Chilli to see a therapist, and then jokes that Tionna should see one too: "She needs some damn help!" (couldn't we all, BTW -- nothing wrong with that!)

Segment 2: Tionna has Chilli meet with a couple who's been together almost 50 years. They are referred to as Ms. Annie and Mr. Ralph. The purpose of the meeting is so that Chilli can meet and interact with two people who have found "true, everlasting love." Ms. Annie reveals that the key to her relationship with Mr. Ralph was "learning to compromise" (saying that there were always certain things about him that she didn't really like). Mr. Ralph then offers his own views on what makes a lasting relationship: "When you find a soulmate, they become your best friend, and there's nothing you wouldn't do for each other." Then Ms. Annie lends some advice specific to Chilli, telling Chilli that she won't find all the qualities she wants in any given man, but that if she can find a man totally devoted to a lasting relationship with her, then she should be able to let go of some of that control that is indicative of her Chilli Checklist.

In the second half of this segment, Chilli has dinner with her son Tron. Chilli looks forward to when Tron is a bit older and starts dating young women, and she's grooming him for those future days. Chilli notes that she has "dibs on Sasha Obama" as a potential future date for Tron. She also advises him (as almost any good mother -- or father, for that matter -- would) not to smack when he eats. She also gives him the advice that if he does nice things for a young lady, and if the young lady does not appreciate that, then he has probably met the wrong young lady. Then, as an apparent surprise to both Chilli and Tron, Tron's dad (and music producer) Dallas Austin shows up out of the blue. It's a nice moment, because Tron loves to see his dad, and despite the fact that things never worked out between Chilli and Austin, she does credit him for being a "great father" to Tron.

Segment 3: Chilli, with Tionna tagging along, meets with therapist Dr. Tiffany Davis. Near the start of the session, Dr. Davis asks Tionna to excuse herself for a little while so that Dr. Davis and Chilli can have a real heart-to-heart. After Tionna exits, Dr. Davis asks Chilli to talk about her past boyfriends. Chilli starts with Tron's father, Dallas Austin, with whom Chilli was first involved at around age 20 as a member of TLC. As indicated in this report's title, Chilli absolutely bares her soul at this point. She says that early on in their relationship, Chilli got pregnant. During this period, Chilli was very scared and felt that she lacked support. The voices around her were tugging her in the direction of not going forward with the pregnancy, since she was only 20 and in a hot group, whose success might be jeopardized by a nine-month pregnancy and the motherhood that would follow.

Chilli then reveals that she gave in and broke to that pressure and decided to have (and did have) an abortion. Chilli cries, further revealing that this ordeal "broker her spirit" and really "messed her up." She says that thereafter, she didn't "feel like I'm my strong self anymore." She says she very much regrets having the abortion and says that she cries almost every day since about her decision. Chilli also says that she tried her best to make up for what she believes was a bad decision by devoting herself to having a child with Austin (which obviously led to Tron's birth). Finally, she says that things just never worked out between herself and Austin since "he was always true to himself" and "I wasn't try to myself" during their relationship.

Chilli then talks briefly about her relationship with Usher. She says that she loved him, but that he just wasn't working as a long-term relationship. Ultimately, she found him to be a guy with whom she just couldn't live for the rest of her life. The segment concludes with Chilli agreeing with the therapist that Chilli is willing, in her future relationship endeavors, to "go outside the comfort zone" supplied by her Chilli Checklist if she meets a man who is also willing to depart from his own comfort zone (seems like Ms. Annie's advice of "learning to compromise" has begun to sink in).

Final segment: Dr. Davis and Chilli bring Tionna back into the room. Dr. Davis reveals to Tionna that there is "good news," since Dr. Davis and Chilli have gotten at some real issues and have found a way of going forward. They discuss how Chilli's Checklist resulted from a "place of hurt" in Chilli's life, meaning that following failed attempts by Chilli to "led with her heart" in relationships (such as with Austin and Usher), Chilli threw out the heart and completely "led with her head", resulting in the creation of and adherence to the Chilli Checklist. Chilli says that she is willing to consider a serious relationship with a man who does not meet all the attributes of her Checklist, i.e. she is willing to start opening her heart again, in addition to following her head, when it comes to the men in her life. End of episode.

Quick final thought: While I've always been personally skeptical of professional therapists and the good they truly do for those who visit them, I have to say that Dr. Davis really seemed to be a professional on the top of her game. She very quickly appeared to get the root of Chilli's angst and to offer constructive potential solutions to the same. I was impressed. Best of luck to Chilli and Tionna going forward as they work on instituting the new action plan that resulted from this episode!

Preview segment to upcoming episodes: Tionna sets Chilli up with some dude named "Farmer D" (or "Farmer Dee" -- I don't think they put the spelling on the screen, much like my Dolvette/Dalvette quandary from earlier in the series!). At any rate, Farmer D seems like a real trip, and I can't wait to see that one! Also, Tionna organizes a multi-dude "mixer" so that Chilli can meet a number of guys at the same time. I've loved this series from the outset, and the remaining episodes, I'm sure, will not disappoint!