Archive for the 'Oddities' Category

14
Apr
10

A Spectacularly Sad Situation

Alright. I’m giving in. I’ve already talked this one into the ground with my close friends, but I decided this morning that I would share it with those of you who, by some miracle, have avoided all the internet “head shakes” and “laugh-out-louds” surrounding this music video.

I present to you: Kiely Williams (of former “Cheetah Girl” and “3LW” fame) and her first single, “Spectacular,” off of her new solo venture.

NOTE: This video is NSFW… Or really for any environment involving respectable people.

First of all, yuck. Everything about that song and video felt like I imagine a night with a hooker would… unfulfilling and regrettable. Second, what in the world is going on here? I understand the jump that so many artists who have catered to younger crowds attempt to make in order to break into the world of “mature” music. But making that jump and jumping the shark are two entirely different things. If it was internet fame she wanted, however, it was internet fame she got. Even Kiely’s harshest critics are, no doubt, anxiously waiting to devour her next single–and probably hoping somewhere deep down inside that it’s twice as objectionable as the first. And Kiely’s response to the critics?

“I am an actor and performer. I have been so since my first role in a television pilot at five years old. I played a character when I was a “Cheetah Girl.” I am playing a character in the music video for the song “Spectacular,” as I did in the “Cheetah Girl” movies. Young women across the country get intoxicated and have unprotected sex. That’s a fact. I recorded the song to bring attention to this frighteningly prevalent activity. It is absurd to infer or suggest that I am condoning this behavior.

Are Lady Gaga and Beyonce advocating murder with the “Telephone” video? Of, course not. Was Rihanna encouraging suicide with “Russian Roulette?” No. Was Madonna suggesting that young unmarried girls get pregnant with “Papa Don’t Preach?” I don’t think so. Is Academy Award winner Monique a proponent of incest because of her portrayal of Mary in the movie “Precious.” Clearly, the answer is no.

I wrote “Spectacular” and made the video to bring attention to a serious women’s health and safety issue.
Please don’t shoot the messenger.”

I mean, sure. If you feel that way, Kiely. But you forgot to mention the fact that it’s also just a pretty awful song/video. (When I first saw it, I thought it was an SNL spoof)

I’m not so much disappointed in Kiely as I am disgusted. I was never a fan of hers to begin with, so I don’t feel the betrayal that some of her followers probably did when they saw that she abandoned her traditional “girl power” mode. Or maybe some will see this video is a testament to girl power. I mean hey, a lady who gets what she wants must be in some type of control of a situation in which a nameless man scoops her up and takes her home to his place– even while shes under the intoxication of alcohol and possible drugs. Right? Right. However you want to see it, here it is in front of you– raw and uncut, like a pile of fish heads on a nickel-plated platter. Dig in, if that’s your thing. I think they’re considered a delicacy somewhere.

Here are the lyrics below:

Last night I was drunk
I don’t remember much
But what’d I do? Constant pictures
Thats how going I was
But he was tall and he was buying
So I gave him a trying
Said he was like a stallion
And the man wasn’t lying
Last I remember I was face down
Ass up clothes off broke off dozed off
Even though I’m not sure of his name
He could get it again if he wanted
Cause the sex was spectacular
The sex was spectacular (yeaaah)
The sex was spectacular
The sex was spectacular

So it was the morning after

I couldn’t get home faster

Doing the walk of shame

In the same clothes from yesterday
I think he pulled a track out
When he was blowing my back out
What was I drinking
I cant believe I blacked out

Last I remember I was face down
Ass up clothes off broke off dozed off
Even though I’m not sure of his name
He could get it again if he wanted

Cause the sex was spectacular
The sex was spectacular (yeaaah)
The sex was spectacular
The sex was spectacular

You can say what you want but
You can call me a slut but
What he did to me last night felt so good
I must have been on drugs
I hope he used a rubber
Or I’mma be in trouble
Promise I don’t remember
Except for
Give it to me give it to me
Ooh baby what a ride ride
Oh ride ride

So smooth like it beats
I like the heat
Ooh baby what a night night
Right right

Cause the sex was spectacular
The sex was spectacular (yeaaah)
The sex was spectacular
The sex was spectacular

14
Apr
10

Keep Your Child, Not Your Receipt pt.2

I’m no parent, so I couldn’t begin to comment on, or even hypothesize the difficulties of raising a child. I imagine that caring for an adopted child presents twice as many difficulties– and raising one that has been institutionalized for almost any amount of time will only add to the challenge. I’m also the product of an organic, two-parent household which never encountered such issues as psychological dysfunction or social deviance. All that aside, I still feel like good parenting(i.e. the occasional butt-whippin, grounding, yelling — with positive reinforcement following) will shake even the worst out of some kids.
I won’t deny that complications stemming from things that may have effected a child during the formative stages –especially inside the womb– are much more deeply rooted than bad behavior. I wont. But I think that the best place to start “therapy” is, in many cases, over the knee of an adult with a leather belt. Professional analysis comes second to solid parenting. Parents who adopt and feel out of place acting as the enforcer of rules or punishment like this, I feel, need to seriously reexamine the responsibilities that raising a child calls for.

I understand that in the case of a post-institutionalized child, it may take more than common sense to provide a suitable environment that takes into account the experience that the child has already had. Because the institutions offered in other countries like Russia are unlike the foster homes or boarding houses scattered here across the U.S., the experience that children have in them is very different than the typical American orphan.

Enter, the Ranch for Kids, a registered non-profit corporation in the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Maryland.  The ranch, which features rideable horses and other farm life is designed to provide a unique form of therapy for troubled adoptees. It is one that relies heavily on equine interaction, wide open spaces, and a laid-back atmosphere. Christian values underly every day living. Alternative schooling is also offered to keep the children on track with their counterparts.

What do you think? Would you feel guilty sending your troubled adopted child anywhere else for professional help, or even back to the agency from which he/she came?

14
Apr
10

Keep Your Child, Not Your Receipt. pt. 1

Russia Today’s gotta have plenty to say about this one…

The video’s a little lengthy, but if you watch just the first few minutes, you’ll get the idea of this headline shocker pretty quickly. I’ll sum it up for you below.

To make a long story short; Torry Hansen of Shelbyville, Tennessee adopted Artyem Saviliev from Russia approximately six months ago. Artyem had been institutionalized in Russia for some years before Hansen showed interest in bringing him into their home, but claimed she was never made aware of any psychological or emotional instability the boy may have had. (Many Russian orphans, as a matter of fact, are institutionalized indefinitely while adoption agencies and representatives attempt to match them with interested families.) So then, Artyem arrives in America under the care of his new mother, Hansen, who renames him Justin. Artyem/Justin then proceeds to raise apparent hell for the next six months straight. In January, Hansen determines that 7-year-old Artyem is violent, troubled, and a general threat to herself and her household. Hansen claims that Justin drew pictures of her house burning, and promised to set fire to it with Hansen and her mother(Justin’s foster grandmother) inside of it. Ultimately, Hansen and Grandma Hansen get fed up this weekend and put Justin on a plane back to Russia alone and holding a note that reads:

“I no longer wish to parent this child… This child is mentally unstable. He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues/behaviours. I was lied to and misled by the Russian Orphanage workers and director regarding his mental stability and other issues.”

Artyem Savilev (Justin Hansen)

Now, the entire planet is mad at the Hansen’s. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called Justin’s unsupervised return a “monstrous deed,” and Russian officials are urging him to place an indefinite freeze on orphans out of the country to America. Recently, a handful of publicized cases involving “troubled” Russian youth whom American parents have found “too difficult” to raise have shed a bad light on the country’s orphanage system. Couple that with the fact that, according to ABCnews.com, there have been 15 reported cases of  murders of adopted Russian youth by American parents since the early nineties. Other stateside advocates are drafting petitions which ask President Obama to fight to keep adoption lines with Russia open.  It’s all pretty tricky diplomacy, I’d say– especially with innocent kids at stake.

07
Apr
10

Fast and Fattening Faster

Amidst the frenzy of America’s more health-conscious and green-going self-conscious state, it makes perfect sense that consumers would demand healthier options from restaurants and fast food establishments across the country. This movement towards healthier product development has been in effect for some time. Low carb and/or fat alternatives to traditional fast food meals have held their place on overhanging menus at McDonalds and Burger Kings ever since the Atkins diet gained popularity in the early 2000’s. Even after the Atkins Nutritional company folded, many fast food chains have catered to the dieting needs of consumers who followed other tweaked versions of the famous weight-loss system.

However, in watching recent television advertisements, I’ve noticed a reemergence of shameless, more-is-better menu items at popular fast food joints. Ever since the public pushed for these restaurants to publish nutritional facts in more conspicuous locations, it’s been no secret that few–if any–of the items on their lists are actually “healthy” choices. My concern comes from the fact that many of the same chains that had once made attempts to present a health-conscious front have reverted to the Hardee’s Thickburger product model. That’s the, “beefy middle finger to your heart and liver” stance–without the decency of, at a minimum, misleading appearances or a clever marketing strategy.

Let me show you.

KFC's new Double Down "sandwich."

Yup, that’s a chicken filet+KFC sauce+bacon+cheese+cheese+chicken filet combination coming straight to your right ventricle April 12th. It is advertised as the world’s first “bunless” sandwich, but in reality, its 540 calories of unattractive meat, zesty mayo, and meat will most likely hit those buns first. I guess KFC had to find a way to get rid of their new over-sized chicken nugget boneless filets quickly–by the two’s. Next:

Burger King's new Steakhouse XT

I can’t help but think of the Mondo burger from Keenan and Kel’s breakout performance in Goodburger. And to think; those burgers were infused with shark poison to make them as tasty as they were. Good thing this colossus is only packed with 950 calories instead. The XT is only outdone by:

Hardee's Monster Thickburger

1,320 calories of pure regret. Enough said.

These three choices are only a few of the more absurd sandwiches flavoring fast food menus across the country. One need only to visit a few websites and skim nutrition facts to find the more subtle–but equally unhealthy–food choices. If the stuff-your-face-and-deal-with-the-consequences-later trend of food consumption is truly back on the rise, so be it.  I hope that the average American is sensible, and these types of products will only raise awareness concerning the importance of a healthy diet once again.

Meanwhile, somebody needs to opt for McDonald’s “healthy” alternative and tell me if this thing tastes as disgusting as it looks…. because it doesn’t seem to be going away.

Mac Snack Wrap

31
Mar
10

Fudging It

Early this week, the following video divebombed the Youtubesphere, triggering a wide array of responses. The clip depicts what appears to be an elementary school reenactment of the final scene from Brian De Palma’s bloody cult classic remake of the 1932 film, Scarface. Lasting only a little over 2 minutes, the actors, all ages 7-10 drop a slew of fudge-bombs, lock and load Nerf rifles, and sit behind mounds of popcorn-flavored cocaine, all before the main character, a short, wide-eyed Al Pacino Jr. “dies” in a hail of imaginary bullets. An audience of proud parents and teachers erupt in applause.

Shocked? You should be. But not because these children have been encouraged to portray such violence and immorality–but because, according to Marc Klasfeld who staged this viral video fiasco, children are exposed to this type of thing daily in the media.

The video is a fake, but is intended to bring about real conversation concerning the content that young children are subjected to while watching television and playing video games. The debate is ongoing, but most commonly fizzles in an indictment of the poor parenting which allows negative images to permeate the household in the first place. However, Klasfeld, with two young children of his own, thinks that presenting “evidence” in this way will truly stir the pot. It is a bold approach.

I’m torn between whether or not this display will truly aid in conversation or simply serve as a media spectacle in itself. Will its message be lost in the sensational delivery? What do you all think?

31
Mar
10

Senioritis

As I strolled across Hampton University’s campus today, I experienced an elated sensation of accomplishment. It was freeing, uplifting, and unexpected in the way it entered my body on the tail-end of a breath of warm air that filled my lungs. Exhaling, I experienced a momentary high, brought about, undoubtedly, by a combination of sunny skies, the cool and calm solitude that surrounded me, and the ever-present knowledge of my soon-to-be future. I’m leaving this place in little more than a month. For the past three and a half years, I have claimed a shared dorm on this campus as my temporary residence. I have attended plenty of classes, skipped a few others, and generally attempted to give my undivided attention to whoever it was presenting their interpretation of the course’s subject matter to the class. I have eaten side-by-side with hundreds of other undergraduate students in the same crowded cafeteria day in and day out, asking for little more than my neighbor to pass the ketchup. But on May 9th, I will ask for something more. Something I’ve earned.

My degree, my diploma, and my ticket outside of the walls of this tiny community called Hampton University and into the “real world.” But first, I must tackle a beast much greater than any obstacle of mundaneness that these past three years have set before me. This challenge will be greater than any I’ve faced as course-work for any number of classes led by the “hard” instructors. It has already proven to be a more imposing foe than any social situation could produce in the form of meeting new people or approaching a lovely young lady. It’s called Senioritis, and it has struck me hard and deep.

If you haven’t noticed, my posting has slowed.

I’m trying desperately to shake this affliction and re-rail my train of thought back on a track that will lead me through the gates of graduation with an honest desire to keep this thing going. I can only hope. In the mean time, however, I’ve found this type of writing to be therapeutic. It helps reveal to me that not everything I’ve accomplished during these past three years has been all towards the purpose of a good grade. This blog, I truly feel, is an expression that belongs to my passion for communication and my tendency to do so in abundance. In other words, this is fun.

I found this excerpt from the entry in Wikipedia for the term “Senioritis.”

Studies and Solutions

“To claim the term senioritis to be one of recent origin ignores the events on college campuses of the 1960s. Many public school administrators in the 1970s felt that changes in family and community life had failed youth in their transitions to adulthood. Writers like James Coleman, Chairman of the President’s Panel of Youth, urged changes in the high school curriculum to address the problem of senioritis. These concerns gave rise to the implementation of a “Senior Semester” in many high schools throughout the country, which allowed Seniors to spend time outside of the school or attend seminars in their specific interests. In 1974, for example, McKeesport High School in Pennsylvaniareceived a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to establish a “Senior Semester” Program.

The College Board, the National Youth Leadership Council, and other youth-serving organizations suggest that there are many ways schools can help young people make the most of their senior year instead of succumbing to the temptation to take it easy once graduation is assured. Giving young people opportunities to make their academic work more meaningful throughservice-learning, or other forms of experiential education, can increase students’ academic aspirations.

Some students who are experiencing senioritis believe that they can simply “get it out of their system” by taking weeks off at a time. This is a fatal error when dealing with this disease. It causes the near instant destruction of the grade point average, followed by the deflation of the student’s reputation with professional staff. This is because laziness is an addiction, and feeding it only causes it to become worse, exacerbating the condition of the afflicted individual. Senioritis has no theorized cure, and although research is being done there seems to be no slowing of the constant increase of infections as time goes on. Experts in the field recommend that teachers “leave the kids alone,” and “just give them A’s” especially in the difficult subjects (such as physics and chemistry) in order to discourage the active destruction of the classroom environment by those severely infected individuals. Some teachers who attempt to curb senioritis have been subject to horrible pranks from mischievous students, including but not limited to, surprise birthdays, flatulence noises in class, and random pencil breaking.”

I don’t know about the flatulence, but I do know that if sufferers of Senioritis need one thing–its rest. I’ll be out on the waterfront recovering.

31
Mar
10

Freaknik Pt. 2

Ladies and Gentlemen, in case you missed it earlier this month, Freaknik–in all its cartoonish lewdness– has returned! Thanks to the good (and indulgently twisted) people over at Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, the ultimate Spring Break celebration has landed square in almost every living room with basic cable or household with internet access across the country. Hosted by a handful of hip hop’s most outspoken and outrageous voices, the broadcast, which actually aired early this month, is now available in its entirety on the adult swim website.

I missed the original airing of “Freaknik: The Musical” but  recently watched it online. From a historical standpoint, you’d be better off learning about the origins of the original Black Spring Break by reading my last post. It’s pretty good, if I may say so myself. But from a pure entertainment standpoint, those of you who don’t mind unabashed ignorance, blaxploitation, depictions of Jesus-like figures voiced by incarcerated rappers, and a television event most likely as ludicrous as the Freaknik celebration itself, will find yourselves truly enjoying this one.

Coming in at a full hour, the cartoon is definitely not meant to be taken as a serious investigation into any aspect of black culture–other than the fact that we like to laugh too. However, the attention that  some websites have brought to the broadcast have shed a more political light on the comedy, claiming that the show was misguided and insensitive. The New York Times even took a minute to acknowledge the musical, giving a somewhat objective review of the rowdiness that took place on television screens during the March 4th broadcast.

My own personal review of “Freaknik: The Musical” is short and simple. It could have been a little bit longer to include more of the actual Freaknik celebration, and sometimes the cheap, racially-charged jokes fell a little flat. But a cause for alarm? I say no. Unless that alarm is the signaling for part two of Freaknik in April… I could bear to listen to a few more original T-Pain melodies introducing me to the “party 101” classroom.

Here’s a short promo. The official trailer was a little more explicit than what I wanted to include in this post…. yeah yeah yeah, here you go.




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