Monthly Archives: December 2010

Angry, pig-killing celebrity addicts

What do actor Rainn Wilson, Questo of The Roots, Justin Bieber, Jordin Sparks, Slash and British Prime Minister David Cameron all have in common?

They have all admitted publicly to being addicted to Angry Birds, a cell phone application created by RovioMobile that boasts millions of players all over the world. And, they aren’t the only celebs who have caught the bird fever. Add to the list of stars we know for sure love the game: skater Tony Hawk, celebrated author Salman Rushdie, rocker Pete Wentz and Glee star Cory Monteith.

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If you have somehow missed out on the Angry Birds phenomenon and have no clue what I’m talking about, here is a YouTube promo that will give you an idea of how the game is played.

Doesn’t really look all that addictive when you’re just watching a video, does it?  Well, I have three stars on every level of the android version of the game, and I just discovered there is a holiday edition (Thank you @Questlove ) which I am about to kill when I’m finished here.

Trust me when I tell you this game is very addictive. Do not download it unless you want to have a lot of fun (and frustration). Consider yourself warned…

(I shall stop typing now and go slaughter some little green pig heads.)


Sofia Vergara’s heart is bigger than her…well, everything else

One big drawback to being as friggin’ drop dead ridiculously gorgeous and sexy as Sofia Vergara–It’s pretty impossible for people to see (or bother looking for) your spiritual assets when your physical ones are so distracting.

If you’ve watched the Emmy-award winning ABC show “Modern Family,” you already know. Sofia’s character Gloria is a scene-stealer whose thick Columbian accent seems almost too thick to be true–along with some other thick things that Sofia was actually born with. (She wanted a breast reduction, but her mom talked her out of it, saying, “God is going to punish you if you cut them.”)

Before she was discovered on a beach in Columbia and fast-tracked to modeling gigs and a Pepsi ad, Sofia was a catholic school girl (no, really) who more than anything wanted to be a dentist. Please. Can you imagine how popular her dental practice would have been? She abandoned her dentistry dreams to take her first television hosting job–but only after consulting with the nuns in her hometown school who told her to go for it.

Beauty has not shielded Vergara from life’s tragedies. In 1998 her brother Rafael was murdered by kidnappers in Bogota, Columbia and two years after his death Sofia was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which she was able to beat with radiation and surgery. About her cancer battle she said,

“When you go through something like this, it’s hard, but you learn a lot from it. Your priorities change. You don’t sweat the small stuff. “

The experience led her to create Peace and Hope for the Children of Colombia, a charitable organization that has served thousands of needy children in her home country.

“Through the charity I sponsor, we’re building a cancer center in my hometown of Barranquilla. I visited the cancer ward of a hospital in Colombia, and parents were just sitting on the floor while their kids were being treated.”

Sofia also launched a clothing line called Vergara by Sofia,  a socially-conscious brand generating over 1,500 jobs in her native country.

This fall Vergara joined Gloria Estefan, Placido Domingo, Enrique Iglesias and other Latin stars to  record the  song and video “La Gota de la Vida” to raise money for bone marrow donation awareness.

That’s right. In addition to everything else she’s abundantly blessed with…her singing voice is pretty too.

Mike Vick and I have something in common

First things first, let me confess that as it relates to discussing Michael Vick’s crimes against animals I cannot be considered unbiased. I have an 8-year-old pit bull who has been with our family since he was two months old and the thought of Baloo, or any other dog, being tossed in a fighting ring to win or die trying is beyond disgusting–it is just plain evil.

Having said that, let me also confess that I am an avid fisher-woman. There are few activities that bring me more peace of mind, excitement or satisfaction than sitting on a boat from sunup to sundown casting my bait and fighting those fish who are desperately trying not to end up on my plate. The bumpersticker “I’d rather be fishing” was created with me in mind.

There are some members of PETA who will call that just plain evil.

Now, if you think I’m equating dog fighting with fishing, I’m not. I don’t think they’re the same–not even close. Dog fighting is about violence, ego and money. Fishing is about… Um, well, hmm… many people do fish for food.


No, for real. The creator obviously intended for fish to be eaten by other animals. Am I not one of many predators who kill fish for food? (And, I bet grizzly bear claws  cause the fish a whole lot more suffering than my little hook.) Besides, I never catch more fish than I will feed to my family, and I do not catch and release. Once I’ve caught enough fish to eat (or to give away to friends or family who will eat it) I quit fishing. Just between us, when I’m impaling a worm or bait fish on my hook I apologize to it, and once I’ve landed a fish and got it into the boat, someone else has to kill it for me because I can’t bring myself to do it. (I have no problem, however, rolling it in some cornmeal and frying it up afterwards).

All of that “justifying” my violence against fish is the result of a little voice in my head that doesn’t want to feel bad about making the fish suffer–it’s called “empathy.”

EMPATHY : “Understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”

Most humans have empathy for other humans, and many have it for animals, but empathy is an easy thing to lose when you are desensitized to violence from a very young age. I can remember being taken fishing when I was a small child and refusing to participate because to me it looked like they were torturing defenseless creatures. Over the years, the more I witnessed the adults around me doing it, and the more I saw the benefits of catching fish, the more desensitized I became–until I eventually grew to love the sport myself.

I will never understand how a person could get pleasure from electrocuting an animal or how they could throw their family dog into the fighting ring and laugh as their pet suffers (which Vick reportedly did), but I can understand how over years of being exposed to that kind of violence, your empathy voice might get silenced until you just don’t hear it anymore. It appears that after years of exposure to violence against dogs being perpetrated by people Mike loved and admired,  he not only shut the voice off, he developed an appetite for the violence himself.

Michael Vick is now an ex-convict who served time for torturing dogs, and he is using his experience to prevent other young people from going down that same violent road.

“God sent me to the bottom. And I’m a firm believer in karma, and I think it happened because of what I did and what I allowed to happen to those animals, so I was stripped of everything, stripped me down to the bone of everything and, you know, I think I took for granted the position that I was in in my life, all the blessings that I had, and that wasn’t my purpose in life to be doing what I was doing and it was wrong,” -Michael Vick

There are thousands of little boys out there right now who have been taught that dog fighting is a sport. They have never had a high profile “role model” tell them otherwise. Now they do.

Unless you’ve been hiding from television and Internet news for the last 24 hours, you have probably heard that President Obama recently called the Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, and praised him for giving Michael Vick a chance to revive the career he lost when he was thrown in jail for operating a dog-fighting ring. Obama said the Eagles giving Michael Vick a second chance was important for society.

I agree.

Obama’s  message gives hope to ex-convicts who want to work and become productive members of society, and it also uplifts a high profile spokesperson against cruelty to animals to whom kids will pay attention.

I believe thousands fewer dogs will suffer as a result of what Michael Vick is now doing. How could that be bad?

By the way, I really would appreciate
any arguments you all have
for or against fishing.
After writing this piece,
I think I’m on the fence.

Teena Marie’s last words were wishes

It is beyond tragic that Teena Marie, who at age 54 had so much more living to do, died in her sleep on Christmas night–the very same night her only child, Alia Rose, turned 19.

Alia and Teena, Summer 2010

Teena’s last words via Twitter just a few hours before she died were Christmas wishes for you and your family, a thank you to Jesus Christ for being born, a happy birthday message to her daughter, a tribute to singer Sarah Vaughan, and one wish for herself:

Your last wish on earth has been lovingly granted by your family friends and fans all over the world–You will never die, Ms. Teena. Your music, your legendary love of life and your open heart and soul will live forever.

“I’ve been called Casper, Shorty, Lil’ Bit
And some they call me Vanilla Child

But you know that don’t mean my world to me
’cause baby, names can’t cramp my style…

…That’s what I’m talking, baby
Square , Square Biz” -Teena Marie

Tyler Perry’s extreme makeover…burned home edition

I know he’s now an entertainment mogul who can hang up the granny dress for good if he chooses, but it is still pretty difficult to think of Tyler Perry and not think of the extreme makeover he undergoes to portray grandma Madea–a makeover that led to him becoming very, very rich.

Two days before Christmas Mr. Perry used some of that money he’s earned to help a real-life grandmother rebuild the home she’s lived in for forty years after it burned to the ground. 88-year-old Rosa Lee Ransby and the seven great-grandchildren she is raising by herself escaped injury but were left homeless by the tragedy. The local fire chief asked the Coweta, GA community for donations to assist the family, and within hours Tyler, who lives in nearby Atlanta, came to the rescue in a major way.

Not only is Mr. Perry paying for Ms. Ransby’s home to be reconstructed, he has rented a home nearby for her and her family to live in until their new home is finished, which will be sometime next year. Tyler will fill the home with new furniture as well.

It is a time like this that must make being a several hundred millionaire feel pretty amazing.

Click the link below to view a video of the 88-year-old woman, her great-grandchildren and the local fire chief who said the gesture made his Christmas. “I’ve been doing this a long time – seen a lot of bad things come and go – but this is special.”

An intimate Christmas gift from L. Boogie

When rap legend Rakim was asked by MTV News who he most wanted to see on stage at Rock The Bells in San Bernardino this summer, he had a quick answer.

“Lauryn Hill, man….I’m amped. Lauryn, welcome back. We need you.”

It was the first time in over a decade most of those in attendance had seen the hip-hop legend perform on stage, and they weren’t disappointed. Along with some new rhymes, she gifted the crowd with classics from The Score and Miseducation. During a reggae breakdown of “Fugee La” she was joined on stage by Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé and Alicia Keys, and her set ended with her telling her fans repeatedly, “I miss you. I miss you.”

Fans on the East Coast who miss her too will get an opportunity to experience Lauryn Hill up close and personal at  these intimate venues over the next few weeks.  Can you imagine being at the Blue Note for a Lauryn Hill concert? (Definitely on my Christmas wish list).

December 27 New York, NY HighLine Ballroom
December 28 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg
January 1 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
January 3 – 5 New York, NY Blue Note
January 8 Charlotte, NC Amos’ SouthEnd
January 9 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
January 12 Charleston, SC Music Farm
January 14 Atlanta, GA Center Stage
January 16 St. Louis, MO The Pageant
January 18 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
January 20 Chicago, IL House of Blues
January 22 Toronto, ON Sound Academy
January 23 Montreal, QC Metropolis
January 29 Atlantic City, NJ House of Blues
February 4 Montclair, NJ Wellmont Theatre
March 19 Miami Gardens, FL Jazz in the Gardens

Will you be alive next Christmas Eve?

None of us really knows the answer to that question because in this life a tragedy or a miracle can happen in an instant. For most the answer is yes, but for many, this Christmas will be the last spent here on earth with family and friends.

I don’t mean to be morbid in this season meant for jolliness, but I’m hoping the question serves as a reminder of the amazing gift you have already received this year if you are alive and healthy. If you are fortunate enough to have been up and about combing the city for meaningful gifts for your loved ones, why not take a moment to consider offering a gift that will cost you zero dollars and is worth more than any gift you will ever spend your money on.

Below is a YouTube video recorded by a young man whose life was saved by Andrew, a marrow donor he didn’t know. His friends and family participated in this amazing “thank you” to Andrew. So creative and really touching. My favorites are at 2:10, 3:27, 3:35, 3:45, 4:16, 4:35, and 5:27.  Which ones touch you the most?

“It’s absolutely critical that people of every ethnic group and heritage join the registry because you are most likely to find a match within your own ancestry. Over six thousand people search the registry every single day looking for a marrow match.”

Visit to join the registry today.

3 good reasons to join the registry:

  • Do it as a thank you for the health you’ve been blessed with
  • Do it as a gesture of love for your fellow humans who are in need of something you have a plentiful supply of
  • Do it in the name of someone you love who would give anything to be healthy enough to save someone else’s life

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