Wednesday, April 16, 2014

'Bandits' booted from Boston Marathon 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 14, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 11, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 6, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

The teens are awaiting extradition back to Tennessee.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

"Scandal" recap: Mellie said knock you out!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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