Monthly Archives: June 2013
I just finished watching a very interesting and heartwarming film and could not resist sharing it with you. It’s called People Like Us and despite coming out in 2012 to decent reviews, it is now available almost everywhere. I highly recommend that you check it out.
The film centers on Sam—an estranged son with lots of personal and legal problems—who returns home after his father dies, hoping to claim a financial inheritance large enough to get him out of trouble. His dad was a famous music producer who knew nearly every artist known to man. Unfortunately, Sam’s father leaves all his money to Josh Davis, the son of a reformed alcoholic named Frankie who Sam soon discovers is his sister.
I would describe the film more if I wasn’t afraid it would spoil something—including the “6 rules of life” Sam learned from his father as a child, which are very insightful. This is one you really need to see for yourself. Granted, it is a little slow to get going, but it also feels more like an independent film, so pacing tends to matter a little less. People Like Us also features an outstanding cast, including Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Wilde and Michael Hall D’Addario as the troubled Josh. And believe me when I say they work very well together.
The end of the film is a bit of a tear-jerker, especially for anyone with siblings, daddy issues, family dysfunction… hell, pretty much everyone. If you find yourself sitting around some night with nothing to watch on television, check your cable provider, on-demand service, Netflix, HBO Go or whatever you choose and see if you can find People Like Us. I assure you it is worth your time to watch it.
Happy viewing, people!
In May of 2011, a man in Garden Grove, California filed for divorce from his wife, Vietnam-born Catherine Kieu. The couple met at a gym a few years earlier and had been happy for a time, but things had changed recently. An ex-girlfriend had come back into his life and based on the rekindling of that former flame, the time had come for a change.
Despite their separation, the man continued to share a condominium with his estranged wife. And for a month or two, things seemed to be going fine. There were arguments from time to time, but nothing major… at least not until one terrible day in July.
That afternoon, they had another argument, this time about a friend the man wanted to stay with them sometime soon. She finally relented and made a peace offering by serving him some delicious tofu, one of his favorite foods. It was delicious and quite filling, so much so that he immediately got sleepy and had to go to bed.
Little did he know that his soon-to-be ex-wife had laced his tofu with the sleep medication Ambien. And when he awoke, he found his arms and legs splayed apart and tied to different bedposts. Standing above him—a 10-inch knife in her hand—was Catherine. And she was not happy.
“You deserve it! You deserve it! You deserve it!” she yelled at her helpless husband. Then she did the unthinkable: she pulled down his pants, grabbed his penis and lopped it off with the knife.
With severed penis in hand—and her husband bleeding in the bedroom—Catherine walked casually into the kitchen, tossed the bloody member into the garbage disposal, switched it on and mutilated the penis. She then phoned the police, who arrived to find her husband tied up and bleeding right where she left him. He was rushed to UC Irvine Medical Center for emergency surgery and survived, but his penis could not be reattached. Now he can pee, but he can never have a sex life again.
Police could find no clear motive for the heinous sex crime, but apprehended Catherine and charged her with false imprisonment, aggravated mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon, poisoning, administering a drug with intent to commit a felony and spousal abuse.
She was eventually found guilty of one felony count of aggravated mayhem, one felony count of torture and a sentencing enhancement for using that knife. I’m not actually sure what that last one means, but it certainly can’t be good.
This Friday, Catherine Kieu was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole in seven years. I’m hoping no one is stupid enough to let her out that soon, though. She definitely deserves a lot worse, and I’m not just saying that because a guy lost his business, either. I assume we would all be equally upset if some crazy man had hacked off a woman’s breasts.
No matter how you slice it—no pun intended—assault is never a good thing. And that obviously includes a sexual assault like this one.
I truly feel for the victim in this terrible tale. He remains nameless since none of the media sources has identified him—this is customary in cases of spousal abuse, for obvious reasons. However, he did release a statement through his lawyer. It’s heartbreaking, but here’s an excerpt:
“The convicted (person) viciously deprived me of part of my life and identity. Then, as is routine in cases of violence that involve something sexual, the victim must endure, at the hands of the defense, a second attack. This was a cruel and calculated violation of a person’s body and mind. I now struggle with what is before me. She has torn off my identity as a man. She has caused doubt in my belief in good. She has betrayed my trust in people.”
The poor guy even said that when he learned his penis could not be reattached—that his “wife” had diced it up in the disposal—he felt as if he had been murdered. I can’t even imagine…
According to the defense, Catherine experienced trauma—some in the form of molestation—during her childhood in wartime Vietnam. This caused mental health problems like depression, which were exacerbated by “sexual requests her husband made that caused her pain”—whatever the hell that means. Anal, maybe?
Years of verbal and sexual abuse finally resulted in Catherine having some kind of “break from reality,” at least that’s what her public defender Frank Bittar claimed. Of course, I don’t buy that crap for a second. We’re supposed to believe this woman had a temporary psychotic episode that resulted in her chopping the dong off a man she also drugged and bound? I’m sorry, but all this plotting, executing and recording—a voice-activated tape recorder Catherine set up in the bedroom caught that bit where she repeated “you deserve it” before going to work on her husband’s Johnson—seems like more than a “break from reality.”
Catherine knew what she was doing. And while I’m sorry that she had such a rough childhood, I simply cannot accept that as justification for chopping off a man’s penis and grinding it into hamburger. Even if her husband was abusive, she could have found a less violent and vindictive way to exit the relationship. Wouldn’t someone have noticed some warning signs prior to this desperate act? Couldn’t she have easily extracted herself once her husband started talking to his ex-girlfriend again? Don’t you think he would prefer some privacy to enjoy with his “new” lady friend?
I think so.
If Catherine Kieu is mentally ill, then I sincerely hope she receives treatment while serving her life term. And if counseling or some other therapy is available, I’m certain she will participate since doing so will strengthen her case for parole seven years from now. Either way, she will likely be released with enough time to enjoy a good life, while her ex-husband suffers daily after one cruel and callous attack.
Clearly, justice was not served… how sad…
Never in a million years would I ever claim that new fathers are idiots, especially since I was a new dad not that long ago. Granted, there were plenty of times when I felt stupid—which I assume is common for anyone’s first child—but I eventually got the hang of it.
Sadly, it seems that the people at Clorox have a different view of new dads, as evident from a derogatory online posting they recently pulled from the web after people got pissed. The title of the post was “6 Mistakes New Dads Make” and honestly, they were all kind of sketchy.
Bear in mind that I am not an overly sensitive person and believe people in general are too quick to get upset about the most insignificant things. I have a rather demented sense of humor and a thick skin, so even the edgiest humor has very little effect on me and never offends me. It’s obvious this isn’t the case for everyone, though, and Clorox touched a nerve when they drifted into new dad humor.
The posting begins by comparing new fathers to dogs or other pets, those whose intentions may be good but who lack the “judgment and fine motor skills to execute well.” And from there, it doesn’t get much better. Here’s a quick summary of the mistakes new dads allegedly make:
- They can’t dress their babies warmly in cold, wet weather.
- They have no idea how to put babies’ clothes on and frequently put them on backwards.
- They force their children to watch reality television programming or simply plant them in front of the “boob tube” too much.
- They forget to wipe babies’ faces and leave crud caked on them indefinitely.
- They allow their kids to eat food that fell on the floor.
- They constantly take babies to inappropriate places, like bars, casinos and… get this… poetry readings.
While all of these “mistakes” are ridiculous in their own way, the worst of all is that reference to poetry readings as being bad places to take your kids. Poetry? Really?
I would think something like crack dens or even meetings of young Republicans would be far less appropriate than some coffee shop where an artist is slamming verses. Of course, I know nothing compared to the wise disinfectant people at Clorox.
Shocking isn’t the right word for this misguided online posting because honestly, it isn’t shocking in the least. But it did anger enough people to be pulled by the company not long after it hit the web. And there were plenty of colorful comments left on the site, the best of which came from Ariel Isenberg, who summed everything up perfectly.
“Me want to comment but me two dum.”
If you’re a new dad and ask the Clorox people, Ariel, then yes… you are too dumb. Fortunately, we know the truth.
Sadly, my suspicions about the talented player were correct. He was involved in this heinous crime and could now be facing life behind bars.
For some background, check out “Patriots Player in Trouble” by going HERE.
Based on the latest reports, the evidence against Hernandez is mounting and includes: a wallet and keys to a car Aaron rented, which were found at the scene; the fact that Hernandez and Lloyd were seen leaving his house in a silver Nissan Altima around 2:30 the morning Lloyd died; surveillance cameras in the industrial park that show a car fitting that description coming to-and-from the remote area where Lloyd’s body was found; footage from Hernandez’s security system—which he tried to destroy, by the way—showing he and two strangers returning to his home later that morning (Hernandez is even carrying a firearm); and so on, and so forth.
The defense would have us believe that the identity of the two accomplices is extremely important, but I disagree. Although no murder weapon has been found, it seems obvious that Hernandez was at least involved in this execution-style killing. And for that he should remain incarcerated, which it seems he will for a long, long time.
To add insult to injury, the Patriots also released Hernandez and dropped him from their roster, issuing an official statement a short time later: “Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation.”
This comes only a year after the team signed Hernandez to a five-year contract worth a whopping $40 million. That’s a far cry from the $1 to $1.50 he’ll earn per hour working in prison. And that’s only if he gets one of the choice jobs. More meager work assignments may earn him only fifty cents an hour.
Can you say career suicide? Because that is exactly what Aaron Hernandez committed… in addition to murder, of course. What a waste…
UPDATE (1:00 p.m. EST): Things continue to get worse for Aaron Hernandez. According to the latest reports, he is also being investigated in connection with a 2012 double homicide in Boston . I also heard that his tattoos are being inspected to determine if he has any gang affiliations. Holy cow…
In my extensive life experience—and I am totally kidding when I say that, or rather write that—I have encountered only two geographical areas… climates… whatever… where I felt with both body and soul that I truly belonged.
The first was in the desert, more specifically in the desert of the American southwest. I first visited New Mexico and Arizona as a teenager on one of those cross-country group tours for well-to-do teens… or should I say, teens with parents who were well-to-do. And I was fortunate enough to be among them, if only for a short while.
Although I can’t explain it, something about the desert clime rang true and tapped into something I had never experienced before: my spirit. Sure, there was plenty of heat, but it was a dry heat, not the humid and wet diaper of North Carolina weather I was accustomed to. And I saw my share of dangerous desert creatures, to be sure. There were scorpions I had to run out of my tent while camping on a later cross-country trip, this one with a small group of friends. And trust me when I say that from that point forward, we always checked our tents, shoes, bags and other items thoroughly, knowing our poisonous little friends could be lurking almost anywhere.
There was another time when I was participating in a summer work camp with my church youth group. We joined dozens of other groups from churches around the nation and converged on a high school in western New Mexico. There we staged a huge effort to help the poor people of the surrounding communities with everything from installing a chimney and chopping wood to painting and reinforcing adobe brick around ovens. On the first day, we were assigned to teams that in most cases included only random people from other churches—to me it seemed intentional, meant to foster fellowship whether you liked it or not. But it was fun, I give it that.
Each morning, we would meet our team, truck and driver to be transported to our work site, which was way out in the desert. We would load up our supplies, double-check our water supply, package our lunches and get to work. The trucks dropped us off in the morning and picked us up in the late afternoon. Aside from that, there was no other contact.
I would soon learn that when it came to this “drop-off-pick-up” policy, some fine tuning may have been needed—by which I mean leaving a walkie-talkie or some other means of communication. Sadly, this was long before the age of cell phones and other technological lifesavers, back when the only computer you had available was the meaty one between your ears. And on this particular day, I was going to need it.
Once the truck was long gone and we were completely on our own, someone on my team realized we were missing some key components for today’s job of putting in a chimney. Since there was no way of contacting “base camp”—and since on this day, our site had been moved at the last minute, bringing us nearly a mile closer to the high school—we decided to send two members across the desert on foot to retrieve the supplies and return with the truck.
Fortunately, I drew a short straw and thus became one of the desert nomads. The good news was that my companion was also the cutest girl on the team. I wish I could remember her name.
Needless to say, we started on our trek and knew which direction to go, so we did reach our destination. And everything worked out as it should. However, that was one long walk because every so often, we would hear rattling from this direction or that, forcing us to shift our course slightly so as not to encounter any of our slithery little friends. It was quite an adventure, and I have loved the desert ever since.
My other ideal location is, of course, the beach. I suppose this could stem from one being so similar to the other, at least when it comes to sand. Actually, since sea water can’t be ingested anyway, it seems the desert and beach may be even more similar than I originally imagined.
Just ignore the fact that having sea water means having water to filter and drink, if you don’t mind. I was kind of on a roll there.
Anyway, few places bring me as much unadulterated joy and immeasurable relaxation as the beach. Something about the sweat beading up on your skin as you bake in the sun—the cool ocean breeze drifting in with the gentle lapping of the waves against the shore—transforms me into a large, white blob of pleasure-filled chillaxation—a delightful combination of chilling out and relaxing, for those unfamiliar with the term.
Toss in some bikini-clad women frolicking in the breakers and I am truly home.
Of course, there is good and bad in everything, and the beach is no exception. Sometimes you see things there you wish you had never seen, or meet people you never in a million years believed would cross your path. Occasionally you witness something unexpectedly hilarious—and no, I’m not talking about some overweight guy in a thong… even though he is always entertaining. And every so often, you discover that the beach has a dark side. It’s hard to find in most beach communities, but it is there. Believe me.
To celebrate this duality—and to pay homage to one of my favorite places—I offer the following gallery. Some of these images are humorous; others border on terrifying. But they all show just how interesting, wonderful and utterly ridiculous life among the sand dunes can be. I hope to see you there someday!
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi—also known as Il Cavaliere (The Knight)—accomplished a lot during his three stints as the Top Dog in the boot-shaped European nation. And in his business life, he has been especially successful.
To date, Berlusconi is the owner of the AC Milan soccer team; the 194th richest man in the world, with Forbes estimating his 2013 worth somewhere around $6 billion; the longest post-war Prime Minister of Italy; the third-longest since Italy was reunified; the leader of the People of Freedom party; and was the most senior leader of the G8 countries for a number of years.
Of course, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for this colorful Italian character. For decades, Berlusconi has been embroiled in all manner of scandals and controversies.
In 1990, he was found guilty of giving false testimony in front of the Court of Verona. Fortunately, some kind of amnesty passed in 1989 pardoned him and prevented any sentence from being applied.
In 2009, Berlusconi was mentioned in the same breath as the word bribery for allegedly paying a British lawyer named David Mills to provide favorable witness evidence in court. And for his role he received no real punishment to speak of.
In 2011 and 2012, Silvio B. kept very busy. First came charges of abusing his office by releasing confidential wiretaps meant to discredit his political rivals. The paper Il Giornale—which is owned by Berlusconi’s brother—published the damning information and as a result, big brother Silvio received a one-year jail sentence.
The second big controversy in this two-year span involved tax evasion and resulted in Berlusconi being sentenced to four years in prison. He was also barred from seeking political office for five years, not that this matters to someone worth billions of dollars.
I’m sure he’ll find ways to fill his time… when he’s not behind bars, I mean.
Unfortunately, it now looks as if bad Berlusconi will have even more prison time than he originally planned thanks, once again, to a scandal, this time of the sexual variety.
In 2011, Berlusconi was charged with having sex with a minor and abuse of power. Apparently, he hooked up with an underage prostitute named Karima el Mahroug—professionally known as “Ruby the Heart-Stealer“—a total of 13 times. She had lied about her age, of course, but that mattered little to the Italian court.
This was enough for an Italian court to find Berlusconi guilty and to sentence him to 7 years in prison, again barring him from political office for another 5 years.
And thus ends the tale of bad, bad Berlusconi… a man with money, power, political clout and an insatiable need to bang young hookers. Here’s hoping he finds a creative way of satisfying those same needs in prison!
Mandela is being treated in a Pretoria hospital for a recurring respiratory infection and has been there for several weeks—he made headlines when the ambulance transporting him from Johannesburg to Pretoria broke down on the way to his third hospital stay this year.
In other words, things aren’t looking good for the 94-year-old Mandela. And a life that included civil rights/anti-apartheid activism, unfair imprisonment and appointment as the first black South African president may soon be coming to an end. I hope not and will try to stay positive, of course, but I’m also realistic. Ninety-four years is a long time…
It is hard to deny the skills possessed by New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Since being drafted out of Florida in 2010, he and teammate Rob Gronkowski have formed the most effective and dynamic duo ever to play this position, much less for the same team during the same era.
Gronkowski—or Gronk—also entered the National Football League in 2010.
Last summer, the Patriots signed Hernandez to a five-year, $40 million contract. Unfortunately, Hernandez’s future in the NFL and ability to actually collect on this contract has been clouded by a recent murder investigation near his home in an upscale neighborhood of North Attleborough, Massachusetts. Police are trying to determine what happened to semi-pro, Boston Bandits football player Odin Lloyd, whose bullet-ridden body was found in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez’s home on Monday.
Lloyd and the Patriots’ star were allegedly friends who went to some nightclubs the night before the murder with some other friends. There is even surveillance footage that shows the men together.
A few hours later—sometime before dawn—Lloyd was dead. And his body lay there until early evening when a jogger happened upon it and called police.
At this point, Hernandez has not been named as a suspect or even a person of interest, but the evidence appears to be mounting against him. Bear in mind, however, that nothing I mention here has been confirmed or substantiated. Official word will undoubtedly come later.
According to numerous sources, an arrest warrant for Hernandez has been written, but not yet issued. The charge is obstruction of justice for—get this—possible destruction of evidence connected to Lloyd’s murder. It seems that Aaron’s home security system had been intentionally smashed. And when investigators asked for his cell phone, they received it from his lawyer only to find it arrived in pieces, also smashed beyond recognition.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it doesn’t take a world-class detective to put all these clues together. Hernandez may not be guilty of murder, but it’s fairly obvious that he knows something.
Either that or he’s the clumsiest player in NFL history. And judging from his performance on the field, I seriously doubt this is the case. But there’s more.
Police are also curious to know why Hernandez hired a cleaning crew to tidy up his mansion on Monday, the same day Lloyd was lying dead in that industrial park. They are also investigating other allegations and legal issues involving the Patriots player, none of which make him look any better.
One such incident—for which Hernandez is currently being sued—involves 30-year-old Alexander Bradley, who claims Aaron shot him in the face last February after a night partying at strip clubs. Bradley ended up losing his right eye and underwent surgery numerous times to reconstruct his face. And his ordeal isn’t over, either, since he will need more procedures in the future.
Then in May, Hernandez was leaving a nightclub in Providence, Rhode Island when he was harassed by some Jets fan and may have been involved in some kind of brawl. Police intervened and Hernandez was allowed to leave, but the cops witnessed a black male in the dispersing crowd tossing something under a car before he vanished.
It was a .22-caliber pistol with several bullets in its magazine.
I suppose it’s possible that Hernandez is innocent of everything mentioned here and instead gets targeted by nut jobs simply because of who he is. However, you have to admit that it makes him look even more suspicious. And I have a bad feeling that when it’s all said and done, we’ll learn that this football star with so much potential was like many who came before him: troubled, incapable of escaping his past and, worst of all, guilty.
I just hope that I’m wrong. After all, my Pittsburgh Steelers can’t enjoy a true victory over the Patriots unless they beat them at full-strength. And these days, that means playing against Aaron Hernandez.
Just to be safe, though, I would make sure I stayed out of trouble if I were you, Gronk. It looks like you might get some extra playing time soon.
Congratulations to the NBA champion Miami Heat!
On the shoulders of marquee players like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, the Heat outlasted the San Antonio Spurs by a score of 95-88 in game 7 of this year’s NBA Championship. Not only that, but this is their second consecutive championship, which means every team in the league will be trying to “beat the Heat” next year.
Otherwise, a third championship could be heading to Florida because right now, these guys are undoubtedly the strongest unit in the game.
In last night’s battle—and following a back-and-forth exchange of wins and losses between these powerhouse teams since the finals began—LeBron was on fire, hitting 12-of-23 shots from the field, tallying up 37 points—which included five three-pointers—knocking down all of his free throws and contributing 4 assists and 12 rebounds.
Dwayne Wade was a perfect complement to LeBron as he posted 23 points, 10 rebounds and 6-of-12 baskets from mid-range. The Spurs obviously wanted to challenge Wade to score from this area and in true Heat fashion, he did just that.
Another stand-out was former Duke superstar Shane Battier, a man I used to pull against regularly—I prefer other ACC teams like UNC, Wake Forest and NC State—but always respected him, whether I liked it or not. Few players can drain the basket from the three-point line like Shane, and last night was no exception. He came off the bench to hit 6-of-8 threes and helped his team maintain their lead as they marched towards victory.
Battier later claimed that “it’s better to be timely than good,” but we all know the truth. He is good and last night, his timing couldn’t have been better.
Normally, I don’t follow NBA basketball and prefer to watch college players, who seem to have more heart. But I can say this: last night’s heart belonged to the Miami Heat. And if they somehow manage to hold their team together—meaning LeBron doesn’t do what he did to the people of Cleveland by leaving suddenly via free agency—there is no limit to what these guys can achieve.
Hell, I would go so far as to predict a third Heat championship next season if millions of other people weren’t doing the same right now. It certainly seems like a safe bet.
Way to go, Heat!