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Alex Rodriguez earns his pay

It’s October, which to many Americans means it’s time to sit down and enjoy one of America’s best forms of entertainment: the Major League Baseball playoffs.

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A better read: “The Reader”

“I wanted simultaneously to understand Hanna’s crime and to condemn it. But it was too terrible for that. When I tried to understand it, I had the feeling I was failing to condemn it as it must be condemned. When I condemned it as it must be condemned, there was no room for understanding.”
The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink.

After reading this book for the first time, I only wanted to read it again. Of course, I just had to race to the nearest Blockbuster and rent the film as soon as possible. Unfortunately with the film version, I was sorely disappointed.

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Ah, to be 17 again: Jasmine Bedwell controversy

Think back to when you were 17.

Those were the best days of your life, right? You were making all the best decisions. You probably regret nothing. Now, imagine that you’re Jasmine Bedwell, a 17-year-old living in Tampa, Fla.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, Bedwell’s life has gone something like this: She’s run away from home more than 21 times. When she was in the fifth grade, her mother had a boyfriend call the police on Bedwell claiming that she had gotten physically violent over doing chores. Jeff Rainey, president and CEO of Hillsborough Kids Inc. said that she was abused all of her life by her caretakers.

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A king is dead

The King of Pop, the Man in the Mirror, the Moonwalker…is dead at age 50, the result of cardiac arrest, according to various news reports.

Of course, this isn’t news to you. The headline’s been running nonstop since word first surfaced around 12:30 p.m. PST, yesterday, June 25, that Michael Jackson has left the building for the last time. But can you believe it? Has it sunk in yet?

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Affordable summer fun not found in Florida

We rounded the next bend and that’s when I saw it for the very first time. From left to right my eyes slowly scanned; my lower jaw hanging in disbelief, my eyes unblinking at the sight of them one right after the other. Red, blue, green, yellow, orange…the rocky, white sand coastline was absolutely covered in roller coasters. Even at that distance, a good mile away, it took me two shots with my digital camera to capture the whole stretch.

“There it is, Dad!” I almost screamed.

“That’s why they call this ‘America’s Roller Coast,’” he responded with a smile.

It’s true that my dad and I drove a solid 18 hours from our home in Clearwater, Florida, a more than 1,100-mile trip through seemingly endless cornfields, tired farm towns and broken roads to visit what is arguably the top-rated thrill park on the planet, but I had no idea how fitting the extreme version of our trip just getting there actually fit the thrill power of this attraction….

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A social stance on Proyas’s “The Crow”

One year after the brutal murder of Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and girlfriend Shelly Webster (Sofia Shinas), Eric is brought back from the grave by a crow, a legendary creature that it is told can shatter the barrier between the living and the dead to bring back a life for the sake of love. The crow aides Eric in a righteous mission of vengeance as Eric seeks out the perpetrators of his and Shelly’s death.

“The Crow,” directed by visionary Alex Proyas, is set in the slums of an unnamed inner city where the sirens of police cars feel incessant and the flashing of red and blue lights is commonplace. Various gangs bully the city’s inhabitants for greed and mere amusement. Homeless people litter the streets and police patrol in fear. Children desperately search for food while their parents spend what little money they have on drugs such as cocaine and morphine.

This film is strewn with blatant depictions of big time social issues, including poverty, gang violence, homelessness, child abuse/neglect and drug addiction.

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Animal lives mean more than human lives for some

A few years ago we were mesmerized in the sports world by an unorthodox quarterback by the name of Michael Vick.  He did it all.  He ran for unheard of rushing yards for a quarterback. Vick could throw off balance with some noteworthy accuracy, across his body, to a receiver three checks down.

It was an amazing thing to watch.

Then someone let the dogs out and Michael Vick’s life turned upside down and his reputation and legacy were decimated in the public eye, while PETA got out its rain sticks and danced on his persona’s grave.

As many know, Vick and friends were accused and proven guilty of running a dog fighting ring, made all the worse through the media’s tendency to create a public execution, and in high definition, color corrected, memory searing detail.  Vick went to jail for a bad decision.

Not to justify what he did, but with how often things like this happen all across the world and no one cared at all in the past, Vick got thrown under a bus simply because he was famous.  And everyone loves Fido.

Fast forward to 2009.

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A film for all time: Kubrick’s genius in 2001

Wow. Certainly, that word sums up Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” in the most concise manner possible, and perhaps the best. The American Film Institute voted it number 22 on its 100 Years, 100 Movies list. And though it’s definitely an oldie (released in 1968) and many find it boring for its long sequences of silence, sometimes strange sounds and mostly the non-verbal portrayal of the vastness of outer space, the film is a true masterpiece that has influenced all forms of media; from movies like “Star Wars” and TV programs like The Simpsons to impacting the way we as people, we as the human race, we as living creatures, we as people of the public sphere, foreign to the realm of space, feel about what it would be like to be there, out there in space. The film also influences the ideas about where technology might take us in the future and even our personal beliefs about the origins of life. Truly, this film has been a breakthrough for it all.

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Asians want to look…whiter?

Yesterday was the first time in three years something more interesting than a pulled muscle happened to me at the gym.

It started a few weeks ago when I first noticed that one of the girls I attended a weekly Pilate’s class with just stopped showing up. I noticed her because she was one of the few women at my all-women’s gym that wasn’t overweight, age 50, or attending an intense core workout class clad in a flowery pink moo-moo.

I have to admit, I had grown to envy this girl’s beauty, mostly because she looked so different than me. She was a beautiful Asian girl with pin straight black hair, exotic dark eyes and a perfectly even skin tone; no fake bake orange or burning fluorescent tanning beds required.

She had never missed a class before. So I knew something was up.
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