Mocha Mr. Clean's The Dirty Truth

August 30, 2008

Flashback: Motown 25 …

Filed under: Pop Culture — mochamrclean @ 10:29 pm

It’s scary to think that there are kids today who only know Michael Jackson as the pasty-skinned “Wacko Jacko” who was accused of (yet acquitted) of child molestation … a tabloid headline favorite.

But there was a time when he was beloved from coast-to-coast. Some of us remember the time he did the moonwalkfor the first time during a performance during Motown’s 25th anniversary TV special. Remember the buzz it generated the following day?

~mmc

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August 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson …

Filed under: Pop Culture — mochamrclean @ 10:53 pm

Can you believe this person …

Was once this person?

Sigh … seriously, there are those of us who remember when poor Michael was the toast of the nation. Folks were in awe of “The Gloved One” the way people today are amazed by Michael Phelps. Then, one day aliens abducted Michael Jackson and left us with “Wacko Jacko.”

Come back to us Michael … we miss you.

~mmc

A Ladies’ Touch …

Filed under: Current Events,Politics — mochamrclean @ 8:53 pm
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin

Well, you have to admit it. John McCain proved that he still had a little mischievous maverick left in his 72-year-old body when he announced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. I could hear the rest of the country ask, “Who???”

But after hearing and watching Palin, a conservative, NRA card-carrying, self-described “hockey mom” of five, she is arguably the middle of the country’s dream. Her brunette hair rolled up in a bun, she comes off as no-frills, tough as nails governor with brains and beauty. Palin’s like the ultimate Super Mom – she’s the mother to both an entire state and her five kids and still takes care of her dock-working, dog-racing husband. Palin’s as blue collar as you can get and throw in the fact that she’s staunchly anti-abortion, she’s almost the perfect Republican.

McCain is undoubtedly trying to target the truly pissed-off Hillary supporters who are either not sold on Barack Obama or just won’t vote for him – even after their woman urged them to back him. It was a gutsy move that probably have many within the GOP nervous, even though they’re putting up a united front and saying all the right things publicly.

As the first-ever member of a GOP presidential ticket ever, Palin is already making history and she didn’t waste any time playing the Hillary card in her first appearance with McCain when she referred the “18 million cracks” the New York senator made in the glass ceiling. She paid homage to Hillary Clinton as a groundbreaker, even though her anti-abortion beliefs theoretically clash with to the disgruntled anti-Obama voters she and McCain are trying to court.

It’s amazing – Palin and Obama are both young and very inexperienced – or at least arguably too inexperienced for the jobs they want. But our times have made them pioneers and they have changed the political landscape. Obama and Palin and their respective “old guard” partners Joe Biden and McCain are making this the most exciting presidential race in ages.

Who needs cinematic superheroes when real life can be stranger and more exciting than fiction?

August 28, 2008

‘America, We Cannot Turn Back …’

Filed under: Current Events,Politics — mochamrclean @ 11:30 pm

On August 28, 2008, we saw a moment in time.

Whether you like Barack Obama or not, you couldn’t help but be awestruck by the sight of 85,000 people at Invesco Field in Denver cheering him during his acceptance speech of the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States.

We saw history tonight, the fulfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream on the 45th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech. The fact that was standing in front of a legion of cheering, tearful supporters as the first African-American nominee of a major party for President of the United States should have sent a chill up anyone’s spine, regardless of political affiliation.

AP

AP

You will see much dissection and analysis of Obama’s speech – whether is was too long on rhetoric and too short on specifics, which is becoming the most common critique among his detractors.

But give Obama credit: He didn’t use MLK as a crutch.

He didn’t lean on his own status as a history-maker-glass ceiling breaker. Obama looked ahead to the future – because the dream is not yet complete. Next stop: the White House.

You have to feel a little sorry for John McCain, though. Next to the pure spectacle of Obama’s presentation, the old man is going to look like he’s in a small barn with a few firecrackers going off when he takes the stage during the Republican National Convention next week in Minneapolis.

But Obama must be careful. He may feel euphoric now, but John McCain is a survivor. You don’t come out of being a prisoner of war for years and years without being other-worldly tough. And we still don’t really know how the middle of the country – the mayonnaise sandwich eaters – feel about you or what they will do come November. The Dirty Truth will be known in less than three months.

~mmc

August 21, 2008

My Fill of Phelps … Give Me Some Lightning!

Filed under: Current Events,Media,Sports — mochamrclean @ 9:37 pm

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of the Michael Phelps show.

Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated

Just like the media always does with a genuine, feel-good story, they’ve overdone it and showed someone down our throats. There’s no doubt that Phelps’ accomplishments at the Olympics are amazing – and by all reported accounts and appearances, he’s a humble, grounded nice guy. But I think I know a little too much about the guy now. His diet, what he stands to make, the length of his fingers, the way he turns to get out of bed in the morning … enough is enough!

NBC seemed hell-bent on shoe-horning a Michael Phelps reference every chance they could get in the days after his competition ended. “What It’s Like to Be Michael Phelps: Interview with a Man Mistaken for Olympian” was just the latest story Today ran Thursday morning. That story spelled awfully like the humorous Big Era “You No Big Papi” Baseball Cap commercials. Could NBC have staged a story just to squeeze out another Phelps story? Hmmmm….

While there is no other Olympian like Phelps, there were plenty of spectacular athletes who are not American who took the Games to new heights. How about some in-depth coverage of Usain Bolt, who broke two world records in winning two gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters?

AP

AP

The guy is a phenom – he proved that lightening can strike twice in the same place. He’s in a class by himself as he became the first man to break two world records in the same Olympic games. I want to know more about him – his inspiration, background, his family for Chrissakes! What about the general profile of the Jamaican track and field team, which has put other teams, particularly the U.S. team, to shame?

Listen, if NBC – and the general mainstream media in general – were really interested in the “true spirit” of the games, they would have broadened the coverage of the outstanding athletes a little … just a little. Yes, we’re a U.S. market. But isn’t everything supposed to be on a level playing field when it comes to the Olympics?

I guess not, when it comes to advertising dollars and ratings … and unfortunately, that’s The Dirty Truth.

August 15, 2008

Good Will Battle Evil …

Filed under: Comic Books,Pop Culture — mochamrclean @ 8:39 pm
NBC

NBC

The countdown is on! On September 22, Heroes – one of my favorite show and one of the finest, if not finest series of its kind – returns to the air. The Hollywood writers strike put a lot of speed bumps in the second season, but at least fans can catch up on and review Season 2 of Heroes when the DVD set comes out on August 26.

Why should everyone love Heroes? Because it mixes sophisticated storytelling with fantasy. It doesn’t insult anyone’s intelligence. Even snobs who thumb their noses at graphic novels and superhero movies would find Heroes compelling. Just look at its theme for the third season:

“In every Hero, there could be a villain.”

Think about that. Turn that around and you could say, “In every Villain, there could be a hero.”

That’s some profound stuff, fellow marks and smarks. That doesn’t just apply to Heroes. That applies to the presidential election. That applies to both the people you believe in the most and ones you despise. That applies to life itself.

That theme is The Dirty Truth.

~mmc

August 14, 2008

Resisting Rihanna? It’s Futile

Filed under: Pop Culture — mochamrclean @ 9:37 am

How can anybody resist Rihanna? Statuesque, caramel-skinned, with eyes that make you melt – and a CD that has been the gift that keeps on giving in Girl Girl Gone Bad.

She’s also the current queen of VH1 – there are times when it seems you won’t see her in less than three different videos (when VH1 plays music videos) in a 45-minute period. And somehow, Rihanna never seems stale.

Of course, this could all change. Rihanna could someday become as tiresome as Beyonce and Mariah. And let’s up she doesn’t become as loathsome as Paris, Lindsay and Britney (though Britney may have turned a corner). But for now, let’s enjoy waking up to Rihanna – it’s a beautiful way to begin an ugly day.

~mmc

The Gold Standard

Filed under: Current Events,Sports — mochamrclean @ 6:37 am

Wouldn’t we all love to be like Mike right now – and no, not that Mike. I mean the aquatic Mike – the Mike who has now won more gold medals than anyone in history, Michael Phelps.

His dominance and sheer grace in swimming has been nothing but awe-inspiring. Let’s face it, you’d swear the guy had gills, fins and a tail the way he glides through a pool. I bet some fishes can’t navigate in water as well as the 23-year-old Phelps.

23. Now that’s a truly scary thought. Phelps is already an Olympics legend and could very well be still be adding on to his storied history with more gold rushes in four years, at the age of 27.

But is Michael Phelps the greatest athlete of all-time, as some dunderhead, gushing, so-called journalists and talking heads have breathlessly asked the past couple of days? (Because they can’t think of more creative ways to cover the Phelps story – or just plain can’t think.) Well, let’s not go overboard, folks. It’s a difficult question to answer and really like comparing lots of apples to lots of oranges.

Let’s just enjoy Phelps for what he is: The most decorated gold medalist in Olympics history. A seemingly humble kid who knows he wouldn’t have achieved anything without the sacrifices and love of his single mom, who could be seen cheering him on and exulting in his triumphs from the stands in Beijing. She deserves a couple of gold medals, too!

And that, my friends, is The Dirty Truth.

~mmc

August 11, 2008

A ‘Good’ Way to Go …

Filed under: Uncategorized — mochamrclean @ 3:07 am

Hello Fellow Proud Marks, Smarks and True Believers:

I’ll admit it … all this death lately of performers I have enjoyed, combined with recently inching another year towards a milestone, has me a bit down and feeling somewhat introspective.

It’s difficult to write when you feel like you’d be better off catching up on other things, or better yet, with people you love and care about. Let’s draw some inspiration from the way late Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch approached death and life:

~mmc

Some Soul and Laughs in Heaven

Filed under: Current Events,Pop Culture — mochamrclean @ 12:04 am

God must have needed some laughter and soul in heaven. As the world’s best athletes battle for gold in China – and the fallout from John Edwards’ infidelity and political ruin put a stranglehold on the headlines – the world became a much less funny place and lost some of its 70s-style mocha soul with the sudden deaths of Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes.

Listen up, America – Bernie Mac earned his fame the hard way. From his humble beginnings in South Side Chicago, where he was raised by his mother and grandparents, to his days as a delivery driver to fame as an Original King of Comedy and his own show, The Bernie Mac Show, Bernard McCullough was story of persistence, survival and dedication. He paid his dues in more than a decade on the comedy club circuit scene before really getting his breakthrough in the comedy documentary The Original Kings of Comedy in 2000.

If you’ve never seen The Original Kings of Comedy, pick it up and make time to watch it. Rarely has a movie left me bent over sideways with laughter, but Comedy – and especially Mac – was beyond hilarious. And The Bernie Mac Show was funny and wholesome without being out-of-touch and sanctimonious to its audience. Mac made the most of his talent – he’s gone way too soon at age 50. Let’s hope he’s making them laugh, along with George Carlin, in the great beyond. (For a nice career retrospective on Mac, check out this USA Today piece.)

And what can you say about Isaac Hayes? Along with Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Barry White, the late Curtis Mayfield and so many others, he helped forge the soundtrack for black music in the 1970s – especially blaxploitation music, with his soundtrack for Shaft.

Hayes wasn’t the most classically handsome man in the world – let’s face it, neither was the Barry White – but he was beautiful and knew bring orgasms out with his music. Younger folks were probably more familiar with Hayes as the voice of Chef in South Park, but this Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer was a pioneer, a rapper long before “rapping” was an official term in the music industry. For more on Hayes’ life and career, check out the Associated Press’ obituary on him and go to his official Web site.

Both Mac and Hayes were fearless and had their critics – you don’t make their kind of impact without ruffling the feathers of a few stuffy suits. But let’s face it, the Creator must have a some kind of off-color sense of humor and taste for mocha-soul music if he lent us Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes for a little while. Can you dig it, America?

~mmc

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