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'Bent Idol' Debut Post: An Intersection of ‘Idol’ & ‘The Daily Slap’

What do American Idol and Bent Blog have in common? JLo has Violent Affection Syndrome, and she ain’t ashamed.

The connection is simple: the Syndrome,
explained here, affects those of us who thinks someone is so cute it’s aggravating – to the point you want to pinch, bite, squeeze, punch or slap the snot out of them in protest.

JLo reacted thusly out of her VAS when she evaluated our first singer, Joshua Ledet, because she enjoyed his performance so much. I’ll post the video as soon as it’s up. Speaking of Joshua, let’s deep dive into the performances:

Joshua Ledet
He werked that Stevie song, brought us back to church and, with help from ace mentor Mary J. Blige, he hooked in to the driving beat. Well done. He’s about as girly as Jacob Lusk was last season.

Elise Testone
This girl can sing… but “I’m Your Baby Tonight” was totally the wrong song for her – as was “Greatest Love,” her original choice. She seemed visibly upset about her performance and I can see why.

Jermaine “Gentle Giant” Jones
Definitely evocative of Ruben Studdard – perhaps a better singer with a less-tubby charisma. “I Love You,” though, I don’t think is gonna do him any favors in moving him ahead in the competition. A snoozer.

Erica Van Pelt aka “EVP”
“I Believe in You and Me” was a bad arrangement sung by a fantastic singer. I was surprised by her presence with such a huge song. Whitney is a monster to tackle for any singer, and given what she had to work with she did a good job. She just seemed to be way more free and “comfortable” than Elise Testone. JLo was right in that she was playing it safe with her phrasing and delivery.

Colton Dixon
Given the fact that he’s out of his genre, big time, he was tonally on point and actually pretty in touch with the song. Randy was right about the notes flat and sharp – but he created an emotionally hooked-in “rock ballad” out of a Stevie classic. He’s pretty darn cute, too, qualifying for the evening’s Idol Slap Derby.

Shannon Magrane
I get annoyed when I have to wait for singers to get out of their lower registers for the song to become interesting. “I Have Nothing” really did have nothing, though, even when she emerged from the head-voice doldrums. Very karaoke and pretty awful. Next. (PS: could this volleyball player have looked any more gargantuan next to Ryan?) Bad song choice for such a young girl.

DeAndre Brackensick
We were thankfully spared DeAndre’s gratuitous falsetto, and with “Master Blaster” he definitely showed a reggae funk that was new to us. But it was bland and not nearly as good as the (frequently cheerleading) panel said it was.

Skylar Laine
This girl is one to watch – she was out of her element and she still did up “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” with some moxie. JLo was spot-on when she criticized the front half of the song; the second half was unrecognizable compared to the first. Very well done, as expected.

Heejun Han
“All is Fair” was a tale of two performers – one with normally gorgeous tone (painfully sharp in one spot) and terrible diction. He doesn’t close his “t”s and other of those pesky consonants. The “Hugger in Chief” did a decent job but I don’t think he’s gonna go far, despite the fact that we love the goofballs.

Hollie Cavanagh
Lacking in presence but burying the needle on cute, Hollie tackled “All the Man that I Need” and I gotta say I didn’t dig it as much as the panel did. Parts of it were good, other parts, “meh.”

Jeremy Rosado
Always doing too many runs with a voice that rivals many of the others, Jeremy’s “Ribbon in the Sky” was too breathy, and lacked control and gravitas. Randy was right to note that he didn’t believe it.

Jessica Sanchez
Flawless. Definitely a leading contender, especially since “I Will Always Love You” is one of the most iconic songs in the world to cover. I definitely don’t like the early coronation from the judges, though. Steven Tyler’s “you may be the one” is just lame. Just let it be a great performance and don’t pressure this young girl too much.

Phil Phillips
“Superstitious” was the best of the evening. Driving, percussive, tonally perfect – and delivered by the evening’s hands-down Slap. He’s yummy, entertaining and a fantastic singer. His charisma is natural and his confidence is breezy. This guy will make records, period. The most refreshing thing about him? He’s ALWAYS dressed-down casual, and speaking as a writer who works in his jammie pants, I LOVE that. More, please.

Predicted bottom gal and guy: Elise Testone & Jeremy Rosado (possible wild card for bottom dwellers goes to Shannon Magrane)

Best performances of the night: Phil Phillips & Jessica Sanchez

JLo fashion grade: A
Normally a train wreck, this blogger loved the dressed-down look. Keep it up, Jenny.

Oh and Joshua, just remember: that hand movement is not what you said it was. It is called “The Stabilizer.” The record has been set straight.

Writer’s note: this blog will also appear on BentBlog.com. Stay tuned!

Why Does Facebook Hate Charity Fundraising?

(ATLANTA - 25 October 2011) “Too big to succeed.” And no, I’m not talking about AIG or Morgan Stanley.

Those horrible four words could be the new-new-new-new Facebook tagline. As the social-networking giant has grown exponentially, it has changed UIs (user interfaces), bells and whistles, functionality, and security preferences more than Tara Reid has changed boyfriends. While Twitter has streamlined and improved without blowing up their core product - and spawning a cottage industry of top-notch Twitter clients - Facebook has seized on an ill-perceived need to change, change and change again.

This issue came to a boiling point while running
ARTvision Atlanta - which, smart as it was at the time, has a Facebook page for the sole purpose of expanding our earnings reach and branding. As many folks have noted (here and here), love it or hate it, Facebook is a critical element in growing exposure to charitable causes.

Among the myriad challenges that charities face, spending time
fixing a fatal code bug on a Facebook page shouldn’t be one of them. (My Googling shows that this is a widespread and as-yet unaddressed issue.) Alas, this is the case with our page now. Without getting into the geeky-gritty of it: Facebook has inexplicably violated its own TOS (terms of service) by allowing administrators to inadvertently change the name of a group with 100+ members by indicating the location of said group. So now, ARTvision Atlanta - which was closing in on 500 members - now reads as its beneficiary, Positive Impact, and the name cannot be changed back.

A group’s name is, last time I checked, the very foundation on which fundraising stands. Our AV page has three years of activity, history, photos and proven sales history that we have abandoned for a new page until Facebook gets off its ass to fix the issue. Sending bug reports, posting on help pages and other pleas for assistance have been systematically denied - because, well, Facebook is just too damn big. At last count, the site has 800 million users and they, by sheer volume, cannot address everything individually.

But is that a good enough reason to refuse help when charitable funds are at stake? This bug rises to a different level entirely when we’re talking about charitable giving. We depend on the networks and reach of Facebook to get word out, and this fatal flaw in their code - being no fault of any user -
must be addressed now. Lest the company go down in history as the giant who got too big for their britches and couldn’t care properly for their philanthropic micro-communities.

When it comes to charitable giving and fundraising, a different urgency should rise through the ranks. And if this post helps to fix the overall bug itself, fine by me. In the meantime, please
visit our new Facebook page and forgive the occasional grumble from me. - WP

Big HT and shout out to WannaBAuthor for the awesome devilish FB image.

Blogger’s note: I will be blogging at the
ARTvision site from here until the end of the year.

UPDATE: After hitting hard, Facebook came back and addressed the Group name issue. We now are back in business as ARTvision Atlanta on Facebook! Of course, they attributed it to our mistake. But I don’t care... as long as we have the real name back.

A Return to the People: Relfections on 9/11

(ATLANTA - 11 September 2011) Taking stock of ourselves is dirty work. But on a day like today, the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, it’s the best job we can undertake.

The attacks were ghastly and altering, changing our country’s composition down to its DNA. But what we did in response trumps even those dastardly deeds: we gave ourselves over to the very “evil” that attacked us in the first place.

“Pride” (Provincetown, Mass.), by Will Pollock

Please allow a bit of a parallel: If electing Kennedy allowed us to successfully avert nuclear war during the Cuban Missing Crisis, then how would a President Gore have handled the country before, during and after this assault? How would we have been led as a country in response to 9/11? Would we have sunk trillions of dollars in nation-building in Iraq, or perhaps used it as a rally cry to show attackers that we can survive and thrive, even in the aftermath of death and misery? “A lot of other people behaved badly” after that day, as Paul Krugman put it today. “The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.”

Recent events show that we have been on a sad, downward spiral ever since the attacks. Our financial system has collapsed and is still limping; profiteers have bounced back with an assault on commonsense regulation; our previous administration is so demonized elsewhere that they
risk arrest if they travel abroad; we tortured people in custody and are still protecting those responsible today; and, most recently, we’ve seen a culture emerge where folks who hate government are the very ones making policy. What’s our response?

Tweet from @GStuedler

I say, enough. Let’s remember today in a factual way, without embellishment or agendas. Let’s return our country to the very compassionate, understanding, engaged folks who make this country great: the people. Let’s elect representatives who reflect that value system, not those who want, need and manipulate for profitability or glory. When a politician fails us, as Bush and his team did - and still do, thumbing their noses at truth and fact - we only have ourselves to blame. And that includes the voters who didn’t punch the ballot for the offending party. We are all complicit if we are all Americans.

But if it’s about all of us, it’s still cannot be “us vs. them.” Peace and ambassadorship have been reframed, inexplicably, as weak and useless when juxtaposed against our lionized, “
boot in the ass” politicians. I say, loudly, no more. No matter whom you vote for, make sure it doesn’t reflect the mistakes we made when slammed with the calamity on this day 10 years ago.

Tweet from DaveyWavey

Today, I take pride in my country, and want to go forward with a people-first agenda. Where we come first, and yet all the while knowing that we are still the global leader that can think outside ourselves, and never take the world around us for granted. Superior actions, not superiority.

After this day of remembrance, returning this country to the people is the best step forward over the next decade.

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UPDATE: Jack Lessenberry imagines a fictitious United States response with Al Gore as president. Money quote: “Yet it would be nice if, a century from now, we remembered it as a sad milestone that started the process of greater understanding.”