BREAKING: World Rhino Day

Rhinos

Today is World Rhino Day – a day where we should focus our attention on the plight of the African and Asian rhinoceros.  Like many other species, elephants – or the big cats for example, rhinos are being poached at alarming rates – by a common, ill-informed (or blind) foe known primarily as Asian culture.

In Eastern culture, keratin horns from the rhinoceros are believed to have medicinal properties (ex. When crushed? A cure for cancer).  These claims are unsubstantiated by science, but the beliefs linger on and paint targets on each and every rhinoceros in the wild.  Day by day, rhinos are killed - calves are orphaned – horns are stolen and traded illegally.  Despite this, those afflicted by cancer, or other ailments still suffer.  Death results in death; but some a profit in its wake - they evade justice – and even when justice is had, it’s done so weakly.

Rhino-Poaching “Kingpin” Arrested

Rhino Mother and CalfThis year alone, more than 600 rhinos have been poached.  How many more need to die – or how many more need to be orphaned before the world acts to save a species from extinction?  Keratin is a fibrous protein that makes up our fingernails and our hair (among other things) - we need to spread this truth – and we need to work to save a species on the brink of extinction.  Nature and its inhabitants are not mine, or yours, or theirs for the taking, but because of the actions of a few – we need more to help raise awareness and to help combat the massacre of rhinos.

Fortunately, there are many organizations dedicated to the conservation of rhinos that we can support, unless you or I plan on initiating and executing an on-the-ground anti-poaching campaign.  Here are a few I’ve selected for your consideration (note: If you’re aware of other organizations, or support one that I’ve not chosen to highlight, please, share them in the comments section below).

Mother and CalfThe International Rhino Foundation (IRF) - The IRF operates conservation programs in Sumatra, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Indonesia as well as maintaining a Sumatran Rhino sanctuary and Javan conservation area.  The IRF also provides grants that support the scientific study of rhinos in the wild.

Save The Rhino - Save the Rhino International is a UK-based charity that works to save viable rhinoceros populations in the wild.

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust - The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescues orphaned elephants and rhinos in Kenya.  They then rear, rehabilitate, and reintroduce the orphans into the wild.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - WWF is the largest conservation society in the world. Consider adopting a species, if you are able. Otherwise, help them by spreading the word on social media.

 

 

 

 

Fall TV Preview! What’s on my radar?

Let’s face it – we all have goals.  I have two in particular – 1) to get fit, 2) to finish some projects (a.k.a. books). That said, it’s hard to deny my urges to watch compelling television or movies.  After all, I am a “master” of communication – and was a student of media.  It’s my job (or at least it’s what I went to school for) to consume media - I love it.  I draw inspiration from it.  I study it (to recognize trends or techniques).  So no, I don’t feel guilty about my viewing addictions – I am shameless, and I am proud, ha!

Now that my defense is out of the way, here is the list of what I’ll be watching:

WWE RAW - AJ Lee

WWE RAW – Mondays 8/7c on USA Network

WWE RAW has been on my watch-list since waaaaay back in the day.  It’s compelling television (most of the time) – but really, I’m drawn to idea of physicality – I love watching people fight! I love all the nuanced references to everyday pop culture and how real-life issues or controversies are built into the storylines.  I’m a fan – I can honestly count on one hand the number of episodes of Monday Night RAW I’ve missed in the last decade! It’s like my religion! So you should have expected this to be here.

Sleepy Hollow - FOX

Sleepy Hollow – Mondays 9/8c on FOX

All I can say is thank God for whoever invented DVR! Do you know how many shows I never watched pre-DVR because they aired during Monday Night RAW?  Well, I shall miss no more!  I watched the first episode of this on Hulu Plus, because I lost track of time and missed the premiere on FOX.  I wasn’t sold immediately, but all week, I’ve just been thinking about this show and eagerly anticipating episode two – so it’s on the watch-list.  I assume you all know the legend of Sleepy Hollow – so I won’t bore you with the details of the show, except to say that it’s a modern-day re-telling, where Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman wake up in our world.  Trippy!

NCISNCIS – Tuesdays 8/7c on CBS

I never started watching this run-of-the-mill crime procedural (and TV’s “number one drama”) until about three years ago.  Since then, I’ve made an investment in the characters – and after the events of last season, and the hinted at, emotional send-off of Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), it’d be hard to turn away now.  So here we go…

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 14Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – Wednesdays 9/8c on NBC

SVU is entering its 15th season – so I think it would be pretty safe to assume you all know what it’s about.  Last season ended with a perp. walking free and showing up in Detective Benson’s house! Olivia was held at gun-point and the screen went black.  Now, the creators are promising the two-hour season premiere will be the most compelling and dramatic episode ever – sending Olivia to places she’s never gone before.  Sounds dark! I’m in!  If Olivia’s life-changing situation isn’t enough to bring you in, the writers are crafting an episode starring Cybill Shepherd that combines the Paula Deen and Trayvon Martin controversies (a celebrity chef in fear, shoots an unarmed black teen).

AHS - CovenAmerican Horror Story: Coven – Wednesdays 10/9c on FX

Witches, voodoo, New Orleans, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Jessica Lange, and Sarah Paulson – enough said.  I really liked season one of AHS – and season two? Well, that was a rare thing, wasn’t it.  I loved it – I think the second season was far better than the first! Now we’re at season three and the creators have added MAJOR talents to the show!  Kathy Bates will portray Madame LaLaurie – a New Orleans socialite known for being a torturous slave-owner!  What could be better?  The fact that Bates is said to be in conflict with the famed voodoo priestess Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett).  And let’s not forget – Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson will be playing a mother-daughter combination of witches descended from Salem!  Teaser trailers have built my excitement, I’m ready for horrific, creepy, and thrilling Wednesday nights!

ScandalSCANDAL – Thursdays 10/9c on ABC

Consider my Thursdays “handled,” Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) style.  Having never seen this wildly-addictive show before this summer, I binge watched seasons one and two in about a week! Ever since then, I’ve been regretting finishing season two because the wait for season three is killing me (not really killing me, but you get the point). I’m not sure what kinds of drama will be unfolding – but I know there’s a surprise coming to Olivia – and there’s a mole that desperately needs to be found – and I know that I can’t wait to see the Olivia-Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) chemistry and story again! but… starting mid-October, SCANDAL will be taking a backseat to…

Covert AffairsCovert Affairs – Thursdays 10/9c on USA

Since its creation – Covert Affairs has been a Tuesday show!  But I suppose USA knew I was going to fall in love with SCANDAL.  Season four of the spy-series has been vastly darker and more dramatic than ever before.  The creators promised the mid-season finale would “change everything” – and now?  Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) is going “off the grid” – wait, what? The show’s going to get even more intense - and even darker!? I don’t know if my heart can take it! I already dubbed the first half of this season as “palpitation-inducing” drama (not really causing my heart to palpitate, I’m just expressing my deep satisfaction with the show) – I can only (anxiously) imagine the second half! This is my favorite scripted show on television – and I’m ready for it to come back! Did I mention Jonathan Togo (from CSI) will be coming to the second half of the season to battle Annie Walker!?

WWE Smackdown - Orton and BryanWWE Smackdown – Fridays 8/7c on SyFy

(see above reasoning for why) I love the WWE – I’d love to work for the WWE.  If I could everyday of my life – I’d eat, sleep, and breathe the WWE.  While I’m not quite as dedicated to WWE Smackdown as I am to Monday Night RAW, I can’t deny my urges to see my favorite Superstars and Divas battling it out on a network that tells me to “imagine greater.” Yup.

DraculaDracula – Fridays 10/9c on NBC

Why on earth would a network premiere a show in the death slot of prime time television!?  I can’t figure it out.  I am a fan of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers – and the story of Dracula – so it should go without saying, I’m really excited for this show! I think Meyers is the perfect choice to play the life-taking villain – his body of work would support this claim.  He has the look and the charisma to make this compelling to watch!  I think NBC has a sleeper hit on their hands (and a hit is something they desperately need)… I guess time will tell, but I know I’ll be watching!

Dancing On The EdgeDancing on the Edge – Saturdays 10/9c on Starz

Starz has a way with television.  I loved Spartacus and I loved Magic City.  Now, they’re both gone and I’m in search of something new.  So what are they giving to me?  A 5-episode miniseries – a period-drama (originally created for BBC) set in 1930s England to the sounds of Jazz (more specifically – “a black jazz band becomes entangled in the aristocratic world of 1930s London as they seek fame and fortune” – thanks IMDb!). Once I read that Matthew Goode and John Goodman were involved with the project – this became a done deal.  I’m hooked already, and it hasn’t even premiered.

Masters of Sex - ShowtimeMasters of Sex – Sundays 10/9c on Showtime

A period-drama about the researchers whose exploration of human sexuality started the sexual revolution? Yes please. Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) are probably about to capture my imagination – I mean, just look at the promotional picture for the show – it looks very stylized – and I can appreciate style (I mean it looks like a well-and-beautifully produced and costumed show) – and sex.

Gator BoysGator Boys – Sundays 10/9c on Animal Planet

I love this show – not only because its an animal show, but because hosts Paul Bedard and Jimmy Riffle are fun and daring hosts.  I love watching them go on calls and wrangle alligators in the waters of Florida! It’s a show riddled with danger – but they do it with such certainty and confidence that it makes me want to go on an alligator call! Wait, I don’t think that’s possible around St. Louis.  Damn.

Total DivasTotal Divas – Sundays 10/9c on E!

Now here’s a problem. Total Divas, Gator Boys, and Masters of Sex all in the same time-slot!? Fortunately for me, E! has re-runs two hours after the original airing of an episode! So all hope is not lost.  You already know by now that I’m a WWE fan.  But did you also know I became one the night legendary diva Trish Stratus debuted?  Probably not.  I’ve always watched for the Women’s Division (hey, I’m a feminist) so it makes sense that I’d lend my viewership to support it.  Despite what this show’s title suggests (yes, there is drama – and yes, some of the women are real “divas”), this is a groundbreaking reality-show that offers a “behind-the-scenes” look into the WWE.  Besides, it’s the edgiest show WWE has since going PG in 2008 – I mean, where else are you going to see The Bella Twins hurling a purple vibrator at one another?  I rest my case.

There you have it.  That’s what’s on my watch list.  Anything you’ll be joining me in watching?  Anything you’re excited to see?  Have I piqued your interest in a show? Let me know in the comments section!

 

WWE Night of Champions – predictions/results

Night of Champions

QUICK RESULTS:

The Prime Time Players won Tag Team Turmoil

Curtis Axel def. Kofi Kingston to retain the Intercontinental Championship

AJ Lee def. Natalya, Naomi, and Brie Bella to retain the Diva’s Championship

Rob Van Dam def. Alberto Del Rio by DQ; Del Rio retains the Championship

The Miz def. Fandango

Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman def. CM Punk

Dean Ambrose def. Dolph Ziggler to retain the US Championship

The Shield def. The Prime Time Players to retain the Tag Team Championships

Daniel Bryan def. Randy Orton to become the new WWE Champion

(my predictability score – on announced matches – 4.5/7 = 64%)

 

Tonight is the NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS – here are my predictions:

1. KICKOFF MATCH:  Tag Team Turmoil – No. 1 Contendership Match for the Tag Team Championships

The Primetime Players vs. The Usos vs. Tons of Funk vs. The Real Americans vs. 3MB

I can’t recall how long it’s been since the WWE had the tag team division looking so unpredictable.  That said, I’m surprised by the absence of the Wyatt Family and with all the recent mini-pushes a lot of these teams are getting – this is by far one of the hardest matches to call.  That said,  I see the No. 1 Contendership going to:

Predicted Winners:  The Prime Time Players

2.  WWE Tag Team Championship Match:  The Shield (c) vs. The Prime Time Players

Since Darren Young’s “outing” the Prime Time Players have been unstoppable and everyone has been questioning how Young’s revelation will effect his career.  People like Jim Ross have said it won’t – and the McMahon family has been supportive (on twitter).  But I say now it’s time for the WWE to put its money where its mouth is.  In order to do that – Darren Young must become a champion!

Additionally, The Shield is involved with all this McMahon family drama – the straps need to be dropped into the active fray – to allow other tag teams to shine.

Predicted Winners:  The Prime Time Players 

3. United States Championship Match: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler

This match has been weakly built over the last couple weeks – but that’s not to say it will be anything shy of amazing.  I just don’t see a title change happening here.  Ziggler brings nothing to the US Championship except a new face to associate with the title (should he win).  Should Ambrose keep his title, he will be affirmed as the top member of The Shield.

Predicted Winner:  Dean Ambrose 

4. CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman (Handicap Elimination Match)

Simply put – It’s not time for Punk to have his revenge.  Heyman has more tricks up his sleeve.

Predicted Winner(s):  Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman 

5.  World Heavyweight Championship Match:  Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Rob Van Dam

Since returning to WWE, Rob Van Dam has been on a roll.  Tonight, I expect to hear the thunder and the chant of “R-V-D!”

Predicted Winner:  Rob Van Dam

6.  Diva’s Championship Fatal Four Way: AJ Lee (c) vs. Brie Bella vs. Natalya vs. Naomi

You’d think with the mid-season finale of Total Divas airing tonight, alongside Night of Champions, that one of the cast members would be due up for a push.  I say not so fast – this is a big moment for AJ Lee.  She has been the focal point of the division – and the most prominent Diva in the WWE over the last two years.  This is her best title defense to date – and I can’t see her dropping the championship after running amok on commentary and delivering “Pipe Bombshells.” This is WWE’s chance to let AJ shine – and let her words be turned into actions.

Not only that, but this entire season, the “Divas” have been bickering with one another – so don’t expect the Total Divas-allegiance to last too long.

Predicted Winner:  AJ Lee 

7.  WWE Championship Match:  Randy Orton (c) vs. Daniel Bryan

For weeks, Daniel Bryan has been at the center of a one-sided controversy against the McMahon family.  I think it’s too soon for Bryan to come out on top – and I think a likely heel turn (#1,000) from The Big Show will see to that.

Predicted Winner:  Randy Orton

9/11. Never forgotten.

It seems like just yesterday that the date – September 11 – was branded to the heart of our nation.  We panicked – we fell – we grieved – we cried.

I can remember that day so vividly.  I was in freshmen P.E. class at Francis Howell Central High School, when a voice came over the intercom and told us about a terrorist attack in New York City, and that classes were being dismissed.   I hurried off the bus and was relieved to find my brother home – with Grandma Sarah and Uncle Willie – but I also recall being incredibly anxious while we waited for my Mom. I didn’t know what was going on – it all happened so fast.  I was scared, like everyone.

We rose.  Our spirit’s stronger now.

This same day, six years after the towers fell, my family and I lost “our hummingbird,” my Grandma Sarah.  I tried to write her a poem – but the words wouldn’t come – and when I put the pen to paper (at 2:00 a.m.) this was the result:

Sarah's HummingbirdSometimes there are no words to describe how we feel.  For me this is true every time I create a piece of art.  It’s simple.  It’s peaceful.  It’s joyous – and I feel like it celebrates her spirit.  R.I.P. Grandma Sarah – and thanks for always looking out for me.

“Years ago a bird did fly, when She was called to Morning’s sky.” – Bobby James

 

ENTERTAINMENT news: Jurassic World, 2015 releases, & More!

Jurassic World announced for 6-12-2015

FILM 

Universal’s upcoming Jurassic Park sequel has been titled:  JURASSIC WORLD.

While plot details are unknown at this time, but the studio has confirmed that Jurassic World will be shot in 3D and has assigned the movie a June 12, 2015 release date.

The release date announcement makes Jurassic World the latest blockbuster to join a likely record-shattering box-office summer.  Here are some other [will be and could be] majors headed to theaters in Summer 2015:  The Avengers: The Age of Ultron, Zack Snyder’s Superman/Batman project, Star Wars: Episode VII, the Independence Day sequel, a Terminator reboot, Disney’s Ant-Man, and an untitled Illumination Entertainment Animated project (if you recall, they created the Despicable Me franchise).

If that’s not a stacked enough summer to propel box-office records to new heights, then Autumn will.   The fall season (2015) includes blockbusters Bond 24 starring Daniel Craig, the final Hunger Games movie (Mockingjay – Pt. 2), Pixar’s Finding Dory (the sequel to 2003′s Finding Nemo) and an untitled Peanuts (Charlie Brown) movie.  

Covert AffairsTELEVISION

CSI: Miami‘s Jonathan Togo joins the cast of Covert Affairs for the second half of season four beginning in October.  Togo will play Nelson Smith, an associate of the villainous Henry Wilcox (Gregory Itzin).  Reports from The Hollywood Reporter claim that Nelson and show star Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) will be on a collision course – but wait, aren’t they teasing Annie’s death for the summer finale!?

FX is developing a serial killer project (serial killers are all the rage) based on the 2000 film American Psycho.  The murderous Patrick Batemen, now in his 50s, takes on a protege.

Showtime is set to premier an eight episode dramatic horror series titled Penny Dreadful in 2014.  The series combines some of literature’s most infamous horror characters in Victorian era London.  Among the cast of characters are Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and Dracula.

USA network has renewed its freshman series Graceland for a second season.  Graceland stars Daniel Sunjata (The Devil Wears Prada) and Aaron Tveit (Les Miserables) and follows the day-to-day war on drugs by undercover federal agents.

Radio Bobby: Top 5 New Music Releases (9/9)

Pop vs. Country. – seems to be the recent battle on Radio Bobby.  New directions by each of the genres are churning out amazing songs and vocals – so this should come as no surprise.  Last week, the list was topped by a Canadian pop icon and a Texan country music band.  This week, the battle is waged between a Scottish pop singer and a crossover country singer from down unda’ (that’s slang for Australia).  Without any further ado, I present to you – Radio Bobby:

Emeli Sande

1.  “My Kind of Love” by Emeli Sande (RedOne and Alex P remix) - (pop) [tie] For whatever reason, the United States hasn’t embraced the English-born Scottish singer, and that truly is a shame.  “My Kind of Love” was included on Sande’s debut album last year, but this remix takes the song and singer to a new level of appeal.  If this doesn’t connect with American audiences, I don’t know what will.  Maybe somebody could tell me - why is the US not embracing Emeli Sande!? 

1. “Somewhere in My Car” by Keith Urban - (country) [tie] Urban’s back!  Fresh off his judging run on American Idol, country’s one and only Keith Urban is back to deliver this uptempo track that would crossover easily onto hit, mainstream music stations! Get this single out ASAP Mr. Urban and Co.  While we’re at it, let’s get him performing on the next season of Idol.  I promise y’all – windows are gonna come down and radios are gonna go up to this.

2.  “Missing You” by Alex Gaudino ft. Nicole Scherzinger - (pop/dance) Italian record producer and Nicole Scherzinger collaborated on this ultra-catchy pop song.  Hey, it’s not my fault if you sing it throughout the day after you listen to it.  Blame the former Pussycat Doll – who by the way, is another singer who isn’t embraced by the US!  What gives!?

3.  “Atlas” by Coldplay (from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) - (pop/soundtrack) If the track is any indication of the movie – then we can expect something more polished and likely more cinematic than the first Hunger Games movie.  Could a sequel be about to eclipse an original?  Possibly.  (note: I love the lyric video for this song!)

4. “Who’s Gonna Save Us” by Gavin DeGraw - (pop) DeGraw delivers a raspy, soulful, pop-infused song from his upcoming album Make a Move.

5.  “Rough Water” by Travie McCoy ft. Jason Mraz - (hip-hop/pop) Naturally, “Mr. A-Z” Jason Mraz shines bright on this track – but that’s about it.  Have you ever liked a song just for its chorus?  I have, and you probably have too, remember “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine.  Levine’s part was the part – the rest of it, I could leave behind – do without.  Same thing with this song – but “Rough Water” clocking in at #5 this week is a testament to my dedication to Jason Mraz.

There you are – the Radio Bobby Top 5 (or 6, depending how you look at it).  Oh yes, this week’s MUSIC VIDEO of the WEEK is… well, this too is a TIE!

“My Kind of Love” by Emeli Sande – Her video to this song sends an uplifting, positive message and presents viewers with a vulnerable look at Sande, while giving us some emotional imagery.

“Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus – If you recall, Miley put out her newest single “Wrecking Ball” two weeks ago.  It topped Radio Bobby then.  Now this week, she’s got her video, which seemingly offers a personal, intimate glance into Miley – who may not be as far gone as we all had once thought (at the VMAs). I love the way she breaks the fourth wall and delivers raw emotion – making us all feel a little guilty inside.