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Category Archives: Television

American Idol On Speed

Ryan Seacrest, Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. return for American Idol Season 14

American Idol Season 14 has been on speed the last two nights, with the males singing on Wednesday night and the females on Thursday night. Fox network has reduced the show to an hour this season, and gone were the long-winded judges opinions and the hi and bye conversations, with Seacrest and the contestants helped speed the show along. I think Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. are doing an excellent job of judging, but they won’t be on screen much, with the shows being shortened. The shows were frenetically paced on both nights, with two singers singing, then a round of commercials, then repeating till the show was over.

The show had to squeeze 12 singers into about 40 minutes, so there was no time for a lot of needless filler, like we saw in previous seasons. There is a huge difference in having two hours to sing 12 songs, than to have them sung in only an hour. The result shows will only be 30 minutes this year, so once American Idol is down to the 12 or so contestants, American Idol will only be on television screens an hour and-a-half a week.

Ryan Secrest can no longer build up the drama on result nights for an hour, so will have to cut to the chase sooner. There will still be time for guest singers on results night, since a half hour show really only lasts about 22 minutes, after leaving time for commercials.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FHKqjiaGlY

Mark Andrew takes us back to the 70’s with his version of The Weight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCSzL5-SPHM

The Band’s version from the The Last Waltz movie featuring Leverne Helm and the Staples Singers from the late 70’s.

The Voice Pulling Away From American Idol in Ratings

The Voice continues to attract more viewers, than American Idol, as the ratings showed 14.6 million viewers watched the second episode of The Voice Season 8. Meanwhile, American Idol only attracted 11.76 million, in their highest rated episode, American Idol Season 14 has not drawn more than 11 million viewers, to any episode since February 4.  The Voice ratings are almost 3 million ahead of American Idol, when comparing most watched episodes of the two shows.

American Idol may never regain the popularity it once had, since the show peaked on May 21, 2003 finale, with 38.06 million visitors tuned in. The 2014 season finale bottomed out at 10.53 million viewers. It is not a good sign, when a show loses 28 million viewers.

The purpose of American Idol and The Voice is to produce stars, who make it big in the music business, and The Voice still hasn’t done that.

American Idol Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery and Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips have both had platinum albums and platinum singles. However, Season 12 winner Candice Glover’s first and only album so far sold only 27,000 copies and her only single peaked at #93 on the US chart.

Season 13 winner Caleb Johnson’s debut album, which was released in August of 2014 has sold only 11,000 albums. It is ironic, that Chris Daughtry who came in fourth in Season 5 has had the most success in record sales, among the rock singers on the show.

Daughtry and his band’s debut album sold 7 million copies worldwide, and his second album went platinum, and third album went gold. His fourth album has not done as well with only 90,000 albums sold, after the album was released in November of 2013.

Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson and Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood have been by far the most successful singers, who have been produced by American Idol, with both of them going strong many years, after they appeared on American Idol.

The Voice may be winning in television ratings, but American Idol is the winner when it comes to producing stars, that make it and sustain careers in music.

American Idol may not be around much longer, if the ratings don’t improve, but then it may be around for years to come, since they may have a problem finding a show that can garner higher ratings, than American Idol has done for many years.

 

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Pharmacist Robert Courtney: Got Rich While Cancer Patients Suffered and Died

Robert Courtney At Work

Pharmacist Robert Courtney diluted chemotherapy drugs.

Many criminals have been featured on American Greed, since the first show was telecast in 2007, but pharmacist Robert Courtney took greed to a whole new level.

Courtney diluted chemotherapy drugs, so he could make even more money, by selling them to doctors in watered down form. The American Greed narrator last night said that Courtney would buy chemotherapy drugs in powder form, for $500 for the medicine,  and would then sell the drugs to doctors for $1,000. However, by diluting the drugs he was able to sell the doctors three diluted preparations for $3,000, which gave him a profit of $2,500, after he had originally spent $500 to buy the drugs.

The cancer patients were wondering why they weren’t having many side effects, from their chemotherapy medicine. It was because they were only receiving a third or even less, of their chemotherapy medicine. One man who didn’t experience the normal hair loss, after his chemotherapy sessions later would find out, that his cancer was spreading, to other parts of his body, because he hadn’t been given enough chemotherapy medicine.

Georgia Hayes, who was a victim of the watered down chemotherapy medicine sued Robert Courtney, because of his unethical behavior. She received a $2.2 billion judgement, but it is unlikely, that she actually received any money. However, she evidently never saw any money from the judgement. Her daughter appeared at the trial and said she wanted her mom to be there, when she graduated and was married, but her mom died before any of that happened.

Courtney was active in the Assembly of God Church in Kansas City and was a deacon and sang in the choir.

The diluted drugs were making Courtney a rich man and he had assets of $18.7 million. Investigators asked him why he did it, and he said he had promised the church $1 million, for a building project, but that made no sense, since he had 18 times that amount in his assets at the time.

These are the horrifying statistics from his criminal activity:

98,000 diluted prescriptions

4,200 patients

72 different drugs were diluted

Courtney pled guilty to 20 counts of tampering and adulterating chemical therapy drugs.He was sentenced to 30 years in 2002 and will be released in 2032 at the age of 80 years old.

The sentence didn’t fit the crime, since no telling how many patients died, who were given less than the required amount of chemotherapy medicine.

There was very little remorse coming from Courtney, except when he mentioned one patient by name saying that was the only one, that really hurt him, since the guy was a nice guy.

Courtney was so absorbed in building his bank account, that he forgot or didn’t care about the patients, that were taking longer to recover from their chemotherapy, because he had diluted their drugs.

The FBI agents who investigated the criminal activity of Courtney were sometimes moved to tears, after talking to patients, who thought they were getting the required amount of chemotherapy medicine in their IV bags.

He should have been sentenced to life, since so many of the patients he affected died because of his negligence.

American Greed features criminals mostly who took the money of investors, but Courtney wasn’t taking the money of investors, but was risking the health of cancer patients, who had pinned their hopes of recovery, on their chemotherapy medicine, for his own financial gain.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2015 in Crime, Doctors, FBI, Government, Health, News, Television

 

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Bernard Ebbers: Billionaire to Prison Inmate

Bernard Ebbers in prison till the age of 87 at the least.

Bernard “Bernie” Ebbers was the first Bernie, to be imprisoned for investor fraud. Ebbers first formed LDDS, which was a discount telephone company in 1993. Two years later he changed the name of the company, to WorldCom in 1995. By then WorldCom owned 60 telecommunications companies, and in 1997 would merge with MCI for $37 billion.

Ebbers was born Bernard John Ebbers in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on August 27, 1941 and is now 73 years old.

He operated a chain of motels in Mississippi and was known to have cleaned rooms himself, to save on housekeeping expenses.

The ultimate corporate shopaholic, Ebbers bought an obscure telephone carrier in the 1980s and went on a 17-year acquisition binge that turned it into the world’s largest telecom company. Alas, his passion for deal­making didn’t translate into the savvy necessary for running the complex business. When telecom stocks went south in 2000, the company’s massive debt was exposed. Ebbers tried to disguise it through fraudulent accounting. In 2005, three years after WorldCom filed for bankruptcy, he was convicted of overseeing $11 billion worth of accounting fraud. He’s now serving a 25-year prison term.

THE STAT: When Ebbers resigned, in 2002, WorldCom stock had fallen to $1.79 from a peak of $64.50 in 1999. (from CNBC.com)

The WorldCom debacle hit me personally, since I had an Army friend lose his job, because of the WorldCom collapse, since he worked for WorldCom. It devastated him and I don’t know if he will ever recover, from the loss of his job.

At one point Ebbers was earning $37 million a year, between his salary and other financial considerations. However, that didn’t stop him from ending free coffee for WorldCom workers, as coffee machines that charged 35 cents a cup took the place of the free coffee.

Home for Bernie Ebbers through 2028

Ebbers resigned from WorldCom on April 30,2002. He was later convicted of conspiracy, securities fraud, and false regulatory findings in 2005. He wouldn’t be sentenced till 2006, after the appeals process had been exhausted. He drove himself, to the Oakdale, Louisiana Federal Prison and reported for his incarceration.

This is what a typical day in prison is like for Ebbers:

A typical day would start at 6 a.m. with work starting 1 and a half hours later.

Work usually ends at 3:35 p.m.

At 4 p.m. comes “count time” when each inmate, unless he is assigned to the food service area, must be by their bunk, Truman said.

Mail call follows count time which is then followed by dinner, served in staggered shifts.

After that, inmates can typically walk in the recreation yard around the track or go to the chapel or the library, Truman said.

Depending on the institution, the day most likely finishes around 9 p.m. when inmates are required to be back in their bunks with lights out.

Ebbers will be required to wear a khaki uniform. An on-facility commissary allows inmates to buy personal items such as soap, toothpaste, or toothbrushes.

From money/cnn.com

Ebbers was convicted by a jury in March 2005 of nine counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and other crimes that led to the phone company’s July 2002 bankruptcy.

Ebbers transformed WorldCom into a telecommunications powerhouse through a string of takeovers. He was known as a grandfatherly CEO who preferred cowboy boots to suits, but he also has been described as an exacting, cost-obsessed boss.

WorldCom emerged from bankruptcy as MCI Inc., which was later acquired by Verizon Communications Inc (up $0.46 to $37.96, Charts). Ebbers agreed last year to forfeit almost all of his personal wealth in a settlement with WorldCom investors.

Mail can be sent to Ebbers at this address, which may not be the correct address after 2028. Former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards was housed, in the same facility until his release.

INMATE NAME & REGISTER NUMBER
FCI OAKDALE
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
P.O. BOX 5000
OAKDALE, LA  71463

 

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Beach Boys: 54 Years and Counting

Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, Mike Love, Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson

There have been some great pop singing groups, over the last 54 years, but my favorite would have to be the Beach Boys. I saw them in concert at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii at the Conroy Bowl in the 1960’s. I can’t pinpoint what year, but can say they put on a great concert that night.

Heard a great story about the Beach Boys, on a documentary a few minutes ago. Brian Johnston, who would join the group in 1965 told about a lady, who asked Brian if they were the beach boys, and he said “Yes we are”. So she told them she needed a table and a couple of chairs. It was a humbling experience, to know someone didn’t even know they were a singing group.

Brian Wilson 72 years old

BRIAN WILSON 

Brian Wilson was the leader of the Beach Boys and his songwriting skills enabled them, to still be active 54 years, after they were first founded in Hawthorne, California. However, the Beach Boys only had four #1 hits in their career with I Get Around in 1963 and Help Me Rhonda in 1964. Two years later in 1966 they would have their next #1 hit in Good Vibrations. 22 years would pass, before their last #1 hit Kokomo went to the top of the charts.

He mostly focused on surfing music from 1961-1965, but the Beach Boys rarely recorded surfing music after 1965.

Brian was the quarterback on his high school football team, and also played baseball was was a cross country runner.

The stress of writing, producing and concerts became too much for Brian to handle. He had a nervous breakdown on a plane flying from LA to Houston and decided to come off the road. However, he started taking LSD after coming off the road and got his inspiration for California Girls during the time he was into LSD.

His use of drugs expanded to cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines and psychedelics. Mickey Dolenz recalls taking LSD with Brian, John Lennon and Harry Nilsson in the 1970’s. Drugs continued to create problems for Brian, and he was alleged to have offered drugs to his children.

Brian has been hallucinating for the last 50 years, since he first started taking psychedelic drugs in 1965.

However, he continues to appear in concert mostly as a solo artist.

Al Jardine 72 years old

AL JARDINE

Al Jardine joined the Beach Boys, then left them twice, but still played with them in each calendar year, since their inception from 1961-1998. Jardine met Brian Wilson at Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, California, when they both played for the football team.

Folk music was Al’s passion, but he met with resistance, when he tried to push the Beach Boys into being a folk band. He sang lead on the #1 hit Help Me Rhonda. He is the one that suggested that the Beach Boys record the Mamas and Papa’s hit California Dreamin’ which peaked at #8 on the charts.

Carl Wilson 1946-1998

CARL WILSON

Carl Wilson was a musician, who could play seven instruments, and his lead singing on God Only Knows shows how talented of a singer he was. He was heavily influenced musically, by Chuck Berry and the Beach Boys sound had a Chuck Berry guitar sound.

He became the leader of the band in concerts, after Brian came off the road in 1965. Carl was disillusioned in 1981, with the Beach Boys lack of focus,  and left the group, to be a solo artist that year. He would declare himself, to be a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War.

His lifetime smoking habit since he was 13 caused him, to have lung cancer, that was diagnosed in 1997. Carl continued to perform with the Beach Boys, even while undergoing chemotherapy. He would sit while performing, except for standing to sing God Only Knows. 

He died on February 6, 1998, while surrounded by his family, which included his wife Gina, who was the daughter of Dean Martin.

Dennis Wilson 1944-1983

DENNIS WILSON

Dennis Wilson actually lived the surfing lifestyle depicted in their early surf music. He was reluctant at first to sing with his brothers, but later became the drummer for the Beach Boys. His drumming skills were limited, so his brother Brian would hire drummers for the studio recording sessions.

He would be a distraction sometimes onstage. I watched the Live From Knebworth DVD of their concert at Knebworth England, and in during that concert he was intent on distracting Mike Love on stage.  His main claim to fame is that he co-wrote You Are So Beautiful with Billy Preston.

His connection with Charles Manson is told in this paragraph from his Wikipedia writeup:

In 1968, Dennis Wilson was driving through Malibu when he noticed two female hitchhikers, Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey. He picked them up and dropped them off at their destination.[3] Later on Wilson noticed the same two girls hitchhiking again. This time he took them to his home at 14400 Sunset Boulevard near Will Rogers Park. Wilson then went to a recording session. When he returned at around 3 a.m., he was met in his driveway by a stranger, Charles Manson. When Wilson walked into his home, about a dozen people were occupying the premises, most of them female. Wilson became fascinated by Manson and his followers; the “Manson Family” lived with Wilson for a period of time afterwards at his expense. In late 1968, Wilson reported to journalists:

I told them [the girls] about our involvement with the Maharishi and they told me they too had a guru, a guy named Charlie who’d recently come out of jail after 12 years. … He drifted into crime, but when I met him I found he had great musical ideas. We’re writing together now. He’s dumb, in some ways, but I accept his approach and have learnt from him.

Things got worse with Manson and his followers and he eventually had to move out of his own house:

As Dennis Wilson became increasingly aware of Manson’s volatile nature and growing tendency to violence, he finally made a break from the friendship by simply moving out of the house and leaving Manson there. When Manson subsequently sought further contact (and money), he left a bullet with Wilson’s housekeeper to be delivered with a cryptic message, which Wilson perceived as a threat. In August 1969, Manson Family members perpetrated the Tate/LaBianca murders. Wilson rarely discussed his involvement with the Manson Family, and usually became upset when the subject was broached.

His life came to a tragic end on December 28, 1983, when he died at the age of 39 in a drowning accident, probably caused by drinking prior to the drowning.

Mike Love 73 Years Old

MIKE LOVE

Mike Love has been the front man for the Beach Boys and was the cousin of Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson. His lead singing has been instrumental, in the success of the Beach Boys. He is the one Beach Boy, that is not seen playing a musical instrument during the concerts.

He was the co-writer on their #1 hit Kokomo. His interest in transcendental meditation began in 1967. Brian wrote some lyrics for songs on their Friends influenced by his TM interest, but the album sold very few copies.

When the Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Mike made some uncomplimentary remarks about Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney:

Also in 1988, he, along with the other founding members of the Beach Boys, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where he made an infamous hostile speech, calling out, among others, Mick Jaggerand Paul McCartney. He was, however, happy that Muhammad Ali was in attendance.

Mike has been married to Jacqueline Piesen since 1994. He had been married four times, before his current marriage.

Bruce Johnston 72 Years Old

BRUCE JOHNSTON

Bruce Johnston was not an original Beach Boy. He joined the group in April of 1965. He wrote the Barry Manilow hit I Write The Songs, which won the Song of the Year Award Grammy and has been recorded by 200 artist. This happened after he had left the Beach Boys in 1972. He returned in 1978 and has been with the Beach Boys in the last 37 years consecutively.

He was adopted by the William and Irene Johnston family and his father was president of Owl Rexall Drug Company in Los Angeles.

Bruce replaced Glen Campbell on the touring Beach Boys group. Campbell had filled in for Brian Wilson and Wilson needed a replacement for Campbell, so Johnston joined the group to play keyboards, guitar and harmonize and also played the saxophone.

Currently, Bruce is touring with Mike Love as the Beach Boys,since Mike owns the name, and had to sue Al Jardine for using the Beach Boys name for his group.

So the Beach Boys are now split into three acts, with Brian Wilson as a solo act, Mike and Bruce using the Beach Boys name and Al Jardine having his own group, and no longer using the Beach Boys name.

 

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Jack Lord : From Stoney Burke to Hawaii Five-O

Jack Lord 1920-1998

Jack Lord was born John Joseph Patrick Ryan on December 30,1920 in Brooklyn, New York according to the rememberingjacklord.com website. Jack attended John Adams High School in Queens.

It didn’t take Jack long to understand what hard work meant, since his father sent him on freighters, during the summer, which traveled all over the world. He had the unique distinction of playing on the varsity football team, and being an accomplished artist, while attending high school.

After graduating from high school Jack played on the New York University football team as a tackle. He and his older brother Bill opened the Village Academy of Art in Greenwich Village, and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited two of his paintings.

These two paragraphs from his biography at rememberingjacklord.com tell of his first marriage and being torpedoed by German U-boats during World War II:

In 1942, Jack married Ann Cicely Willard. Jack described it as a youthful romance and said they married following a whirlwind courtship. The marriage was not a good one, for the couple were young, and Jack was working away from home. They had a child, John Ryan, Jr., who died at the age of 13 following a brief illness. 

During World War II, Jack served with the U. S. Maritime Service aboard Liberty ships.  It was not an easy assignment, for the German U-boats were always on patrol. The ship on which Jack was serving was torpedoed. With the fantail, rudder, and after-stern were destroyed, and the ship began to sink. There being no time to send an SOS, the captain ordered the crew to abandon ship. The ship sank in seven minutes, and Jack drifted in a life boat for sixteen hours before being rescued.

He was visiting his brother Bill in Woodstock, New York, when he saw a house that interested him. After meeting the owner Marie L. De Narde they were married later on January 17, 1949.

Changed His Name To Jack Lord

Jack found out there was already an actor, in the actor’s union with the name Jack Ryan, so changed his name to Jack Lord, but only for acting purposes, as he didn’t change his legal name. He picked the name Lord from his family tree.

His first acting job was in the movie Project X in 1949, which was followed by Cry Murder in 1950.

Jack Lord as Stoney Burke 1962-1963

1957 would see him appear in Have Gun – Will Travel and Gunsmoke. He would alternate between television and the movies, for the next few years, until he was given the starring role of Stoney Burke on the Stoney Burke television series from 1962-1963. He portrayed a rodeo cowboy on the show.

Jack would freelance between television and movies for the next five years, before landing the job that would make him a household name.

 

Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-O

I am now watching Hawaii Five-O on Netflix and have almost finished Season 9. I like the way that Jack as Steve McGarrett takes charge and gives almost impossible orders, like Chin Ho and Danno. He tells them to do things, like check every surfboard shop on Oahu, and get the name of everyone, that has bought a surfboard in the last 10 years. Well, maybe not that drastic, but if you watch the show you will notice him giving out orders.

Jack Lord has a presence on the screen, that tells everyone, that he is the one to see, if anyone wants something done the right way.

There are two Hawaii Five-O shows out there now, with CBS running a newer version currently, but the 1968-1980 series is the one I watch, since I left Hawaii in 1966 and can identify, with some of the locations shown and/or mentioned during an episode.

Jack Lord and his wife Marie

Jack Lord made his only appearance, after the end of Hawaii Five-O in M Station: Hawaii a television movie in 1980. He never acted again in the years, which led to his death, on January 21, 1988 in Honolulu,Hawaii at the age of 77.

He lived the last 30 years of his life in Hawaii with his wife and liked to walk on Kahala Beach, where he had his ashes scattered after his death.

After he and his wife died they left $40 million to many charities in Hawaii, which are detailed in the following article:

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Jan/22/ln/FP601220358.html

Jack was considered for the part of Captain Kirk in Star Trek 1966, but was turned down, since he wanted to be co-producer and own a percentage of the series, so William Shatner had to be thrilled, that Lord turned down the role.

I have noticed that it is difficult to find a photo online of Jack Lord in later life.

This website tells about Jack’s interaction with the other actors:

  • Lord was infamous for being imperious and hard to work with. However, fellow?Hawaii Five-Operformers Kam Fong, Zulu, Harry Endo, and Jimmy Borges have credited him as professional, generous, and normally soft-spoken. Many cast members considered him a friend and a mentor. Jack Lord was 6’2″ and liked to appear as the tallest actor on-screen – he often wore elevating footwear when appearing with Richard Denning, Al Harrington, and tall guest stars.

Other trivia from this same article:

http://www.jack-lord.info/about-jack-lord-hawaiifive-0/176-jack-lord-trivia.html

 

 

 

 

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American Idol Draws 4 Million Less Viewers

American Idol returns for its 14th season in 2015 with judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez

and Harry Connick, Jr., with Ryan Seacrest who has hosted the show since its inception.

American Idol started its 14th season, by drawing 4 million fewer viewers, than they attracted for the first show of Season 13. That was a decline of 25 percent from the Season 13 premiere. The show reached its peak in Season 6, when they attracted 37.44 million viewers for the premiere that year in 2007.

The premiere this year attracted 26 million fewer viewers, than watched the show in 2007.

Randy Jackson, who was a mentor during Season 13 won’t be seen in Season 14, unless it is in a guest appearance, since he is no longer employed by the show.

There should be no Coca-Cola cups at the judge’s table in Season 14, since Coca-Cola no longer is a sponsor.

The Voice Providing Competition

The Voice on NBC has attracted more viewers recently, than American Idol, but The Voice has had less success in launching careers of their winning contestants.

Season 8 of The Voice premieres on February 23, 2015, so the two shows will be on different nights.

I have watched American Idol since Season 2, so will probably go down with American Idol ship, when it sinks out of sight in the next year or two. I like the chairs turning around gimmick on The Voice, but not a fan of the battle rounds competition. Not to say it isn’t a good show….it is just my loyalty to American Idol  supersedes that of The Voice.

Aftermath for American Idol Winners

American Idol has had some winners like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, that have sold millions of albums, but then they have their share of singers like Phillip Phillips who made second albums, that didn’t sell nearly as well as their first album, as shown in this Billboard.com review of his sales for his second album:

Phillip Phillips, Behind the Light

First-Week Sales: 42,000

Previous Album’s First Week: The World From the Wrong Side of the Moon, 169,000

Year-to-Date Sales: 123,000

Why It Looks Bad: The American Idol champ’s debut was buoyed by a hit single, “Home,” something his second has yet to produce. And more than a regular artist, people expect a sophomore slump from an Idol champ — so his low first-week tally wasn’t a good look.

Counterpoint: Like 50’s album, the year-to-date total sales for Behind the Lightaren’t terrible. In fact, with the holidays approaching, sales for Phillips’ second are higher than they’ve been in weeks, suggesting there’s life in the album yet.

Scotty McCreery is now 21, after winning Season 10 four years ago. His album and single sales have done well, with him his first album Clear Day going platinum and his second album Christmas With Scotty McCreery earning a gold album certification.

Caleb Johnson Season 13 Winner

Caleb Johnson, who won Season 13 has seen his singing career get off to a very slow start, as indicated by this entry about his first album at Wikipedia:

Chart performance

The album debuted on Billboard 200 at No. 24 with 11,000 copies sold in its debut week, giving him the distinction of having the lowest first week sales and inaugural chart position of any American Idol winner.[8]Johnson also has the distinction of being the first American Idol winner to have their Idol coronation song, “As Long as You Love Me,” fail to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

On the other hand Kelly Clarkson has released six albums and all six have gone platinum and have peaked at either #1, #2 or #3 on the album charts. She has recorded four #1 hits.

Carrie Underwood has recorded 12 #1 hits on the country charts.

It doesn’t seem possible that it has been 10 years, since Carrie Underwood won Season 4 of American Idol in 2005. All four of her albums have gone platinum. It is hard to believe, that she hasn’t recorded an album since 2012, so we should see another Carrie Underwood album released, in the not too distant future. Her 12 #1 hits is the most recorded by any of the American Idol winners.

Results Show Shortened To Half Hour

The Fox network will be shortening the Thursday night results show of American Idol, to half an hour in Season 14. It will be a welcome relief, to American Idol fans, who were tiring of all the filler used in the results show in past seasons. Ryan Seacrest won’t have so much time to stretch out the drama, of who will be going home that night.

Ryan Seacrest has promised that Season 14 will have great talent, but American Idol fans will believe that, when they see and hear the shows.

I personally believe this is the best set of judges since the debut of the show. It will be nice to not hear “Yo dog” and “In it to win it” in Season 14, even though we didn’t hear it in Season 13 either. It is a huge improvement over the train wreck of a judging panel, when Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey took their battle public and overshadowed the contestants, by their constant bickering.

The back stories for  the contestants are what make American Idol so great in my book. Like the blind man, who sang a Spanish song for Jennifer Lopez on last week’s show. He may not be the next American Idol, but he will be one of the highlights of Season 14 for me.

So far this season the focus has been more on the talented singers, and less on the singers who have no talent. We know the judges just see a small percent of the singers, since they have others, that weed out the less than prime-time ready singers.

The Voice may have passed American Idol in the ratings, but American Idol will be the show I watch, till it fades out for the last time.

By this time next year we should know if Season 14 has produced another Caleb Johnson or another Carrie Underwood, or a singer somewhere in the middle of the two singers.

 

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American Greed: Television Documentary Series That Details How Greed Leads to Prison

American Greed is a television documentary series, that details how unscrupulous criminals deceive investors, into investing millions of dollars. Only problem is that the money invested almost always goes into the bank account, of the criminals whose only investment is in their lifestyle.

The series will be showing previously unaired shows starting Thursday at 10 PM ET on the CNBC Network. Previously aired shows can be found at the CNBC listings at your cable or satellite provider, and can be found, at various hours during the week, with most shows being shown after market hours. It is easy to catch up on shows that may have been missed, by searching for them and recording them as you find them for later viewing. Full episodes can also be seen at CNBC.com.

The show is aptly named, since the show centers on criminals, that offer ridiculously high interest rates, in return for an investor investing thousands or millions of dollars. Ponzi schemes continue to flourish, despite the demise of ruthless criminals like Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford, whose Ponzi schemes ended, with Madoff receiving a 150 year prison sentence, with a 2159 release date, when he would be 220 years old, and Stanford received a 110 year sentence, that would make him 171, upon his release in 2122.

Many of the criminals profiled in the shows were successful businessmen already, but succumbed to the urge to make even more money, even if it meant crossing the line, into criminal activity that could lead to prison if exposed. It all goes back to the age old question, of how much money is enough. It is usually never enough, for a businessman, that wants to live a lavish lifestyle.

The Bob McLean profile on American Greed is a prime example, of a man who went too far, to amass a huge fortune. McLean hob-nobbed with the most influential politicians, while donating money to charities, which included the Country Music Hall of Fame. The episode tells about McLean showing how he kept track of the stock market, by having a ticker in his office. It was later revealed, that he didn’t invest a penny for a five and-a-half year period.

McLean made a sizable donation to Middle Tennessee State University, for a medical school which was named in his honor. However, his name was removed from the building, when it was revealed that he was a crook, that cared only about himself.

His close friend Ray Vanatta was one of the investors bilked out of millions of dollars. These paragraphs from a New York Times article tell about the financial devastation experienced by Vanatta:

Last spring, the scheme began to collapse. Ron Vannatta, who had been in the same fraternity as Mr. McLean and invested $8.5 million, was among the first to realize something was amiss. Mr. Vannatta said he had asked Mr. McLean to send him more than $350,000 to pay his 2006 taxes. But April 15 passed, and no check arrived. Other investors said they, too, stopped getting checks.

Mr. Vannatta and other investors sued, forcing Mr. McLean into involuntary bankruptcy. Three federal agencies raided his offices here.

When accountants pored over Mr. McLean’s books, they found no investments, just a paper trail showing his juggling some $20 million among investors and spending millions more on houses, cars and charitable contributions — even underwriting an independent movie.

“He got away with it for years,” Mr. Vannatta said. “He simply did not have enough new fish putting money in to pay the old fish.”

That same scenario has spelled the end for many Ponzi schemers, who see their world come crashing down. Ponzi schemes will work only as long, as the original investors keep getting their money, while newer investors may or may not get checks from the likes of McLean.

Ponzi schemes would be more successful, if the criminals would not spend money so fast. Instead they spend the money on themselves, then have nothing to pay the investors. Then the evasion tactics start, which include the bank had a problem, so that is why a check wasn’t paid on time.

There were only losers when Bob McLean committed suicide, in September of 2007, in a church parking lot in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

9/11 Survivors Not Exempt From Financial Ruin

This American Greed special show tells about how 9/11 survivors were victims of financial scams:

3 “9/11 Fraud” September 7, 2011
When Jamie Amoroso’s husband, a Port Authority officer, is killed on 9/11 her life is drastically changed. A trusted family friend and broker uses her friendship to create a joint account without Amoroso’s knowledge and forges her signature on wire transfers, stealing more than $248,000 from this young widow. Pennsylvania contractor, Thomas Cousar, defrauds the U.S. government by overcharging $800,000 for work done by his company in rebuilding the Pentagon after the attacks. Conman Patric Henn lies about a life partner lost in the twin towers and receives $68,000 from the American Red Cross. His efforts to collect additional money are thwarted when agencies cannot find any record of his partner’s death or even existence.

This is a complete list of American Greed shows from 2007-2014 and gives a much better range of get rich schemes, that usually mean someone is getting bilked out of their money. One particularly sad episode was when elderly people lost their houses, because of financial wrongdoing.

Anyone with a lot of money to invest should watch this show, before investing a cent, so they will know how wide of a range of crooks there are out there, who only care about themselves and will break laws to get that money.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_Greed_episodes

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Crime, Detective, Government, News, Television

 

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