Friday, September 25, 2009

Randy Quaid Arrested Over An Unpaid Hotel Bill



I have never heard of a story like this before and frankly, could not happen to a normal person like myself.

Randy Quaid and his wife were arrested for not paying a $10,000 hotel bill.

Before I begin on the case, I want people to know something about Randy Quaid. He is actually a really great actor. Most people know him as the kooky cousin in the National Lampoon Vacation films. But Randy Quaid has done a wonderful job in other films earlier in his career. At the age of 23, he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in a film called The Last Detail. Jack Nicholson was nominated for Best Actor. The film is highly entertaining and proves that Randy Quaid is talented. But there is another performance of his that I came across by accident. In college, I was writing a paper about how films have portrayed Lyndon Johnson. I saw a film that was made for television called LBJ: The Early Years. Randy Quaid was excellent as Lyndon Johnson. He won a Golden Globe for his performance. Above this article I inserted a picture of Randy Quaid as Lyndon Johnson. I am using this picture because I want people to see this performance if it is ever on television.

Now back to the case. Why does Randy Quaid owe so much money to a hotel? This probably happened because the hotel did not follow procedure and get a credit card number when he arrived to check in. Stars can receive special treatment, but in this situation, I cannot feel sorry for a hotel that decided not to get Randy Quaid’s credit card number prior to giving him a hotel key.

There is a hotel that I visit often when I go down to Charlottesville. They have my credit card on file because I have stayed there a number of times. When I arrive at the hotel, some of the staff recognizes me. One of them said that their hotel is my home away from home. I would have to agree. But when I check in, they still need to see my identification.

Every time I check into a hotel, they need my credit card information and to see my driver’s license prior to checking in. Unlike Randy Quaid, it would be impossible for me to skip a hotel bill. The hotel has my credit card number. They can charge my credit card for the nights that I have stayed at the hotel.

Why did Randy Quaid allegedly skip out on a hotel bill? I don’t know, but this would not have become national news if the hotel just treated him like a normal guest by asking for his credit card before giving him a key to one of their rooms. Then the bill would be on his credit card and Randy Quaid would have no choice other than to pay his monthly credit card bill.

Sometimes treating a celebrity in a special way can have negative consequences. In this situation, trying to treat Randy Quaid different only turned out negatively for Randy Quaid himself when he was treated like a criminal. I don’t know the name of the hotel where he stayed, but I think that I should go there. When checking in, I’m sure that they will ask for my credit card information. At that time I should just ask, “Don’t you know who I am?” They would say, “No.” Then I would say, “I’m Michael Rubin. I own http://www.michaelrubin.com." They would say, “Well we need your credit card information so we can let you check in.” I will give them my credit card and let them see my identification if needed. It beats getting arrested for an unpaid bill.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Patrick Swayze: The Final Fred Astaire



I dedicate this article to my sister, Emily Rubin, who wanted to see Patrick Swayze return to the top of Hollywood. True fans are those who stand by stars during the difficult times.

Why am I comparing the late Patrick Swayze to the late Fred Astaire?

How many actors today are truly known for their skills as trained dancers? I cannot think of one. Patrick Swayze was a gifted dancer who became a talented actor. In addition, he could also sing. I’m comparing him to Fred Astaire because there is a period of time when being a great dancer was important if you wanted to make it in Hollywood. If you look at films in the 1950s and 1960s, many of the top films were musicals. In recent years, a few musicals made it to the big screen, but the days in which we had actors who happened to be great dancers has died. The final one was Patrick Swayze.

Many people would not have known much about Patrick Swayze’s ability to dance if it was not for his most popular film, Dirty Dancing. For those who have not seen Dirty Dancing, it is the closest thing to a dancing musical that is realistic. The actors are dancing to different songs throughout the film, but the dancing does not seem random and crazy like in a musical, where someone will just start dancing and singing down the block. In Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze plays a dance instructor teaching Jennifer Grey how to dance. So in a non-insane world, the characters have an excuse to dance throughout the film.

In Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze also sung and co-wrote the song “She’s Like The Wind”. His voice was very beautiful. The film did to Patrick Swayze’s career what Rocky did for Sylvester Stallone. After Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze was in a number of films. Action films like Roadhouse. Romance films like Ghost. Now that he passed away, it will feel different if I ever watch the film Ghost again.

It’s also sad for me to think of his famous skit on Saturday Night Live in which he is competing with Chris Farley for the last position at Chippendales. It is sad for me to think that both of them have now passed away.

He was very hilarious playing a drag queen in To Wong Fu: Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar. Seeing him play so many action parts made it funny to see him pretending to be a woman.

But sadly, his career faded after 1995. As someone who examines the entertainment industry, I have to say this….. His biggest mistake was not making a sequel to Dirty Dancing.

In 2004, he made a cameo in the prequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. The truth is that the film Dirty Dancing was so popular that a well-made sequel would have been a blockbuster. If the film was to be made, it would have to center around his character. Jennifer Grey sadly had such a major nose job that she looks unrecognizable. She would have looked too different to be in a sequel.

I wish I could ask the creators of Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights….. What were you thinking? Why didn’t you just make a film around Patrick Swayze? Now it is too late for them to do so.

But Patrick Swayze’s life was not woulda-shoulda-coulda. He had a very successful career. I think what also stands out about him as a person is that he was married to his wife since 1975. Fame did not get in the way of his marriage. This is rare in Hollywood and he deserves recognition for that. Patrick Swayze succeeded in Hollywood and in his marriage. A lot of celebrities could have learned from the good example that he set.

Who is the next Patrick Swayze? I don’t think that we are going to have one. The days of great dancers becoming great actors is over. Now Hollywood is filled with young people who pursue acting for the sake of acting (or fame). It is not likely that we will find someone who will spend years perfecting the ability to dance….. who then succeeds in Hollywood. Patrick Swayze is the last of his breed of actors.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Teardrops On Kanye West’s Overinflated Ego



I dedicate this article to Kevin Starace and Matt Brensy, two of the greatest fans of Taylor Swift.

I will begin by saying that I am a fan of Kanye West and I am not a fan of Taylor Swift. I am stating that to show my music preference, even though I side with Taylor Swift 100% in this case.

Kanye West has been known to have an ego. But in the past, that ego has not been placed in the way of the hard work of other musical artists. Kanye West can brag about his music all he wants, while Ray Charles, U2, and Herbie Hancock win Grammy Awards for Album of the Year. In the past, the ego of Kanye West has only been a roadblock in the way of ..... Kanye West.

As Taylor Swift gives her speech after receiving the MTV award for Best Female Video, Kanye West takes the microphone from her hand. It is hard for me to imagine what it would have been like to receive an MTV award at the age of 19. Kanye West became huge star in 2004, when Taylor was only 14 years-old. When a huge star goes up to you and grabs your microphone, you would assume that they want to compliment you on the stage. I think Taylor thought that he grabbed her microphone to do so. But it wasn’t to compliment her. It was to show how much he disagreed with her receiving the award.

When I think about this situation, I remember years in which the person who lost an award would go up on stage himself to speak, trying to take the spotlight away from the actual winner. This is always rude. If you lose an award, you don’t take the spotlight away from the winner.

But what makes this situation even worse is that Kanye West wasn’t trying to take the recognition for an award that he lost to Taylor Swift, but to give recognition to Beyonce. It was not his place to do so.

Even Beyonce herself was shocked when he did this. I saw the clip on YouTube where she was saying “Oh My God” as Kanye West spoke of Beyonce’s video being one of the best videos of all time.

I feel that Kanye West was being a bully. Kanye West has been in the spotlight for half a decade and he received many awards over the last few years. The spotlight was not new to him. He has had the time to enjoy his fame, success, and newfound wealth. Taylor Swift is a new celebrity who is probably still in awe of other celebrities who she meets. This was her moment to be in the spotlight. Her chance to thank the fans who have supported her. Her chance to connect with people who may or may not be there in the future.

I think that Taylor Swift may have a long career, but if she doesn’t, this could have been her only chance to really enjoy stardom. Many stars come and go from the music world, while a few of them are around for years. Imagine if this was the year of Taylor Swift and if her career had a short span (which I doubt). What if this would be the only time she would win an MTV award? Imagine having your only chance to speak being interrupted by an established artist who has already had the time to enjoy the fruits of success.

What angers me the most about Kanye West’s interruption of Taylor Swift’s speech was the fact that he was interrupting a new artist who may or may not win future MTV awards. Had he interrupted Eminem, at least I could say that Eminem had accepting an award numerous times on stage. Kanye West interrupted a rookie who has no guarantee of what will come in the future of music.

Many people may say, “But Taylor Swift is so talented. She will definitely be around for years to come.” I hope you’re right. I’d rather see Taylor Swift on stage than Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Ashlee Simpson, or Amy Winehouse. I remember that MC Hammer was the biggest artist of 1990. I would have never predicted that he’d be old news in 1992. That is why interrupting the speech of a new artist is so much worse than interrupting the speech of a veteran to the music world. Every award you receive could potentially be your last. Kanye West was willing to risk Taylor’s one shot on that stage. How would he feel if that would be the only MTV award she would receive and she never had the chance to give one full speech?

I think it is humble when an artist wins an award and says that another artist should have won. I am not a fan of Justin Timberlake at all. In fact, I hate his music. But when he won Best Male Video over Johnny Cash, who was dying), Justin made it clear that he would have preferred for Johnny Cash to receive the award. He used his time on stage to acknowledge the work of another artist. It was a wonderful gesture. That’s the kind of thing we should see happen more often at awards shows.

I was very happy to see that Beyonce used her time after winning the top award to give Taylor Swift a chance to finish her original speech. Beyonce corrected the horrible treatment that Kanye West gave to Taylor Swift by giving her the final speech of the night.

Now Kanye West has apologized. I think I’d rather see Kanye West do something for once to show that he is actually really sorry for his actions. I’m sick of hearing apologies by celebrities over and over again. I want to see action. Kanye West should do something very nice for Taylor Swift.

As much of a fan as I have been of Kanye West, his latest actions may hurt his future in music. He needs to understand that his ego is now turning people away from him. It is now time that he work on his greatest enemy, his ego, before it ends his career.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shawne Merriman is Innocent!



The words don’t come out that easily. Instead you will hear that charges have been dropped because there was not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Shawne Merriman choked Tila “Tequila” Nguyen.

The charges have been dropped in the case of Shawne Merriman assaulting Tila “Tequila”. This did not surprise me. Instead of keeping quiet, Shawne went public with his side of the story. He said that he tried to restraint her from leaving his house drunk. If she would be driving, then she would be a danger to herself and to the public. His decision to come out and give his side of the story shows that he really wanted to prove to the public that he was innocent.

It is easier to declare that there is not enough evidence than to just say that the accuser is a liar. But to say that there is not enough evidence is to say that either side could be telling the truth. It would also be like saying, “He could be guilty, but we don’t know for sure.”

I’m going to take a stand. I say that the evidence shows that he’s actually innocent.

If Tila had bruises on her neck, this case would be closed. I remember the photographs of Rihanna after being beaten up by Chris Brown. Chris Brown does not appear to be a very strong person and I would love to step in the ring with him. Yes I would be happy to fight Chris Brown.

I remember the face of Nicole Brown Simpson, the deceased ex-wife of O. J. Simpson. I remember the bruises.

Tila “Tequila” is 100 pounds and very small. If Shawne Merriman actually did choke her, not only would there be bruises, but it would be a murder trial. She would be dead. If Shawne Merriman choked me for any short period of time, if I wasn’t killed, I’d at least have a cast on my neck. Shawne Merriman is the type of person who if I bumped into at a bar, even if it was clearly his fault, I would say, “I’m sorry, sir!”

I really do not believe that Tila “Tequila” could survive being choked by Shawne Merriman. I am glad that I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my last article. Being willing to talk when you are accused of a serious crime is an indication of innocence. I have no doubt that he is innocent now.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I’m Giving Shawne Merriman The Benefit of The Doubt: For Now



I want to begin by saying that I do not yet take sides in the case of Shawne Merriman and Tila “Tequila” Nguyen. If he is guilty, then I want him to go to jail. But I’m not rushing to judgement for a few reasons.

I want to also clarify that I’m not a fan of Shawne Merriman or the San Diego Chargers. I am a fan of the Washington Redskins. I am saying this to show that I am not biased to the side of Shawne Merriman because I am not one of his fans.

When Chris Brown was arrested for beating Rihanna, it was a cut-and-dry case from the beginning. When the pictures came out of Rihanna’s face, it was obvious that there could be no other side to this story. I think that Chris Brown’s career is over and if it is not over, then I am ashamed of anyone who would buy a Chris Brown album.

Chris Brown never denied anything before or during his trial for beating Rihanna. There was no “other side” to the story. It was not a question of innocence. It was a question of how much trouble would Chris Brown be in. There was no “he said, she said.” Not only did Chris Brown not have any defense for his actions, but he was so uncomfortable with what he did that he could not even go into detail about it when he was recently on Larry King even after he received probation.

Recently, Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman has been arrested for choking reality TV star Tila “Tequila” Nguyen. Her side of the story is that she was trying to leave his house, he stopped from leaving and choked her. She went to the police and made a citizen’s arrest.

I was horrified when I heard about this. Unlike Chris Brown, Shawne Merriman is an NFL linebacker. The guy is very strong and an excellent athlete. There is no doubt in my mind that in a fight with him, I would definitely lose. Then there is Tila Tequila. She is under five feet-tall. She would have less of a chance than I would if someone like Shawne Merriman was fighting her.

Now here is why I am actually giving Shawne Merriman the benefit of the doubt for now.....

Before trial and before even being charged, he has already given his side of the story. He said that Tila was trying to leave the house intoxicated and he tried to restrain her from doing so. Not only is he giving his side, but it would make sense to prevent an intoxicated person from leaving a house to prevent that person from driving.

So I believe that he should be given the benefit of the doubt for the meantime for two reasons.

1. He is speaking out instead of remaining silent.

2. His excuse for keeping her in the house due to his concern for her safety actually makes sense.

Do I believe him? I’m not sure, but guilty men are less likely to talk than innocent ones. Chris Brown did not comment at all or have a different side of the story in his case because he was absolutely guilty. For Shawne Merriman to come out this early and give a different account is an indication that he may possibly be innocent.

There’s a line that police officers say when they arrest someone. “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” For Shawne Merriman to make a statement this early, he is giving a story that can be used against him in court if he is lying. Guilty people usually try to work with their lawyers on a judgement instead of making up a public denial. If he is really guilty, then his story can get him into worse trouble than if he would keep quiet and get probation like Chris Brown did.

I have a feeling that Shawne Merriman spoke out because he really believes, or could be, innocent. Those who are innocent want their stories to be known because the public will judge them way before they are in court.

So until we know more, I am giving Shawne Merriman the benefit of the doubt. He could be innocent or guilty, but his willingness to speak out so soon after his arrest makes me think that he may possibly be innocent.
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