Monday, September 14, 2009

Celebrity and a New Venture

The bookshelves for the dining room finally arrived yesterday. Now for the first time, I have a space for all my cookbooks. Looks great. I'm just about done with this first phase of the house which leaves me free for a number of other things on my mind, including:

Serena Williams at the U.S. Open. I'm a huge tennis fan and I winced at the foot fault she got just two points from the end of of her semi-final match. That's gotta rattle anybody, and Serena rattled spectacularly. The press sensing blood moved in and gave her hell with the Internet buzzing their brains off about the incident as well. I can't help it, I just feel that whenever the Williams sisters spark off a scintilla of controversy, it becomes so blown out that you wonder why. Still that kind of flame out is as they say in today's "anti-angry" movement, "intolerable."

Now Kanye West on the other hand didn't lose his temper, but he is a hog of the limelight and did himself no favors jumping into make a statement that Beyonce had been robbed of her VHI video awards and he looked especially stupid when Beyonce won in the best video of the year category. And how classy of Beyonce to generously allow Taylor Swift her moment while graciously letting West know his behavior was totally unnecessary.

I just had to watch the first of a two-part OPRAH interview of Whitney Houston today. Along with Michael Jackson's funeral, has there been a sorrier fall from grace by an American celebrity. And here we have the comeback in all its classic glory. Houston in the 90s was as big a musical star as America has ever produced. Her world-wide celebrity quotient has been as blinding as Sinatra, Streisand, the Beatles, the Rolling Stone, Elvis, Marilyn, Princess Diana. But I understood when she said that at the time she met her husband to be, Bobby Brown, she was exhausted, and in serious doubt about her future. I mean how much bigger could she be and how log can you sustain that kind of celebrity. It's easy to see how such a snake as Bobby Brown could get into her head. When things get that huge at such an early age, where is your perspective? So she talks about how much they were in love, and how much boom-boom they did and then as she kept climbing and his career began to take a huge back seat (since he wasn't in her league at all) to hers, you begin to see why she was so attracted to him. Brown was her way of thumbing her nose at the huge demands her career made on her. At the same time, it's difficult to relate to her unease and growing discontent at the scope of her career. Despite all her show biz background being Aretha Franklin's goddaughter, and Dionne Warwick's niece, and the daughter of a professional singer, it looks like Houston didn't have the ability to deal with the hugeness of her career. This may be the curse of many huge female stars. When I think of women who have juggled such vast stardom, I can't think of many who have consistently driven their careers without falling apart at least once. Streisand is one. Oprah is certainly another, and then maybe Madonna. Still, drama queen that she is, Oprah gets Whitney to open up about the drugs, the craziness, the bad decisions, and the dissolution of her marriage. Fascinating. And I kept thinking, and now come the resurrection. I bought her new CD and I'm happy to hear that that it is selling well. How could it not? Redemption of a fallen celebrity is a great American pastime.

In the meantime, EMI has released new remastered versions of the recordings of The Beatles. This long overdue project was #1 on with individual famous Beatles CDs taking up the next eight spots. Whitney Houston's new CD was # 10, the first week it was on sale.

You will soon hear about a new blog I'm launching. It's a fabulous idea that was handed to me on a silver platter by a good culinary friend and sometime mentor to me, and I'm anxious for your response.

Two other big deaths simply add to the growing list of prominent Americans dying this year: former White House press secretrary Jody Powell and Patrick Swayze.

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