Pop Culture-Virgin Mary Tree Sold on Ebay, Reverse Evolution; TV-American Idol-First Time-Top Twelve

Blogcritics Feature Stories of the Week

  • Immigration's Evil Side

    Mark Schannon

    This is a true story. The person trapped in the Kafkaesque world of U.S. Immigration is still in a holding facility so I have to be careful about specifics because I firmly believe the Immigration people will take it out on him should they be able to identify him.

  • An Odyssey Through Best Buy

    by Brian Sorrell
    Gadgets? How about God-gets?

    That should be the word, because that's what they are. Newfangled electronic devices are newfangled Gods - in agnostic hands. From the iPod to the Blackberry to the sleekest of the slickest cells, we no longer wear our faiths on our sleeves: we clip them to our belts in polytheistic, plastic holsters.

  • Islam Is As Much A Political Entity As A Religious One

    by Chip Spear
    Why do we continue to insist we are engaged in a "War on Terror"? Terror is a psychological state, it is not a political entity, it is not group or a movement. Terrorism is a means, an offensive tool of war. It is a strategy designed to further political goals of a group or state. We are not waging a war on terror. That would be like saying that The New England Patriots are waging a war on the forward pass, or the Yankees are waging war on fast balls.

  • March's Featured Artist of the Month – NOFX
    by Ryan Seay

    Last month, I had the pleasure of repeatedly working with some superb artists who, across the past two decades, have really impacted their respective genre, music in general, and even some non-music-related causes ranging from politics to pets. No independent band has received a greater welcome or greater success than they have and it will take a band of megalithic proportions to topple them from that achievement. This month's featured artists, here at Blogcritics, are NOFX.

     Posted by Hello

    The Supreme Snicker

    What with the Supreme Court all locked and loaded with fresh judges we understand there are hearings on no less than the country’s lakes, rivers and streams as well as partial birth abortion. Yet the case involving Anna Nicole Smith is not only garnering the most attention, it is also garnering the most snickers.

    We understand Smith’s case involves correct jurisdiction over the legal distribution of funds in a will. Beyond that we’re more confused than anything save the humor of buxom Anna Marie appearing before the sober justices of the highest court in our land.

    For gossip purposes, we do note with a raised eyebrow that bit about Smith being abusive to her ageing and ailing husband.

    Image hosted by

    America's top judges will decide the fate of Anna Nicole Smith's fortune after the buxom blonde broke down in court in Washington, DC yesterday. The model/reality TV star faced the Supreme Court as part of her ongoing bid to inherit a portion of her late husband J. Howard Marshall's fortune. Wearing all black, Smith started weeping at one point in the proceedings as she sat quietly in the back row of the courthouse. Justice Stephen G. Breyer expressed sympathy for her claim, referring to a US district court's finding that her former son-in-law E Pierce Marshall had altered and destroyed documents to keep the fortune out of the young widow's hands. Breyer also cited evidence that detectives were employed to keep Smith away from her bedside. But Marshall's spokesman, David Margulies, was defiant on the courthouse steps as the hearing ended - he denied any wrongdoing by his client and portrayed Smith as a gold-digger, adding, "She was abusive to him (the late J. Howard Marshall). She was cruel to him." But Smith's attorney, Kent Richland, was optimistic his client would win her day in court

    Man Forced to Marry Goat


    And he had to pay a dowry as well.

    A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his “wife”, after he was caught having sex with the animal.

    The goat’s owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders. They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.

    “We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together,” Mr Alifi said.

    Mr Alifi, Hai Malakal in Upper Nile State, told the Juba Post newspaper that he heard a loud noise around midnight on 13 February and immediately rushed outside to find Mr Tombe with his goat.

    “When I asked him: ‘What are you doing there?’, he fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied him up”.

    Here’s a Story That Has Urban Legend Written All Over It

    Although it’s been sitting in my in-box for a couple of weeks now and there’s been no Snopes’ revelations as of yet.

    Seems an entire family in Turkey has been discovered that can only move about in the same fashion as early homo-sapiens. Specifically, that is, on all four limbs. Members of this family also cannot hold their necks upright and have other “deformities” that weren’t deformities for our ancestors.

    I’ve searched Snopes and re-visited the site and there is a link to a video depicting this phenomena.

    Yet I can’t shake the notion that this is either a hoax or explained by other means.

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comAn editor of a noted scientific journal says he has discovered a genetic defect that seems to set back the clock on human evolution by more than a million years. Its victims walk on all fours and mouth a primitive language, the scientist reported. He added that the syndrome may literally undo eons of evolution, and thus reflect with some accuracy what our ape-like ancestors were like.

    Stevie Wonder and the Sculpture

    Since he’s been such a hit in this year’s American Idol and everything, we can’t think of a more deserving singer.

    Musical Legend Stevie Wonder To Be Honored With An Original Artis Lane Sculpture To Be Unveiled March 4, Prior To The 20th Annual Soul Train Music Awards

    Stevie Wonder honored with sculpture from renowned artist Artis Lane

    Pasadena, Calif. (PRWEB) February 21, 2006 -- Musical legend and humanitarian Stevie Wonder will be honored with the unveiling of an original larger-than-life sculpture by renowned fine arts painter and sculptor Artis Lane, to be presented to Wonder immediately prior to the 20th Annual Soul Train Music Awards on Saturday, March 4 in the Gold Room of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium at 1:00 p.m.

    Too Late to Bid For the Tree

    By the time yon reader checks it out the tree with the image of the Virgin Mary has likely been sold to the highest bidder. A picture of the blessed tree is below. I see nothing resembling the Virgin Mary save some crumbling bark.

    The more interesting story here is the springing up of these “iSoldIt” stores across the country.

    The phenomena of Ebay has certainly impacted this country’s economy it would seem.

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comDallas Item to Be Sold to Reclaim Family Privacy DALLAS, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 02/28/2006 -- iSold It on eBay is holding a seven-day auction beginning Monday evening, February 27, of a live 50-foot tree that has drawn worldwide media and community attention for a four-foot image it bears of the Virgin Mary. Thousands of people from as far away as Mexico City and Korea have come to the South Dallas family's yard to see and pray at the tree since the image appeared in November 2005. As the story of the Virgin Mary's image spread throughout the United States, Mexico and Central America, the tree became a magnet for the ill and just about anyone seeking hope, all praying at the tree for a cure or for personal miracles.

    Russell Crowe Victim Fired

    As posted here, it seems that Russell Crowe lost his temper and pounded a hotel employee with a telephone. Said employee received a big settlement from the star. Who should take some anger management courses. Now we understand this employee has been fired.

    From the Daily Telegraph:
    SOMEWHERE in Sydney, Russell Crowe is smiling - the hotel clerk he threw a phone at has been fired.

    Nestor Estrada scored $130,000 from the Oscar-winning actor in an out-of-court settlement from the June 6 incident at the Mercer Hotel, New York, which dragged Rusty's name through the dirt for much of last year.

    He might need the cash now because Confidential has learned that just before Christmas the hotel fired him.

    This week, they've even begun contesting his unemployment benefits.

    Crowe ended up on criminal charges from the incident and was lucky to escape with a reprimand from a Manhattan court in November.

    Media Nuggets

    Culled from my own secret source. Believe at your own risk.
  • Reuters Posts Disappointing 2006 Outlook - Reuters shares fell 10 percent to $7.11 in trading.

  • CBS Records $9.1B Loss on TV, Radio Charges - CBS Corp. reported a loss of $9.1 billion in the fourth quarter on hefty charges to write down the value of its radio and television businesses.

  • Viacom profits tumble to new lows.

  • More details on the Journalists poll - It was conducted after the National Press Club meeting. About 480 journalists participated. 87% believed Hillary will be dems. nominee. 71% believed she will lose. Also 52% believed Gore will win if he gets nomination. Expect to see articles, like, Clinton will cost party win.

  • Orrin Hatch at the recent Alfalfa club dinner "Hillary has a serious health problem, first diagnosed among women in Japan, called 'Retired Husband Syndrome.'

  • Fox frequenter Ellis Hanican & Court TV's host Lynne White will host the new "Henican & White," a new afternoon drive show on WOR 710 AM Radio...

  • Media revolving door - Judy Woodruff returns to PBS, for a project examining young people(!)'s views on religion, politics and other issues, including America's role in the world.

  • Get a Load of This Hog

    This picture and text passed through my in-box this past week and I did a double take. A family could live, heh, high on the hog for a year on this fellow.
    Image hosted by Larry Earley lives about 30 miles from Orlando, in the very rural community of Okahumpka, just off the Florida turnpike in Lake County, Florida. He has 20 acres of land and on it, a few cows and horses. Mostly it's pasture land that is fenced with woods surrounding him.

    He is neighbored by a larger cattle ranch.

    His neighbor has complained for several years that wild hogs had been raiding his cattle feeders and salt licks.

    Last month he saw what he thought was a cow in his pond and went to see if it was stuck in the mud and would have to be pulled out. When he got close enough to realize it was a hog, the thing made a charge at him. He had driven his truck down to the pond and carries a pistol in it (as any Florida redneck would, and I say that with genuine affection). He got his handgun and when it came at him again, he shot it twice and killed it.

    Wild hogs in Florida usually run from 100-400 pounds with a 400 pounder being a monster. Because this one had been feasting on grain for several years it had grown to mammoth size. When Larry took it to the processor it weighed in at over 1100 pounds! The meat has no wild taste, as it was grain fed;

    More Gossip/Speculation HERE

     Posted by Hello

    TV-Review-American Idol 2006-The Boys and the Top Twelve

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comAs this contest continues, may I remind yon readers that a fine compilation of American Idol 2006 articles can be found here on Blogcritics in one handy post.

    We begin this missive with a rundown of the guys' performance on Wednesday, 3/8/06. I have predictions on who will be eliminated. Following this a short piece on the elimination and finally, ta-da, a listing of the top twelve who will move on to more stardom and scrutiny.

    Gedeon McKinny sang "When a Man Loves a Woman" on the night of the top eight male finalist presentation. Gedeon certainly presented his own fine version of the song and Simon pronounced it "over the top". I think Gedeon will move on to the top twelve.

    I didn't recognized Chris Daughtry's song of choice, something about being broken. Chris has a spectacular rocker voice and it occurs to me that this is a musical genre woefully under-represented in American Idol. Simon pronounced Daughtry's performance as "indulgent". While Daughtry has the voice and genre to win this thing, I can't help but think Simon does not want Chris to win. Sure, Simon's hyper-critical and that's his schtick. But at this point in this reality series Simon tends to try to guide the voting public to his choice of the winner. I suspect Simon doesn't think Daughtry has the superstar quality he seeks. Whatever the case, I think Chris will move on to the top twelve and the American public will decide.

    Kevin Covais is this year's designated American Idol nerd. For this performance Kevin seemed too self-conscious. A musical superstar shouldn't appear to an audience as if he's practically apologizing for wasting their time with his small song. Which is, sadly, the feeling transmitted by this young man who does, no doubt about it, have a terrific voice.

    But they all have terrific voices at this stage in the game. There's a bit more needed to win this contest and part of it is certainly stage presence. While the judges pronounced Covais' performance as good and his choice of a ballad a song suiting him, Simon called it "juvenile". I don't think Kevin's going to make it through to the top twelve.

    Bucky Covington is a surprising contender, at least to me. He captured my fancy with his revelation that he has an identical twin brother. I paid close attention to Covington's performance and considered that his genre of country-western with a little rock could be a winning combo. I love Bucky's ponytail and casual but hip style.

    Will Makar is considered the favorite of the bubblegum crowd. A fact which seems to annoy sweet Will but I say take the votes where you get them.

    Perhaps in an attempt to appeal to a different demographic, Will sang "How Sweet It Is". A great song but not a strong enough song at this point in the competition. It had a Karaoke flavor to it that was not appealing. I still think Makar will go through to the top twelve though none of the judges were wowed by Makar's performance and poor choice of song.

    Now Taylor Hicks did a rocking song and first thing I noticed was this fellow's robotic dancing style.

    I'd depict Hicks' dancing style as it appeared to me but the compassion police would beat me up. Let's just say Hicks looked a bit like that little robot on the old Lost in Space series. The first thing Randy commented upon was Hicks' strange "dance" style. I suspect that Hicks was trying to appear cool beyond his rather mundane accountant appearance. I don't think it worked.

    Elliott Yamin performed a song I didn't know and didn't like. Randy, however, loved the song. Curmudgeon Simon also didn't like the song of the performance. I think Yamin has a chance of being booted during the elimination round.

    Ah, my own favorite, Ace Young, did something really odd. Not that I didn't like it. In fact, that hat and falsetto voice did manage to present this handsome fellow in a different light and showed us his voice talent.

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comFor Ace sang a Michael Jackson song completely in a high falsetto. And it was okay, dawg, it was okay, as Randy would say. The judges like Ace's performance although Simon said Ace missed some high notes in spots. Ace's performance left me impressed but really hoping he won't try such a thing when he's in the running for the top three count down.

    The 3/9/06 Elimination Round

    46 million people voted, Bo Bice sang us a tune and told us about his new baby.

    Four contestants were eliminated: Kinnik Sky, Gedeon McKinney, Will Makar and Ayla Brown.

    I was very surprised about Makar. Not because I thought he necessarily should be in the top twelve in this year of our Lord 2006. I was thinking the bubblegum crowd would keep him alive.

    One final thought before entering into the finals of this year’s competition with the top twelve listed below. I’ve never understand that cruelty of sorts involved with making these people who have just been eliminated sing a song before they leave.

    The PR thing isn’t lost on me. Which is to say any time you have a chance to sing before millions of people, no matter the circumstances, do it. But to have to do it when your heart is breaking, it seems a bit thoughtless.

    American Idol 2006 Top Twelve Finalists

    Paris Bennett
    Lisa Tucker
    Melissa McGhee
    Katharine McPhee
    Kelly Pickler

    Chris Daughtry
    Kevin Covais
    Bucky Covington
    Taylor Hicks
    Elliott Yamin
    Ace Young

    More American Idol Reviews Here
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